Message from Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, Barnsley – 14 August 2020

Cases update and stats

Like many areas of the UK, we are seeing signs that our numbers may be creeping up, however, Barnsley does not feature in this week’s list of Local Authority Watchlist areas and is not an area of concern.  

There is no real pattern to cases across Barnsley, but we look at each one to check we are not missing anything.

As I’ve said before things can change quickly and numbers fluctuate –it can be affected by things like a couple of households all getting the virus, which puts the weekly figure up, especially while the overall numbers are relatively low.

Remember, you should only meet people you do not live with, in three types of groups:

  • you can continue to meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to six people from different households
  • single adult households (adults who live alone or with dependent children only) can continue to form an exclusive ‘support bubble’ with one other household
  • you can also meet in a group of two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household), in any location ‒ public or private, indoors or outdoors. This does not need to be the same household each time.

It remains the case ‒ even inside someone’s home ‒ that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. 

More detailed statistics and information for Barnsley will be made available in Monday’s dashboard which we will share on social media and add to the news section of our website.

Business compliance 

My sincere thanks goes out to all the Barnsley businesses working hard to make sure that their staff and customers are kept safe from Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. It’s been such a difficult time over recent months and lots of adjustments have had to be made before businesses could start operating again.

There are plenty of shops in Barnsley that I would feel secure in shopping from. They are displaying great compliance in terms of correct social distancing, only allowing a limited number of customers in at any one time, providing hand sanitiser, and asking customers to wear face coverings.

The Government requires extra compliance for those businesses working in ‘close contact services’ such as hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services

If you are a business and require any support please visit https://www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk/

Travel guidance

As we have seen, there is a very uncertain and unsettling picture regarding travel abroad. While there is guidance from the foreign office and other sources (see below) about the latest travel situation, my personal public health advice is to think extremely carefully before planning any foreign travel. 

Not only does it potentially put your own health at risk and, when you return, your family, friends and work colleagues, but it also has the potential to create additional stress through financial loss, last-minute travel changes, and problems with attendance at work if you have to quarantine. 

However, I do want to encourage you all to get a break whenever you can. The pandemic has put a considerable strain on everyone, and finding ways to relax with your families is so important. There are things we can safely do locally. Find out more at http://www.barnsley-museums.com/ and https://www.yorkshire.com/

Advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has profoundly changed the nature of international travel. Travellers should always check the latest advice from the FCO, given the potential for changing coronavirus infection rates to affect both the advice about travelling to other countries and rules about self-isolation on return.

All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a complete passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.

The full list of travel corridors is available at https://bit.ly/3guaumN.

Mental Health

With A levels announced this week, young people waiting on GCSE results next week, and national news covering recession and increasing numbers of redundancies, it’s an anxious time for many people – coupled with the added pressure we are all under due to this pandemic.

There is now a 24 hour mental health helpline for anyone registered with a GP in Barnsley. If you are experiencing emotional distress you can get confidential help and support 24 hours a day. This helpline will provide a listening ear, emotional support and guidance to adults with new or existing mental health conditions. It will also provide information, advice and support to carers. Find out more here: https://www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/service-users-and-carers/in-crisis/

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