Covid update: 20.01.22

The Prime Minister has announced the withdrawal of Plan B Coronavirus restrictions in England over the next week. 

This means:

  • Working from home: The Government is no longer asking people to work from home, unless they are self-isolating.
    People should now talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the office.
  • From 27 January 22: There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering.
    The Government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
  • From 27 January 22: Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass.
    The NHS COVID Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.

Government guidance for Wales and Scotland can be found by clicking in the links below:

Posted 20 Jan 2022


Isolation period changes

The Government has announced that from Monday 17th January 2022, anyone with coronavirus can end their isolation after 5 full days as long as they test negative on days 5 and 6. 

Under the new rules, those who test positive can leave isolation after two consecutive negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart. Should you not receive a negative test of day 5 and 6 you can continue to test until you get two consecutive negative tests or until you have isolated for 10 days, whichever occurs first. For example, if you test negative on days 6 and 7 you can leave isolation. More information can be found here.

Posted 17 January 22


Covid-19 update: 30.11.21

With the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus, the Government has re-introduced some measures to prevent further spread within the community.

From Tuesday November 30th it is now a requirement to wear a face mask when entering most indoor public spaces such as shops, banks and post offices, as well as on public transport. Masks are not required in most hospitality settings.  

The Covid booster programme rules are also being amended to open them up to more people. You can find more information on this here: Coronavirus (COVID-19) booster vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

The Association will continue to monitor the situation for further developments.

Posted 30 November 21


Covid & supported housing

Covid and supported housing: making vaccination a condition of employment in the health and social care sector.

Any almshouse charity that operates a CQC registered care home must have staff that work in that care home vaccinated (unless they have a valid exemption.

The Department of Health and Social Care is currently reviewing these regulations and if they widen the criteria to non CQC registered settings we will of course let our member charities know.

As it stands, in terms of mandatory vaccination for other almshouse charities, this must be based on the Health and Safety risk analysis. Each charity will need to consider the risk to residents and staff.

This article from a leading law firm clearly explains the risks and challenges involved in adopting such a policy:

www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/uk/what-to-consider-when-implementing-a-vaccination-policy-in-your-organisation

If any member charity is considering this, we would recommend taking separate legal advice to ensure the charity is protected from challenge. Legal advisors can be found on our panel of consultants*: www.almshouses.org/panel-of-consultants/.

* The Almshouse Association makes every effort to ensure that the details of the Panel are accurate and up to date, it is important that members satisfy themselves that the services, qualifications and relevant membership of professional bodies meet their particular needs.

Posted 29 November 21


Covid-19 update: 18.10.21

Prime Minister sets out autumn and winter Covid plan:

The Prime Minister has recently announced the Government’s plan to manage Covid throughout autumn and winter. Over autumn and winter, the Government will aim to sustain the current situation through:

  • Building defences through pharmaceutical interventions – for example, the announcement that the most vulnerable will be offered a “booster shot”
  • Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission
  • Supporting the NHS and social care
  • Advising people on how to protect themselves and others
  • Pursuing an international approach

If the NHS came under series pressure, the Government will implement “Plan B” that would include:

  • Introducing mandatory vaccine only Covid status certification in certain settings.
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings, such as public transport and shops.
  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public if the risk level increases.
  • Consider asking people to work from home.

Coronavirus is still with us and it is important that we all continue to do what we can to limit the spread of the virus, along with other winter illnesses.

This could include:

  • continuing to wear a face mask and practicing social distancing in crowded areas  
  • testing twice a week with a lateral flow test and self-isolating if you have symptoms
  • regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water
  • get both doses of the coronavirus vaccine (and booster jab for those eligible)

More government guidance can be found here.


Covid-19 update: 13-08-2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector

The government has updated its Covid-19 guidance for trustees. This includes advice for trustees on holding meetings remotely or postponing or cancelling meetings to reflect the lifting of restrictions in England and Wales.

As restrictions lift, some members may choose to revert to physical meetings. However, Coronavirus is still impacting on events and so it is still reasonable to make adjustments to suit your needs. Further guidance can be found here.

Wales

Coronavirus Restrictions Lifted

Most of the remaining Coronavirus restriction in place will be lifted from August 7th. This includes rules on the number of people who can meet indoors as well as social distancing will end.

Wearing a face mask in shops, health and social care settings and on public transport will still be required.

13-08-2021


Covid-19 update: July 21

The Government has confirmed that the country will be proceeding to the final stage of the restriction easing on July 19th 2021.

On 19 July, most legal restrictions will end, removing social distancing and social contact restrictions and enabling remaining businesses to reopen. With cases continuing to rise, however, it is vital that we remain cautious and take necessary precautions to ensure we can limit the spread of the virus. Those who have previously shielded or have been classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should consider what additional precautions should be taken, even if you have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Members may now wish to consider how to best manage communal areas if these have remained closed. It is also still recommended that you continue to wear a face mask is crowded areas such as public transport.

Government guidance still encourages us to:

  1. think Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air 
  2. take part in free, regular, rapid COVID-19 testing
  3. come forward for vaccination when it is offered.

The Almshouse Association would ask members to assess their own circumstances and consider the most appropriate measures on a case-by-case basis.

Wales

The Welsh Government has announced that most coronavirus rules will end on August 7th as the country moves to alert level 0.

From July 17th:

  • Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.
  • Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seat and up t 200 standing.
  • Ice rinks can reopen.

From August 7th:

  • Nightclubs will be able to reopen.
  • Face masks will still be required in most indoor places, expect for pubs, restaurants and schools.
  • Social distancing rules will be removed with venues carrying our individual risk assessments.
  • People who are fully vaccinated will not need to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Posted 19 July 21


Charity Commission: annual returns guidance update

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance for charities due to submit their annual returns in the coming months, as well as those that are subject to a filing extension as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Commission is still requesting that charities submit their annual returns on time wherever possible. For those charities that are due to submit their annual return between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2021 and are unable to meet their filing obligations for a Covid-19 related reason, an application can be made for a filing extensions. A fixed three month extension from the date of application will be granted.

For those charities that already have an extension in place, the Charity Commission will contact you shortly. These charities will need to submit their annual returns by 30 September 2021.

To view the Charity Commission’s updated guidance, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector. This guidance also contains information on holding trustee meetings and AGMs over the coming months.

Posted 5 July 2021


Covid-19 update: June 21

Thankfully, the nation’s unlocking from lockdown restrictions has continued, although with a slight delay.

However, there are still requirements in place which members should seek to keep aware of during the final stages of lockdown easing.

For the time being, we remain in Stage 3 of the national easing roadmap, with the next stage not expected until July 19th, however, the Government has suggested that should progress be made in tackling the Delta variant, this could be brought forward to July 5th.

Further information on what you can and can’t do in Stage 3 can be found here.

Members may find it useful to consult the government guidance for supported living which can be found here. Particular notice should be taken to the section on risk assessments.

Wales update

In Wales, the Government has extended the six-month notice period for evictions to 30th September.

Guidance on current Welsh restrictions can be found here.

Posted 22 May 21


Covid-19 update: 12.05.21

The Government has announced that from 17 May 2021, England will move to step 3 of its roadmap out of lockdown.

This will mean a further relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions that have been in place up until now.

The main changes likely to affect almshouses are:

  • Up to 6 people or two households will now be able to meet indoors. Where people meet indoors, they should be encouraged to open a window. Meeting outside where possible is still a safer option
  • Up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors
  • Hotels, B&Bs and hostels will now be able to open. Charities with guest rooms will now be able to open these should they wish. This is not obligatory however, and you should carry out a risk assessment first
  • Indoor hospitality, such as bars and restaurants, can reopen
  • Other indoor leisure and entertainment facilities will be allowed to open
  • Travel within Britain and overnight stays will be allowed

The government has also advised that people will be able to make their own personal decision about close contact with friends and family. This means that your residents would be allowed to hug and sit next to a member of their family or friends should they wish to do so. Residents and their guests should be reminded about the risks associated with close contact however. Social distancing rules should be followed in all other contexts.

The rules around international travel will also be relaxed from 17 May. The government has announced a list of green countries which do not require the traveller to quarantine upon their return to England. They will instead be required to have a Covid test prior to returning home and another test upon their arrival home. Those arriving from ‘amber’ countries will be required to quarantine at home for 10 days and take two Covid tests. Those arriving from red list countries will be required to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days at their own expense. A list of green, amber and red countries and the rules for quarantining can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england.  Any residents or staff who travel overseas in the coming months should be reminded of these restrictions.

For larger charities with care facilities, the restrictions on care staff working at one location only remain in place and there isn’t a timescale yet for when these restrictions will be eased.

Wales update

Wales remains at alert level three. From 3 May, the following is allowed:

  • Gyms, leisure centres, swimming pools and fitness facilities can open.
  • Extended households can be formed with one other household.
  • Indoor supervised activities for children can take place.
  • Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults can take place.
  • Community centres can open.

Detailed guidance on restrictions in Wales can be found at https://gov.wales/alert-level-3.

Posted 12 May 21