I am writing with a further update about the current situation.
Local COVID-19 Levels
I’m afraid to report that there has been a significant increase in the number of people locally infected with COVID-19 in the past couple of weeks. Although the total is still below much of the rest of the country, it is a reminder that we are not immune from a revival of the virus here. There has also been a small, but noticeable increase in the number of patients with the virus at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.
You will have seen that the Prime Minister has just announced a new system of restrictions for affected areas. We are currently categorised as a medium risk area and as a result there have been no changes to the restrictions that apply in Surrey. Here is the explanation of the new guidance for different areas of the country.
I have been asked again by some constituents to remind everyone of the importance of wearing a mask when out shopping or walking round a pub or restaurant, or while on public transport. It’s not just about the immediate health benefits. There are still many people locally who are reluctant to go out, and if everyone wears a mask it gives them confidence that they can leave their homes.
Places of Worship
For those of you who are normally attenders at one of our local places of worship, it might be helpful for you to know that these are continuing to be open, albeit in a controlled way. Full details of what is permitted is here.
Winter Fuel Allowance – Project Wenceslas
Rotary Club of Ewell and Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell are working together again this year on what they call ‘Project Wenceslas’. There are people who will struggle to meet the cost of fuel to heat their homes over winter and Project Wenceslas allows those who receive, but do not need, the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to Ewell Rotary. This money can be distributed to people in critical need of assistance with fuel bills, i.e. those in “fuel poverty”. All monies donated are redistributed 100% without any deductions for costs or expenses.
If you would like to know more about donating your Winter Fuel Payment, please contact Ewell Rotary via their website www.ewellrotaryclub.org.uk. If you are struggling with fuel bills, and these cost over 10% of your income, then contact Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell on 0300 330 1164 (Mon-Fri, 10am – 4pm) or see their website : www.caee.org.uk
Epsom & Ewell Business Awards
A reminder about this year’s Coronavirus special Epsom and Ewell Business Awards, which this year are being held to recognise a local business that has been exceptional in supporting the community and its customers during the pandemic. Please do enter any business who you think is deserving of recognition. You can do so via the website, www.epsombusinessawards.co.uk
Bonfire Night is bound to be different this year because of the restrictions. But I expect many people will decide to have a bonfire in their garden instead. If you do, please spare a thought for our local hedgehogs, who often nestle in piles of brushwood. Please do check your bonfires before you light them.
Thank You to Epsom JobCentre
Finally, I have tried to highlight local services that have been working hard on our behalf in the last few months. I would like to mention the work being done by the team at the Epsom JobCentre Plus office, and the support teams in their regional centres that work with them, who have worked very hard to deal with all of the problems arising from the pandemic. Thank you to all of them.
With best wishes