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e-connect 9 December

Date published: 2021-12-09

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Let's look after each other. Covid hasn't gone away.

Coronavirus update 9 December 2021

A message from Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Following the Government’s decision to implement Plan B in its response to Covid and the spread of the Omicron variant, the rules will change as follows:

  • From Friday 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings.
  • From Monday 13 December office workers who can work from home should do so.
  • From Wednesday 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

I want to thank all our residents who have played their part and who continue to follow the rules and guidance to protect themselves and others. Please also get vaccinated and get your booster when you are eligible to receive it. Please keep testing and self-isolating if required.

I also want to reassure you that, as we have done throughout the pandemic, our local health teams are working hard to keep people safe. Our public protection teams will be working with venues and businesses to help with the updated guidance on Covid Passes. Our Director of Public Health Becky Reynolds has a further update in this newsletter.

Our proposals for anti-terrorism security measures in Bath city centre, to help protect the public, are moving ahead. However, I want to emphasise that access measures for Blue Badge holders will also be put in place. Based on police advice we are bringing in proportionate, preventative measures to protect public safety and I want to thank all the businesses, residents and disability groups who have taken part in our consultations, talks and focus groups. One element of the scheme will go to a public inquiry and we will update you on this as well as the measures being put in place for the scheme, which will operate from January 1 2022.

As we head towards the end of this year a great deal of work has been done around the council’s budget planning for 2022/23. It is true to say we face a significant challenge. We are inviting you to a special online Budget Forum on December 14 at 6pm, where we will set out the challenges we face from the ongoing impact of the pandemic, an increase in demand for services, recruitment issues and inflationary pressures.

One of the ways we can address our budget pressures is by maximising the funding available from other sources. I was therefore pleased that the West of England Combined Authority agreed last Friday to set up a Green Recovery Fund, and that my long-standing call for this to total £50m was accepted. We need to agree full details of how this money is to be allocated and I look forward to working with the Metro Mayor to make sure this fund is directed at our key climate and ecological emergency priorities.

The recent Environment Act significantly raises the ambition of what local and combined authorities must do on the environment, combined with our existing pledges on net zero carbon. For more information on what the council is doing to tackle the climate and ecological emergency, and suggestions for what you can do to contribute to net zero. Please see our dedicated climate emergency web pages.

We are also holding our last cabinet meeting of 2021 next week where we will discuss an update on the improving air quality thanks to the Clean Air Zone as well as new measures to improve air quality to protect Bath city centre and the wider World Heritage Site, including Cleveland Bridge. You can watch the meeting on the webcast.

In my role as leader I am privileged each week to meet many residents. And it was no exception on Wednesday when I met Sheila Harper, the final buyer in Keynsham’s Riverside View apartments – our former council offices, which have been transformed into 95 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments by the council’s construction and development company Aequus.

The sale of the last apartment is a fantastic milestone and on behalf of the council I wish Sheila, who has lived in Keynsham for more than 40 years, every happiness in her new home.

Have a good weekend.


A message from Becky Reynolds, Director of Public Health at Bath & North East Somerset Council

Since my message last week about coronavirus, there’s increasing concern nationally about the Omicron variant. Although there is still a lot to learn about the likelihood of Omicron causing severe disease, exactly how fast it spreads, and how effective the vaccines are against it, early information shows that it’s spreading much faster than the previous Delta variant. There’s concern that such rapid growth could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations, so last night the government announced new rules to slow down the spread of this new variant.

As of yesterday, there were 568 confirmed cases of the new variant in the UK. However, given that not everyone who has coronavirus takes a PCR test, not all positive tests are sent for genome sequencing to identify whether the virus present is Omicron, and that it takes time for genomic sequencing results to come back, it’s highly likely that the actual number of cases is very much higher. It’s likely to be in the thousands. The latest update from the UK Health Security Agency says that in the next 2-4 weeks, at least 50% of coronavirus cases are expected to be caused by the Omicron variant.

This week, Pfizer/BioNTech published some positive early lab research findings, which suggest that although there is some reduction in how effective two doses of the vaccine are against the new variant, a third dose boosted antibodies bringing the level of protection back up to that similar of two doses.

This reinforces the importance of having the Covid vaccine jabs, and in particular of having the booster dose if and when you are eligible. You are now able to have your Covid-19 booster vaccine three months after the date of your second jab if you are:

  • aged 40 and over
  • aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts you at high risk from Covid-19
  • a frontline health or social care worker
Finally, if you’re heading into town to do some Christmas shopping, or planning to go to parties or other busy places, don’t forget to take a lateral flow test for Covid-19 before you leave the house to protect others and play a part in reducing the transmission of the virus. Also, please take one just before you go to visit family and friends who may be more vulnerable to getting seriously ill if they got Covid-19.

Over the past few days our B&NES Covid rates have started to rise again, as have rates in the South West and England. Thank you for all you’re doing to slow this down and look out for each other.
These are the latest Covid case figures for B&NES – please play your part to drive the number down.

Covid-19 update


The government moves to Plan B

The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. For all the latest guidance, visit the government website.

From tomorrow, Friday 10 December, face coverings will be required in most indoor settings, and from Monday, office workers are being encouraged to work from home. There will also be changes requiring certain venues and events to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

Vaccines still available for children aged 12-15-years-old 

Children across Bath and North East Somerset who are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine, but have yet to come forward are being encouraged to do so ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Experts suggest that children who receive a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will not only develop a high level of protection against coronavirus, but also become less likely to pass the infection on to others.

Children who missed out on an in-school vaccination can still receive their coronavirus jab from vaccine centres across the region, including Bath Racecourse.

Appointments at these sites are available outside of school hours, and during the Christmas holidays. They can be secured through the National Booking Service, either online or over the phone. Families are asked to only attend a vaccination site once an appointment has been confirmed.

For more information on the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, visit the website.

Who can get a booster

Covid-19 booster vaccines will soon be available to all adults over the age of 18. Under the new plans, which have been announced in response to the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, the waiting period between a person’s second primary dose and their booster jab will also be reduced from six months to 12 weeks.

Boosters for people over the age of 40 are being prioritised, and adults aged between 18 and 39-years-old are being asked to wait to be contacted by the NHS before attempting to book a jab or visiting a vaccination site. For further information, please go to the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG website here.

For those eligible, you can now book your booster via the National Booking System, or by calling 119.

Information about the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, including details of vaccination centres and an extensive list of frequently asked questions, is available here.

Recommendations for event organisers

The council has produced a letter for event’s organisers containing recommendations in the context of high Covid-19 rates in the local area.

These include use of the NHS Covid Pass, promoting mask wearing and social distancing, considering extra steps to protect vulnerable staff and a continued emphasis of hygiene measures and good ventilation. The letter is available on the council's website, along with a checklist for event organisers produced by our Public Health team.

Test and collect vanTesting guidance

Remember: you should test regularly, particularly on days when you're in a busy place, or meeting vulnerable people, because you are more likely to catch or spread Covid-19.

Locations of our test and collect van are published on our website, and you can pick up a free test kit or have a supervised test. Staff will also answer questions about Covid-19 vaccinations.

Don't attend the van or the test and collect hub in New Bond Street if you've any of the symptoms of Covid-19. Take a PCR test instead.

You can also pick up test kits from our libraries in: Timsbury, Radstock, Bishop Sutton, Weston, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham, Bath One Stop Shop, as well as most pharmacies.

Latest council news


City Centre Security plans to move ahead

Proposals for anti-terrorism security measures that will restrict vehicles in some Bath city centre streets in order to protect the public, are moving ahead – with access measures for Blue Badge holders also put in place.

Last buyer moves in at Keynsham’s Riverside View

The last new contemporary apartment at the site of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s former offices in Keynsham has now been sold.

Cabinet considers measures to improve air quality

New measures to further improve air quality and protect Bath city centre and the wider World Heritage Site, including Cleveland Bridge, are to be considered by the council’s cabinet.

Clean Air Zone update shows air quality improves

New figures published today show Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is continuing to improve air quality in the city and that the number of chargeable vehicles is decreasing.

Good progress made in performance health check

The council is making headway on its core aim of improving people’s lives despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, according to its latest performance health check.

Join our virtual Forum and have your say on budget

Residents are being invited to have their say on the council’s spending plans for the coming year at a special online Budget Forum.

Kensington Meadows play area reopens after revamp

Children can once again enjoy the play area at Kensington Meadows in Bath with work now complete on its £60,000 make-over.

Have a final say on active travel schemes

People are being given the chance to have a final say on two schemes to improve walking and cycling routes in Bath to encourage more active ways of travelling.

‘One Day’ ‒ Remembering the Holocaust

A special ceremony to mark the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland is taking place in Bath on January 27.

New Changing Places facility at Sydney Gardens

A new Changing Places toilet and disability-compliant unisex toilet has opened at the new community pavilion in Sydney Gardens this week.

Late night Christmas shopping in Bath & Keynsham

The late-night Thursday evening Christmas shopping in Bath is now on. If you need to pick up a few presents, why not come on down and enjoy the Christmas lights.

The council is also offering free parking on Saturdays in council-owned car parks during December. The offer gives people a better opportunity to ‘shop local’ in Keynsham High Street this Christmas.

Have your say on improving travel on A37 and A367

Do you live near or travel along the A37 or A367? How do you travel? Have you experienced congestion, poor air quality or other issues on these routes? Do you have ideas on what improvements should be prioritised to help people move around more easily and sustainably?

The West of England Combined Authority has launched a joint survey with the council to help it make choices and put together proposals to improve transport on the two key routes between Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and Bath/Bristol.

The aim is to encourage people to be less dependent on their cars by improving bus services and walking and cycling infrastructure. Feedback from residents will be key to developing plans for the A37/A367.

To take part in the survey and find out more visit here.

The A37/A367 Corridor Survey closes on the 19 December 2021. To request a paper copy or alternate format please call 07436 601889 or email.

Council meeting calendar

Do you want to know about decisions being taken by the council and have your say? Please follow this link to the council’s calendar of meetings.

Latest Government guidance


Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad and at venues and settings in England

How to use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) status when travelling abroad and domestically at venues and settings in England.

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Find out how apprenticeships will continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Follow us online

You can follow us on twitterfacebook and instagram; subscribe to us on YouTube, read the latest releases on our newsroom and if you sign up on nextdoor we are there too.

For updates on our services visit our website.

Employment and Skills Pod

Are you returning to work after a short or long break? Perhaps you are already in work and planning to change the direction of your career? The Employment & Skills Pod can help you find the right opportunities.

Since launching in March, more than 70 B&NES residents have been helped with their job, business and training goals. Here is what some of them said about our services:
  • “People who work there are professionals and always do their best to help!”
  • “Straight to the point of the problem.”
  • “My recent experience with BATHNES Employment & Skills pod was very helpful, it opened my heart to what I would love to do and opened some doors to keep me progressing with my finances end career. 10 out of 10.”
  • “I thought it was very helpful, staff were clear, practical and very fast with support.”
Call us now on 0300 247 0050 or email us on You can also find out more on the website.

Live Well B&NES: information for all

A web-based resource providing information, signposting and support to residents in Bath & North East Somerset has launched. 
Live Well B&NES provides a wealth of useful information, signposting and resources for families, including Ofsted registered childcare, children and young people with additional needs (our SEND Local Offer) and adults needing care or support to live independently.
Information, services and groups are regularly added to Live Well B&NES. If you work with, support, provide services or run groups for children and young people or for adults needing care or support (such as older people, adults with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments, people living with mental ill health), and haven’t already registered - make sure you’re included! It’s free and takes less than five minutes to register.
Find out more:

Future Bright

Do you know someone who is in work and wants to take the next step in their career? Future Bright offers FREE careers coaching, support and access to training. Future Bright Careers Coaches work with local residents to develop the skills and confidence needed to improve their work and pay. Check out the Future Bright newsletter to read about those who have already benefitted from the project.   
For more information go to or give us a call 01225 395555.

Specialised dementia groups in B&NES

Age UK Bath & North East Somerset are starting two new specialised Dementia Groups, which are now running weekly in Midsomer Norton & Bath.

These groups are a safe, fun environment for people to come for activities and friendship. Staff are trained in Maintenance Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which helps concentration, confidence, memory and wellbeing.

You can find out more here or call 01225 466135.

Do you look after someone else?

If you support someone who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or who needs extra help as they grow older, Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre is here for you.

Their friendly team will listen to any concerns you have, offer practical advice and access to free wellbeing activities to ensure you’re happy and healthy in your caring role. Contact our freephone support line: 0800 038 8885 or email us. We’re available 8:15am-12pm, every weekday.

Support available from the Community Wellbeing Hub

Anybody who is a resident of Bath and North East Somerset can benefit from support from the Community Wellbeing Hub, including those people who are isolating due to testing positive for Covid-19 or being in contact with someone who has Covid-19.

A collaboration between Bath & North East Somerset Council; HCRG Care Group; the 3SG; Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group; and other third sector organisation representatives. The team can offer a range of support services such as mental health, returning home from hospital, income, housing and benefits advice, emergency food, as well as lifestyle services for help with stopping smoking, getting active or losing weight.

To contact the Hub:
Phone: 0300 247 0050.
Text: 07870 868368
Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 9am until 5pm

If you need to contact the council about its services please ring Council Connect on 01225 394041 or email

Domestic abuse

Southside provides help to people who live in Bath & North East Somerset who are at risk of domestic violence and abuse. The working hours are 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-4pm Fridays. Local support services can be found here.

Sight loss support

Sight Support West of England provides emotional and practical support to help people adjust to living with sight loss. Since lockdown this has been either online or over the phone. Now following careful planning, some Covid-secure face-to-face support sessions are resuming on an appointment only basis.

Your Community Sight Loss Adviser will be available at Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath on the first Wednesday each month and at Midsomer Norton Town Hall on the 4th Thursday each month. 
To find out more, or make an appointment please call  0117 3224885 or email For more information on the full range of services visit

For more useful information visit the RNIB website:

Local agencies and useful links

We have been working closely with local agencies and if you would like to find out more about their work please look on their website: RUHAvon and Somerset PoliceCuro, and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG.
  • Public Health England updates a daily dashboard:  It includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive Covid-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. 
  • Latest information on coronavirus:
NHS information on coronavirus:
Visit our Bathnes youtube channel

Tune in

Local radio is a great way of keeping up to date with essential information, if you don’t already you should tune into BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Somerset or BBC Radio Wiltshire.
BBC Radio Bristol BBC Radio Bristol
BBC Radio Somerset BBC Radio Somerset
BBC Radio Wiltshire BBC Radio Wiltshire
Somer Valley FM covers Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and surrounding villages including Farrington, Paulton, Peasedown, Coleford and Stratton.

Broadcast online and on 97.5fm you can contact at or call 01761 411 755
Somer Valley 97.5FM Somer Valley 97.5FM
Bath Radio is a community radio station which has been operating as a hospital radio station for the past 50 years. It now broadcasts to the wider Bath community. Listen online.
Radio Bath provides local news and information, promotes the city and supports its businesses, charities and community organisations.
Keynsham’s KTCRfm 105.8FM is now broadcasting 24/7.

KTCRfm covers Keynsham, Saltford, Hanham, Bitton, Warmley, Clutton, Timsbury, the Chew Valley and as far south as Temple Cloud. East to the eastern edge of Bath. North across South Gloucestershire to the M4 corridor and west into many parts of Bristol.
KTCRfm 105.8FM KTCRfm 105.8FM

BA1 Radio have been established for a year in Bath and operate from a studio in Southside Youth Hub, broadcasting twelve hours of shows every weekday, focusing on Bath and the local community, including hourly news reports.


call: 01225 941 080
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B&NES Council Website

Date published: 2021-12-09

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Date published: 2021-12-09