RCT & Merthyr lockdowns: What older people need to know
The Welsh Government has announced that the whole of both Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil counties will be under ‘local lockdown’ measures.
We know many people will find these times worrying. To help reassure you we’ve answered some questions that older people across RCT and Merthyr have about the new rules, as well as how Care & Repair can still help you live independently in your home.
What are the new local lockdown rules?
In RCT, the following rules come into force at 6pm on 17th September. They apply to everyone living in the Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council area – including the towns and villages of Pontypridd, Aberdare, Llantrisant, Ferndale, Hirwaun, Mountain Ash, Pontyclun, Tonypandy, and Treorchy.
In Merthyr Tydfil, these rules come into force at 6pm on 22nd September. They apply to everyone living in the Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council area – including the towns of Merthyr Tydfil and Treharris.
Travel restrictions will mean that you can’t enter or leave Rhondda Cynon Taf or Merthyr Tydfil without a "reasonable excuse". This could include making a compassionate visit to a loved one or to provide care, or going shopping or visiting a pharmacy if yours is outside your county.
Everyone over the age of 11 must wear a three-layer face mask while shopping, unless they are exempt from doing so.
You will only be allowed to meet friends and family from outside your household while outdoors. Meeting other people indoors is not allowed for the time being – this includes people who have been in your ‘extended household’ or ‘bubble’. The councils have suspended visits to local care homes, and all pubs and licensed premises have to close by 10pm each day.
The rules will be reviewed regularly and could be changed if needed, but are likely to stay in place in some form for several weeks.
UPDATE: If you live by yourself, you are now able to form an extended household (or ‘bubble’) with one other household within your county. This is a new exception to the above rules as of 3rd October, which has been made to support people who live alone.
Why are there new rules in specific areas?
The Welsh Government are concerned that new Coronavirus cases have been rising in both council areas. After testing people they believe that the virus is spreading again within the communities, so local action has been taken to try and stop the virus from spreading further.
These cases have mostly been linked to clusters of people meeting indoors and not following social distancing guidelines, and have been affecting people of all ages.
Should I get tested for COVID-19?
Although there are more cases across our area, you should still only get a test if you have any of the Coronavirus symptoms – a new persistent cough, a fever, or a loss of smell or taste.
You may also be contacted by the NHS Track and Trace service, who might tell you you need to get tested. Beware of scams though – the real Track and Trace service will never ask you to pay for a Coronavirus test.
I was previously told to shield. Do I need to start shielding again?
The Welsh Government have not recommended that you start shielding again. If they do, they will write to you as they have done in the past.
This means that you can still go shopping and meet other people outdoors, as long as you keep to the rules about wearing masks and keeping your distance.
If you have an existing medical condition and are worried about your situation, get in touch with your doctor.
Can Care & Repair still help me at home during the local lockdown?
Cwm Taf Care & Repair are still here to help you live independently in your home. This could be through repairing or adapting your home to help keep you safe.
We have changed the way we work to help keep you and our staff safe from the Coronavirus. This includes keeping our distance, cleaning our equipment and wearing protective clothing. You can read more about the steps we’ve taken by clicking here.
If you’ve got any more questions, or your needs at home have changed because of the local lockdown, please give us a call on 01443 755696 or email [email protected]. If we can’t help you, we’ll know who can.
UPDATE: If you live by yourself, you are now able to form an extended household (or ‘bubble’) with one other household within your county. This is a new exception to the above rules as of 2nd October, which has been made to support people who live alone.