Covid-19 information for you and your service users

Updated: 11/01/2021  

Mental health support for frontline workers: advice by phone or text and practical resources tailored to frontline workers are available from Our Frontline. Calls are free and the advice service is open 24/7.

Mental health support for people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire: call free on 0800 0126549. (Support is funded by the NHS and provided by Vita Health Group.)

As of midnight on 4 January 2021, England is in lockdown:

  • You must only go outside for health reasons, work or volunteering (if it cannot be done from home), education (schools and colleges are only open for vulnerable children or those with key worker parents/carers), and childcare. Full exemptions are explained on the link above.
  • Support bubbles and childcare bubbles are still permitted.
  • Stay two metres away from other people beyond your household and support/childcare bubble - remember the Hands, Face, Space guidance. 
  • You can exercise outdoors once a day on your own, in your household and support bubble, or with one other person. You must stay in your local area to do this.
  • Only essential shops are open; non-essential shops and hospitality venues (such as cafes, restaurants and pubs) can only provide click and collect, delivery or takeaway services. 
  • Please click on the link above to see the full restrictions. 
  • An easy read overview of the national lockdown, for those with learning disabilities, is available from BTM Projects. A BSL video version is available from Sign Health.

Local restriction tiers were applied from 2 December 2020 and again on 16 December 2020 - Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and BANES are Tier 3.

(Please see this letter to residents about individual care from Healthier Together, the health and care partnership for Bristol, Northh Somerset and South Gloucestershire.)

On Wednesday 2 December, new local restriction tiers came into effect that places each part of England into either Tier 1 (medium alert), Tier 2 (high alert) or Tier 3 (very high alert). The government announced that Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are all in Tier 3, along with the Bath and North East Somerset area (BANES).

Please read the Tier 3 restrictions in full on the website. To summarise:

  • Beyond your support bubble (if applicable - see below), you cannot meet anyone indoors or outdoors in a private garden or the majority of outdoor venues. 
  • The 'rule of six' applies to socially distanced meetings in public outdoor spaces such as parks, beaches, public gardens and the gardens of heritage sites or castles. This means you cannot socialise with more than six people in these areas.
  • Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants can only operate as a takeaway, click and collect, drive-through or delivery service. 
  • Accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, campsites and guest houses) must close, unless people reasonably need them for work, education or training, or they use this accommodation as their main home.
  • Indoor entertainment venues, such as soft play, theatres and cinemas, must close - please see for the full list.
  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues, such as zoos, museums and galleries, must close - please see for the full list. However, indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at these sites can remain open. 
  • Leisure and sports facilities remain open, but exercise classes are not allowed; saunas and steam rooms must close. Outdoor group exercise classes and physical activities are permitted unless they involve high-risk contact. 
  • No public attendance at spectator sports events or elite sports events. Large business events are also banned.
  • Weddings and funerals can continue with restrictions on attendance: 15 people can attend a wedding; receptions are banned. 30 people can attend a funeral service; 15 people can attend a related commemorative event. 
  • Places of worship remain open, but you cannot socialise in them beyond your support bubble. 
  • Restrict your journeys and travel where possible - only travel where necessary, such as to reach a venue that is open, or for work that cannot be done from home. Do not travel to other areas of the UK unless necessary (e.g. for work, education, youth services, medical treatment or caring responsibilities). You can travel through areas as part of a journey.
  • Follow international travel advice from the FCO, including travel corridors. 

Support bubbles will be expanded, regardless of the tier your local area is in. From 2 December, in addition to current support bubble and childcare bubble guidance, you can also form a bubble with another household if:

  • You are the only adult in your household (everyone else should have been aged under 18 on 12 June 2020), or you are the only adult in the household who does not need continuous care for a disability.
  • You have a child under the age of 1.
  • You live with a child under the age of 5 who needs continuous care for a disability.

The government's COVID-19 winter plan has also been published (23 November 2020). 

Non-essential shops, personal care facilities (such as barber shops), gyms and leisure facilities can open, but restrictions apply. You must follow the regulations for the tier where you live.

Bristol COVID-19 Local Engagment Board update 25 September 2020

Personal safety

  • 07 September 2020: Updated PHE COVID-19 guidance for the public on:
    • Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.
    • Stay at home guidance.
    • Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.

This has been translated into 10 most spoken languages, including Arabic, Bengali Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu. Bristol City Council have provided links to this on the PHE Migrant Health Guide, under the subheading “Translated advice and guidance for the public”, listed here


  • 23 July 2020: If you're worried about a child's safety and wellbeing during COVID-19, there is now a central response service to use, called See, Hear, Respond.
    Please call Barnardo's on 0800 157 7015, or visit their dedicated webpage
  • 20 July 2020: From Friday 24 July, the public must wear a face covering in England if they are able to, when visiting shops and supermarkets (and, as mentioned below, on public transport). There are some exemptions, listed here. A face covering should not be medical-grade PPE, but can be a mask, scarf or bandana. If you do not wear a face covering but do not have an exemption, you could face a fine of £100. 
  • 15 June 2020: Anyone travelling on public transport in England must now wear a face covering if they are able to - exemptions are described below. Face coverings do not have to be medical-grade masks (in fact, you are discouraged from using PPE, as this is needed for frontline workers); for example, you can use a fabric mask, bandana or scarf. Those who do not have to wear face coverings include children aged under 11, those escaping harm, people with asthma, those who are lip-reading or travelling with someone who lip-reads, and people with a disability or mental or physical illness that makes it difficult or distressing to wear a face covering. First Bus has asked passengers who cannot wear a face covering due to a health condition to download a Journey Assistance card, also known as an Extra help to travel card.
  • 1 June 2020: People in England and Wales who have been told to shield in their homes during lockdown for health and vulnerability reasons can now leave the house once a day, according to new government guidelines. This also applies to their family, housemates and carers. However, some health-related charities have urged caution, and have recommended that you speak to your healthcare team for advice on your individual case before you leave the house. The next review of shielding guidance will take place on 15 June.
  • 11 May 2020: The UK government's recovery strategy from COVID-19 has been published. This 60-page document explores the different stages of lockdown easing, the effects on all aspects of society, and the health and safety conditions that need to be met for each stage. 
  • 10 May 2020: The UK government's official message has changed from 'Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives' to 'Stay alert, control the virus, save lives'. Changes to lockdown restrictions were announced, to be applied from Wednesday 13 May 2020, including permission to go to work if you would not be able to work from home, but public transport should still be avoided. People will be able to do unlimited exercise, travel to parks and beaches, and visit one person outside their household in an open space (such as a park) whilst social distancing. The message and restrictions have not changed in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. 
  • 6 May 2020: First West of England, which operates many Bristol bus routes, is trialling social distancing measures on buses ready for when lockdown restrictions are eased by the UK government. The trial began on Monday 4 May on the 24 bus route from Ashton Vale to Southmead and, if successful, it will be rolled out to other Bristol buses accordingly. 
  • 21 April 2020: The UK government has launched an email address to help track phishing scams sent by fraudsters, asking the public to send any examples for the National Cyber Security Centre to review. If you receive a suspicious-looking email that you suspect may be a scam, you can forward it to
    Do not click on any links or file attachments in the suspicious email. 
  • 20 April 2020: Shelter is highlighting its housing advice service for anyone affected by coronavirus. Whether its illegal evictions, being forced to stay in dangerous situations or keeping up with rent payments, call 0344 515 1430 or visit their website for advice.
  • 16 April 2020: Which has published a guide to coronavirus scams - this covers doorstep visits from fraudsters, counterfeit health products (such as hand santiser and face masks), digital phishing scams, text scams, cold callers, etc. In email scams alone, criminals have impersonated the World Health Organisation, major UK banks, the Department for Education and HMRC. Doorstep scammers are particularly targeting older people. 
  • 15 April 2020: Social distancing posters are available to download in a range of languages: English, Kurdish, Pashto, Polish and Romanian. These were developed by Councillor Afzal Shah and Language Services UK. Please share them electronically or display them for your service users in appropriate locations. 
  • 14 April 2020: The Post Office Payout Now scheme is a way of helping those in self-isolation to access cash more easily, which can be picked up by a trusted person such as a friend, relative, carer or support worker. This allows them to pay the trusted person for shopping, without sharing their bank details; banking information is only shared between the self-isolating person's bank and the Post Office, and is not shared with individuals. 
  • 1 April 2020: Bristol City Council has launched a We Are Bristol hotline on 0800 694 0184 for isolated and worried residents. Call 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday for help and advice with food supplies, other essential items and medication.
  • 28 March 2020: If you, or someone you know, has received a letter about 'shielding' from Covid-19 by avoiding face-to-face contact, but need food or other support, please register online or by by phone (0800 028 8327) urgently. More details from Bristol City Council here
  • 23 March 2020: If your organisation supports people in high-risk groups for Coronavirus and requires a small grant for immediate additional activities or resources, you can apply to Quartet's Coronavirus Response Fund. Find more details of emergency grants here.
  • 21 March 2020: You can share social distancing information in your clients' first languages (such as Arabic, Cantonese, French, Mandarin, Polish and Welsh) - find details here. Try to share this information electronically to minimise physical contact.
  • 21 March 2020: Anyone with hearing impairments can find BSL-interpreted videos of government daily briefings on the SignHealth website, and they can watch the daily government updates live with BSL interpretation on channel 107 or 231 of their television. 
  • 20 March 2020: Easy Read has published simple versions of government information on the lockdown and self-isolation, suitable for people with learning disabilities. Click here to find out more. 
  • 19 March 2020: If your organisation is providing support or aware of initiatives in your areas, please complete this short form to let us know so we can coordinate actions across community groups and public services.

Public services

  • 6 July 2020: Public toilets are now open in the following Bristol parks and green spaces: Ashton Court, Blaise Estate, Brandon Hill, Oldbury Court, St Andrew's Park, and St George's Park. As well as this, two temporary toilet blocks have been added in the city centre, by the Amphitheatre and in Queen Square. The temporary toilets are open from 10am-10pm. 
  • 27 June 2020: Supportive Parents has produced a resource hub for young people with additional needs covering local services.
  • 27 May 2020: Local charities are connecting NHS and community healthcare in a new initiative to support patients discharged from Bristol hospitals. Voscur has developed this initiative with a range of Bristol charities and with Sirona care & health, to relieve pressure on the NHS and to build relationships between the VCSE sector and the health sector.
  • 25 May 2020: Weston General Hospital, in Weston super Mare, has stopped accepting new patients, including A&E admissions, as of 8am this morning (25 May). This is to maintain patient and staff safety in light of a high number of patients with coronavirus. Alternative medical services are available at Bristol, Clevedon and Yate. 
  • 1 April 2020: Sirona Care and Health has launched a single phone number for anyone who needs to access adult community health services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire - for example, from district nurses, therapists and support workers. You can phone 0300 125 6789, and your call will be answered by a clinician or an administrator. Though this number is staffed 24 hours a day, it is for non-emergency calls. 
  • 19 March 2020: The NHS has published Hospital Discharge Requirements for all care providers that will mean an increase in patients discharged with support needs. The NHS is seeking to work with local coordination of volunteers to provide discharge support. If your organisation is likely to be affected and/or coordinates volunteers who could help, please let Voscur know if you haven't already been in contact with your existing service partners.

Social contact and mental health

  • 7 September 2020: Thrive Bristol is offering a range of free mental health courses for people in the VCSE sector. The courses, which take place online, cover topics such as wellbeing, resilience, suicide awareness, and bereavement. Priority will be given to people working with communities experiencing mental health inequalities. Private training for organisations can also be arranged; email
  • 11 June 2020: Support bubbles are a new lockdown easing initiative for single adults or single parent households with children under the age of 18. As an adult living alone or as a single parent to children, you can form a support bubble with one other household to reduce loneliness and to help with childcare. Click here for full government guidance on support bubbles. 
  • 4 June 2020: Loneliness Awareness Week, a national campaign by Marmalade Trust, runs from 15-19 June. Due to coronavirus, events and publicity will be online only, and the theme is 'One Less Lonely Voice'. You can get involved by downloading resources and materials from the Marmalade Trust website, and using the hashtags #LetsTalkLoneliness and #LonelinessAwarenessWeek
  • 18 May 2020: Local social enterprise Unique Voice have published a free Stay At Home Activity Pack of safe, simple, educational activities for children to do at home.
  • 11 May 2020: Bristol-based men's mental health organisation Talk Club is offering group meetings online. Talk Club aims to increase a sense of community, mental fitness and resilience by encouraging men to talk about their thoughts and feelings, and to end suicide. 
  • 6 May 2020: Bristol Mind has produced a series of YouTube videos to support people's mental health during the pandemic. They cover topics like mindfulness, post-natal mental health, supporting your staff's mental health, and managing anxiety. 
  • 22 April 2020: Our Frontline is a new service offering 24-hour one-to-one mental health support through phone calls or text messages to key workers in the pandemic - those working in healthcare, emergency services, social care, and any other key worker roles. The service is a partnership between Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Click on the link for text and phone instructions depending on which service you work for.
  • 15 April 2020: Bristol Mental Health Employment Service is a free, impartial and confidential service to help people with a mental health condition find or stay in work, across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Run by Richmond Fellowship and Mental Health Matters, its support includes advice on writing a CV, and techniques for job interviews. 
  • 8 April 2020: Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership has a new 24-hour helpline for anyone struggling with their mental health, or for people worried about loved ones with mental health issues. Call 0300 303 1320 for round-the-clock advice and support from mental health professionals and clinicians. This service is suitable for adults and children. 
  • 6 April 2020: Age UK Bristol has launched a support hub for older people on 0117 929 7537, offering advice and support from a range of local organisations supporting older people. Download the information sheet below.
  • 19 March 2020: Older people facing loneliness may want to contact Silverline, a free 24-hour helpline providing friendship and support for older people. The number to call is 0800 470 8090
  • 15 March 2020: Marmalade Trust has posted a blog about how to deal with loneliness during self-isolation.

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