Let’s look after each other this winter

Published: Monday, 20 December 2021

Havering Council is reminding residents of the best way to stay safe, healthy and happy this winter.

Check out some of the top tips and advice below – from protecting against the spread of Covid 19 to keeping warm.

Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“Christmas is a special time of year for many, but again this year we must be vigilant against the spread of Covid 19, it can also be a lonely time of year for many of our residents.

“We want to ensure the community is safe and that although many services will be closed over the festive season, residents know that help is still available if they need it.

“It’s important to encourage everyone to think about their neighbours or those more vulnerable in their community. We can all play a part in helping them to overcome loneliness, it will make a real difference to someone’s day.”

Covid-19 guidance

Remember face coverings when you’re out and about, and to order a lateral flow test kit online (LFT), or pick one up from many places in Havering.

You should now take a LFT on days when you are more likely to spread Covid 19, such as days when mixing with people in crowded indoor spaces or visiting someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid 19.

Find the nearest testing site and collection point as it remains vitally important to book a test if you have Covid 19 symptoms.

From Wednesday 22 December, new government guidance will enable the 10-day self-isolation period for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to be reduced to 7 days in most cases. People who receive negative LFT results on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart - will no longer have to self-isolate for the full 10 days.

The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period. There are no changes for contacts, with unvaccinated contacts still having to isolate for 10 days. Find out more

There are lots of ways to access quick and easy rapid testing in Havering, including:

  • collecting test kits from libraries and pharmacies
  • visiting testing sites in Romford, Rainham and Harold Hill
  • ordering kits online for home delivery

For the latest information on Covid 19.

Get your vaccination

Getting fully vaccinated is the best way of protecting you and others against Covid 19.

If you cannot book appointments online, you can call 119 free of charge. You can speak to a translator if you need to.

Booster jab

These are the rules as of 20 December 2021.

Online bookings are available for all adults 18 years old and over, and for 16-17 year olds who are at risk (including health and social care workers) provided it's been 2 months (61 days) since your 2nd dose.

Please note, your appointment won’t be scheduled until 3 months (91 days) after your second dose.

If you have a severely weakened immune system (immunosuppressed) you will have had a third dose as part of your primary vaccination programme.

You will then be eligible for a booster dose from 3 months (91 days) after your 3rd dose, your GP or hospital specialist will invite you for your booster dose when it's due.

The NHS is prioritising bookings for boosters and is urging people to book a slot to guarantee their vital jab.

Be safe, healthy and happy

Havering Council’s website has plenty advice to help you stay well this winter, here are some highlights:

  • Staying well this winter - if you feel unwell, visit 111 online or dial 111 for help
  • You can enter your postcode into the NHS website to find a GP. Make sure you get your prescription medicines before Christmas
  • Flu is very infectious and spread by germs. Using a tissue will trap the germs when you cough or sneeze; wash your hands with warm water and soap and bin the used tissue quickly. If you would like the flu vaccination or to find out more about it
  • For information on loneliness, visit Campaign to End Loneliness or Age UK
  • Be aware and prevent pneumonia
  • Don’t ask for antibiotics if you don’t need them, to ensure they work more effectively when you do need them
  • We have local mental health support in the borough
  • If you need to contact the police dial 101. In the case of an emergency dial 999

Stay warm

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors.

Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) and keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights.

You may be eligible to get help with heating your home through the Winter Fuel Payment and can find information on making your home warmer online.

Wear several layers of light clothes as they trap warm air better than one bulky layer.

Keep active when you're indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.

Community Hub

The Havering Community Hub site offers lots of interactive features where communities can connect in a number of different ways.

It contains information on how to access financial help, local charities, food banks and events to keep active.

Look out for neighbours, particularly those who could become isolated over Christmas.

Information is available if you are worried about someone who is - or could become homeless.

Gritting

The Council’s winter roads maintenance service have vehicles ready for snow or ice should it arrive and a snow plough ready to clear roads.

Residents are advised to take extra care, and in heavy snow only travel if you have to. 

We’ve got:

  •  five gritting lorries on stand-by
  •  2,000 tonnes of salt in our depot – enough to grit up to over 380 miles of roads and sufficient for almost three weeks of continuous snowfall
  •  teams on-call 24/7 including weekends

When Havering is hit with severe cold weather, as many primary roads as possible will be salted, with priority given to bus routes and roads linking motorways and hospitals.

Once priority roads are clear, the team will look at side roads (secondary routes) to help support the scheduled rubbish collections can still take place.

Waste and recycling collections

There are no changes to your collection day over Christmas and New Year 2021 except for garden waste bins.

Garden waste bin collections will be suspended from Saturday 25 December 2021 and will start again on Monday 10 January 2022.

In the event of heavy snow, rubbish and recycling collections may be affected. Any impact on services will be publicised on the Council's website and social media platforms.

A list of individual roads affected will also be available on the Council website.

School closures

In severe weather local schools may be affected.

Parents are advised to check individual schools' websites, social media and Time FM for the latest updates.