The Council phone line 057 866 4000 is open Monday to Friday, between the hours of 9am to 5pm, for the Laois County Council Community Response Support Helpline and to deal with normal Council queries.
On Saturdays, the Laois County Council Community Response Support Helpline is available on 1800 832010 (10am-1pm / 2pm-4pm) to facilitate the most appropriate community response to the needs of vulnerable people living in the community where their usual sources of support have become unavailable due to COVID19.
A Covid-19 Community Response Forum was established in County Laois and was co-ordinated by Laois County Council. With representation from multiple statutory and voluntary agencies, the core aim of the Forum was to contribute to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Laois County Council, through this Forum, ensured that the wide variety of groups working across the county assisted those in need, and did so in an organised, collaborative and targeted way.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that from midnight Wednesday 21st Oct the entire country will move to Level 5 of the Living with Covid-19 Framework. Keep informed and check the facts at: Level 5 Restrictions
Keeping Well this Winter
The next few months will be hard, for all of us, as we live with the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on our lives. But there are ways we can make it a little better for ourselves. This season, make a plan to help and care for yourself. Keeping active, getting outside and staying connected with other people can make a positive difference. Some days, some weeks will be harder than others. This is especially true at times when we are living with restrictions, have to limit our social interactions and need to keep two metres social distancing even with friends. Or if we have to self-isolate because of symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19.
This booklet contains health information that you will find useful.
When you keep your distance, no matter how awkward it feels, you’re protecting yourself and those around you from the spread of COVID-19.
But when you drop your guard, When groups get together, When you shake hands or hug someone you love, When you step forward instead of taking a step back,
You could become exposed to the virus and so could the people around you. Help drive the number of cases down. Keep your guard up.
You can watch the ad on YouTube: COVID Bubbles Video
The HSE have posted translated resources to help share the messaging about coronavirus (COVID-19) in various languages. These posters and booklets are available for download and printing.
The translations of the guidance and advice is at the following link: https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/news/newsfeatures/covid19-updates/partner-resources/covid-19-translated-resources/
Living with COVID-19 Plan
The Government announced the Living with COVID-19 five-level plan for the next six months. These measures aim to protect key priorities – protecting health, strengthening employment and supporting communities.
You can view the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 here.
You can view the additional measures for those living in Dublin noted here.
Public Health Information
As always, for the most up to date information and advice on Coronavirus, please go to: https://www2.hse.ie/coronavirus/ and https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/. Clinical and professional guidance relating to COVID-19 is available on www.hpsc.ie where you’ll find up to date guidance for healthcare settings and non-clinical settings.
Information for students and their families about returning to school:
Please find below a link to information for students and their families about returning to school provided by our colleagues in Department of Education and Skills.
An Post has announced “Community Focus” which is an expanded range of post office and postal delivery supports for customers and communities to help everyone stay connected now and into the future.
Services include Postage Pick up for older and vulnerable customers , Postman or Postwoman will pick up mail from their home and An Post will cover the cost. Also free postage to and from Nursing & Care homes, full information is available at https://www.anpost.com/Community .
Government Advice to those aged 70 and over & those who are medically vulnerable:
Those aged over 70 and the medically vulnerable are advised to continue to exercise personal judgement.
Wearing a Face Covering
By law you have to wear a face covering when you use public transport, and since Monday 10th August the wearing of face coverings has also mandatory in shops and shopping centres. With this in mind we thought it might be timely to share with you some simple messages you can help to pass on.
This video is a really great explainer for anyone looking for advice on how to wear a mask, you can click here for all of the up to date information on when a mask should be worn as well as lots of other helpful information.
Face coverings offer a higher level of protection from infection, however, face shields (including Perspex shield and similar) are acceptable forms of face coverings as they may be preferable for people with communications difficulties.
COVID Tracker App now available to download
The HSE has created a free smartphone app to help improve contact tracing for COVID-19. The app will make contact tracing faster and more accurate, reducing the spread of coronavirus. Nearly 500,000 people have already downloaded the app today.
If you use the app, you can:
- get an alert if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19
- alert others if you test positive for coronavirus – this will help keep other people safe
- track your symptoms and get advice on what to do if you’re sick
- get regular updates, and protect yourself and others as we learn to live with COVID-19
The app protects your privacy and you keep control of your information. It exchanges secure, anonymous records via Bluetooth when people using it are in close contact with each other. It will never identify you to other app users and you cannot access each other’s information.
You can find an information leaflet with more detail that you can share with your own networks here.
The COVID tracker app will help us to track and stop the spread of COVID-19 as we continue to re-open services and communities. It goes hand in hand with the other important steps we can all take. Everyone should continue to wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, keep our 2m distance and use face coverings when we can’t.
Thanks in advance for your support – the more people who download and use the app, the more it will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The COVID Tracker app is available on www.covidtracker.ie, or in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store now.
VIRTUAL DROP-IN CLINIC – HSE PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE:
The HSE Psychology Service are continuing to provide a support service to anyone who may be experiencing stress, worry, anxiety or any other emotional distress as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic or are worried about the impact on their family or friends. This support is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with relevant contact details. A HSE Psychologist will then provide a follow up supportive call.
Individuals can self-refer or Support Workers/Community Development Workers can request a call on behalf of their clients. The service is also available to those who are providing support to others – we all need to look after our own self-care also!
The Psychological First Aid given is a humane, compassionate and supportive response with the aim of helping the individual to understand their emotional reaction and identify ways to cope and manage difficult and distressing feelings and emotions. It will work with the individuals strengths and build on the many skills that they have used to cope with past stresses and difficulties.
Citizens Information Service
Citizens Information Service (CIS) can be accessed via their website at www.citizensinformation.ie
Contact a CIS in your local town or county by selecting ‘Find a Centre’ or alternatively you can request a call back from a trained Information Officer. If you have a question on any topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday) 9am to 8pm.’
The Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/news/58bc8b-taoiseach-announces-roadmap-for-reopening-society-and-business-and-u/?referrer=/roadmap/
An Post operate a “Request a Check in for older and vulnerable customers” through the following link: https://www.anpost.com/Community-Support/Request-a-Check-In
HSE “Help is at Hand” has been developed with the aim of collating all the main relevant supports and services that may be required and/or helpful to people during the current circumstances. It is very informative and endeavours to cover all demographics and age cohorts,: https://laois.ie/wp-content/uploads/Help-is-at-hand-Covid-19-Poster-Laois-Offaly-1.pdf
Minding your Mental Health during COVID-19 – A Booklet for Carers.
This is an unprecedented time for Ireland as a nation; COVID-19 has brought many changes to our lives. It is a time of uncertainty and many of us are feeling stressed, anxious and vulnerable. Being in the role of a carer comes with added pressures as some of the supports and services that you relied on to help you in your role are not currently available. This handbook aims to provide you with tips for maintaining your wellbeing during this period, in order to allow you continue to care for your loved one. All of the wellbeing advice within this handbook is relevant at any time in our lives but is especially important in times of stress.
Bereavement Support Counselling
A Confidential Counselling Support Service for family members and concerned persons bereaved during the COVID-19 pandemic is available from the HSE National Counselling Service (NCS).
This service will provide:
- Information on Bereavement
- Support for family members and concerned others who are experiencing distress
- Referral to other appropriate services
TO REQUEST THE COUNSELLING SUPPORT SERVICE PHONE:
Please email out of hours. Self-referrals welcome. For referrals by a health professional please obtain consent to share information.
Renewing your Driving Licence for Over 70s
All those 70 years and over who have previously presented at an NDLS centre in the last 5 years and whose licence or permit is due for renewal will receive a renewal pack in the post and be invited to apply by post.
If you intend to avail of the postal application, there is no need to contact NDLS or to attend any centre. If you have made an appointment please ensure that you cancel it here. All cancelled appointments will be made available for other applicants.
For full press release click here
If you are aged 70 and over and do not have a medical condition – details here you are no longer required to submit a medical report on renewal. This exemption will be in place until 31 December 2020.
Laois Community Response Interactive Map
To view the volunteer groups active in your area please click on the below link. This interactive map is provided by Laois Public Participation Network (PPN) in response to COVID-19.
Age Action – Getting Started Kit
The Getting Started KIT is made up of How To guides that will support older people to learn, use, and be confident using smartphones and applications.
The Age Action Getting Started KIT materials are available to download below or people can call 01 8730372 leave their name and address and Age Action will post the How to Guides within 10 days.
The Minister has signed a Commencement Order commencing Section 9 of the recently enacted Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid 19) Act 2020. This section inserts a new provision (Section 251A) into the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as amended (the Act).
This has the effect that the period from 29th March 2020 to the 20 April 2020, inclusive, may be disregarded when calculating any appropriate period, specified period, or other timelines in
- the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended,
- the Derelicts Sites Act, 1990,
- Part 2 of the Urban Regenerations and Housing Act, 2015 (which relates to the vacant site levy),
- Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act, 2016 (which relates the Strategic Housing Developments)
The effect of the activation of this provision does not freeze the planning system, rather it extends the timelines within which decisions can be made.
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has published a guidance titled “FAQ – Order made under Section 251A of the Planning and Development, Act 2000, as amended, on 29 March 2020, which can be viewed on www.housing.gov.ie.
The Minister has also made Regulations that, for the period of the emergency, a change in use from a premises selling food for consumption on the premises to one providing food for consumption off the premises will be considered an exempt development and provides for the non-application of the Planning and Development Act 2000 to certain classes of development by or on behalf of a State Authority.
In line with the advice of the Minister contained in Guidelines for Planning Authorities on the Enforcement of certain planning conditions during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, the Planning Authority will use its discretion in relation to the enforcement of certain planning conditions relating to operational restrictions, e.g. where essential retail and childcare operators, in an effort to ensure that food and other supplies and critical services can be delivered in a safe and timely manner, may be subject to planning conditions that restrict delivery times and/or opening hours.
The Planning Authority is seeking to ensure that every effort is being made to make certain that the planning system continues to operate effectively as possible, in the context of the most up-to-date public health advice during this COVID-19 Emergency. In this regard the following is highlighted:
- The planning counter is closed, however, applicants can submit applications by post and make contact by telephone on 057 8664032 or email at email@example.com.
- Planning applications will be validated following receipt, which will include uploading onto the publicly accessible planning area on www.laois.ie.
- Decisions on files lodged up to and including the 21/02/2020 will be issued where possible.
- Decisions on files received after the 21/02/2020, cannot be issued, having regard to the extended timelines provided for under S251A, to ensure that public participation in the planning process is maintained. Where further information responses are received, the Planning Authority may issue a Decision where possible, unless the response is deemed “significant”, as same cannot be processed having regard to the provisions of S251A.
- The Planning Authority will continue to facilitate pre-planning requests and deal with other necessary communications via email and phone.
Please note that where the An Bord Pleanala Appeal process has not expired on all Planning applications that have been granted, this appeal period will resume once the COVID emergency is over
Click News to read Age Friendly Ireland daily updates:
In This Together
For tips and advice on how you can look after your mental well being, stay active and stay connected, follow the link https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/together/
Covid 19 World Service is a joint initiative of Nasc and Together Ireland. Over 20 doctors, and other healthcare professionals, from around the world, but living and working in Ireland, have voiced the video messages for this new Covid-19 World Service Initiative aimed at providing up-to-date and accurate public health information to migrants living in Ireland
Click for video at http://www.neic.ie/news/covid-19-world-service
Irish Hospice Foundation COVID-19 Care & Inform Team
Are you caring for a loved one at home, or has someone you love died? Information and support is available through the Irish Hospice Foundation
Freephone 1800 80 70 77, Monday to Friday, 10am – 1pm or go to https://hospicefoundation.ie/covid19careandinform/