Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Please read our latest Coronavirus related news and updates on this web page

Please also see our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions and our liveaboard information page, and remember to get in touch if you have any further questions.

(Page last updated 10 November)

10 November - Broads Authority update regarding COVID-19 restrictions

Over the last few days the Broads Authority has repeatedly sought guidance from Defra as to how the Government’s lockdown restrictions and advice should be applied by owners of private boats. Some clarity was provided regarding activities related to exercise including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, and paddle boarding which are all allowed whilst still following other guidelines around travel and social distancing.

Defra has also advised that boat owners should not be carrying out routine maintenance but are able to contract businesses to do so. However no further specific advice has been provided regarding the use of private motor boats since the previous lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Instead we have been asked to “advise boat owners to digest and interpret the regulations and government guidance for non-essential travel and overnight stays to ensure they are acting within these” when considering using their boat for recreational activity.

The Authority is aware that other organisations have issued different guidance, referring to a DCMS statement which has since been updated. The section of that statement about private powered boats was posted during the relaxation of the previous lockdown restrictions and has been superseded.

Our employees are doing their best to help people understand the Government restrictions and guidance, however we will continue to push for further clarity where there is ambiguity and we thank you for your patience during this time.

The relevant guidance is copied below:

During the period of national restrictions, the following applies:

Individual exercise is permitted – alone, with 1 other person, or within your household or bubble.

  • You must not leave your home or be outside your home, except for specific purposes which include exercise.
  • You are allowed to leave your home to exercise outdoors. You should stay as local as possible, but can travel out of your local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). If you need to travel, you should walk or cycle where possible, and follow guidance on safe travel.
  • You can exercise outdoors in a public place alone, with the people you live with (or your support bubble or childcare bubble) or with 1 person from another household. Children under 5, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the gatherings limit of two people meeting outside. This means, for example, that a parent with a baby can still go for a walk with a friend.
  • There is no restriction on the type of activity you can do when exercising, provided that you are within the permitted gathering limits outlined above. You should maintain social distance when exercising with anybody who you do not live with, unless they are in your support bubble, and you are advised to avoid any activity which requires close contact. You cannot exercise with or meet someone you do not live with (or from your support bubble) in a private garden. Sports facilities will also be closed.
  • There is no limit on the amount of individual exercise you can do, but you should act responsibly and limit transmission risk wherever possible

This statement is provided as general guidance for the public based on the Authority’s understanding of the Government’s position with regards to the new national restrictions for England which started 5 November 2020.

We try to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date, but this is not always possible due to the very fast-moving situation.

Please review the Government’s full guidance regularly in order to keep up to date with any changes or additional information.

Waterways information

Broads Authority Rangers will continue to patrol the Broads and Broads Control (tel. 01603 756056) remains in operation.

Great Yarmouth and Norwich Yacht stations are closed and the moorings at Reedham are not staffed. Boaters should be vigilant and mindful of bridge heights in the Lower Bure.

The Government has indicated that construction work can carry on. We will therefore be continuing our operations and safety work such as dredging and maintaining moorings. This position will be kept under constant review to make sure we are in line with the latest Government instructions.

Private boats that are kept or used in the Broads navigation area or adjacent waters do still need to be tolled. We fully appreciate the frustrations that some private owners have in not being able to use their vessels during this time. We ask for your understanding that tolls fund essential navigation works which need to carry on even if the majority of boaters cannot currently benefit from them.

DEFRA have advised that ‘winterising’ boats and other planned maintenance by the general public is not permitted under the restrictions as it is not classed as ‘essential travel’. Under the regulations private boat maintenance businesses may still be operating and able to provide services for boat owners.

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) have advised us that it is following current UK Government advice ‘Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes’. BSS examinations will continue where it is safe to do so. The advice for boat owners is to continue to contact an examiner to arrange their boat’s examination as per usual if one is required. Current BSS Certification expiry dates are not being extended as they were in the previous lockdown.

Where a boat is not available to be examined due to COVID-19 related issues and a BSS certification is needed to support a necessary licence application, a registration or a toll, then the owner needs to liaise with the Broads Authority.

For further information about making examination arrangements visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/boat-examination-and-certification/arranging-the-examination/

Those living on their boats will still require essential services and we will be soon updating our web page that contains information for liveaboard boaters. We will try to keep this page updated but please also check with each individual business as the situation continues to change daily.

Rangers will be mindful of individual circumstances and the need to comply with Government instructions which will limit the movement of boats.

To contact the Broads Rangers to report an incident or if you need assistance, phone Broads Control on 01603 756056 or email Broads.control@broads-authority.gov.uk. Please always phone 999 in cases of emergency.

We will keep the situation under active review and update you in line with changing circumstances and guidance.

Angling

Angling is permitted while observing rules around social distancing and travelling locally.

Other information

Pubs, restaurants and cafés

As of 5 November, all pubs, cafés and restaurants have been ordered by the Government to close until 2 December, unless operating a takeaway service.

Accommodation and attractions

We are aware that many local accommodation providers and attractions are closed. For specific information please visit their respective websites. If you suspect you may be unwell please do not visit any of our premises. If you have a query we will be happy to help you over the phone (01603 610734) or by email.

Impact on the Broads Authority

We have issued guidance from Public Health England to our staff and members on how they need to respond, including additional hygiene measures that must be put in place (particularly in our premises) to prevent further spreading of the infection.

Meetings

All Authority committee meetings will continue to take place online. Meetings with public access will be livestreamed. Details can be found on the Broads Authority website.

Events programme

We have cancelled our events programme for the near future. If you have seen promotion of a Broads Authority event online or elsewhere this has now been cancelled unless stated otherwise.

Day to day operations

Our office has have reduced staffing levels to minimise contact between employees. The majority of office employees are working from home, and our reception is closed to the public. Staffing of reception will continue so phone calls and deliveries can be taken. Toll payments can be taken by phone, post or online.

Our operational work will continue until further notice as this takes place in mostly remote locations.

If you suspect you may be unwell please do not visit any of our premises. If you have a query we will be happy to assist you over the phone (01603 610734) or by email.

Planning queries

In accordance with current Government guidance, most of our Planning Officers are working from home. We are encourage the public to use the planning email for correspondence, rather than calling, as this will enable your enquiry to be dealt with more quickly.

Information centres and Yacht Stations

As stated above, our Tourist Information Centres at Hoveton and How Hill are closed as are the Yacht Stations at Reedham, Norwich and Great Yarmouth.

Volunteering

Unfortunately, all volunteering activities with the Broads Authority have ceased until further notice.

Information for businesses

Click on the links below for useful information for tourism businesses:

Information for businesses and visitors is also on the Visit the Broads website.

Health information sources

Check these sites for the latest advice:

Use NHS 111, pharmacies and GPs responsibly, and only go to hospital if you really need to. See: When to go to A&E

Tuesday 10 November 2020