Thursday 4 June 2020
Issued by the Communications Team – email@example.com
This briefing is to keep you updated on the evolving situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) and the actions being taken in the district.
Who does it affect?
- Residents and businesses within the district
- Chichester District Council staff and councillors
- Parish councils
- Community groups and charitable organisations
In this briefing
- Latest update
- Service changes
- Sign up to our email newsletter
- £1.8 million of funding for small businesses now available
- Help us to support local businesses
- Refuse, recycling, parks and toilets
- Against Litter
- Parking patrols boosted in coastal areas – update
- Stay safe, leave a space
- Charging incentives to be introduced in car parks
- Chichester Farmers’ Market
- Community hub
- Volunteers’ Week
- Public spaces and exercise
- Shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- NHS Volunteer Responders update
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
- Stay in touch
Last week, the Prime Minister provided an update on the five tests which must be met before adjusting the lockdown. The government is confident that all five tests are being met. As a result, the adjustments to the lockdown in England moved forward on Monday.
Six people can now meet outdoors in England, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed. It is critical that those from different households continue to stay 2 metres apart. It remains the case that people should not spend time inside the homes of their friends and families, other than to access the garden or use the toilet.
Outdoor markets and car showrooms can now reopen, provided they meet coronavirus secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. Nurseries and other early years settings and reception, year one and year six in primary schools have also started to reopen.
The government intends to open all other non-essential retail from 15 June, as long as the government’s five tests are still being met and coronavirus secure guidelines are followed.
The Cabinet Office’s coronavirus FAQ page provides the very latest guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Please visit www.chichester.gov.uk/councilservicestatus for the latest information.
Sign up to our email newsletter
Please encourage people to sign up to our email newsletter service at www.chichester.gov.uk/newsalerts Anyone who signs up, will receive a copy of this newsletter on a weekly basis, sent directly to their chosen email account.
£1.8 million of funding for small businesses now available
This week, we have launched the next stage of the business rate grant scheme. £1.8 million of government funding is now available to support small businesses in the Chichester District, which were previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.
This additional funding is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. The new scheme prioritises businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
Businesses must be small – with less than 50 employees – and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures. There will be three levels of grant payments, with the maximum amounting to £25,000. Anyone who feels that they may qualify for this new funding can apply by visiting https://www.chichester.gov.uk/businessratesmarch2020.
Help us to support local businesses!
This week, we have launched a campaign, in association with the Chichester and the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, to encourage residents across the Chichester District to shop local and support their local businesses.
This is part of a package of support designed to help local businesses to reopen in line with the government’s recovery plan.
We are encouraging residents to download a special poster to display in their window to show their support, saying ‘we’re supporting local businesses.’ We have attached a copy of the poster to this email. The aim is to get everyone to think local and play their part in supporting local businesses. This can be found at www.chichester.gov.uk/supportlocal and will also appear in the council’s next issue of its initiatives magazine, which will be delivered to households from 13 July.
The council’s economic development team has been in touch with local businesses to find out if they are planning to reopen and to offer them the necessary support they may need. Social distancing signage designs have also been shared with local businesses and community groups, which can be downloaded for free at www.chichester.gov.uk/supportlocal The government has also provided detailed guidance to help businesses prepare to reopen on its website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
Council officers have been out visiting the district’s towns and city to assess what signage will be required and to look at what further measures may need to be introduced. These proposals have been sent to key partners including the relevant town, parish or city council and the ward member for their feedback and involvement in this process. In the first instance, due to the rapidly changing landscape, we are going to introduce temporary signage. We are then planning more long-term signage that reflects individual towns and the city as we move forward into the summer months, when people have started to get used to the social distancing requirements and when most businesses will be open.
We’re also in the process of setting up a High Street Recovery group, which will involve a range of retailers, local partners and council members. This will look at how we support our High Streets and local businesses moving forward.
Visitors to the district are being asked to look for the Government’s ‘COVID-19 Secure’ posters in High Street windows, which show that the business has completed a risk assessment and put in the necessary measures to ensure social distancing.
This campaign is very much a partnership with businesses, parish, town and city councils, and business associations and groups. We’re also very pleased to be running this campaign in association with the Chichester and the Midhurst and Petworth Observer. It’s vital that we all pull together to provide as much support to our local businesses as we can.
We will be working with our partners to highlight those businesses which are reopening – and will offer regular updates for those wishing to visit the district. It is advising people to follow its social media pages and its website at www.chichester.gov.uk/supportlocal
You can read the full press release online: www.chichester.gov.uk/latestnews
Refuse, recycling, parks and toilets
We are continuing to empty your bins as usual, including household waste, recycling, green recycling and trade waste. The teams have been working really hard to make sure that all services are running. Our parks, gardens and public toilets remain well maintained and open. Please remember to maintain social distancing when using our parks and toilets.
Over the past few weeks we have seen an increase in litter and are urging people to please place it in a bin, or take it home. We will be increasing our messaging around this and would encourage you to share this with others.
Parking patrols boosted in coastal areas – update
We are continuing to prioritise our coastal area for parking enforcement following concerns over dangerous and obstructive parking in residential areas. Over the last couple of weeks our civil enforcement officers have issued almost 300 PCNs, with 85 of these issued in the coastal area over the past weekend. We are also continuing to liaise with the police.
Please note that we are only able to take action against a vehicle where there are yellow lines or sign restrictions in place. We cannot take action in private roads or on pavements or driveways where there are no restrictions in place. These are dealt with by the police. Members of the public should contact the police if there is an immediate problem which is a danger to the highway.
For more information about Chichester District Council’s Parking Services, see https://www.chichester.gov.uk/parking
Stay safe, leave a space
Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen an increase in the amount of people visiting our coastal area. As a council we cannot enforce social distancing, but we have introduced signage and our Community Wardens, Foreshores Officers and Civil Enforcement Officers have been closely monitoring the area. Please respect our staff and make sure that you observe social distancing measures when approaching them for help. If you need to report an incident involving anti-social behaviour, please call 101. If you arrive somewhere that is busy, please do not put yourself and others at risk by adding to the crowds.
Parking incentives to be introduced in car parks
A number of incentives will be introduced to Chichester District Council-owned car parks from 8 June at the same time as charging is resumed.
Charging in car parks across Chichester District was suspended on 24 March as an emergency measure when the coronavirus lockdown period was introduced, to help essential workers and volunteers carry out their duties to support the community. Charges will be resumed in council-owned car parks on 8 June, however there will be a number of new initiatives in place.
The council will continue to offer free car parking for NHS and social care workers in Northgate car park, Chichester – which is close to St Richard’s Hospital – until April 2021, while other incentives being introduced include:
- free parking for everyone at the Avenue De Chartres car park every Saturday and Sunday.
- one hour’s free parking for everyone when purchasing two hours’ using the MiPermit app.
Both these incentives will be in place for three months and will then be reviewed.
Parking machines and equipment will be cleaned and sanitised more regularly, while customers will be encouraged to buy season tickets or use the MiPermit app or contactless method to pay for their parking in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.
Parking charges are vital in helping with turnover of spaces in our most popular car parks as well as covering the cost of the service and making a huge contribution to many other key council services. As a council we wanted to be able to support NHS workers and care workers by offering a period of free parking to enable them to carry out their work safely.
Our parking team has been looking at how best to reintroduce parking in order to support council services, while also ensuring our car parks are as safe as possible for customers. Using the MiPermit will help hugely with social distancing in our car parks as customers will not need to use the parking machines. We are also encouraging people to buy a season ticket which will also save customers money as well as help with social distancing.
As each of our car parks is different, we are examining each site separately to see what social distancing requirements are needed, and we have also been working on special signage which will be installed in each car park.
Chichester Farmers’ Market
In line with the new Government guidance, the Chichester Farmers’ Market will return on Friday 5 June in a temporary location at Cattle Market car park.
This is a health and safety measure in order to reduce the number of people in the main high street at any one time, in preparation for more shops starting to reopen. The market will continue to be held in this temporary location until further notice.
Strict social distancing measures will be in place to ensure the safety of customers, stallholders and staff. In line with Government advice, please note that the market will only feature food stalls. To find out more, please visit: www.chichester.gov.uk/latestnews
We are also hopeful that the Wednesday market may also be able to return next week on 10 June. If the market is allowed to resume from next week, normal operating hours will apply, but the market will take place in the Cattle Market car park on a temporary basis. The market operator is intending to provide its usual mix of essential homeware items, clothing, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other foods. Keep an eye on our social media and website for further updates regarding the return of the Wednesday market.
As we have mentioned previously, we are working in partnership with West Sussex County Council, which has developed a Community Hub to support the most vulnerable residents in our communities. We have been supporting the hub by collecting and delivering food, supporting volunteers, calling people to check that they are okay.
You can contact the Community Hub if you, or someone you know, need help, or if you want to volunteer your services in these difficult times. This will be available seven days a week and staff will be on hand to respond to enquiries from 8am-8pm. The team will be contacting the most vulnerable to tell them how to get help. The best way to contact the hub is online; if you have access go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/covid19communityhub.
A dedicated telephone helpline is also available for residents who are unable to go online: 033 022 27980. We are trying to keep the resources available through the hub for those who are most vulnerable, so if you do have support in place already, such as from family or friends, then please continue to use their support.
This year’s Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) comes at a time where the power of volunteering is more important than ever. Huge numbers of people across the Chichester District have been volunteering to support the response to Covid-19 over the past few months. We have been sharing some of these stories across our social media channels throughout the week.
If there’s a volunteer you would like us to thank there is still time to let us know. It could be a neighbour, a local charity or even a friend. You can do this by contacting us through our social media channels, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, 5 June.
As a council, we are very lucky to work in partnership with so many charities and voluntary groups, who make such a difference under normal circumstances, let alone now. Thank you to all of you!
Public spaces and exercise
The guidance on accessing green spaces safely has been updated.
In England, the public can leave their home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation with their household or in groups of up to six people from outside their household.
To stay safe, the public must:
- take hygiene precautions when they are outside
- wash their hands as soon as they are back indoors
- keep at least two metres apart from anyone outside their household at all times
- take hand sanitiser with them when they set off in case there are no handwashing facilities
The guidance includes an updated list of what the public can now do; advice for land managers and landowners; as well as a reminder to respect other people and protect the natural environment.
The guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England has also been updated.
People who play team sports can meet to train together, although anything involving physical contact is not allowed. It will also allow parents to accompany their children to coaching sessions carried out on a one to one basis or in small groups.
The guidance reiterates that people should wash their hands frequently and keep equipment sharing to a minimum. Outdoor and indoor gyms and swimming pools, playgrounds, fitness studios and other indoor leisure centres remain closed, except for facilities for training elite athletes. Indoor facilities such as clubhouses should be kept closed, apart from toilets and throughways.
The Cabinet Office’s FAQ document on what the public can and cannot do, and the guidance on staying alert and safe has been updated accordingly.
Shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
At the government’s press conference on 31 May the Communities Secretary announced that those advised to shield can take initial steps to safely spend time outdoors. The guidance on shielding has been updated to reflect this announcement.
The updated advisory guidance now states that a shielded person can go outside once a day with members of their household or, for those shielding alone, with one other person from a different household, if they wish to do so. This is in accordance with evidence that the rate of transmission is much lower outside.
Some important aspects of the guidance remain the same. Apart from going outside once per day, a shielded person should continue to avoid all non-essential face to face contact. This means they should not go to places like supermarkets or to pharmacies. The support for shielded people remains in place and unchanged.
NHS Volunteer Responders update
The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme has recently completed 210,000 tasks. NHS, social care, and council professionals in England can continue to refer any vulnerable people who are self-isolating to NHS Volunteer Responders for help with tasks such as collecting shopping and prescribed medicines or driving people to medical appointments or for a friendly ‘check-in and chat’ call. Referrals can be made through the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal or by calling 0808 196 3382. The scheme is also open for self-referrals for people who have been advised to shield and those who are self-isolating.
Information on self-referrals: https://volunteering.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/nhs-volunteer-responders-portal/isolating
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
On Friday (29 May), the Chancellor announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended and outlined further details on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Those eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be able to claim a second and final grant in August worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
From 1 July 2020 businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
From August 2020, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. For June and July, the government will continue to pay 80% of people’s salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
Employers can now claim for employees who are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus.
The guidance to help employers check if they can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus has been updated accordingly.
Stay in touch
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