UPDATE - Coronavirus update from Chichester District Council
Thursday 21 May 2020
Issued by the Communications Team – firstname.lastname@example.org
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
- Stay safe – leave a space
- Service changes
- Sign up to our email newsletter
- Council meetings are now streamed live
- Discretionary Housing Payment Fund
- Recovery Process
- Enjoy the outdoors, while keeping you and others safe
- Foreshore service
- Chichester Farmers’ Market returns next month
- Refuse, recycling, parks and toilets
- Car parks
- Caravan and holiday parks
- Community hub
- Homelessness response fund
- Testing eligibility expanded
- Coronavirus symptoms
- Measures in place to support social housing residents
- Developing of plan to enable phased reopening of places of worship
- Youth Endowment Fund grant round
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance
- Answers to common questions from the public
- Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
- The Future Fund
- Stay in touch
This week, the Government has announced that anyone over the age of 5 can request a coronavirus test if they are displaying symptoms. You can do this by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus The Government has also added anosmia – the loss or change in your normal sense of smell – to the list of coronavirus symptoms. It can also affect your sense of taste, as the two are closely linked. If you experience anosmia or a new continuous cough or fever, you are advised to self-isolate. You can find out the latest advice and guidance at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
You should continue to:
- 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
The government has published a list of what you can and can’t do. You can find this here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do
Stay safe – leave a space
We’re asking you to stay safe this bank holiday weekend, by avoiding crowds and busy places; staying at least two metres apart; respecting one another; and if you have to travel, thinking about when and how you do this. If you arrive somewhere that is busy, please do not put yourself and others at risk by adding to the crowds.
Our Civil Enforcement Officers, Foreshore Officers and Community Wardens will be monitoring the situation within our communities. However, it’s important that people understand that they do not have any powers to enforce social distancing and can only offer advice and assistance. Please respect our staff and make sure that you observe social distancing measures when approaching them for help. Parking restrictions are also in place for your safety, so please make sure you follow them.
If you need to report an incident involving anti-social behaviour, please call 101. We all need to follow the government’s guidance, which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home
Stay Alert – Control the Virus – Protect the NHS
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.
Council meetings are now streamed live
We have started to live stream our council meetings and these can be accessed through our website at www.chichester.gov.uk/viewcouncilmeetings This means that you can watch any of our council meetings live, as they happen. You can also listen to an audio recording after each meeting has finished.
Discretionary Housing Payment Fund
If you are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and are having difficulty meeting your rent payments, you may be able to get extra help from the Discretionary Housing Payment Fund.
This fund is available to support people in real financial difficulty to help them meet their housing costs. You can find out more at: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/findoutaboutbenefit or apply using our new form, which has been designed to make for a quick and easy application process: www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount
As a council, we are continuing to respond and adapt the coronavirus crisis as we move towards the recovery stage. At the moment, we are working with our partners to look at how we can support our local businesses when they reopen. Your safety is paramount and so we are looking at how social distancing measures will work and how this will be managed. This is a very complex situation and as you can imagine, we are constantly racing against the clock to meet the next challenge. We intend to keep you fully informed of this work as it progresses. We also intend to share downloadable social distancing graphics with community groups and businesses on our website. These should be available next week.
Enjoy the outdoors, while keeping yourself and others safe
It’s lovely to enjoy time outside after spending weeks inside, but please keep yourself and others safe by following the government’s guidelines.
- If you have to travel, please think about when and how you do this.
- Stay at least two metres apart
- Avoid crowds and busy places.
Stay Alert – Control the Virus – Protect the NHS
For further information, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home
The foreshore service is operational at the main bathing beaches; Selsey, Bracklesham and East Wittering. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 safety measures, the boat launching service is currently not available. Please also note that the foreshore office has restricted access to the public unless there is an emergency situation.
Chichester Farmers’ Market returns next month
Food lovers will be able to buy good quality local produce when Chichester Farmers’ Market sets up its stalls again next month.
The market is being reintroduced on Friday 5 June, in a temporary location at Cattle Market Car Park, Chichester. 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. These include:
- a one-in, one-out queuing system at entry
- a one-way system
- cashless payment with all traders now able to take card
- there will be no food tasters
- all produce will be pre-wrapped – any food on display will not be for sale, and
- 2 metre social distancing will be in place at all of the stalls, with limited numbers allowed to queue.
The council’s Health Protection and Health and Safety teams have provided lots of advice for stall holders, and the market manager will be on hand on the day to ensure that people adhere to the measures in place. www.chichester.gov.uk/article/34013/Chichester-Farmers-Market-set-to-resume-next-month
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.
All of our car parks are open, except for Selsey Marine – which will be open once the shingle has been removed. Our Civil Enforcement Officers continue to patrol across the district to help to keep the highway clear and to ensure that on-street parking availability which is under pressure is well-managed.
Caravan and holiday parks
Following the Government’s most recent announcement, all holiday accommodation still remains closed, including: hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments, home, cottages, bungalows, campsites and boarding houses. Holiday accommodation must not operate until the Secretary of State lifts the current restrictions.
It may only continue to be used if any person staying at the accommodation:
- is unable to return to their main residence;
- uses that accommodation as their main residence;
- needs accommodation while moving house;
- needs accommodation to attend a funeral.
Or of you intend to:
- provide accommodation or support services for the homeless,
- host blood donation sessions, or
- are assisting the Secretary of State, or a Local Authority.
No other exemptions apply.
We have provided guidance and advice for residents and businesses on our website at www.chichester.gov.uk/coronavirus including lots of frequently asked questions. This information is updated regularly, in line with the latest Government advice.
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.
Homelessness response fund
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published information on how charitable homelessness and rough sleeping organisations can apply for funding to support their response to coronavirus.
Homeless Link will be distributing the £6 million of emergency funding on MHCLG’s behalf to facilitate this much needed support to the sector, allowing organisations to focus solely on their mission of supporting vulnerable people. The fund is now open and funding will be allocated by June 2020.
Further information, FAQ document and application process: https://homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2020/may/12/covid-19-homelessness-response-fund-2020-21
Testing eligibility expansion
Everyone over the age of 5, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who is showing coronavirus symptoms is eligible to book a swab test to find out if they have the virus.
People can register for a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
Those in England and Wales who do not have any access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, will be able to ring a new 119 service to book their test.
Further details on the announcement: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1V_vTlj8RUbMkwE-eKIf1jOtcB5zeYF-b
The UK Chief Medical Officers has released a statement saying that individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or, as of now, anosmia.
Anosmia is the loss of or a change in the normal sense of smell. It can also affect the sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
Measures in place to support social housing residents
A letter from Christopher Pincher, Minister of State for Housing, to social housing residents in England setting out all the measures that are in place to support social housing residents during the next phase towards reopening society has been published.
The letter includes information on maintenance and repairs, gas safety checks, remediation works, home moves, support for domestic abuse victims and tackling anti-social behaviour.
Development of plan to enable phased reopening of places of worship
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has confirmed that a plan has been agreed for development with faith leaders to enable the phased and safe reopening of places of worship when the evidence shows it is the right time to do so.
The Government has previously set out its ambition to reopen places of worship in step 3 of its plan to lift restrictions, which is expected to be no earlier than 4 July subject to further scientific advice.
In recognition of how difficult it has been for people of faith to be unable to practice their religion alongside their community, members agreed to work together to consider whether some forms of worship, such as individual prayer, might be permitted in places of worship before they fully reopen in step 3. This would on take place where appropriate and safe to do so in line with social distancing guidelines.
Youth Endowment Fund grant round
The Youth Endowment Fund has opened a new £6.5m coronavirus grant round to support vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence.
This round will fund and evaluate work which supports vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence and can be delivered whilst adhering to UK government social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.
An application for funding can be made by any legally constituted organisation in England and Wales. This could include:
Charities and social enterprises
- For-profit companies
- Public sector agencies, such as councils, schools, health or police forces
50% of the total funding available will be reserved for charities and social enterprises.
Further information: https://youthendowmentfund.org.uk/grants-2/covid-19-round/
New Style Employment and Support Allowance
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has updated a range of guidance to include more information about who might be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance because of coronavirus.
A person may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance if one for the following applies:
- they have a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work
- they, or their child, might have coronavirus or they’re recovering from it
- they, or their child, are self-isolating because they came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus
- they have been told to stay at home for at least 12 weeks by the NHS because they’re at high risk of severe illness
Answers to common questions from the public
The Cabinet Office last week published answers to questions that best capture the three most common topics people have been asking about.
The three topics are:
- Social distancing, and seeing your family and friends
- When schools are reopening
- Rules for reopening businesses, and holding weddings
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
The Government’s new Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on Tuesday 26 May.
The scheme will enable small and medium sized employers with fewer than 250 employees to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay. Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of their employers.
HMRC has published online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.
The Future Fund
The Future Fund, which will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, is now open to loan applications.
The Future Fund was developed by the government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank. The Convertible Loan Agreement has now been added to the guidance.
British Business Bank guidance: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/future-fund/
Stay in touch
Make sure you stay in touch with our daily updates on:
You can also now sign up for our email newsletters at www.chichester.gov.uk/newsalerts