COVID-19 UPDATE – Wednesday 24 June 2020
Please find below the latest update on COVID-19 and other council matters:
Opening certain businesses and venues from 4 July
The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that all businesses and venues can re-open from 4 July 2020, except for the following:
Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
Indoor play areas including soft-play
Nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
Swimming pools including water parks
Exhibition or conference centres must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business who run the venue
Cafes, restaurants and shops that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside, will still be permitted to open.
To support the NHS Test and Trace, businesses are being asked to keep a temporary record of their customers and visitors for 21 days. Many businesses will have a booking system but for those who do not have such facilities, the government will soon be issuing details of a system they can use that complies with data protection legislation.
Local authority administered grant schemes
As of Friday 19 June 2020, we issued £86.37 million to 7,221 local businesses. This has supported 5,301 businesses with Small Business Grants totalling £53 million and a further 1,920 businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with grants totalling £33.36 million. Of the 1,920 businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, 944 local businesses received a £25,000 grant and 976 businesses received a £10,000 grant.
We have also received more than 700 applications for the local Discretionary Grant. The application window closed on Monday at 5pm (22 June) and applications are now being reviewed, assessed and paid.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked.
This scheme closes to new entrants on 30 June and so from 1 July, only employees that businesses have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme. This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks sometime between 1 March and 30 June 2020.
Wiltshire Council joins Countryside Climate Network to help tackle climate change
Wiltshire Council has today (Wednesday 24 June) become a founder member of a newly-launched network to promote the voice of the countryside in climate change discussions.
The Countryside Climate Network aims to ensure that the voice of rural knowledge and experience on climate action is listened to in Westminster, and asks that rural councils are an active participant in transforming the national economy into one that saves, rather than harms, our environment.
The network brings a voice on climate change to the two-thirds of the country who live outside major towns and cities, and calls for investment, such as the government’s delayed £100bn infrastructure fund, to be targeted at rural areas.
The council is also working closely with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the County Councils Network to develop a tool that measures the council’s levels of carbon emissions. The tool will create a standard, comparable measurement for all councils in the country, which can then be used to baseline carbon emissions and report on them regularly, as Wiltshire seeks to become carbon neutral by 2030. The trial of this new system is expected to begin later in the summer.
The Countryside Climate Network has been established by UK100, a network of local leaders that campaigns on climate change. The 21 councils represent 14.3 million people in total, a quarter of the population (25%) and two fifths (41%) of England by area. The group is chaired by the Leader of Cambridgeshire Council, Cllr Steve Count. To find out more about the Countryside Climate Network, please see: www.uk100.org.
Hot weather warning
Public Health England has today issued a heat warning encouraging vulnerable people to take care during the exceptionally hot weather forecast this week.
People ‘shielding’ indoors from COVID-19, older people, those with underlying health conditions, and very young children are all more vulnerable from the higher temperatures.
Advice for keeping healthy:
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol, everyone is at risk of dehydration in hot temperatures, but babies, children and older people are particularly vulnerable.
- Stay cool indoors: open windows when the air feels cooler outside than inside; shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight; move to a cooler part of the house, especially for sleeping.
- Slow down when it is hot: exertion heats up our bodies so plan any strenuous activities (e.g. exercise, gardening) outside the hottest time of the day, typically 11am - 3pm.
- Cool your skin with water, you could use a cool wet sponge or flannel, cool water spray, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or a cool, wet sheet.
Stay connected and listen to the weather forecast, knowing the forecast can help you plan ahead and adapt what you’re doing.
- Dress appropriately for the weather, protect yourself against the sun’s radiation and keep yourself cool by wearing thin cotton clothes.
- Eat smaller meals, more often. Cold salads and fruit are the perfect summer foods.
- For more information on the common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke visit NHS Choices.
Cllr Philip Whitehead