Lockdown Update 29th May

The Chancellor has just announced that the Government will be:

  • Extending the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for three months – so that people will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. Individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus will be eligible for further support worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, capped at £6,570 in total. The eligibility criteria are the same for both grants, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. An individual does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant; for example, they may only have been adversely affected by coronavirus in this later phase.
     
  • Setting out details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work. In June and July, nothing will change for employers and the Government will continue to pay 80 per cent of people’s salaries. From August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced and employers will be required to top up the government payment to ensure employees receive 80 per cent of their normal pay, up to a monthly cap of £2,500, throughout.
    • From July, businesses can bring furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Employers will be able to claim the furlough grant for the proportion of the employees’ normal hours they are not working – but they must pay their employees for the hours they are working. The Government will continue to pay 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500, plus employer National Insurance and pension contribution.
       
    • From August, the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. The government will pay 80 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,500, but employers will start paying employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
       
    • From September, the government will pay 70 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,190. Employers will be asked to pay the remaining 10 per cent, in addition to employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
       From October, the government will pay 60 per cent of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will be asked to pay the remaining 20 per cent, in addition to employer National Insurance and pension contributions.

Elsewhere in the district:

Whilst the easing of the Lockdown from 1st June is certainly welcome with the opportunity for us to meet up with friends and family in the garden or in another suitable outside space,  there is some nervousness being expressed by Public Health Warwickshire (PHW) in terms of infection control and to ensure we avoid a second peak. So the importance to observe social distancing and washing hands regularly continues and is imperative.

COVID-19 Update

The cumulative cases in the county are now 1447 up from 1409 with confirmed cases in Stratford on Avon District at 362 up from 359 representing an increase of just 3 new cases since the previous week which is very welcome news.  Testing is continuing at Stratford College.

Out of the 425 SWFT Hospital Beds there are 20 cases of COVID-19 and two cases in intensive care.  With the updated ONS figures sadly the cumulative deaths across Stratford District are now 148 which includes 74 from the care home settings.  The cumulative total of all COVID-19 deaths in Warwickshire is now 455 and over the same period there have been 2759 non COVID-19 related deaths in Warwickshire.  

Across the county there were 171 COVID-19 deaths in care homes settings compared to 865 non COVID-19 deaths in care homes over the same period.  There has been only one new case of COVID-19 in a care home setting in Warwickshire over the last week which is to be welcomed.

The capacity in hospitals remains good with 5% of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. 15% with suspected COVID-19 patients and three patients in Intensive Care.  There are 27% of beds occupied by Non-COVID-19 patients and a spare capacity of 52% reinforcing that the NHS is very much open for business! 

Test and Trace

Warwickshire is leading the regional pilot with Coventry and Solihull for the Test and Trace initiative and WCC and PHE are really pleased to have been selected as a beacon council in this project.  The Test and Trace will also provide WCC with powerful tools to understand local trends on the spread of the virus through a local programme that is fit for purpose with the aim of keeping the ‘R’ value below 1.  It is not without its challenges in view of the size of the local footprint but this will be supported by rapid testing at scale, an integrated tracking service, use of data to identify contacts and using knowledge to prohibit infection control. The team will be working closely with the NHS and will be focusing on local, complex and potential high risk issues.

In addition, PHW are developing local outbreak plans and making sure that we have the testing capacity right with the flexibility to deploy mobile testing units to hotspots if and when required.

Care Homes

A vast amount of work has been carried out in the last few weeks with care homes with a focus towards controlling infection rates and developing a bespoke Resilience Plan. 

There has been a cumulative total of 565 cases or suspected cases in 64 care homes settings from a total of 160 homes in Warwickshire and WCC is continuing to focus on infection control in care homes together with testing and has received £7.2 million as part of the government’s care home support package of which approximately 75% will be going out directly to every care home at the rate of around £1000 per bed. The first phase of this funding has already been paid out to care homes.

Details of funding will be published on the WCC website by 30th May 2020.  WCC has supplied nearly 45,000 items of PPE to care homes via the 7 Day Emergency PPE facility.

Test kits are being provided for every care home for testing of both staff and residents. More than 2500 care home have now been tested and WCC continues to provide guidance, support and training to the sector on infection prevention and over 66% of care homes have taken up the offer and had training over the last two weeks.  WCC has also recruited an additional 100+ new members of staff to provide more support in this area.

Schools

Schools have been the central focus this past week and for the next two weeks and WCC is encouraging as many children back into school as they can.  Every school has had to submit a comprehensive risk assessment and I am awaiting confirmation of all the schools in our area that will be opening from 1 June 2020.  There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach as every school in terms of its size, facilities and layout is different.

Wellesbourne Airfield Market

Portfolio Holder Cllr Parry has been liaising closely with SDC Environmental Health, WCC Trading Standards, Warwickshire Police and Public Health Warwickshire contacts following the government’s guidelines to announce easing the restrictions on outdoor markets.  It is advised that the operator has reviewed the essential guidelines, together with the need to develop a comprehensive risk assessment and event management plan, and as a consequence the market will not be opening in the near future.

Waste Household Recycling

The online booking system continues to work really well and the sites open include Burton Farm in Stratford and Princes Drive, Leamington Spa: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hwrc  More dates will be released on a continuing basis by WCC but remember a household can only book on visit every two weeks.  

No news as yet on the reopening of Wellesbourne or Shipston, but the sites are currently being reviewed so hopefully this will be in the not too distant future. SDC is still collecting bags of textiles and small electrical appliances and these should be placed beside the blue bin for kerbside collection.  In the event of a missed collection, please email streetscene@stratford-dc.gov.uk

Business Grants

SDC has now paid out over £30million to businesses and organisations which are registered for business rates and the team have worked exceptionally hard in challenging circumstances to help as many businesses affected by the lockdown. 

Community Hubs

SDC has played a key role in setting up the Community Hub in Stratford Leisure Centre and delivering food packages to vulnerable and shielded residents across the districts.  Over 1000 food parcels have now been distributed and the team has worked extremely diligently and in liaison with WCC.

Recovery Plan

Stratford District Council has already been identified as the fourth worst hit district council in the UK in view of its reliance on tourism and hospitality, automotive manufacturing and agriculture.  From a financial perspective the loss of revenues and increased costs caused as a result of this unprecented epidemic means that SDC is currently forecast to be £8.1m in deficit!  Whilst there has been two tranches of COVID-19 Grants from the government these amount in total to around £1.3m so we are facing a massive shortfall!  SDC is continuing to lobby the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP together with Nadhim Zahawi MP and Jeremy Wright MP to ensure our message hits the government very loud and clear in terms of our position and whilst a third tranche of funding is a possibility, the chances of a sizeable slice of the cake is minimal.

The senior management team and cabinet are consequently extremely focused on developing an economic recovery plan and liaising with the West Midlands Combined Authority, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, Shakespeare’s England, Stratforward, the RSC and captains of industry to plan the way forward.

SDC is working really closely with businesses across the district, providing support and operational guidelines and is also liaising with WCC in terms of the reallocation of road space to incorporate pedestrians and cyclists in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Additional signage and markings in the parks and car parks have been erected to help ensure that members of the public observe social distancing measures.  Whilst the majority of retail outlets are closed in Stratford at present there are a number of outlets serving takeaways; we are therefore urging everyone to continue to act in accordance with the government advice yet enjoy their local environment with members of their household.  The message is that visitors are welcome to Stratford-on-Avon provided everyone stays alert and adheres to the strict social distancing measures.

Even in this glorious weather please remember the advice and:

We must stay alert, to control the virus, and save lives.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must: Stay at home as much as possibleWork from home if you canLimit contact with other people, up to 6 can now meet in an outdoor space.Those being shielded must still remain at home.Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)Wash your hands regularlySelf-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

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