Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. You can read more about the changes here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
‘Blackburn is Open & Safe’ campaign
We have been getting lots of feedback that there is a perception because of the current situation with Coronavirus that Blackburn town centre is locked down, and not safe to visit.
Blackburn BID will be working with partners to develop and implement a campaign under the Experience Blackburn branding, to promote positive messages about Blackburn very much being open for business, being safe to visit, and actually is leading the way in terms of managing the response to Covid-19.
The aim will be to provide reassurance and confidence and ‘change the narrative’ so that we attract people back into the town centre and visiting businesses. You can help with this by:
- Including #experienceblackburn #blackburnisopen #safeandsecure in your social media posts
- Tagging @blackburn_bid in your posts
- Sharing campaign social media
- Sharing any good news stories you have with us
Update on Close Contact Services in Protected Areas
The Council’s priority is preventing the further spread of covid-19 and avoiding a more stringent economic lockdown. One of the ways of doing this is not allowing any further lifting of the restrictions on business re-opening since 24 July. The Council recognises the impact of the continued business restrictions on some wards within the Borough and have asked for further support from the Government with this.
For the time being in the wards of intervention businesses must follow the guidance and not offer close contact services to the highest risk area – ie the face. These services include the following:
- Face waxing, sugaring or threading services
- Facial treatments
- Advanced facial technical (electrical or mechanical)
- Eyelash treatments
- Make-up application
- Electrolysis on the face
- Eyebrow treatments
- Intricate detailing, outlining or shaving of beards
- Advanced beauty therapy and aesthetic treatments
The eight wards with restrictions, due to the highest rate of infections are:
- Audley and Queens Park
- Bastwell and Daisyfield
- Billinge and Beardwood
- Blackburn Central
- Little Harwood and Whitebirk
- Roe Lee
- Shear Brow and Corporation Park
- Wensley Fold
Here is the Government guidance which states that close contact services should not resume in the above wards. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/blackburn-with-darwen-oldham-pendle-local-restrictions
Further information, including how to find out which ward your business is in, can be found on the council’s website here: https://www.blackburn.gov.uk/coronavirus/support-business
The Council is always prefer to work with businesses to ensure where they can operate they do so safely by following all guidance. However, where this is not the case the Council will take action to protect the health of the residents. Please see these news articles about recent actions taken https://theshuttle.org.uk/council-shuts-down-hairdressing-shop-over-covid-19-breaches/ and https://theshuttle.org.uk/businesses-closed-for-breaching-covid-safety-rules-can-re-open/
The Council has raised the issue of some businesses in the borough being able to resume close contact services and others in wards of intervention not being able to with the Health Minister, who is reviewing the situation.
I’ve also raised it with the British Beauty Council, National Hair and Beauty Federation, British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmotology.