Update on Restart Grants
The Restart Grant scheme supports businesses in reopening safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Grants will be available in April 2021. Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council are currently in the process of identifying those businesses that are eligible for the Restart Grants. Please note that there is no application form to complete but you will be required to self-certify that you meet all eligibility criteria. If you have already applied and been paid a Business Support Grant from November 2020 onwards, you will receive an email around the 6th April 2021 and this will contain a link to your self-certification form. You will be required to complete the self-certification before any payment is made. More information can be found here: https://www.blackburn.gov.uk/business-rates/coronavirus-support-business
Step 1b of the Roadmap out of lockdown starts today – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-businesses-and-venues-in-england/reopening-businesses-and-venues & https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do
Just a reminder (though I’m sure you don’t need it!), that today marks the start of Step 1b of the Roadmap out of lockdown. From today:
- Further settings will be permitted to open. This will include outdoor sports facilities such as:
- swimming pools
- sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts)
- golf courses, including mini golf
- water sports venues
- climbing walls
- driving and shooting ranges
- riding arenas at riding centres
- archery venues
- People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.
- At this step, formally organised outdoor sport will also return – this can include a larger number of participants, provided that appropriate steps are taken to make it COVID-Secure in line with the law. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed. At this stage, these gatherings must only include participants – not spectators.
- Businesses eligible to host childcare and supervised activities for children will now be able to host all outdoor children’s activities.
- Parent-and-child groups for up to 15 people (not counting those aged under five) will also be able to take place outdoors.
- You can get a poster showing the changes from today here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-restrictions-posters-29-march-2021
Public reminded they must stay outside when meeting others to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
The public are being reminded they must stay outside when meeting others as part of the next step of easing Covid restrictions in a new film released today narrated by GP Dr Hilary Jones MBE. The film highlights the impact of fresh air on reducing the risk of transmission and forms part of wider government ‘Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air’ which reminds people to ‘take this next step safely’ as we gradually emerge from lockdown.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-reminded-they-must-stay-outside-when-meeting-others-to-reduce-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19
Non-essential shops in England permitted to stay open until 10pm
The government has announced that shops in England will be permitted to remain open until 10pm once lockdown restrictions are eased next month. Non-essential stores will be able to open for extended hours Monday to Saturday to encourage shoppers to return, while easing pressure on public transport at peak times. Under the temporary measures which relax planning restrictions on trading hours, shops will be allowed to open from 7am and close at 10pm. It will be down to individual businesses and shopping centres to determine their actual hours of opening.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extended-opening-hours-to-continue-when-non-essential-retail-returns
Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing
The Government is making rapid home testing available for all businesses with over 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing. Businesses must register interest by 12 April to access free tests. Businesses across the country will be eligible to order the home test kits online to distribute to their employees. These self-test kits will be picked up by staff from their employer with clear instructions about how to take the test. Staff will then complete the home test in the normal way, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided gov.uk address. The workplace testing programme uses lateral flow tests (LFD) to rapidly detect the virus in 30 minutes. Swift detection of cases means those who test positive can isolate immediately and, in doing so, break chains of transmission and suppress the virus.
Reminder of community testing survey
Blackburn with Darwen Council is also providing rapid community testing services (workplace testing, community testing facilities, testing at home) and is keen to learn how they can support our town centre businesses with reopening and returning to work. If you haven’t already done so (and we’ve had a great response so far – thank you!) please can you complete the survey using this link (it takes less than 2 mins) to help provide important feedback about what you would like from rapid LFD testing provision:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): employer testing duty where employees regularly cross UK borders
If you are an employer that requires staff to travel regularly across UK borders you must take reasonable steps to facilitate your employees to take tests. You can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-employer-testing-duty
Latest R & Growth Rate
- The latest R range for the UK is 0.7 to 0.9. An R value between 0.7 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 7 and 9 other people.
- The latest growth rate range for the UK is -5% to -2% per day. A growth rate of between -5% and -2% means that the number of new infections is shrinking by between 2% and 5% every day.
- In the North West the R range is 0.7 to 1.0 and the growth rate range is -4 to -1.