School contingency planning; Eat Out to Help Out scheme closes; council lobbying on behalf of businesses unable to re-open; more testing centres

Guidance for Schools on Contingency Planning

The government has published detailed guidance for schools on contingency planning for areas with local lockdowns in place.  The guidance sets out that all possible measures should be taken before any restrictions are imposed on schools to maintain consistent education for children and young people.  All schools, colleges and other education settings are opening for the start of term, with all those in areas subject to local restrictions currently at Tier 1 – fully open to all pupils full time, with face coverings required in corridors and communal areas for pupils in Year 7 and above.  Local authority leaders and directors of public health, alongside national government, would be at the centre of any decision making to move out of Tier 1 for education settings.  They would take all other possible measures, including implementing restrictions on other sectors, before considering restricting attendance in education.  More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-possible-measures-to-be-taken-before-schools-and-colleges-close

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme Closes

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme closed on 31 August 2020.  If you have registered your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme and offered scheme discounts to diners on Mondays to Wednesdays between 3 and 31 August, you can claim back the discount given on food and non-alcoholic drinks and submit weekly claims for August until 30 September.  You can make up to 5 claims before 30 September – you cannot claim after that.  When you sign into the service you must choose the periods that you are claiming for, from:

  • 3 to 5 August
  • 10 to 12 August
  • 17 to 19 August
  • 24 to 26 August
  • 31 August

You can find more information and claim here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-money-back-through-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

Businesses unable to reopen 

Blackburn with Darwen Council is lobbying government to allow businesses in the protection zone to reopen.  The Council is also urging for more financial support for businesses which have suffered during the lockdown.  The government is set to look at the Council’s proposals but has said it wants to consider the matter further. Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council, said: “Businesses have suffered terribly over the last few months. Of course, keeping the public safe is paramount but all the data shows that people are much more likely to get the virus from family and close friends in their homes than from a stranger down the shop.  It’s simply common sense to allow these businesses to reopen as it causes lots of anomalies such as a resident not being able to go to a gym on their street but can go to Darwen. The Council is very clear we will work with businesses to make them Covid-secure.”  You can find more information here: https://theshuttle.org.uk/council-continues-to-highlight-plight-of-businesses-which-cannot-open/

More testing centres in Blackburn town centre

As of Thursday, August 27 mobile testing has moved from Witton Park Academy to Penny Street car park in Blackburn(opposite Blackburn Bus Station), where it is operating 11am-6pm seven days a week. A mobile testing unit is also available at Corporation Park situated close to the gatehouse on Preston New Road operating 11am – 6pm seven days a week. Entrance for vehicles is on West Park Road and the exit leads out onto Preston New Road. Pedestrians can access from Preston New Road.  While the mobile sites accept pedestrians, a specific walk-in coronavirus testing facility has also now opened on the car park at Blackburn College.  It will operate reduced hours for the first two days (August 27 and 28) and then be open 8am–8pm seven days a week.  The site is easily accessible without a car but visitors are asked to follow public health guidelines around social distancing and face coverings when on site.  To get tested at any of these sites you will just need to register beforehand online or call 119. It takes about 5 mins to do.  Everyone in Blackburn with Darwen is being encouraged to get tested, you don’t need to have symptoms of coronavirus.  Rather than more testing meaning more cases and further lockdown measures, testing allows us to understand what’s happening with the virus locally. The more we test the quicker we can tackle outbreaks, get people self-isolating and bring the figures down.

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