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COVID-19 - Business Update 11.09.2020

Published: Thursday, 10th September 2020

The latest business related update in relation to Covid-19

Following on from the Government announcement on Wednesday 9 September we thought it may be helpful to provide a summary of the key points and links to the latest guidance and legislation.

The Cabinet Office has published the PM speech for your reference. It states that the following three behaviours are critical to preventing the spread of the virus:

  • HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • FACE – Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Click here for more details
  • SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.

Click here for the latest FAQs – what you can and can’t do.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

To fight the virus we must all take responsibility for our own actions. If you do not feel something or somewhere is safe, you must take appropriate action to keep yourself and others safe and to prevent the spread of the virus, with a focus on “HANDS, FACE, SPACE”.

 The government has announced new measures to suppress the virus and keep the number of infections down:

THE RULE OF SIX - From 14 September – click here

  • You must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. This change will simplify and clarify the rules on social gatherings, so they are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. From Monday, this limit will be enforceable in law.
  • There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups.
  • This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather/live together.
  • Education and work settings are unaffected
  • Organised team sports are able to proceed with numbers up to 30.
  • Weddings and funerals are able to proceed with numbers up to 30.
  • From Monday, 14/9/2020, this limit will be enforceable in law with £100 fine for the first infringement and the fine doubles with each infringement up to a max of £3,200.
  • Click here for the detailed guidance on meeting with others safely.
  • Sector specific guidance can be found by clicking here

CHANGES TO REGULATIONS FOR LARGER GATHERINGS

The government will review plans to pilot larger audiences in venues this month. Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high.

The Government will review their intention to return audiences to stadia and conference centres from 1 October (we are awaiting more information on this).

TEST & TRACE BECOMES MANDATORY FOR CERTAIN BUSINESSES – From 18 September 2020

Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. It will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data and to keep this for 21 days. Click here for more details.

The government has also published simplified COVID-19 Secure guidance, available here. Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses and particularly bad breaches will be enforced. The government will support Local Authorities and police forces to respond to breaches of COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

Southend on Sea Borough Council has increased its testing capacity and it is essential that we work together to prevent transmission. If as a business owner you have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within your workforce or on your premises, please ensure you immediately call 0300 303 8537 and select Option 1.

This will trigger an immediate response from both East of England Health Protection Team and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

The government, will introduce COVID-19 Secure Marshals to help local authorities support social distancing in towns and city centres (More information to follow).

For guidance on Test and Trace within the workplace click here.

EMPLOYEES ASKED TO ISOLATE OR CONFIRMED CASES

It is vital that anyone who has tested positive for the virus completely self isolatesfor at least 10 days to protect others and to stop the spread of the virus. Anyone living with or who has been in close contact with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus will need to self-isolatefor 14 daysfrom the last day they had contact with the positive person.  Even if they do not have any symptoms.  If anyone starts to exhibit symptoms they should arrange to have a test.   Further clarification can be found here: When to self-isolate and what to do

Employees are eligible to receive statutory sick pay for 10 days from the day they tell their employer. Those who have to self-isolatebecause they live with someone with symptoms or have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace can get at least 14 days statutory sick pay.

In both cases they may need to send their employer an isolation note to prove they need to stay off work.

 PASSENGER TRAVEL INTO AND OUT OF THE UK

  • The Passenger Locator Form needed for travelling to the UK will be simplified.

  • Passengers will be required to fill out their form before departure.
  • Border Force will step up and target their enforcement efforts at the border to ensure arrivals are complying with the rules.

LOCAL LOCKDOWNS

The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future. This has been introduced in Bolton, following a steep rise in cases, and will seek to restrict activities that may lead to a spread in the virus.

COUNCIL OPEN DOOR TO BUSINESSES

Southend on Sea Borough Council is keen to maintain an open dialog with businesses. If you have any specific questions then please contact the Economic Development team on 01702 215022 or economicd@southend.gov.uk. They will be able to act as a conduit to find the right person for you to speak to or answer your question directly.

In addition, representatives from Public Health, Southend Council and the Police will be available to answer questions are a series of virtual “Open Door” sessions. The next will be held on 7 October, 11:30am – 12:30pm. Please click here to book a place and the link will be sent to you to enable you to access the meeting.

 POSTERS AND RESOURCES TO HELP BUSINESSES 

Please see the link to access resources which can be used within your setting to support your COVID-19 messages about, symptoms, testing, isolation etc. Please click here or use the SouthendBID website

The Southend Tourism Partnership has developed the Southend Safe Scheme and has templates specific to the tourism and hospitality sector. Click here to access.

COVID-19 SCAMS 

Unfortunately, we have heard from the police that there has been an increase in COVID-19 related scams. Please click here for more information and please share as appropriate to keep your customers and staff safe.

COMMUNITY CONNECTORS HELP FIGHT THE VIRUS BY SHARING MESSAGES

A Community Connector is someone who is well connected and a valued member of their community.

We need their help to pass on or signpost people to facts and support about the pandemic to ensure we reach the widest possible audience as quickly as possible with key messages.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS) and partner organisations are reaching out to those who already share information in their community and could help this way.

There’s a simple sign-up form to fill out which will let us know how you would like us to share information with you, which you can then pass on to your community. 

This should not generate a lot of extra work or take up lots of your time, but if you can share information in your normal ways (like in newsletters, through social media channels or at meetings) and feedback anything you hear during conversations with your community.

If this sounds like something you could get involved with, please click here to apply.

FURTHER NEWS AND LINKS

  • Department for International Trade has published a new ‘bounce-back’ plan of trade measures for the consumer and retail industry to help support businesses impacted.
  • DWP has updated instructions for public sector organisations and exempt charities applying for the Kickstart Scheme without a Companies House or Charity Commission number.
  • PHE has published a new mental health campaign that supports the wellbeing of children, young people and their parents.
  • DEFRA has published updated advice on using green spaces and protecting yourself and others with updated guidance on meeting other people.
  • To contact your local Health Protection team, please call 0300 303 8237 option 1 (email- EastofEnglandHPT@phe.gov.uk; phe.EoEHPT@nhs.net) or out of hours 01603 481 221. If you are out of Southend then please click here to find your Local Health Protection team.