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UPDATE ON EFFECTS OF COVID-19 ON ROCHDALE TOWN CENTRE 12/05/2020

Rochdale BID want to keep you updated with the latest news, information and advice during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Please check our website daily for more updates for businesses and website individuals.

Furlough scheme - extended

The UK scheme to pay wages of workers on leave because of coronavirus will be extended to October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.

He said the government backed workers and companies going into the lockdown, and would support them coming out.

Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500.

But he said the government will ask companies to "start sharing" the cost of the scheme from August onwards.

Mr Sunak rejected suggestions some people might get "addicted" to furlough if it was extended.

Some 7.5 million workers are now covered by the scheme, up from 6.3 million last week, he said.

The chancellor told the Commons that from August, the scheme would continue for all sectors and regions of the country but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work, he said.

Employers currently using the scheme would be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

Guidance regarding the extension will shortly be issued.

Covid-19: government reveals recovery strategy

The government has set out its plan for the UK’s Covid-19 recovery strategy, fleshing out the details outlined in the Prime Minister’s weekend broadcast for a switch from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay alert’ to combat the impact of coronavirus and begin the return to work

The 69-page roadmap covers a number of steps, each of which may involve adding new adjustments to the existing restrictions or taking some adjustments further, depending on the infection risk at each point, and the effectiveness of the government’s mitigation measures like contact tracing.

As a start, in England from 13 May all workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.

As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow new ‘Covid-19 Secure’ guidelines, to be published this week. These will ensure the risk of infection is as low as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods.

When travelling to work everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. If they can, people should instead choose to cycle, walk or drive, to minimise the number of people with whom they come into close contact.

The government is to increase funding and provide new statutory guidance to encourage local authorities to widen pavements, create pop-up cycle lanes, and close some roads in cities to traffic (apart from buses) as some councils are already proposing.

The current aim is for a second step to be made no earlier than 1 June.  This will see a phased return to education, with children able to return to early years settings, and for reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller sizes.

Non-essential retail outlets will be able to open in phases when and where it is safe to do so, and subject to those retailers being able to follow the Covid-19 Secure guidelines. The government will issue further guidance shortly on the approach that will be taken to phasing, including which businesses will be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved.

Step three will be initiated no earlier than 4 July and will see the opening of at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care (such as hairdressers and beauty salons) and  hospitality (such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation). 

The guidance document can be read here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday 10th May 2020 relating to Coronavirus, the Government has issued updated guidance today (11th May 2020) (“The New Guidance”) which can be found here.

The new Guidance states that as the UK moves into the next phase in the fight against coronavirus, “the most important thing we can do is to stay alert, control the virus, and in doing so, save lives”.

As part of the current plan, “people and employers” are warned stay safe in public spaces and workplaces by following “Covid-19 secure” guidelines.

The Government has set out a roadmap for easing restrictions, but this is dependent on successfully controlling the spread of the virus, so the timing of it remains uncertain, as does the plan of how we are supposed to get there.

The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do – updated

The government has updated its Frequently Asked Questions Guidance as to what you can and can’t do. The full document is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Working safely during COVID-19

During the coronavirus outbreak, it is important for businesses to operate where it is safe to do so. The latest  guidance is designed to help you work safely and control the risks associated with running your business at this time.

The guidance explains measures you can take to help you carry on working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), for example by putting in place social distancing measures, staggering shifts, providing additional handwashing facilities and how to talk with workers to help them stay safe.

The latest guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Thank you

As we support one another through COVID- 19, it is important that we continue to share the right information and official government guidance to help keep everyone in Rochdale safe.

The BID wishes to thank everyone in Rochdale for adhering to this temporary way of life. It is incredibly inspiring to see so many local people and volunteer groups pulling their resources together to look after the most vulnerable in our community.

Useful Links

UK Government – Coronavirus: latest information and advice

UK Government - COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

UK Government – Coronavirus business support

National Health Service - Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Acas – Coronavirus advice for employers and employees

World Health Organization – Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

If you have any queries regarding the support which his currently being offered, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 07811 278517.

Paul Ambrose

BID Manager

12 May 2020