Non-Essential Shops Open
Shops across our districts opened their doors again on Monday as restrictions on non-essential retail were lifted. Our teams have been working incredibly hard to ensure businesses have the information and support they need to open up safely and that our market towns and shopping areas are safe and pleasant places to shop.
It was great to see so many people out and about in our market towns this week. Thank you to those who turned out on Monday to support the councils’ efforts and have their picture taken for the Confidence campaign. You can see the short films created from the photographs here.
Broadland – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZsL9B9HerQ
South Norfolk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-dkqnTHkco
Work continues to roll out the Confidence campaign, including putting signage and hand sanitiser units into further areas. We also continue to work closely with town councils and traders to ensure the measures we have put in place remain fit for purpose. Where there are issues and concerns our teams on the ground are addressing them rapidly.
With the non-essential retail opening up again our focus is now turning to the reopening of the hospitality industry. The government has said that this will happen no earlier than 4 July. We are working with the hospitality sector offering them advice and support so they too can open as soon as government guidance changes. The current situation is that cafes and restaurants may operate a takeaway service but not offer food or drink to be eaten on the premises or on seating provided by the business outside. It is our intention that when this guidance changes cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to utilise some of the space we have created in our market towns by changing traffic flows. At this point, the legislation still prohibits this from happening.
So far we have received 215 applications for a Discretionary Grant. 126 applications have come from businesses in Broadland and 89 from South Norfolk. The first payments were made last Friday.
Coronavirus grant funding
The data on council payments to small and medium businesses has been updated. As of 14 June, £10.36 billion has been paid out to over 844,000 business properties.Data: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses
Our teams are continuing to offer help and support to our most vulnerable residents.
Calls to the Hub continue to remain at 63% above ‘business as usual’ figures for this time of year. It is demonstrable however that this increase in call volume now appears to be entirely driven by requests for prescription collections, which now account for 90% of all deployments.
As prescription collections are now being undertaken solely by volunteers coordinated by the County system (utilising the Library service), it is clearly desirable to link residents in need of prescription collection directly with the County system. Work is underway to achieve this through the recently introduced IT system, Norfolk Vulnerability Hub. Once this is achieved we are expecting call volumes in the Hub to return to Business As Usual, in the short term.
The requirement for community deployment is clearly diminishing as lockdown restrictions are eased. As numbers diminish however complexity of cases increases with an increase in hardship cases, benefit difficulties etc. In addition to the covid-19 calls, there is an increase in referrals through the social prescribing route as GP surgeries and Adult Social Services again become more active. This represents a return to BAU in terms of the Community Connector Service and the wider Individuals and Families work.
Calls to the Benefits Team to claim hardship payments continue to exceed calls to the Hub. Calls in the week commencing 8th June are shown below.
While presenting needs associated directly with the peak of the crisis and the resultant lockdown are diminishing, every indication is that the ‘recovery’ phase in the covid episode is likely to present real and enduring challenges to residents as the recession bites. Teams are preparing to support and assist residents through this difficult period. Although demands are still high, as the lockdown-based needs diminish, we are preparing for this next phase which, it is anticipated, will result in significantly increased need in households across the Districts for a sustained period.
Where to find the latest information and guidance
|· Latest information on coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus· NHS information on coronavirus: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/· Q&A from Public Health England on coronavirus:https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/· FAQ from the Cabinet Office:|
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do· Public Health England’s guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health professionals and other organisations: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance· PPE guidance hub: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe· The latest travel advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus· Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhclg