Latest Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus tier restrictions explained

The Government has divided England into three tiers, representing the risk posed by coronavirus in a certain area – medium, high and very high risk.

Each one has different restrictions to help control the virus.

Worcestershire is currently in Tier 1 or medium risk.

Find out what coronavirus restrictions are in place in this area.

Whether or not Worcestershire is moved up a tier will depend on the level of infection in the county.

Worcestershire Public Health team has published a statement explaining when, how and why Worcestershire may go into Tier 2.

We can help save lives and avoid further restrictions in our area if we follow the rules.

Please do everything you can to help control the spread of this virus.

Wear face coverings outside schools

Collecting and dropping off children at the start and end of the school day can mean keeping a safe distance is hard. Worcestershire Public Health is now asking parents and carers to wear a face mask when dropping off children if it not possible to social distance.

Read more about parents being advised to wear face coverings outside schools.

Why self-isolating is important

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you must self-isolate immediately and get a test.

By self-isolating, you are not only protecting your community, you are also helping all those who may become very sick if they become infected and those key workers who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. It’s an incredibly important and effective way of slowing the spread of a disease like covid-19.

We now know that people can pass the virus on even when they don’t have symptoms. If you leave home while you could be infectious, even if you feel fine, you could pass the virus onto other people, including people who are vulnerable to very serious illness.

Read more about why self-isolating is important to protect your loved ones and your community.

Have a covid-19 safe Halloween

Halloween, like so many other events, will have to happen differently this year due to the pandemic.

The safest way to enjoy Halloween is to have a party in your bubble. There’s lots of ways to celebrate whilst doing what’s right for your family. Here’s just a few ideas:

  • Watch a scary movie together
  • Carve pumpkins
  • Decorate your home
  • Have a Halloween hunt in the back garden (think Easter but with pumpkins or treats)
  • Make Halloween themed food
  • Dress up – staying in is the new going out. Have a virtual fancy dress competition over a video messaging platform.

You could also go out for a spooky walk in your favourite Halloween costume with people in your bubble. Masks are encouraged! This year will be special as there will be a full blue hunters moon on 31 October.

Whilst on your walk you can play Worcestershire spooks safely Halloween Bingo. Whoever spots a line of spooky creatures or the whole bingo card, gets a treat from a grown up. It’s a nice alternative to trick or treating.

Worcestershire County Council has produced a spooks fun pack containing puzzles and posters to print off, colour-in and put up in your window.

Download the Worcestershire Spooks Safely pack.

Remember the fallen from home

Residents are being urged to remember those who sacrificed their lives in two World Wars, and conflicts since, from the safety of their doorsteps.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise across our district and restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus mean remembrance events will have to take place differently this year.

Wychavon District Council has issued advice to local organisers to help them plan this year’s events which will be small, socially distanced and invite-only.

Residents are being urged to stay away from war memorials between 10.30am and 11.30am on Remembrance Sunday (November 8) and Armistice Day (11 November) when these services may be taking place.

Instead people are being urged to pay their respects by standing on their doorsteps at 11am on both days to join in the national two-minute silence.

If anyone wants to lay a wreath or poppy cross on a war memorial then they are encouraged to do so at other times to suit them between 6 and 11 November.

People are also encouraged to print off the official poppy picture from the Royal British Legion website and display it in their window, in return for a donation to the charity.

Droitwich artist Rosie Philpott has also produced some posters that can be coloured in. If you download them you are encouraged to donate to the Poppy Appeal.

Poppies can also be bought online.

Download the official poppy poster

Download remembrance coloring in pages from Rosie Philpott

Find out more about local remembrance events

Cllr Richard Morris, Armed Forces Champion for Wychavon District Council, said: “All of us want to pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much for us, especially as this year marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War. This year we will have to do that differently as we fight an enemy of a very different kind to the one our troops faced.

“I urge everyone to print out the official poppy picture – or download one of Rosie Philpott’s and colour in their own – and display them with pride. We want as many people as possible to get out on to their doorsteps at 11am, and from a safe distance, remember our fallen.”

Coronavirus: Help for Businesses latest update

New Job Support Scheme announced

The Government has announced a new Job Support scheme to help protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Under the scheme, businesses will continue to pay employees for the time they work. The cost of hours not worked, will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee, by way of a wage reduction.

Find out more about the Job Support Scheme.

Cllr. Richard Morris
Wychavon District Council
Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism

Funding for Worcestershire agri-tech support industries

Pershore College is launching a call for grant proposals to support the development of the agri-tech sector within Worcestershire.

The grants of £1000 upwards will support Worcestershire companies to make capital purchases needed to develop innovations to improve efficiency, profitability, and resilience in the horticultural and agricultural sectors.

A total grant pot of £160,000 aims to help approximately forty businesses at a forty percent intervention rate making a total investment of £400,000.

The project is part of GrowAgri Worcestershire, a £1.5m joint initiative between the college and the European Regional Development Fund, which also delivers tailored business support to small businesses operating within agri-tech and agri-food industries.

For more information please call Project Manager Mark Harwood-Browne on 07809 163008.

Latest visitor economy updates

Visitor economy businesses can now check if they are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG). The grant is for businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by government. The grant is for businesses that pay business rates on their premises.

Many visitor economy businesses may have queries on the details in the recent guidance. Please see The visitor economy guidance for clarifications from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This includes advice for hospitality staff when wearing face coverings; and how event venues and hotel function spaces should comply with COVID secure regulations. There is also advice for coach tour operators and for guided tours.

Guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in England has been updated following the national measures announced last week.

Other guidance updates are as follows:

The deferral of VAT payments guidance has been updated, see Businesses who deferred VAT.

The list of jobs that qualify for travel exemptions now apply to National Lottery and advertising productions, and guidance has been updated for elite sportspersons.

The safer travel guidance for passengers reflects latest rules on social contact and face coverings.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme video guidance has been updated with information on how to claim the second grant.

Updates have been made to the guidance on how to self-isolate when arriving in the UK.

For more information on guidance and support available to businesses see the Visit Britain/Visit England Business Advice Hub.

See all COVID-19 updates and guidance for business here.

Malvern Festival of Innovation

Despite the pandemic the annual Malvern Festival of Innovation, Covid-19, Innovation-20, will not be beaten into submission this year and returns on 5 to 10 October 2020.

The Festival includes popular events such as The Next Generation Innovators schools’ event which will be entirely virtual with a curated morning on Tuesday 6 October. It will provide a unique and fascinating insight into STEM careers and tech innovation.

The popular Start-up Stories evening on Wednesday 7 October will feature insights from entrepreneurs. And on Friday 9 October at the morning session, the Environment & Sustainability business symposium returns.

The Family Show rounds off the Festival on Saturday morning featuring neuroscientist Professor Gina Rippon author of ‘The Gendered Brain’. This will be followed by the National Physical Laboratory’s outreach manager Andrew Hanson MBE explaining the fascinating science of colour, of which there is more than meets the eye!

Dr Adrian Burden explains “As we near the Festival dates, we’re looking carefully to see what we can host safely within the evolving legislation in front of a restricted live audience at The Coach House Theatre and the Malvern Theatres, as well as streaming the events live using Zoom and Facebook for a wider reach.”

Please see the Festival programme for updates and details about registering.

Construction starts on new workspace units at Vale Park, Evesham

Evesham based developer, Chase Commercial Ltd, has started construction on 28,200 sq.ft. of production and warehouse accommodation at Vale Park South, Evesham.

In conjunction with Wychavon District Council, Chase Commercial is constructing 10 new units ranging in size from 2,100 sq.ft. to 5,000 sq.ft. The units which are to be constructed in two terraces can be combined, if required, for larger occupiers.  The units are due to reach practical completion in April 2021 and are available on either a freehold or leasehold basis.

The units, targeted at small businesses, are the first phase of a wider planning consent that includes two further units of 22,500sq.ft. and 28,200sq.ft. respectively.

Julian Meredith, Director of Chase Commercial stated “We are delighted to be able to start construction with these units for which we are already seeing strong demand from both local occupiers and other small businesses from outside the immediate area. There remains a shortage of small new units for occupiers in and around Evesham and these units will go some way to filling that requirement.”

Wychavon is underwriting the cost of the units as part of its plan to help rebuild the local economy because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme has received £600,000 from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, which supports job creation, skills, and infrastructure projects.

Cllr Richard Morris, Deputy Leader of Wychavon District Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development stated “We are committed to helping our local economy build back better from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus crisis has undermined private investor confidence despite strong evidence of growing demand for small to medium sized flexible business space from local companies. This impasse threatened to stifle economic growth and job creation just when it is needed most, this is why Wychavon has stepped up to fund this scheme and demonstrate its confidence in our local economy.”

For further information please contact the letting agents on the scheme Alder King Adrian Rowley 01452 627133, SBK Tony Rowland 01386,765700 and Savills Christian Smith 0121 200 4507, or see www.valeparksouth.co.uk.

Julian Meredith, Chase Commercial Ltd; Kevin Zamur, Benniman Construction Group; Phoebe Dawson, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership; Cllr Richard Morris, Deputy Leader for Wychavon District Council; Shawn Riley, Wychavon District Council

Government apprenticeship incentive – don’t miss out!

Don’t forget, you still have time to hire an apprentice and take advantage of the Government’s apprenticeship incentive.

All employers that hire an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, will be entitled to Government incentive payments of £2,000 for apprentices aged between 16 and 24 and £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over.

The incentives are in addition to the £1,000 incentive already in place for those hiring 16 to 18-year-old apprentices.

To find out more contact Worcester Apprenticeships  on 0300 666 3 666,  info@worcsapprenticeships.org.uk.

Support from Wychavon to employ an apprentice

Along with the Governments incentive package, Wychavon is committed to helping and encouraging businesses to grow and employ apprentices.  We have been given extra funding to help businesses with the cost of taking on an apprentice, your business can apply for this funding as well as receiving the Governments incentives.

We have now added a tiered funding system to our business apprentice grant scheme, starting at £1000 moving up to £2000 for the higher-level apprenticeship. Funding is available to award an apprenticeship grant depending on the level of the apprenticeship being take (subject to qualifying criteria).

  • £1,000 Intermediate apprentice, Level 2
  • £1,500 Advanced apprentice, Level 3
  • £2,000 Higher and Degree apprentice, Level 4 and above
  • Low carbon sector applications will receive an extra £100 per grant
  • All funding will be granted on a first come first serve basis
  • To apply for a bursary, or business grant please complete the application forms at wychavon.gov.uk/business/apprenticeships and send them to Wychavon’s Skills Officer, Sue Owens, at Sue.Owens@wychavon.gov.uk

Apprentices – get help funding your apprenticeship

A new bursary has been made available to help encourage young people across Wychavon to enroll in an apprenticeship.

Apprentices can apply for Wychavon District Council’s new Apprenticeship bursary to help them cover the costs of travel, clothing and tools or equipment.

Apprentices can claim the following, where applicable:

  • Maximum of £50 per month for up to 6 months for travel expenses
  • One-off grant payment with a maximum value of £75 for clothing
  • One-off grant payment with a maximum value of £100 for tools or equipment

To be eligible for the bursary, apprentices must live within the district of Wychavon, be aged between 16 and 24 years old and be in receipt of an apprenticeship salary of £175 or less per week (this can be flexible depending on individual circumstances).

The aim of the bursaries is to encourage more young people to consider an apprenticeship as a viable choice for a career and to help them overcome cost barriers. More apprenticeship qualifications are being made available and some industries now offer degree level apprenticeships, which provide work experience while studying for a degree.

Funding will be granted on a first come first serve basis.

To apply for a bursary contact Sue Owens, at Sue.Owens@wychavon.gov.uk. Or complete the application form at www.wychavon.gov.uk/business/apprenticeships and send it to Sue Owens, Wychavon’s Skills Officer.

Employer Guide to the Summer Statement – People and Skills

In response to the challenges faced by businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic there has been significant investment in skills from central and local Government to support business recovery plans.

Apprenticeships, Traineeships, investment in the National Careers Service, and a new Kickstart scheme are the crucial elements of a new ‘Plan for Jobs’.

If you offer a traineeship in your business for 16 to 24-year olds you can claim up to £1000. A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most will last for less than 6 months). Traineeships help 16 to 24-year olds get ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

New or expanding employers can claim incentive payments of £1,000 for up to 10 learners to help with employer costs such as administration, equipment, and set up costs for example.

Employ a 16 to24 year old in your business for 6 months and claim up to £6500 from the Kickstart scheme.

The Kickstart scheme is for those aged 16 to24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. It is worth £2 billion and will give hundreds of thousands of young people, in every region, the best possible chance of getting on and getting a job. There is no cap on the number of places per employer. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week and employers will be able to top this wage up.

For more information on how to access these schemes please contact Worcestershire Business Central on 01905 677 888 or email info@business-central.co.uk.

Worcestershire LEP conference goes digital this October

A new virtual business conference has been confirmed for October 2020 to bring businesses across the county together and demonstrate the progress and scope of key programmes being delivered in Worcestershire.

For the first time spread out over 5 days, the Worcestershire LEP (WLEP) virtual conference will allow for a more comprehensive delivery of content on key business concerns, local growth projects and schemes helping to achieve the vision of a connected, creative, dynamic economy for all.

Taking place from 12 to16 October, each day will focus on a theme with a daily format allowing for users to plan their day around the content they would like to see from wherever they may be.

Each morning will start with an ‘Espresso update’ available in both a short-written piece and video format. This breakfast update will not only recap and reveal, but it will also be the perfect instant update for those that want to stay informed with links to find out more.

The main feature each day will be ‘Connections Time with Have Your say” where Worcestershire LEP Chief Executive, Gary Woodman will be joined by a panel of guest speakers to discuss and highlight what has been achieved so far on the subject, the benefits these achievements bring and their aims for the future. Viewers will be asked to contribute through polls to help shape the future approach.

Available on demand, WLEP will also release both new and archive footage every day through the week that will both inform and promote business in Worcestershire.

Each day will then end with some catch-up responses across social media to the day’s content alongside some previews of the content coming later in the week.

Visit the Worcestershire LEP website to find out more information on the topics, speakers and to register for the virtual conference – www.wlep.co.uk.

Everything online

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire Business Central are just two of many business support organisations that are providing online advice to support current business needs and future recovery plans. They both have a series of webinars available in place of events, training courses and face to face meetings to inform you on the latest government updates, business support, HR and legal advice, mental wellbeing and much more.

Here are links to book some of the latest Chamber webinars:

HR focus the new Job Support Scheme

Home working

EU Exit Are You Ready?

Kickstart

You can view all past webinars on their YouTube Channel. To find out about their virtual training days for the recovering business head straight to the training calendar for upcoming courses.

WBC offer free business support webinars to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic they are listed here – upcoming events.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter

New restrictions in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases

The Government this week introduced new restrictions in England to help tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.

They include:

  • workers should work from home where possible
  • all pubs, bars and restaurants must be table service only and must close at 10pm from Thursday 24 September
  • the requirement to wear a face covering has now extended to staff in retail, staff in hospitality and passengers in taxis
  • weddings are now limited to 15 people, funerals remain at a limit of 30 people

Changes have also been made to the exemptions list for the rule of 6.

You can find full details of the changes using the links below:

New restrictions announced on 22 September 2020

Meeting with others safely

Coronavirus FAQs: What you can and cannot do

In Worcestershire we are now starting to see the increasing number of cases of Covid-19 lead to a rise in hospital admissions.

Please do everything you can to play your part in reducing the spread of this virus.

Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, made an appeal this week to residents on our social media channels.

Watch Cllr Thomas’ appeal to residents

Protect your loved ones with the NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS Covid-19 app is now available to anyone aged 16 or over who lives in England or Wales.

It is the fastest way to find out if you are at risk of the virus, so you can take action to protect you and your loved ones.

The app has several features:

  • Trace: find out when you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
  • Check-in: get alerted if you’ve visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner. No more form filling.
  • Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.
  • Test: helps you order a test if you need to.
  • Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

If someone you have been near to tests positive for Covid-19, NHS doctors and scientists will use an algorithm to work out how close you need to be to someone to be at risk of the virus. A random unique ID will then be used to alert other app users so they can self-isolate immediately and get a test.

The app will help the NHS understand if the virus is spreading in a particular area, so local authorities can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.

The app does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where someone is.

Everyone you love is on your phone. Now your phone can help protect them.

Use the links below to find out more about the app and download it from the App Store and Google Play. Some older devices may not be able to run the app.

Watch the NHS Covid-19 app explainer video

Introducing the NHS Covid-19 app

NHS Covid-19 app privacy FAQs

Factsheet for parents and carers

£500 self-isolation support payment

From 28 September, it will be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The Government has introduced a £500 support payment to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate. We will be responsible for administering these.

To qualify for the payment, you will need to meet all of the criteria below:

  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit

Although people will be eligible for payments from 28 September, we are still awaiting the full guidance from the Government on how to implement the scheme. We have until 12 October to get the scheme fully up and running. People will be eligible for a back-dated payment.

We are temporarily asking anyone who believes they may qualify for the new payment to give us their contact details using a simple form on our website. We will then call you back to ask you to provide your supporting evidence and arrange to make payment.

This form will be available from Monday, 28 September 2020 at www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus

Advice on self-isolating

It is really important if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 that you self-isolate and get a test. Even if your symptoms are mild and you feel okay, you must self-isolate.

There are other circumstances when you may be told to self-isolate even if you don’t have symptoms.

The links below provide advice on when and how to self-isolate.

If you need help getting food or medicines while self-isolating, then the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is available to you.

You can register for help on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

If you have to self-isolate and can work from home, then please talk to your employer about this.

If you have to self-isolate and cannot work from home, you may qualify for the new £500 support payment.

If you don’t qualify for that, then you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or other benefits.

See financial support if you cannot work because of coronavirus for more information.

Access to testing

We know there are difficulties getting access to a test currently. This is a national issue and the Government is working on increasing capacity.

If you need a test, our advice is to please keep trying as slots do become free throughout the day. You can book a test online.

Remember, you only need to get tested if you have symptoms of Covid-19. These are:

a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Please do not get a test if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, unless you are officially told to do so.

Boots has produced a useful chart to help you recognise the difference between symptoms of a cold, flu and Covid-19.

New Job Support Scheme announced

The Government has announced a new Job Support scheme to help protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Under the scheme, your company will continue to pay you for the time you work. The cost of hours not worked, will be split between your employer, the Government (through wage support) and you, by way of a wage reduction.

Find out more about the Job Support Scheme.

New employment support guide

Worcestershire County Council has launched a new Entry to Employment Services guide, to help those who have lost their job during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The guide showcases the support that is available across the county for those who have experienced a major career change over the last few months. There are 33 services included in the guide, and the Skills 4 Worcestershire webpage has been re-designed to try and make taking that next step as easy as possible.

Download the Entry to Employment Services guide.

Great British Week of Sport

This week is the first ever Great British Week of Sport, an initiative set up by UK active, to inspire the nation to celebrate the power that sport, and activity has on our mental, physical and social wellbeing.

We also know that losing weight and being active can help protect you against Covid-19.

Support to help you get active:

Download the Couch 2 5K or active 10 apps 

Use the activity finder to find weekly sporting activities near you

Workout from the comfort of your own home using the NHS online fitness studio

You can find all this and more on the Better Health website.

Also, check out what’s on offer from our leisure centre operator Wychavon Leisure.

New campaign to support mental health of your young loved ones

The past few months have been hard on everyone, including children and young people. But there are lots of things we can do to support them at this time.

Better Health – Every Mind Matters will help you find what’s right for your children or young loved ones – whether it’s listening to them talk about the challenges they’re facing or helping them develop skills to cope with their emotions.

Find out more on the Every Mind Matters website

Is your business ready for the new NHS Covid-19 app?

From Thursday (24 September 2020) the NHS Covid-19 contract tracing app will be launched. This is part of the test and trace service and will be important in helping control the spread of coronavirus and protecting each other.

All businesses in the following sectors must by law display a QR code poster from 24 September:

  • Hospitality
  • Leisure and tourism
  • Close contact services
  • Places of worship
  • Local authority venues

Businesses in these sectors are also legally required to hold a log of customers visiting their premises, for those who do not want to check in using the QR code or do not have access to a smartphone or the app.

If your business operates across more than one venue, you will need to download more than one QR code poster. Please do not share the same QR code between different venues.

If your business isn’t legally required to display a poster, but there is an area where people may gather close together for 15 minutes or more, it is advised you should display a poster.

If you have a large venue, you may wish to consider putting up the same QR poster in different areas or even different QR code posters for different parts of your venue.

Community organisations with a physical location open to the public, and anyone holding an event in a physical location, should also download a QR poster.

Businesses found breaking the law face a fine of up to £1,000 and up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.

Getting a QR code for your venue is quick and easy from the Government’s website.

Get a QR code for your business or venue

Further information

A guide to creating a QR code for your venue

Tips for displaying your QR poster

An overview of how the NHS Covid-19 app works

Latest Announcement by the Prime Minister

The PM announced yesterday that where possible people should work from home.

From Thursday (24 September) pubs and other hospitality businesses should provide table service only and will be required to close by 10pm along with Takeaway counters.

Face Coverings should be worn by staff working in retail, taxis and inside hospitality businesses.

From Monday there will be a limit of 15 people at weddings although 30 may attend funerals and the rule of six will apply to adult indoor team sports.

The PM also said that they would be unable to reopen conferences and large sporting events from 1st October as originally hoped and they would seek to support businesses affected by this.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter

Act now, coronavirus cases are rising

Coronavirus cases are rising

Cases of Coronavirus are rising across Wychavon, as well as other parts of Worcestershire.

Although we are still some way off the point where full local lockdown restrictions are needed, Worcestershire Public Health is monitoring the situation. An outbreak control plan is in place and action will be taken, if necessary, to protect residents.

It is really important we all keep playing our part to protect ourselves and each other.

Please make sure you are following social distancing guidelines at all times and remember:

Hands – wash them regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser

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

Space – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and book a free test online or call 119.

You should also self-isolate if you are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

Read the guidance on how to self-isolate with a possible coronavirus infection

Read the Coronavirus FAQs to find out what you currently can and cannot do

Care homes across Wychavon closed to visitors

Care homes across Wychavon have been closed to all but essential visitors.

This is a precaution to protect vulnerable residents following a rise in Covid-19 cases across Wychavon.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: “The decision to stop care home visits is not one we have taken lightly. I appreciate this will cause upset and frustration for some of our residents and I recognise this is very difficult for families.

“Looking at the rising numbers of cases in the district, we are concerned about the welfare of our most vulnerable and the wider community. I need to protect those at risk and prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

“We will review this on a daily basis and will lift these restrictions when we see numbers falling again. This is a sensible precautionary measure, it is better to act now than later.”

Read the full announcement on the closure of care homes to visitors

Remember the rule of 6

From Monday, 14 September in England, you cannot meet socially, indoors or outdoors, in groups of more than six people.

Read the full guidance on changes to social distancing rules

Easing of coronavirus restrictions resumes

The Government has announced it will resume the easing of lockdown restrictions from tomorrow (Saturday 15 August).

The following businesses and services will now be allowed to reopen, as long as they can follow Covid-19 secure guidelines:

  • casinos
  • skating rinks
  • bowling alleys
  • indoor play areas, including soft play areas
  • indoor performances
  • remaining close contact services, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application
  • wedding receptions and celebrations for up to 30 people, in the form of a sit-down meal

Read the latest Coronavirus outbreak FAQs to find out more about what you currently can and cannot do.

Advice on travelling in vehicles

With more people returning to work and school or visiting destinations, the number of journeys being made by car is increasing.

Ideally the Government would like you not to share a car with people outside of your household or support bubble, but they know this may prove difficult.

They have issued the guidance below which you are asked to follow when sharing a car with someone outside of your household:

  • Share your vehicle with the same people every time
  • Open windows for ventilation
  • Wear a face covering during the journey
  • Maximise distance between people in the vehicle – e.g. leave some seats free
  • Clean your vehicle between journeys including door handles and other areas that people may touch

This guidance only applies to private vehicles. There is separate guidance for taxis.

Follow the rules so we can get back to normal

The Government has set an ambition to scale back social distancing restrictions from November. To allow this to happen we need to continue to drive down the number of infections.

You can play your part in helping us all get back to normal, by following social distancing rules:

Hands – wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser if that is not possible

Face – wear a face covering in shops and other enclosed public spaces where social distancing is difficult, and you will be mixing with people you would not normally meet.

Space – keep a safe distance from those outside of your household or support bubble, at least 1 metre

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and book a free test online or call 119.

You should also self-isolate if you are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

Read the guidance on how to self-isolate with a possible coronavirus infection

Read our guide on how to use face coverings safely

Some people do not have to wear face coverings by law. If this applies to you then the Government has made exemption cards available which you can print off.

Download face covering exemption cards

Be aware of those who have finished shielding

Shielding for those at increased risk from coronavirus due to certain health conditions, ended on 1 August. We know many people remain nervous or worried about going out and shopping or returning to normal life.

The Distance Aware scheme provides optional badges people can wear to show other people they may have difficulties or concerns maintaining social distancing, and to ask them to give them space.

Download give me space badges

We ask everyone to be mindful of the fact that others may not be as comfortable as you may be with the easing of lockdown restrictions, and to be courteous and considerate to each other.

Join the nation for a silent tribute to the fallen on VJ Day

Tomorrow (Saturday 15 August) marks 75 years since victory over Japan in the Second World War, or VJ Day as it has come to be known.

There will be a day of commemorations to mark this event including:

  • A two minute silence at 11am led by HRH The Prince of Wales
  • A powerful re-telling of the story of Victory Over Japan will be broadcast on BBC One with tributes led by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge
  • Veterans of the Far East campaign will be present at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to remember fallen comrades
  • The Red Arrows will take to the skies for a stunning UK-wide flypast

You can get involved in the following ways:

  • Join in the national two minute silence at 11am
  • Share your family’s stories on social media with the hashtag #VJDay75
  • Find out more about VJ Day by downloading the activity sheets and resources on the official VJ Day website

Many of those who fought in the Far East during the Second World War, came home to find their country had moved on without them.

Please don’t let them be forgotten again tomorrow.

Shop local and support your high street

This week we have been highlighting the many wonderful local traders we are blessed with in our district as part of Shop Local Week.

You can view the campaign on our Facebook page.

Here are 8 reasons why you should shop local:

Help the high street and support the local economy

Shopping at local businesses pumps money into the local economy, and by spending money in their local shop, restaurant, café or pub, shoppers can do their bit to aid our national recovery across the country.

Save jobs – and create even more

Supporting our high streets creates jobs in local communities, supporting often young and disadvantaged people to find employment. Helping to grow the number of jobs in our local areas makes for a better place to live and work, which then creates a healthy economy for the community.

Great deals

People might be surprised to see just how competitive the prices are in your local shops. Independent retailers often reward regular customers, while others often provide great deals that can’t be found in major outlets – meaning people save money as they spend. Consumers can also save money eating out – the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is being provided by the Government, saving diners up to £10 per head on eat-in meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in one of the 73,000 participating businesses. There are more than 100 taking part in Wychavon. Use the online restaurant finder.

A safe way to shop

Businesses across the district have been following government guidance and implementing a range of measures to ensure people are safe while they shop, such as customer limits inside the store, plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitising stations.

We have also introduced our S.A.F.E code to help people follow the rules and look after each other while shopping locally. Public hand sanitiser units are now installed in high streets across our district.

Working with Worcestershire County Council, we have also granted pavement licences to many businesses to allow outside dining.

Preserving the heart of the community

A thriving high street is key to boosting the potential of a village or town where people can socialise as well as shop. Local businesses also generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit communities across the UK.

Spoilt for choice

Small and local businesses often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere else, providing a great range of choice and unique products that bring much-needed originality and variety into communities – including rare finds and items that aren’t mass produced.

A better shopping experience

Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby. As the UK continues to recover from the pandemic, the experience of buying locally from a friendly face offers a dose of normality that many people may have missed.

Help the environment

Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint. When shopping local, people are also more likely to walk or cycle to get there – doing their bit to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.

New crowdfunding initiative set to boost funding for local projects

Charities and local organisations in Worcestershire are to get a helping hand with new projects thanks to an exciting funding scheme being launched by the County Council.

The initiative, called Crowdfund Worcestershire, has been launched to help local organisations gain funding through Spacehive, a crowdfunding platform.

Worcestershire County Council, keen to build on the success of its Here2Help community campaign, has set up the initiative to give anyone who lives locally who might have ideas about how to improve their community the opportunity to gain much needed funding.

The Council will be working with Spacehive on the initiative and has an initial funding pot of £85,000 which they hope will at least double for the projects through the crowdfunding they will carry out themselves, with help and support along the way from Spacehive.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities, said: “It’s great that we’re able to continue the community spirit generated from Here 2 Help, it has proven really successful, and we must hold on to it, as we look forward to the future and the recovery phase.

“Crowdfund Worcestershire is a great way for everyone to come together and help their local communities in whatever way they can.  Working in this way means that we’re able to do a better job of offering grant funding that can be increased with support from local residents and businesses, in order to better help those who need it. Local people are best placed to understand the challenges and opportunities in their local area and this model puts them and their ideas in the driving seat.”

The first round looks to support organisations in their bid to help in the county’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The County Council is keen to hear from organisations that have project ideas which need financial backing around the following five key areas:

    • Food Poverty – predominately focused on families
    • Social isolation/befriending – looking at virtual community connections / or adapted schemes that comply with social distancing.
    • Return to work – helping people prepare for a return to work or helping them into work.
    • Maintaining our volunteering offer – helping to create a legacy of community and volunteer action post Covid-19.
    • Healthy Communities – activities to improve the health and wellbeing of your local community

Spacehive is a funding platform that brings together people, businesses, councils and foundations to collaboratively fund projects that communities want.

In addition to county wide project creators having the opportunity to pitch for the £85,000, available for ideas that support the wider county’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations in Malvern Hills and Wychavon will also have the chance to tap into pledges for community based transport projects.

This funding, via the same Spacehive platform, will be led by Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Councils and there’s pledges of up to £50,000 up for grabs for this first round.

Charities and local organisations are being encouraged to create a project on Spacehive and pitch for a pledge via the Crowdfund Worcestershire platform by 30th September, by clearly outlining how they may be able to help maintain progress in the above key areas.

Spacehive will lead a programme of events for anyone who is interested in learning a little bit more or might want to discuss ideas that they would like to put forward. Free online events are taking place on the 13th August and 4th September. To book a place on these events, visit https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs/news

To find out more information about Crowdfunding Worcestershire, please visit the https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs or email CrowdFundWorcs@worcestershire.gov.uk

Lockdown easing delayed

Due to a rise in infection rates across England, the Government has today announced it is delaying further easing of lockdown restrictions.

Read the Prime Minister’s announcement on coronavirus 31 July 2020

What’s not changing

The following restrictions will remain in place for at least another fortnight and won’t be eased from tomorrow (1 August 2020) as planned:

  • Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos must remain closed
  • Conference and exhibition centres must remain closed
  • Indoor performances of live events are not allowed
  • Small wedding receptions with sit-down meals of no more than 30 people are not allowed
  • Close contact services such as facial treatment and make up application are not allowed
  • Trials allowing fans to attend sporting events will now not take place

What’s changing

Restrictions on those who have been shielding, will still be lifted from 1 August. Particular care should be taken to follow social distancing guidelines when meeting people.

New rules on face coverings

From 8 August it will be a legal requirement to wear face masks in:

  • Cinemas
  • Museums
  • Galleries
  • Places of worship

You already must wear face coverings in:

  • Shops
  • Banks and building societies
  • Supermarkets
  • Post offices
  • Public transport

Hands, face, space, test

We all have a role to play in keeping the virus under control. You can help by remembering hands, face, space, test

  • Hands – wash them regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or sanitise them with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if that’s not possible
  • Face – wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible and you will be mixing with lots of different people you would not normally meet
  • Space – keep a safe distance from others
  • Test – if you have symptoms, get yourself a free test and follow self-isolation rules. You can get a test online or call 119

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus you will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

What to do if you have symptoms?

Advice on staying at home (self-isolating)

Eat Out to Help Out

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August you can get a 50% discount, up to £10 per person, off food and soft drinks at participating restaurants. The discount only applies if you are eating in. There is no minimum spend and it can be used more than once.

Find an Eat Out to Help Out restaurant near you

Get in shape to help you fight covid-19

Gaining weight is often a gradual process – it happens over the years as a result of modern-day life and the odd unhealthy habit.

Extra weight causes fat to build up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease and now covid-19.

If you are overweight or living with obesity, lowering your weight can help reduce your risk of developing serious diseases.

You can learn more about obesity, and get support, from Obesity UK, the leading charity dedicated to supporting people living with obesity.

Help available to you

The NHS Better Health website has lots of support available including:

  • A free 12 week weight loss programme you can download to your device
  • Links to other paid for weight loss plans
  • Couch 2 Fitness – 9 week exercise programme
  • Free online fitness videos

Parking charges to return from Monday

Our free parking offer is coming to an end. From Monday, 3 August, charges will apply. You can pay using your mobile phone or with coins. If you do pay with coins we advise you to wash or sanitise your hands aferwards.

Parking will continue to be free for NHS staff, social care staff and official community volunteers (those attached to volunteer centres or similar organisations) while carrying out their duties. Appropriate evidence must be displayed (e.g a copy of an ID badge with sensitive information removed or an official letter).

Financial support available for you

Advice and support if you have lost your job

Help paying your Council Tax

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then check if you can apply for Council Tax Support

If you do not qualify for Council Tax Support please get in touch with our team and they will see if there is another way they can help you.

Email Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss your situation.

Ban on evictions extended

The Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict people renting their home until 23 August. Read the full announcement.

Citizens’ Advice is open for business

Citizens’ Advice South Worcestershire also remains open to support you if you need it. They offer one-to-one advice by highly trained volunteers, now working from home. Many are specialists in their fields such as housing, employment and debt.

You can contact their Wychavon branch in Evesham on 01386 712 100, choosing Option 1 or email admin.wychavon@citizensadvicesw.org.uk

Option 2 is dedicated to the Universal Credit Support Service.

The service is also part of the national Advice Line telephone service, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 03444 111 303.

Money management help

If you would like help to make the most of your money then the two online budgeting toolkits below may be useful.

Money Saving Expert Budget Planning Guide

Money Advice Service Budget Planner

If you need help with debt management or restructuring your finances then contact the CAB using the details above or you can get free help from The Money Advice Service.

Help paying your utility bills

If you need help paying your water bill then please visit Severn Trent’s bill help payment page.

If you need help paying your gas or electric bill then read Ofgem’s advice about the support on offer.