COVID-19 Daily Guidance Updates

This page contains information about guidance released previously, to view the latest guidance and support please click here.

Update 26/03/2020

  •  Businesses in Cheshire West and Chester can complete the support form to register any services they are providing during the Coronavirus pandemic, this could be take away deliveries or a pick up option for orders that have been called in and paid for in advance. These services will be promoted on the Live Well site and will hopefully become a directory which helps people to shop local without leaving their homes. Completed forms should be returned to gemma.baxter@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.

Update 25/03/2020

  • Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open. Rooms may also be provided to frontline homelessness workers who are included in the key worker category.
  • BIDs will be able to extend the maximum duration of their BID arrangements until 31 March 2021 by delaying BID ballots due to take place this year. This enables BIDs, and the local authorities who administer the ballot process, to concentrate on responding to the current emergency.
  • Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls that have closed as a result of Covid-19 measures to restrict the spread of the virus will be now be exempted from business rates in 2020-21.
  • Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19.
  • The government are looking to identify, develop and demonstrate rapid sanitising technologies. Innovations must be suitable for rapid deployment to clean public sector vehicles following the transport of patients with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June. There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed. This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent.
  • How to place a Coronavirus (COVID-19) test kit on the market
  • Vacancies available:
  • Morrisons

Location: Chester & Ellesmere Port Roles Required: Delivery Drivers, Customer Assistants 

  • Aldi

Location: Chester Roles Required: Store Assistant

  • Proman

Location: Deeside Roles Required: Production Operatives & Warehouse Operatives
To Apply:
Apply on Indeed or by calling 0151 317 4924 quoting ‘Deeside Op’

  • Countess of Chester Hospital

-Location: Chester Roles Required: Nursing, Medical ,Allied health professionals, Health science services
Support services,  Admin

To Apply: Visit www.jobs.coch.nhs.uk

Update 24/03/2020

  • £500 million Hardship Fund will provide council tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by coronavirus.
  • Banks are now accepting applications for the CBILS, the first step is to contact your lender (we will keep updating these links throughout the day):

Barclays

Lloyds Bank

Update 23/03/2020

  • Further measures have been introduced to limit the spread of coronavirus:

-people will only be allowed to leave their homes for only “very limited purposes” – shopping for basic necessities; for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; and to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”
-close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores – as well as other premises like libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship.
-stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with.
-stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but allow funerals.

  • Foreign Secretary advises all British travellers to return to the UK now. All British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where commercial flight options are still available.
  • Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.
  • £500,000 of funding is available for technology companies who come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of coronavirus. Funding of up to £25,000 per company is available. For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit techforce19.uk.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has launched today, please continue to monitor this page as it will be updated as and when these new accreditations are confirmed.
  • CBILS: KEY FEATURES
  • Up to £5m facility: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m, available on repayment terms of up to six years.
  • 80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.
  • No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: No fee for smaller businesses. Lenders will pay a fee to access the scheme.
  • Interest and fees paid by Government for 12 months: The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees[1], so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.[2]
  • Finance terms: Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.
  • Security: At the discretion of the lender, the scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under. For facilities above £250,000, the lender must establish a lack or absence of security prior to businesses using CBILS.
  • If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.
    The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
    ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
  • Smaller businesses from all sectors can apply for the full amount of the facility. To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, an SME must:
  • Be UK-based in its business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty.
  • A FAQ document about the scheme can be found here
  • The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility  has launched today, please continue to monitor this page as it will be updated.
  • Local government will be responsible for enforcing regulations requiring those businesses asked to close on 20 March 2020, in new guidance issued. Businesses including pubs, cinemas, theatres and casinos were told to close from 21 March, as part of government drive to reduce the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. Government confirmed today that Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where businesses do not follow these restrictions.

Update 22/03/2020

  • Cheshire East Council have published their sub-regional response to COVID-19
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council have published their sub-regional response to COVID-19
  • Warrington Borough Council have produced guidance for those who are self isolating and need support
  • The Prime Minister stated the country has now reached the stage where special steps need to be taken now to protect those especially vulnerable
  • The NHS will be contacting 1.5 million of the most vulnerable people and advising them to stay at home for a minimum of 12 weeks in new ‘shielding’ actions
  • Local hubs will created supported by a major national effort will create a support system for the most vulnerable – including pharmacists, supermarkets and local authorities, delivering medicines and essential groceries, the most vulnerable are defined as:

• aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
• under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone
instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
• chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
• chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
• chronic kidney disease
• chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
• chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone
disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
• diabetes
• problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have
had your spleen removed
• a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and
AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
• being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above)
• those who are pregnant

  • The Prime Minister stated the social distancing measures should be followed, otherwise stricter measures may be needed

Update 21/03/2020

  • The following businesses and venues have been asked to close:

-Food and drink venues for consumption on-site, such as restaurants and cafes.
-Drinking establishments, including pubs, bars, nightclubs.
-Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, and bingo halls.
-Museums and galleries.
-Spas and massage parlours.
-Casinos and betting shops.
-All indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms.

This measure will not impact the relaxation of planning rules announced earlier this week which will allow pubs and restaurants to operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak, which will help to support people who are staying at home through this period. This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers. Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect. Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit. Any forthcoming changes to licensing for delivery and takeaway will be clearly communicated by the government.

These measures will be reviewed every 28 days to consider their necessity and effectiveness, in light of changing circumstances. The government will look for opportunities to phase out their application as the situation improves.

View more about social distancing for businesses here

  • The government has also urged the public to take further steps to protect themselves and the wider population from the coronavirus, including:

-Everyone to stay at home unless they need to get essential supplies such as food and medicines.
-All those able to work from home to do so, unless their work is essential.
-Only traveling if absolutely necessary – while public transport won’t stop, this should only be used for essential travel  – for example by key workers to travel to and from work.

View more about social distancing for individuals here

Update 20/03/2020

  • Major advertising campaign being launched on Monday to advertise business support measures.
  • £1bn of support by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit, so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.
  • Suspending minimum income floor for self-employed, meaning they can access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
  • For the self-employed, the next self-assessment payments will be deferred until Jan 2021.
  • Increase of Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year and an increase of the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme offering government grants which will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme is open to any employer in the country and will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme Loan will be interest free for 12 months, not 6 as previously announced. Available from Monday.
  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from tonight, except for take-away food.
  • Night clubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been asked to close as soon as they reasonably can.
  • Government will defer the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June.
  • People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.
  • Schools, and all childcare providers are closing today, but are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response (key workers) and cannot be safely cared for at home. The guidance defining key workers can be found here.
  • ACAS are running a series of webinars advising employers. The dates and times can be found here.
  • Schools, and all childcare providers are closing on 20th March, but are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response (key workers) and cannot be safely cared for at home. The guidance defining key workers can be found here.
  • Supermarket vacancies are available across Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester in Winsford, Northwich, Weaverham, Warmingham, Middlewich, Crewe, Congleton and Audley.  Find out more here.
  • Competition laws relaxed to allow supermarkets to work together on coronavirus response. Find out more here.
  • People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.

Update 19/03/2020

How to access government financial support if you or your business has been affected by COVID-19

Update 18/03/2020

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
  • Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
  • Schools will close except for looking after the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children from 20th March. Nurseries, private schools and sixth forms are also being told to follow the guidance to close their doors.
  • Private childcare providers such as nurseries will pay no business rates for 2020-21, starting 1st April.

Update 17/03/2020

  • £330 billion of government-backed loans and guarantees that will be available from next week
  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. We now expect the new scheme to become available week commencing 23 March 2020. It will be provided by the British Business Bank through participating providers.
  • Relaxation in planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application.
  • Support for liquidity amongst large firms, with a major new scheme being launched by the Bank of England to help them bridge COVID-19 disruption to their cash flows through loans.
  • Stated Government actions are sufficient to trigger payments for those businesses with pandemic insurance
  • For the hospitality and leisure sector there will be a business rates holiday
  • £25,000 cash grant per retail and leisure business for those without specific pandemic insurance.
  • Strengthened support for people. In addition to the measures in the budget, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month “mortgage holiday” for those in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full.
  • £10,000 cash grant to the smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority – they do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April.

Update 16/03/2020

The full update given by the Prime Minister can be viewed here.

Some key information from the update includes:

  • Key new government measures:
  • Everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres
  • Everyone should work from home if they can
  • All “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease
  • People should only use the NHS “where we really need to” – and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible
  • By next weekend, those with the most serious health conditions must be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks”
  • The UK is now “three weeks” behind Italy – the worst-hit country in Europe
  • If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days
  • Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house “even to buy food or essentials” – but they may leave the house “for exercise and, in that case, at a safe distance from others”
  • Schools will not be closed for the moment
  • Chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty said the group of people who should take “particular care to minimise their social contact” were:
    – People over the age of 70
    – Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases)
    – Pregnant women.