Emergancy COVID-19 Notices for the  Liverpool City Region - 8 April 2020

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AS This page is to place quick update important notices that are being sent to us from Government and other organisations over the Coronavirus Emergency affecting our country (UK)...  Please remember that the information changes quickly, so always check to see what time and when the last post was made.  We will update as and when we can...  Users of our Formby Reporter's Free Email Service will get most updates 1st and then they will be added on here as soon as we can...  If you have any updates to send in or any views on the posts on here, please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

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This page last updated on 8 April 2020

Liverpool's libraries may be temporarily closed but it hasn't stopped the City reading

THE Read Liverpool website where residents, students and anyone who works in the city can sign up to borrow e-Books and e-Audio books has seen visits shoot up from an average of 50 to about 400 visits each day, showing that Liverpool's Year of Reading is still going strong. The libraries closed their doors, on Monday, 23 March 2020 and from then until 5 April 2020 almost 4,500 new users have signed up to access the Library Service's Digital Resources. March was also the e-Library's busiest month ever with almost 2,000 users, checking out almost 8,000 books. More books, from classics to the newly published, are being added all the time; even during the lockdown. Not only that, readers can also borrow magazines and newspapers using the Press Reader app. Residents can still enjoy the digital resources even if they don't already have a library card, you. They can sign up via the Read Liverpool website without already being a member of the City's Library Services. Users can access the e-Library using a variety of devices including Kindles, other e-readers, Android and Apple devices, and desktop PC's.

David Stoker, Liverpool City Council's Interim Head of Libraries, said:- "We know that our library service is cherished by so many people in the City. A trip to the library to browse the shelves and to choose something new to read is an important part of so many people's routine. This is why we're delighted that we have seen an increase in people accessing our digital library. We know that when people start using this service, even though they may be reluctant at 1st, they are very impressed with what they find. Even diehard fans of printed books are very pleasantly surprised when they start using one of the apps such as Libby. It's incredibly user friendly and has great accessibility features which means it can be used by people who usually borrow large print books. We'd urge anyone who may know someone who is missing using their community library and who might not be very tech savvy to encourage them to sign up at Read Liverpool; it's quick and easy and they're sure to find something they'll want to read."

Metro Mayor Announces Free Travel for NHS Staff on Liverpool City Region Buses and Merseyrail

STEVE Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region has announced that NHS staff will be able to travel for free on buses and Merseyrail trains across the City region. The announcement, made jointly with transport operators:- Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseyrail, follows a request direct from the Metro Mayor to the transport operators.

Announcing the move, Mayor Rotheram said:- "We want to do everything we can to support our frontline NHS workers as they bravely battle the Coronavirus, so I'm very pleased that today Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseyrail have responded to my call and agreed to provide free transport for our NHS heroes. This is the latest transport measure the Combined Authority and transport operators have been able to bring forward to support use of our transport network for essential journeys, including the temporary suspension of Mersey Tunnel tolls and relaxing the rules on concessionary travel for those who absolutely have to travel for medicines and other essential items. The advice of course remains that people should only travel if absolutely necessary during this period of lockdown."

NHS staff will be able to travel for free on production of a valid NHS photo staff passes as they board the bus, at Merseyrail stations or on Merseyrail trains. It will come in to effect from this Friday, 10 April 2020.

Area Managing Director for Arriva Merseyside, on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance, Howard Farrall said:- "We're pleased at this decision to allow NHS staff to travel for free across the Liverpool City Region, and the Bus Alliance is incredibly proud to be a part of this. We ask that everybody using the bus maintains a safe 2 metre distance from each other to ensure they and our drivers remain safe."

Andy Heath, Managing Director at Merseyrail, said:- "NHS workers are doing an incredible job battling COVID-19 so we are delighted to be able to support them by offering free travel to and from work on our train services. As we are running a reduced timetable due to the pandemic, we encourage passengers to check our website and social media for more information. We'd like to remind passengers that our trains are for key workers and those making essential journeys only. Please stay home, protect the NHS and save lives."

The move has been made possible as a condition of operators continuing to receive payments made under the concessionary travel scheme, under which the number of journeys has plummeted as people adhere to the rules, stay home and make only absolutely essential journeys. The period of free travel will be kept under review alongside other temporary transport measures implemented in response to the Coronavirus crisis and during the period of lockdown.

Council tip closures prompt renewed call for action on fly tippers

THE Coronavirus pandemic has forced councils to temporarily close their household recycling centres (tips) to the public, prompting fears of an increase in fly tipping incidents. In addition, some councils have also scaled back bin collections. The CLA encourages both landowners and farmers, along with the public, to report any fly tipping incidents to their Local Authorities. Farmers and landowners can go some way to preventing fly tipped waste on their land by ensuring gates to fields are locked, opening up concealed entrances so they more visible to passersby, using CCTV in black spots and reporting all instances to the local police force or local authority.

CLA Director North Dorothy Fairburn said:- "It is shocking to hear reports of fly tipping incidents especially at this time of lock down. The closure of tips is understandable, but can't be used as an excuse to dump rubbish in our countryside. Local Authorities don't usually get involved with clearing incidences of fly tipped waste from private land leaving the landowner cleaning up and footing the bill, and if not, they risk prosecution for illegal storage of waste. This is simply not right or fair."

The CLA, which represent 30,000 landowners and farmers in England and Wales, have long called for decisive action in tackling this scourge by publishing a 5 point action plan in 2017. As a result the government has introduced new regulations in 2018 which enabled Local Councils to issue fixed penalty notices or fines of up to ₤400 for small scale fly tipping. Fly tipping can be reported to local councils via a dedicated online website. Waste crime can also be reported in confidence and anonymously to Crimestoppers, by phoning:- 0800 555 111.d

Bereaved families urged not to delay burial arrangements during coronavirus outbreak

HEALTH Officials and religious leaders in Liverpool are reaching out to bereaved families across the City Region to ensure that deaths are registered quickly and funerals can take place as soon as possible. With extra pressure being placed on public services due to the Coronavirus outbreak, partners across the City Region are doing all they can to make sure vital services continue to operate effectively. With an increase in the number of deaths due to COVID-19, officials and faith leaders say it is important that funerals are not delayed to ensure that the region's mortuary facilities can continue to cope. To slow the spread of the virus, restrictions have been placed on the number of people who can attend a funeral service. However, both the health service and faith community say that the burial and cremation process must continue and urged against families attempting to delay the ceremonies. Liverpool's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is in the process of writing to all GP Surgeries to help spread the message amongst the public.

In a joint letter to the people of the region, The Bishop of Liverpool, The Rt Reverend Paul Bayes and The Archbishop of Liverpool, The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon, say:- "We realise these are challenging times for everybody, but especially for those who have experienced bereavement, whether or not this has been caused by COVID-19. The people of Liverpool and the entire City Region are working hard to keep each other safe and well; this has meant that sacrifices have often had to be made. It is imperative that funerals take place as soon as possible at the moment: it is not an option to delay the funeral until after COVID-19 has been brought under control."

The letter adds that whilst the funeral ceremony may not be the 1 that families wanted for their loved ones, local Churches would be able to help in organising services of tribute and celebration once the outbreak is over.

For information about how to register a death in Liverpool, visit:- Liverpool.Gov.UK and search'register a death.'

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Gary Oakford, who is helping to co-ordinate the region's resilience response to COVID-19, said:- "We appreciate this will be a very difficult time for bereaved families and our deepest sympathies lie with anyone who has lost a loved 1. However, we as a community are facing a challenge the likes of which we have never faced before, which is why we are asking everyone to work with us and follow the advice. Our faith network and funeral directors are working hard to ensure that every bereavement is treated with the dignity and respect it deserves and there will be the opportunity to hold a fitting celebration of your loved one's life once these difficult times are behind us."

Sefton Council rolls out business support funding and support to local businesses during Covid-19

BUSINESSES in Sefton are being offered a series of support packages, as measures are taken and developed to tackle the impact of Covid-19. The response is being driven by Sefton's Business Rates team with support from InvestSefton, which leads on the Council's business support. Dedicated information is available on all aspects of the strategy being implemented to support businesses on the InvestSefton website.

InvestSefton has assembled details of all the financial support and general guidance that is available for businesses at both a local and national level, which it will keep updating and sharing as new measures are announced. At present this includes information on business rates, funding schemes, the self-employment income scheme, the Coronavirus retention scheme and measures in place to cover statutory sick pay.

Crucially, InvestSefton is working with partners to lobby on the issues where it believes that further support is needed. It will do this by identifying where it believes the gaps may lie and by listening to the concerns of businesses in the Borough. One of the subjects it is already focusing upon, is to try and ensure that all small businesses receive the help they need within the plans being developed by Central Government.

Of the grant schemes already in place that will be delivered by Sefton Council, the Small Business Grant Fund provides grants of ₤10,000 in cash to the smallest businesses; those that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief. For those in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector there is a separate fund, also based on business rates. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund will award businesses with a rateable value of between ₤15,000 and ₤51,000 a grant of ₤25,000.

Eligible businesses for both funds have been written to directly by Sefton Council. If you think you are eligible and want to submit an application you can also do so directly from:- Forms.Sefton.Gov.UK/Covid19BusinessForm.

Cllr Ian Maher, Sefton Council's Labour Leader, says:- "We have been working hard across the Borough giving advice to businesses and individuals on the help and funding available to support them, to date we have sent over 4,700 letters to eligible businesses with over 50% returned already. All businesses in all sectors, and of all sizes, are important to Sefton, not only in providing employment to residents, but also for all that they contribute to the prosperity and growth of the Borough. We are committed to providing the valuable support that businesses need in lots of different ways such as ensuring grant payments are processed as quickly as possible. We have already taken thousands of calls assisting Sefton businesses to access the correct information and will continue to do so."

InvestSefton is the leading voice for Sefton's business community, placing it at the forefront of Sefton Council's work to support businesses impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown. With a dedicated team of experts and resources in place, InvestSefton began to implement a Covid-19 strategy and response in early March, this means that it has been able to provide the necessary support, latest information and already started to lobby in the areas where it believes further action is required.

Businesses can call the InvestSefton team for advice on:- 0151 934 3452. However, due to the high volume of calls being received, businesses are recommended to look on the website first as this is constantly being updated with the very latest information:- InvestSefton.Com. Businesses can also email:- InvestSefton@Sefton.Gov.UK.

TSB launches Smart Agent to help customers impacted by Coronavirus

TSB has launched a new Smart Agent function on its website to give customers immediate access to the measures the Bank has introduced during the Coronavirus pandemic, including how to apply for a repayment holiday on mortgages, personal loans and business loans. Customers now have the ability to ask questions and get their answers'live' from TSB's employees - the 1st time TSB has provided this functionality.

This new approach is freeing up TSB's employees in branches and contact centres to focus on serving its most vulnerable customers or those that need essential bank services. Since launching on 25 March 2020, Smart Agent has answered over 11,000 customer requests using a combination of a chatbot and employees. Before introducing the chat function, these requests would typically have led to a call being made to the Bank's contact centres or a visit to the branch.

Working closely with its technology partner, IBM, TSB was able to introduce Smart Agent in just 5 days. Over 250 TSB employees have now been trained to provide the service. These employees, the majority of whom are working from home, are from all areas of the bank that have stepped in to support customers during this difficult time.

Smart Agent has also been enhanced to include the ability to authenticate the identity of customers which will enable Smart Agent to be further tailored to their individual needs. The service will also be included within the TSB mobile App.

TSB's Chief Operating Officer, Suresh Viswanathan, said:- "We're determined to help our customers in every way we can during this difficult period. That's why it was important to deliver this solution quickly and I'm pleased we've been able to get it up and running in 5 days, it's a testament to our teams working in partnership with IBM and our modern banking platform. It means that our colleagues across TSB who may be working from home can continue to help customers to access all our online and digital services."

365 Support Ltd. responds to:- "Care worker loses husband, is diagnosed with Covid-19 and is sacked by 'trigger happy' managers"

"We are a company that always endeavours to support our staff and are most upset at the way that this matter is being portrayed. We are a small company that could be significantly damaged by misinformation which is unfortunately occurring here. We would like to make the following facts clear. The staff member in question was dismissed from 365 Support on the 12 March 2020, for a serious matter where there were already warnings on her file for similar occurrences. The staff member emailed a short time before the hearing was due to take place asking for this hearing to go on her absence as she was recovering from a chest infection. May we point out that we have only been informed in the past few days that this was potentially for Covid-19 reasons, and would also like to emphasise the fast moving position of this virus and that at the time we would not have thought anything other than what we were told directly from the staff member. The Government advised for lockdown to take place on the 23 March 2020, almost 2 weeks after the staff members dismissal. The staff member also expressed her wishes for the hearing to go ahead in her absence. At no point we were made aware that the reason behind her not attending the hearing was due to Covid-19 and she requested that this go ahead in her absence. We made attempts to contact the staff member throughout the hearing and we were unable to do so. We have become indirectly aware that the staff members partner passed away a number of days after the hearing. We of course send our thoughts to the staff member and her family, however this does not take away from the serious nature behind her dismissal. We are currently setting up an appeal hearing with the staff member, and if she is successful, we will of course backdate payment to her. We would like to reiterate that we send our thoughts to the staff member during a difficult time for her, however we have a regulatory responsibility that we must adhere to, and the serious nature behind her dismissal must be remembered when taking in to account the position that she was in supporting vulnerable people. We hope this clarifies the position." 365 Support Limited.

The previous report can be seen here.

Southport Food and Drink Festival 2020 Cancelled

DUE to the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation in the UK and the impact that it is having, Sefton Council has been forced to take the decision to cancel the upcoming Southport Food and Drink Festival. This was due to take place from Friday, 29 May 2020 to Sunday, 31 May 2020.  The festival, which would have been in its 14th year, was created to showcase the region's best food and drink producers and combines this with live entertainment for family audiences to enjoy a day at the seaside with a difference. It will return to its home in the beautiful Victoria Park, Southport, in 2021.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council's Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, says:- "Following careful consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year's Southport Food and Drink Festival, which was due to take place on the weekend of 29 May to  31 May 2020. We understand this news will disappoint a lot of people, but we all have to work hard to stay safe and protect the health and the wellbeing of our communities, and this is the forefront of our decision. We look forward to welcoming everyone again next year."

With lots of vast beaches and park space, Visit Southport has been urging people to continue to follow UK government advice, which is to stay at home, stay safe, save lives. When it is again safe to do so it will ensure a warm welcome awaits visitors to Southport. To find out more about Visit Southport's response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and to receive updates visit:- VisitSouthport.com/Coronavirus.

Total UK cases COVID-19 Cases Update for Liverpool City Region and surroundings

THE number of fatalities by 938 to 7,097. The number of COVID-19 infections has risen by 5,491 in just a day, to 60,733, the Department of Health said. In England, there are a total of 50,756 confirmed cases by NHS Hospitals. North West - total reported was 6,640 confirmed cases. Current confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 587 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 306 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 288 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 269 confirmed cases.

► Halton, 127 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 1026 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester, 261 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East, 226 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 395 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 298 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 257 confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 209 confirmed cases.

► Bolton, 204 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 195 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 166 confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 191 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 248 confirmed cases.

► Blackburn with Darwen, 92 confirmed cases.

These stats are according to Public Health England as of 08/04/2020..


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