Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates - 2020-07-08

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Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates
... & Important Emergency Notices ...

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This page last updated on 8 July 2020


Covid-19 Support Fund opens to applicants for golf clubs and facilities

ENGLAND Golf on 8 July 2020 has invited applications from all affiliated clubs and facilities to The R&A's Covid-19 Support Fund. In agreement with The R&A, a sum of ₤2,555,000 has been made available to clubs in England hit hard by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Clubs and facilities can now register their interest in the fund and begin the application process. Each club/facility may apply for a grant of up to ₤10,000.

The idea behind the fund and how to apply was outlined in a letter sent to all affiliated clubs and facilities today by England Golf CEO, Jeremy Tomlinson. "May I take this opportunity to thank The R&A for supporting the club and amateur game through this fund and you, the clubs, for all your efforts over the past few difficult months. The spirit of community, dedication to the game, a willingness to find solutions in unprecedented times and your support of England Golf's notes of guidance have been crucial to golf playing a prominent role in the nation's sporting recovery. The purpose of the fund is to provide short term financial support to clubs and facilities as they develop a resilient business strategy and then plan for future sustainability. Our aim will be to support as many applications as possible with consideration given to those applicants who have a clear financial need and can outline an ongoing impact from grants received." wrote Tomlinson.

The fund has been welcomed as a means to help clubs build for a brighter future. Clubs and facilities applying to the fund will be asked to commit to England Golf's policies on safeguarding and equality. Applications opened on Wednesday, 8 July 2020 and will close, at 4pm, on Friday, 31 July 2020. Clubs will discover the outcome of applications from week commencing 24 August 2020 and monies will start to be distributed during September 2020.


Furloughed workers refusing to come back to work

FOR the last 3 months, more than 1 in 4 UK workers has been placed on furlough whilst the country faces the Covid-19 pandemic, and it appears that significant numbers don't want to go back. While furlough schemes have provided many workers with the opportunity to have a long period of time off of work while still being paid, we've found that many are reluctant or down right refusing to come back to work. Health and Safety software company Protecting.Co.UK have heard from many employers who are struggling to get their employees to come back into work, with the habit of being on paid leave seeming hard to break.

"Have workers become lazy after 3 months off? Just because the UK Government is paying their wages shouldn't mean they are entitled to stay off work and get paid to do absolutely nothing," s
ays company spokesman Mark Hall.

With the UK Government announcing that the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of October 2020, many employers are worried that their staff will abuse the system. "The UK Government is paying my wage so I don't have to work"  The current UK furlough scheme which has been put in place allows employees to receive 80% of their monthly salary up to the value of ₤2,500, paid for by the UK Government, but as over a quarter of workers in the UK are now on the scheme, there are fears that some people are treating it as a holiday that their bosses cannot call them back from. Protecting.co.uk surveyed 500 businesses about employees' reactions to being on furlough, and 10% of business owners have had to explain to workers that they can be called off of the scheme at any point and asked to return back to work.

Leon, Salford:- "I called up a member of staff to say we were happy to bring them off furlough and they could start work again and they point blank refused to come back for no reason other than they expected the UK Government to continue paying their wage. It wasn't like they even needed to come in, they would have been working from home"

Cynthia, Norfolk:- "I've had staff calling up and asking to stay on furlough, but I need them back at work. I've put all kinds of measures in place and it's perfectly safe for them."

Muhammad, Newcastle:- "I've had 1 member of staff refusing to come back from furlough because he doesn't think it'll be safe, but I've seen online he's been going on days out with his family to the seaside at Whitley Bay. I think he's just milking the paid time off."

Charlie, Bristol:- "1 lady emailed me and said...
''The UK Government is paying my wage so I don't have to work'' and no matter how much I explained to her that she was only on furlough for as long as I put her on the scheme, she did not understand it at all."

Hall:- "I know that for some it must feel like a dream come true being paid, but not having to go to work, but your boss is fully entitled to call you back to work as soon as it's safe and practical. I'm trying to encourage staff to return on their own terms"

Although it might be easy to assume that staff do not want to come back into work because they can't be bothered and they've been enjoying a paid summer away from the office, there are many people who are still concerned about the health risks of returning to work during the pandemic. Over ⅖ of UK workers are feeling anxious about returning to work after the lockdown, with many expressing their fears over lack of safety in the workplace and the general health risks that may occur. Hall:- "Some staff members might be apprehensive about returning to work amidst so much uncertainty, but by keeping them up to date with any changes that will be implemented for their safety and providing PPE might be enough to coax them back into the office."

This is how some bosses are approaching the situation, such as Tricia who runs an office in Devon, who says she's trying to be as flexible as possible to ease people into coming back into work. "I'm trying to encourage staff to come back on their own terms, and many are eager to come back to get paid their full wage again."

Mark Hall says:- "Covid-19 hasn't been a holiday by any stretch of the imagination; it's been a time of illness and frustration and tragedy. If you've got a job and you've been furloughed, coming back to work is important for both you and your employer, but only if it's safe."


Stamp duty holiday - is it enough?

THE UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced he will be cutting VAT on tourism businesses from 20% to 5% as part of a suite of measures designed to help sectors recover from Covid-19.   Simon Ainsworth, Head of Private Client at regional law firm Napthens, said:- "We are extremely busy completing many transactions instigated pre-lockdown, alongside dealing with an influx of new work since the property market was effectively released midway through May. The stamp duty land tax holiday will only add further stimulus to that. This helps those buying at up to ₤0.5m who will now pay no stamp duty at all. Even those buying second homes or investment properties will see some benefit although the 3 per cent extra duty due will still apply. As part of the overall initiative, we would urge lenders to adopt a more relaxed criteria going forward. We do not want to see the cavalier lending of pre-2008, but many lenders are refusing to lend more than 85 per cent of the purchase price and this often leaves first time buyers struggling to raise the deposit. They won't benefit from the stamp duty holiday if they cannot afford to buy in the 1st place. If lenders can help and the general economy also picks up then we would hope to see a sustained level of activity in the market beyond next March when this runs out."

Also responding to this, CLA President Mark Bridgeman said:- "After intense lobbying from the Country Land and Business Association, we're delighted that the UK Government has cut VAT to help our tourism sector fight back from a devastating start to the year. Until now VAT on tourism businesses has been much higher than in other comparable countries* putting domestic tourism businesses at a competitive disadvantage to holiday providers overseas. This welcome change from UK Government means more people will be able to afford to enjoy a holiday in the Great British countryside whilst also helping to revive rural economies across the country. The next challenge will be to ensure we are able to stimulate demand not just in the short term, but through the less popular winter months too."

The CLA called for a VAT reduction when it published its paper 'COVID-19: Restarting the economy in rural areas on the CLA's website back in May 2020.

* Did you know that VAT on comparable businesses in France is:- 10%, Spain:- 10% and Greece:- 13%!


LGA responds to the Summer Economic Update

RESPONDING to the Summer Economic Update announced by the Chancellor, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local UK Government Association, said:- "The social and economic challenge we face as a nation cannot be underestimated. We are pleased that the Chancellor has acted on Council calls by announcing investment in skills, creating jobs, apprenticeships and opportunities for young people. Councils have also been leading calls for a green recovery so initiatives, such as social housing decarbonisation and a focus on green jobs, are also encouraging steps. Councils are deeply concerned about local economic decline and rising unemployment. Locally led action will be key if every part of the country is to bounce back from this economic shock. Councils want to work with the UK Government on how to best target increased national investment to help young people and adults secure jobs and get millions of people back into work. With the potential for more than a million young people not in education, employment or training this September, the scale of the challenge facing our young people is enormous. A 6 month placement scheme for those facing long term unemployment is positive and this needs to be available immediately, as many were furloughed or lost their jobs or apprenticeships almost 4 months ago. Our recent research found a million green jobs could be created in England by 2050 as the nation transitions to a net zero economy. Localising and devolving skills investment, back to work support and a job guarantee is critical so Councils, which are driving the climate change agenda locally, can work with businesses and education providers to ensure everyone benefits from this expected demand for green jobs. We also want to work with UK Government, employers and providers to create green apprenticeship opportunities for young people as part of this green investment package. While the measures announced today are positive, there is also unfinished business when it comes to fully supporting Councils and some sectors. Councils continue to lead local areas through this crisis and are committed to working with the UK Government to help communities, but further measures are needed to fully address the severe financial challenges they face as a result. It is also vital that the UK Government develops a package of support for swimming pool and leisure centre providers if we are to ensure that communities do not see their cherished facilities close forever. The next 6 months have the potential to shape the direction of this country for years to come. With full funding and the right powers, Councils can grasp the opportunity to not just recover from this pandemic, but to go further and address the stark inequalities the virus has exposed, develop a green recovery, address skills gaps and rebuild the economy so that it benefits everyone."


Campaign for Pubs calls on UK Government to take action to stop the pub rent rip off

THE Campaign for Pubs, the grassroots campaign for pubs, publicans and all pub lovers, has called on the UK Government to take action to stop the pub rent rip off if they are serious about saving pubs rather propping up huge corporations and property companies.

The Campaign for Pubs has welcomed the fact that pubs have been allowed to open again, with strict social distancing measures in place, however trade is restricted and for nearly all pubs, considerably reduced and many pubs are still not able to open viably. In addition, surveys show that many customers are not yet returning to the pub. Yet some pub owners, some of whom have been charging full rent throughout lockdown, are charging rent based on normal trading conditions and figures, which threatens the survival of thousands of pubs.

The Campaign for Pubs have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP urging the UK Government to take action to tackle the pub rent rip off, because the large pub owning companies are failing to abide by the voluntary Covid Rent Code of Practice and are charging rents that bear no relation to current restricted trading conditions.

It is already clear from figures supplied by licensees up and down the country, including:- Campaign for Pubs members, that trade is restricted and reduced and that this will be the case for months to come. Campaign for Pubs licensee members are reporting that trade for those that could open over the weekend was down by anything between 30% and 60% from the same time last year. Pub tenants and lessees are also reporting that unrealistic rents, are the biggest threat to the continued existence of their pub businesses and that rent needs to be correspondingly reduced across the board.

The Campaign for Pubs have welcomed the Secretary of State's comments that "Our pubs, restaurants and cafes are the lifeblood of High Streets and Town Centres across the country and we are doing all we can to ensure they can bounce back as quickly and safely as possible". However in order for those words to be put into action publicans now urgently require action to stop the charging of unreasonable and unsustainable rents; and need the UK Government to step in and help all pub tenants by giving them all the right to a rent review.

The Campaign for Pubs are calling for the UK Government to do the 5 key things:-

1.Bring in a meaningful mandatory Covid-19 rent code of conduct including a statutory right to a rent review for all pub tenants.

2.Call on all pub owners who rent and lease pubs to offer a rent free period for all pubs and an extended period of protection from landlords if rent cannot be paid.

3.Abolish all "upward only" rent review clauses in all pub leases so that it is possible to reduce rents in future rent reviews if trading conditions continue to make current rents unsustainable.

4.To apply these measures to all tenants, including:- MRO/commercial tenants.

5.In the case of the big 6 Regulated pubcos covered by the Pubs Code, the right to a market rent only (MRO) lease should be available to all of their tenants and leaseholders in place of a rent review to ensure a level playing field throughout pubs in the UK, and the original determination of the Pubs Code being:- 'no worse off.'

The Campaign for Pubs, representing pubs, publicans and pub campaigners, have also warned the Secretary of State to note that to the big pubcos trade association, the BBPA, are refusing to accept the role that their members have in shouldering their fair share of the burden and instead hoping that the public purse will provide the means for their members and other pub-owning bodies to carry on charging unsustainable and unreasonable rents. This would not help pubs or publicans at all, the taxpayer's money would merely prop up the pubcos and go to shareholders and creditors. 1 of the 6 regulated pubcos is owned by a Hong Kong property company, another is owned by a company based in the Cayman Islands and a third is owned by a Mayfair based private equity company. The Campaign for Pubs believes the UK Government must save pubs, not pubcos.

The Campaign for Pubs have also called for ongoing support, in the form of further furlough support for pubs that cannot open and a VAT cut for hospitality, but are urging the UK Government to force the large pubcos to do their bit, rather than seeking taxpayers money to continue to charge unreasonable rents, that do not reflect current trading levels.

The Campaign for Pubs exists to provide a real voice for pubs, bringing together publicans, customers and brewers and allow who love pubs and value our pub culture. The Campaign for Pubs campaigns for a better, freer and fairer, more sustainable pub sector as laid out in the mission statement. The Campaign for Pubs costs ₤25 a year to join, or ₤40 for a couple and members become part of a national network of those who care about pubs and their future.

Commenting, Paul Crossman, Chair of the Campaign for Pubs and licensee of 3 pubs in York said:- "It's positive that some pubs are able to open, but is clear from publicans that pubs will not be at normal trading levels for some time and rents must reflect this, but do not. It's a disgrace that many pub owning companies are ignoring this and seeking unreasonable levels of rent. Unless tackled by the UK Government, this will cause many pub businesses to fail. It's disappointing, but not surprising that the pubcos trade association are refusing to tackle this and are hoping that their big pubco members can continue to charge sky high rents. So it's crunch time for the UK Government, are they going to support local pubs or the faceless corporations who own our local pubs? It's time to stop the pub rent rip off and to save pubs, not prop up pubcos."

Commenting, Greg Mulholland, Campaign Director of the Campaign for Pubs said:- "We welcome the fact that some pubs have been able to open, but it is clear from licensees up and down the country that, inevitably, with restrictions in place, that trade is down compared to normal conditions, yet rents don't reflect this. The Campaign for Pubs has called for ongoing support from the UK Government with pubs facing reduced trade and with some pubs still unable to open, but pubcos and property owners must also be made to play their part and cut rents. Otherwise the pubcos and some commercial landlords will continue to charge excessive rents and many publicans will be unable to make ends meet, so the UK Government must act and stop the pub rent rip off."

Dawn Hopkins, Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Pubs and licensee of the Rose, Norwich said:- "All pubs need ongoing support, if we are to avoid thousands of pub closures, but this support must come from UK Government and the sector. It's time that the large pubcos and other property owners stopped charging rip off rents that are pushing publicans out of business. For them to be calling for UK Government support, without playing their part, is disgraceful and it's time the UK Government woke up to the reality of the pubco model. It's time for the UK Government to decide whether it wants to save pubs or pubcos and if they want to save pubs, they need to stop the pub rent rip off."


New telephone booking line introduced at Litherland Walk In Centre

TO support and maintain the safe and effective delivery of care for our patients and staff, Litherland Walk-In Centre operates a telephone triage and appointment system with no opportunity for patients to:- 'Walk In.' As of Monday, 13 July 2020, patients will be able to book an appointment by contacting Litherland Walk In Centre direct on their new number which is:- 0151 475 4667. By using the appointment system, patients will be triaged over the phone by an experienced Walk-In Centre clinician. If they need to be seen at the Walk In Centre, an appointment will be allocated. The Litherland Walk-In Centre telephone triage line will operates every day, from 8am to 8pm. Those who only have Covid-19 symptoms will be directed to NHS 111. If you have Covid-19 symptoms and still require Walk-In Centre treatment for another problem, you will still be triaged and seen.

Dr Rachel Williams, Associate Medical Director for Sefton, said:- "We've introduced the new number and dedicated call centre to enable patients to contact the Walk In Centre directly, which will improve the triage process."

Delivered by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Litherland Walk In Centre provides consultations, advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. You can find out more about this service at:- NWBH.NHS.UK/Walk-In-Centres.


Fans of Prezzo in Southport will be excited to hear that we are opening on 9 July 2020

TO celebrate our doors being open again, diners will be able to enjoy some new additions to the menu; a new calamari recipe, 4 new pizzas (including veggie and vegan options), a new chicken burger, plus new cocktails and coolers! And……after performing well in our test restaurants at the start of this year, we're also introducing our Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (also available with gluten free pasta). We think Life's better with Bolognese, and now it can be enjoyed by everyone!

There are savings to be had as well with the Summer Set Menu. Costing just ₤15 for 2 courses, and ₤19 for 3 courses. Those that choose the delicious dishes from this menu can enjoy the same size portions with a saving of up to ₤7.50*.

As you would expect, keeping everyone safe and healthy is our top priority, so initially we're opening 35 of our 180 restaurants, and bringing in new initiatives to make sure customers are safe including:-

► All menus will now be disposable to ensure no contamination.

► Digital ordering from a smartphone or tablet using the QR code displayed on each table (customers can still order with 1 of our team if they'd prefer)

► Standard social distancing markers, hand sanitiser units, and posters with Public Health England advice throughout the restaurants.

► The restaurants are now cashless. Customers can settle their bill using Apple Pay or Android Pay, contactless or Chip and PIN.

Karen Jones, Executive Chair said:- "We can't wait to welcome back our much-missed customers to out Southport restaurant. Our sole focus is to blend safe and healthy working practices with proper hospitality to give our people confidence and our customers a wonderful, enjoyable return to Prezzo. Roll on 9 July 2020!"


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

THE latest number of UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections that have been laboratory confirmed, within the UK, has risen by 630 cases and the total number now stand at 286,979, that includes tests carried out by commercial partners which are not included in the 4 National totals.

Daily number of COVID-19 associated UK fatalities added to the total, was sadly reported to be 126 according to the Department of Health. The total number of deaths of people who have had a positive test result confirmed by a Public Health or NHS laboratory is 44,517.

In England, there are a total of 246,992 confirmed cases. North West - total of 43,002 confirmed cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 2,451 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 1,506 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 2,024 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 1,197 confirmed cases

► Halton, 687 confirmed cases.

► Blackpool, 1,020 confirmed cases.

► Blackburn with Darwen, 1,020 confirmed cases.

► Bolton, 1,824 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 1,278 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester, 1,951 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East, 2,192 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 6,668 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 2,905 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 1,856 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 1,593 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 1,629 confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 1,518 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 1,250 confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 2,122 confirmed cases.


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