Liverpool City Region COVID-19 Updates - 2020-07-23

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

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This page last updated on 23 July 2020


Sefton Council to open play areas again

SEFTON Council is now confident it has the measures in place for its play areas to start opening after being closed as part of nationwide "lockdown" restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19. Initially, the Borough's four largest and busiest play areas, at Crosby Lakeside, Kings Gardens and Hesketh Park in Southport and Botanic Gardens in Churchtown will be open by Saturday, 25 July 2020. Others will follow on soon after. In line with Government guidance the Council's Green Sefton team is carrying out new risk assessments for each site and considering how to apply the guidance to minimise the risk of Coronavirus infection. At the same time, these inspections are being used to identify any faulty or damaged equipment, which will be removed or disabled before re-opening. Children will have to be accompanied and supervised by parents, guardians or carers while using play areas. Groups should not enter play areas and each child should have only one family member accompanying them. People are expected to maintain a 2 metre social distance from anyone outside their family or support bubble. And they are being asked to restrict visits to ½ an hour at busy times and not return for 2 hours, to allow everyone to have a turn. Parents, guardians and carers should ensure their children's hands are sanitised before and after using any play apparatus. They should also clean or sanitise seats and handles before using the equipment. People are asked to avoid touching their faces and to cough or sneeze into a tissue or arm when a tissue is not available to prevent risk of infection. Food and drink is not permitted and visitors should take their litter home with them or place it in a litter bin away from the play area.

New signage is being erected at all playgrounds to remind users of the measures designed to keep everyone safe. A limited amount of equipment such as certain swings will have to remain out of use for the time being to enable people to maintain social distancing. Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:-
"Throughout this ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, our priority has been to protect all our residents, which is why we have been carrying out this thorough process to ensure play areas can open safely in line with the Government's guidelines. With over 100 sites, more than 2,000 pieces of equipment and a limited number of staff this is a time-consuming process that will take several weeks to complete totally. However, we are determined to put all the measures in place to minimise the infection risk at each location and are asking parents, guardian and carers to work with us by following the guidelines to keep themselves and others safe when they visit."

People should not use not use play areas if they or anyone they live with has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive or if they have been advised to isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service. Cllr Moncur added:-
"As with each stage of the restrictions being lifted by Ministers, Sefton Council is adapting its facilities and services to meet the Government's guidelines but this needs to be a measured and thorough process. And it needs to be one on which the public works with us so we can re-open and recover gradually and steadily and avoid risks to our friend and loved ones as well as avoiding the setbacks faced in other parts of the country."


New report reveals the obstacles holding back UK's ethnic minority entrepreneurs

IT makes "moral and economic" sense to support the 3 million workers who have missed out on Government help during the Coronavirus pandemic, says a Merseyside MP. Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson attended a cross party meeting to discuss the plight of the "excluded." The Excluded UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), which has over 240 MPs in its membership, met this week and heard from workers who had been left with no support during the pandemic. They include those who began new roles after 28 February 2020, so were not eligible for the Coronavirus job retention scheme, Company Directors whose main income is from dividends, the Self Employed who have done some PAYE work or been on maternity leave in the past 3 years, self employed who had been earning over ₤50,000 a year and freelancers, including in the creative industries, whose income is from short term PAYE contracts.

Mr Esterson said:-
"The 3 million have been left high and dry by this Government. This could be as much as 10 per cent of economically active people in the UK. If they are left with no income, the knock on effect for the rest of the economy will be huge. If they have no income, they are not able to spend, and that is going to be a big hit to the economy."

The APPG meeting heard from two members of the public who had been affected. Mr Esterson said:-
"Tim and Julie brought to life just how tough things are for families. They have been incredibly brave. We must make the case for support both from a human and an economic standpoint. Human, in support of families facing real hardship. Economic, as the same families buy goods and services. Excluded UK members need financial help now and help finding new work longer term. Otherwise the hardship will continue and the economy will be deprived of spending power which will have a knock on effect on everyone else. That's the case that the Chancellor must consider. Sadly, the Business Secretary has stuck to the mantra that the Government is supporting many businesses. It simply isn't good enough of them to ignore Excluded UK members and the Government has to have a rethink."

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, 21 July 2020, the Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband raised the issue, saying:-
"The Excluded, include over 2 million people who are essentially self employed, but have been disqualified from help under the self employment scheme for various often arbitrary reasons. In many cases, this is not simply rough justice, but deep unfairness. Many of these individuals are not high earners. This issue of 3 million people being excluded is not going away. Yesterday, Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation, said that a furlough extension was vital to prevent a "jobs bloodbath" in aerospace and automotive. We see the looming threat too in sectors that have not yet reopened, such as events and exhibitions, and those operating well below capacity, such as hospitality. Yet from next week, the Government are insisting that every single employer, whatever their industry, will have to start contributing to the furlough. Does the Secretary of State not recognise that this decision to phase out the furlough, irrespective of circumstances, risks handing a P45 to hundreds of thousands of workers?"

Mr Esterson said he received dozens of emails from constituents who have been affected, including Small Limited Company Director, Mike Evers, from Thornton, who is an IT contractor who usually works from home. He has been unable to secure any work during lockdown and has had no support and could not be furloughed as he is paid via dividends. Mike was 1 of 3 people involved in starting a petition eventually signed by 348,000, which was delivered to the Treasury on Wednesday, 15 July 2020. Members of the campaign groups Excluded UK and Forgotten Ltd were also in attendance.

Mr Evers said:-
"For 37 years I was employed by the same company in various roles in IT Management and Business Transformation. I was made redundant and became self employed in 2013 and was advised by my accountant to set myself up as a Limited Company because I would not secure contracts as a Self employed Sole Trader. I was also advised to take a wage from the dividend mechanism twice annually rather than regular monthly PAYE, as the nature of my contract work was infrequent and sporadic, i.e. not knowing if there would be sufficient work/monies to support small regular monthly PAYE wages. I have my accounts checked and submitted to HMRC and Companies House annually. I currently pay 19% Corporation Tax, 7.5% Tax on Dividends, plus 20% Personal Tax. I have never claimed anything in benefits, ever; but when I have needed it most there has been no support for me. I have been totally excluded by this Government. And, there are millions like me in the same position. We are the self-employed Forgotten Limited Company Directors campaigning for the same support afforded to the self employed."

Mr Esterson has written to the Chancellor to urge him to look again at how the 3 million can be supported. He said:
- "These are the only workers who have not been helped by the financial support schemes, they haven't had effective Government support. It is having significant consequences now and it makes the recovery much harder. There is also a moral argument to be made as well, that they're the only ones that have not been helped."


Sefton residents urged to donate face coverings to foodbanks

WITH face coverings becoming compulsory in shops on Friday, 24 July 2020, foodbanks across Sefton Borough are now accepting donations of face masks or coverings in addition to other items. South Sefton Foodbank, Southport Foodbank and Shoreline Foodbank are accepting donations of face coverings using the Foodbank Collection Points in local supermarkets and shops. Donations could range from disposable masks to homemade coverings, which the Foodbanks will then distribute to their users.

Debbie Shelley Manager at South Sefton Foodbank and Richard Own Chief Executive Officer at Compassions Acts, said:-
"People are incredibly generous in their donations of food and toiletries to support the foodbank if amongst the things they would like to donate to us they include face coverings this would be really helpful. We realised that face coverings are not always easy to find and represent an additional cost for people who may already be facing financial challenges. By donating face coverings you will be helping people to access the services they need to support them at this time. We are reliant of the kindness of local people to support the food banks in the North and South of the borough. These are challenging times with more people using the food banks for support, we cannot thank local people enough for their ongoing generosity."

Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while still allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably. They can easily be made from things people have at home like an old t-shirt, or by simply tying a scarf or bandana behind your head. You can leave a donation at your local supermarket at the Foodbank collection point.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:-
"Many vulnerable people in our communities are facing a number of issues and worries at the moment so I am pleased to see this initiative to help ensure masks and face coverings are available to everyone across the Borough. I hope the people of Sefton will continue to show the generosity they have throughout the pandemic and remember to add masks or face coverings to their donations when they visit the supermarket."


The True Impact of Covid-19 on the Event and Promo Staffing Industry

RESPONDING to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Report on the impact of Coronavirus on the Department's areas of responsibility, Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson, Chair of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said:- "It is positive that the vital contribution that Councils' Cultural and Leisure Services make to our communities' physical and mental health has been recognised. We have been highlighting the perilous financial state that these services are in, along with many independent cultural and sporting organisations and are pleased with the Committee's recommendation that Leisure Centres should be given financial support before August 2020. Councils are working hard to support as many of our key partner organisations as possible, but their own services have been affected by loss of income, staff affected by COVID-19, and the need to redeploy staff to help the most vulnerable and the shielded. In light of the continuing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, particularly on tourism, we agree with the Committee's recommendation that specific support deals are continued, including workforce measures to support freelancers and small companies. If funded properly, our cultural and leisure services can play a critical role in the nation's recovery and the Government should therefore urgently consider these recommendations."


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

THE total number of UK Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections that have been laboratory confirmed, within the UK, has risen by 769 cases and the total number now stand at 297,146, 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
53 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 45,554.

In England, there are a total of 255,740 confirmed cases. North West - total of 44,678 confirmed cases. The number of laboratory confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 2,489 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 1,549 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 2,054 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 1,200 confirmed cases

► Halton, 697 confirmed cases.

► Blackpool, 1,038 confirmed cases.

Blackburn with Darwen, 1,243 confirmed cases.
.    Under local lockdown warning
     Numbers up by 20 cases.

► Bolton, 1,924 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 1,310 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester,1,261 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East,2,226 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 6,937 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 3,068 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 1,961 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 1,783 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 1,665 confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 1,556 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 1,317 confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 2,151 confirmed cases.

An urgent warning has also been issued to residents in Pendle...


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