Emergancy Notices - Liverpool City Region - Merseyside - 30 March 2020

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DAILY EMERGENCY COVID-19 NEWS
... Important Daily Notices ...

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.


This page is updated on 30 March 2020


Businesses font have to sack staff to get help with the Job Retention Scheme

SP Energy Networks has revealed contingency plans to ensure homes and businesses in Southport and other parts of the Liverpool City Region maintain their electricity supply throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

The plans being implemented by the electricity distributor also introduce special measures to protect supply for critical national infrastructure and public service sites; including hospitals, nursing homes, food supply chain businesses Ministry of Defence sites and prisons.

The UK has one of the most reliable electricity networks in the world and contingency plans developed by SP Energy Networks alongside other network operators, Government and electricity regulator Ofgem will ensure power continues to flow throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

Other major changes that SP Energy Networks is putting in place include:-

Rapid installation of new connections that will support the containment of COVID-19 including connections for hospitals, care/nursing homes, water treatment works and food supply chain business.

A commitment to continue any critical maintenance and repair work that secures the resilience of the electricity network in the short and medium term to keep the power flowing; prioritising power cuts and urgent safety issues.

Postponement or cancellation of new network upgrade projects that involve planned interruption of power for customers – unless it assists the restoration of power supply or if not conducting the work poses a danger to the public/ staff/ contactors or it supports short or medium term resilience requirements.

Deployment of teams to undertake connections projects that will provide additional resilience to the local or national electricity networkl such as additional generation capacity to provide more electricity where it is needed.

These changes will be implemented with immediate effect for SP Energy Network's 3.5million customers across:- Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, North Shropshire, and Central and Southern Scotland.

As a critical operational business, SP Energy Networks has already established social distancing measures and rolled out additional processes for critical frontline operational staff and control centre teams who cannot undertake their key roles from home to ensure they can maintain operations in the event of a localised outbreak of Coronavirus.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks said:- "We have 1 of the most reliable energy networks in the world and our top priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis will be to keep the power flowing for our customers in Southport while ensuring critical national infrastructure sites receive the electricity supply they need. We've already put huge changes in place to keep our staff safe and redeployed them on priority projects that will support the UK's national effort to tackle the Coronavirus. If you see us outside your home or we visit your property during the Coronavirus emergency, please be assured we are there because it is critical. It's absolutely essential our network holds up against storms and high winds so our teams are working to maintain and strengthen the resilience of the network we all rely on to take us through this storm season and beyond. We know that now, more than ever you are relying on us to keep you safe and warm by ensuring the power continues to flow and we are committed to doing just that."

Customers who have received a letter from the NHS advising them that they are:- 'at risk' and should take additional measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 are being advised to sign up for the Priority Services Register. This provides free additional services to customers in vulnerable circumstances if there is an unexpected power cut. They should sign up at:- SPEnergyNetworks.Co.UK or text:- 'PSR' to:- 61999.

In the event of a power cut, customers should call the national 105 hotline, no matter who they pay their bill to. For more information about SP Energy Networks, please visit:-
SPEnergyNetworks.Co.UK.


61% of people in North West England are more dependent on their broadband and internet connection than ever...!

BANISHED Brits are more dependent on their internet and broadband provider than ever before. In the North West of the country, 53% are increasing their internet use due to the restrictions of Covid-19, a new study reveals.

As of Monday, 23 March 2020, UK residents were put under strict guidelines to stay at home. The study, from leading price comparison website, Moneyexpert.com, found that 35% of people in the North West are using the internet for different means because of Covid-19, and that 1 in 5 (22%) are finding it a lot more challenging to use the internet for things such as video calls or shopping for food online.

However, a huge 87% of people in the North West are using the internet in ways they never have before. While 61% are using the internet to keep up with the news and Government changes, 55% are relying on strong connection to keep themselves entertained, and to keep in touch with loved ones (51%). 13% are checking in on the elderly or an:- 'at risk' friend or family member, and some are even holding out hope for a summer holiday abroad by planning their next getaway!

With millions of Brits now working from home, the reliance on a strong connection is more necessary than ever. However, for many, the change from professional office to home office isn't quite as smooth and simple as hoped for. More than one in ten (12%) people in the region say the speed of their connection is completely inconsistent, and for some (14%) the internet is cutting out for no reason at all. Virtual video meetings are causing Brits to look completely unprofessional, with a 1 in 5 of those in the North West (21%) missing meetings due to poor internet connection; on average, people have missed around three meetings since the pandemic began.

Unfortunately, broadband problems are not a new discovery in isolation. 67% of people in the region have considered changing their broadband and consider cost as a factor they'd think about heavily (89%) when preparing to switch. 44% would like expert advice when doing so.

Jason Smith, CEO of MoneyExpert.com, said:-
"With a significant proportion of the UK now working in a new way from home, many are coming up against new problems with their broadband and internet connection. 45% of Brits are finding it difficult to connect to video meetings when more than one person in the house is using the internet, so consider creating a shared calendar to schedule meetings, and keep one room in the house free for those important calls. With weeks and months of uncertainty ahead, optimising our home spaces to be entirely fit for our changed needs will help us reduce stress and keep our sanity. A suitable broadband connection with a minimum guaranteed speed is a key part of that."


The UK's Horticultural is worth ₤1.4 Billion sector cold be wiped out in just weeks

A major part of the UK's gardening industry worth ₤1.4 billion, which includes hundreds of family businesses up and down the country, could be destroyed following the UK Coronavirus shutdown, claims the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).

Peak season has only a matter of weeks left for the horticulture sector which has formed an essential part of British life for over 350 years. It includes the ornamental crop sector, which grows bulbs, bedding plants, cut flowers, pot plants and stock mostly sold through garden centres, supermarkets, florists and DIY stores.

Around 650 businesses across the UK produce ornamental crops, which contribute ₤1.4 billion in total to the country's GDP annually and employ over 15,000 people directly and almost 30,000 indirectly. Many of these jobs form a vital lifeline for rural communities.

The perishability and seasonality of plants means that an estimated ₤200 million of seasonal plants will have to be scrapped across the ornamental horticulture industry.

Since Mother's Day weekend when demand is typically high, but people were beginning to self isolate, sales dwindled dramatically, while lockdown means that there is unlikely to be any sales through to the May bank holiday, the busiest trading period of the year.

Alan Titchmarsh MBE said:- "This spring could well bring about the end of British horticulture as we know it. Hundreds of nursery owners and growers are facing huge losses of plants and revenue simply because the stock they have spent many months nurturing for the spring market; their peak season; will have to be destroyed since garden centres and other outlets are closed for business. This means not only a loss of billions of pounds to the UK economy and of thousands of jobs but, more than this, it will decimate an industry that will be unable to recover for the foreseeable future. Our gardens and green spaces; the very things that provide spiritual and physical sustenance at times like this; will no longer be able to call upon the variety of plants that are currently available; a range that has taken decades to develop. Without some form of rescue package, we are destined to see our gardens and public open spaces decline as growers find it impossible to recover from unsustainable losses. Businesses will disappear overnight in a situation that will take many years to reverse. I urge the Government to put in place a rescue package which will enable British horticulture to survive. Without it, our gardens and open spaces; a vital source of solace and nutrition to those at home; will suffer irreparable damage."

Speaking on behalf of the HTA, Chairman James Barnes said:- "We have hit a perfect storm in the UK. The seasonality and perishability that is unique to our industry means that growers are potentially facing stock losses on an ever rising scale as each day passes. Stock is 1 of the biggest components of asset value in the sector; stock write offs will destroy the balance sheets of many and make it impossible for them to continue. We are calling for the Government to work with the HTA, as the industry's representative body, to come up with a financial support scheme to help those businesses which have had to scrap perishable stock and are facing a huge financial crisis. For those that can stay in business, there are also significant longer term issues as growers may not have time to plant next year's crop, leading to a 2 year supply hit on the whole industry including retail, which will severely impact the availability of British grown seasonal plants and flowers."

The HTA claims that while the Government's financial measures related to the agriculture and horticulture firms are welcome, in many cases they are not suitable for ornamental businesses. Investment in stock means that many nurseries do not have the reserves to take on the debt of a Government loan, and often fall out of the scope of any support scheme due to EU state aid rules.

The HTA estimates that a minimum of a third of UK ornamental producers may fail in a matter of weeks, leading to a loss of around ₤250m in direct GDP contribution to the UK economy annually. Allowing for a 2.4% per annum growth factor, the value of this lost contribution to GDP over five years would be ₤1.34 billion.

Around 70% of bedding plant sales are made between March and the end of May 2020. Many of these growers are facing huge difficulties and a near complete loss of income due to the Coronavirus.

Horticulture not only provides a great deal of grow your own produce, but also contributes to positive physical and mental wellbeing and serves some 23 million gardeners in the UK. The longer term impact from the failure of the UK businesses will be significant. The wipe out of British commercial growers will increase the volume of imported plants, raising the risk of Britain being hit by plant pests and diseases, undermining efforts by the garden industry and the Government to manage the nation's biosecurity strategy.

A good example is Porters Fuchsias is a family run wholesale bedding plant grower based in Formby, Merseyside, that needs urgent action now or the family risks losing their livelihood. Natalie Porter, who helps run the business said:- "The uncertainty surrounding the length of the Coronavirus crisis is hindering the industry's ability to make quick and efficient decisions to save businesses like ours. Time is running out. Most of our summer stock has already been planted and will be ready in three weeks. Our remaining stock due to be planted will be ready in 5 weeks and go to waste in 8. We are facing a potential write-off of ₤350,000 in the next three weeks due to perishable stock. This would jump to ₤200,000 per week thereafter."

In the likely event that the impact of Coronavirus continues beyond 3 weeks, the outlook for Porters Fuchsias looks bleak. Natalie continued:- "In this case, a loan becomes unfeasible. Even if the payback deadline were extended, it would mean writing off many, many years of future potential profits."

It is not just in the North West that is affected, Kernock Park Plants, who are based in Cornwall has traded plants for nearly 40 years. The firm produces up to 12 million plants per year and the turn of Spring would normally be the start of peak season, however when the Covid-19 pandemic was announced and subsequent measures enforced across the UK, the business had to prepare for uncertain times ahead.

A specialist provider of carpet bedding the firm also produces a vast range of ornamental plants including:- herbs and vegetables. Managing Director Bruce Harnett said:- "The recent fall in sales and mass cancellations from hundreds of our customers is extremely worrying, as we are now nearing full capacity with approximately seven million unsold plants on the floor."

Like thousands of nurseries up and down the country, Kernock is now faced with the difficult decision of closing its doors, resulting in a massive revenue hit and numerous job losses.

Bruce fears for the British garden and plant industry and calls for a form of scrappage compensation, to help cover the costs of plants that will inevitably have to be destroyed. "We have already paid and produced for the inputs and the labour to create the products for nearly all of our sales, catering for the peak demands in spring and summer. We can't simply shut the doors and struggle through waiting to reopen. I can only hope that we can continue trading in some way and secure some sort of compensation for our unique sector."

Alex Newey is Managing Director of the Newey Group based in Chichester and agrees that the ornamental growers' sector is particularly unique:-
"I can't think of another sector which invests throughout the year for such a short sales window to recoup the costs. We are about to lose an entire industry which will severely impact the availability of British grown seasonal fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers. "We need to access funding immediately to avoid a catastrophe. This pandemic is hitting our industry at the worst possible time. We have made all the investment, but have made virtually none of the sales. It is a low margin sector and, with all sales outlets closed, the costs will swamp businesses very quickly. Our problem is not one of freezing fixed costs or even controlling staffing costs but of the massive amount of money already sunk into the crop. This is crop that is perishable and will very soon be completely unsaleable."


MP's call for non-essential businesses to close gets cross party support

BILL Esterson MP has written a letter, which has been signed by over 120 MPs cross party, to the Business Secretary to ask for clear advice to be given to non-essential workplaces such as construction sites, warehouses, manufacturers and call centres to help to halt the spread of Coronavirus.

Mr Esterson told Business Secretary Alok Sharma that many workplaces had stayed open even if their work was not essential and questioned how they could ensure staff were able to stay two metres apart. This followed pictures of workers in call centres and on construction sites crowded together and sharing tables in canteens and cafes.

Mr Esterson and his colleagues also pointed out that the more non-essential staff that travelled to work, the more crowded public transport would be for those whose roles were essential. Non essential workers risked passing the virus on to health staff and other essential workers such as supermarket staff.

Bill Esterson said dozens of constituents had contacted him "in bits" over having to choose between going to work and the health of them and their families. Over 130 MPs signed the letter, saying they were hearing similar stories in their areas.

Mr Esterson wrote:- "Unfortunately, while some workers are able to work from home, many are not and we have all been contacted by constituents who have been told they have to go to work or lose pay and whose businesses continue to operate. These include construction sites, call centres, distribution centres and factories. Some of these are essential. Many are not. This is forcing non essential workers to travel on public transport unable to stay two metres away from other people, including essential workers. Meanwhile, at work people are closer than 2 metres to their colleagues sometimes with inadequate hand washing facilities."

Senior MPs such as:- Brexit Committee Chair Hilary Benn, Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne, and former Cabinet minister Harriet Harman have all signed the letter.

While pubs, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items were closed last week, and the public were urged to stay home to stop the spread of the virus, there was ambiguity regarding whether workers should be leaving the house to go to workplaces that were not essential.

Mr Esterson said:- "I have had dozens of constituents call my office in bits at the thought of being forced to go to work, risk catching the virus and passing it onto their families, or lose their jobs. Some have been told they cannot have sick pay if they have not been diagnosed with the virus. It is leading to huge amounts of worry and stress for constituents, especially those with underlying health conditions or who live with other people who are vulnerable. It's time for clear guidance from the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary that unless the work that is being done is vital to keep the country functioning at this time, the workplace should be closed and the businesses encouraged to access the Government schemes that have been made available to ensure workers get paid."

This is the letter in full that was sent:-

"We recognise that businesses are under huge pressure given the current crisis and we welcome the guidance given by the Government that everyone should stay at home to save lives. This advice has been confirmed by the Prime Minister a number of times. The package of measures for employed and self employed is very important support for workers and builds upon the health advice which exists to protect everyone.

Unfortunately, while some workers are able to work from home, many are not and we have all been contacted by constituents who have been told they have to go to work or lose pay and whose businesses continue to operate. These include construction sites, call centres, distribution centres and factories. Some of these are essential. Many are not. This is forcing non essential workers to travel on public transport unable to stay 2 metres away from other people, including essential workers. Meanwhile, at work people are closer than 2 metres to their colleagues sometimes with inadequate hand washing facilities.

The BEIS website lists businesses that must close, but also says that other businesses are not required to close, indeed it says it is important for businesses to carry on. The Government tells workers who have concerns to speak to their employer but many staff fear that they will be victimised if they complain not least as trade unions are often not recognised by many employers.

You and your colleagues have made clear that the instruction from Government is to Stay At Home and Stay Safe. The Cabinet Office says the only exception should be defined activities in order to protect the NHS and save lives. We believe that this is the correct instruction.

The BEIS website is contradicting the advice being given by Government ministers. The closure of the hospitality sector and schools was in order to reduce the spread of infection. Allowing non essential workplaces to stay open is inevitably adding to the risk that many more people will be infected than necessary. We are therefore calling on you to clarify the guidance to businesses in the interests of putting health 1st, giving the greatest support to our health staff and protecting workers and all those who they might be in contact with."


NICEIC advises parents to switch on to electrical safety week

DURING Family Safety Week, NICEIC, the UK's leading electrical safety authority, is reminding consumers of the importance of having adequate measures in place to ensure electrical safety in the home.

As the way we use our homes has continued to evolve in line with the digital landscape, the average UK home now uses more electrical appliances than ever before. According to recent estimates 57% of the nation's households now has a smart device to control:- lights, security, kettle, vacuum cleaner or other device. Equally, while traditional soft toys, games and books were once the mainstay of childhood, today's kids now rather play with tec and earlier than ever, with 90% of 2 year olds now using smart phones and tablets.

With this, brings greater safety implications which parents need to be aware of; an issue which NICEIC is keen to raise during Family Safety Week.

Running until 4 April 2020, the important annual week long campaign from family safety charity RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) has been designed to highlight the simple measures families can take to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe from serious accidental injury.

Darren Staniforth, NICEIC's Group Senior Technical Presenter, said:- "There is no escaping the impact that technology continues to have on the UK home: from the integration of smart media through to the introduction of'electric toys', it would seem that it's no longer just adults, but children who are using more electrical appliances than ever. With this does, however, come increased safety concern. We must remember, after all the electrics are incredibly powerful and potential dangerous, and must be handled correctly, especially considering the increased use of electrical devices by children. In terms of best practice, it goes without saying that any electrical work in the home should be conducted by a qualified, certified professional, such as those listed with the NICEIC, in order to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. Also, under no circumstances, even if it appears to be a simple job, should parents attempt to carry out their own electrical DIY; doing so can lead to vast safety risks, leaving their families exposed to all sorts of hazards. In terms of the everyday, it's about operating basic due diligence; for example, keeping electrical cords out of reach, keeping appliances off when not in use and never leaving a child unattended when using a device still connected to the mains. Also, obviously water and electrics don't mix; so all drinks should be kept firmly out of reach of electrical appliances, and children should be dried thoroughly after bath time before using anything electrical."

According to NICEIC each year around 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths are caused by unsafe electrics in the home.

Darren adds:- "There are many benefits to the increased use of technology in the home; helping us to live more efficiently, comfortably and, in terms of children, often aiding in their education. However, it is incredibly important that we don't forget that electricity is very dangerous and should be managed carefully and correctly as it becomes more and more widely used in the UK home. Failing to do so could not only compromise the safety and wellbeing of your family, but also be in breach of the Part P of the Building Regulations."

You can search for a registered electrician in your area by visiting:- NICEIC.Com.


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

THE number of fatalities continues to rise.  The current figure has risen by 180 to 1,408. The number of COVID-19 infections has risen by 2,619 in just a day, to 22,141, the Department of Health said. In England, there are a total of 18,594 confirmed cases. North West - total of 1,847 confirmed cases. Current confirmed cases within the following local authorities are as follows:-

► Liverpool, 197 confirmed cases.

► Sefton, 57 confirmed cases.

► Wirral, 56 confirmed cases.

► St. Helens, 49 confirmed cases.

► Halton, 19 confirmed cases.

► Lancashire, 278 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire West and Chester, 45 confirmed cases.

► Cheshire East, 61 confirmed cases.

► Manchester, 109 confirmed cases.

► Stockport, 93 confirmed cases.

► Trafford, 86 confirmed cases.

► Wigan, 53 confirmed cases.

► Bolton, 47 confirmed cases.

► Rochdale, 78 confirmed cases.

► Bury, 59 confirmed cases.

► Tameside, 62 confirmed cases.

► Oldham, 101 confirmed cases.

► Blackburn with Darwen, 14 confirmed cases.

These stats are according to Public Health England as of 30/03/2020.


* A new process for collecting numbers of recovered patients is in development: More information to follow.


See archived update pages from:-

Week 1

22 March 2020

21 March 2020

20 March 2020

19 March 2020


18 March 2020

17 March 2020

Week 2

29 March 2020

28 March 2020

27 March 2020

26 March 2020

25 March 2020

24 March 2020

23 March 2020

Week 3

05 April 2020

04 April 2020

03 April 2020

02 April 2020

01 April 2020

31 March 2020

30 March 2020

     

Week 4

12 April 2020

11 April 2020

10 April 2020

09 April 2020

08 April 2020

07 April 2020

06 April 2020
 

Week 5

19 April 2020

18 April 2020

17 April 2020

16 April 2020

15 April 2020

14 April 2020

13 April 2020

Week 6

26 April 2020

25 April 2020

24 April 2020

23 April 2020

22 April 2020

21 April 2020

20 April 2020

     

Week 7

03 May 2020

02 May 2020

01 May 2020

30 April 2020

29 April 2020

28 April 2020

27 April 2020
 

Week 8

10 May 2020

09 May 2020

08 May 2020

07 May 2020

06 May 2020

05 May 2020

04 May 2020

Week 9

17-May-2020

16-May-2020

15 May 2020

14 May 2020

13 May 2020

12 May 2020

11 May 2020

Week 10

24-May-2020

23-May-2020

22-May-2020

21-May-2020

20-May-2020

19-May-2020

18-May-2020

Week 11

31-May-2020

30-May-2020

29-May-2020

28-May-2020

27-May-2020

26-May-2020

25-May-2020

Week 12

07-June-2020

06-June-2020

05-June-2020

04-June-2020

03-June-2020

02-June-2020

01-June-2020


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