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Hospitality and Leisure Sector business can now apply for City Region Emergency Fund

Hospitality and leisure businesses in Sefton and across the Liverpool City Region can now apply for support from £40million emergency set up to to help protect them fom the huge economic impacts Covid-19 restrictions.

The Fund will be used to help keep businesses in the sector afloat for up to four months, until a wider and more substantial financial support package can be secured from central Government. The aim is that the first funding will reach applicants within 10 days of applications being approved, with subsequent payments phased over the period of the grant.

The  ‘grant application window’ will be open until  5.00pm on Friday 30 October 2020.

Eligible businesses can find out more, including Terms & Conditions, on the Sefton Council website now.

Detailed eligibility criteria will be available to applicants and will include:

  • Small and micro hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Based in the Liverpool City Region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral
  • One full-time equivalent employee or more
  • Going concern
  • Business to consumer
  • Trading from a commercial premises

First announced on Friday 2nd October by the Metro Mayor and the Mayor and Leaders of the city region’s six local authorities, the fund had been created and readied for launch earlier last week. However, it was paused following the Chancellor’s announcement last Friday on the national furlough scheme and business support package and the announcement of Liverpool City Region being placed in to the Tier 3 ‘very high risk’ Covid-19 category.

Over the last few days, Combined Authority and Local Authority officers have been working closely with the hospitality sector to understand how the Fund could best be redesigned to support them. The Fund aims to enable viable businesses to continue trading and retain as many jobs as possible, to support temporarily-closed businesses top up employees’ wages and remain solvent and to help lay the ground for economic recovery across the hospitality and leisure sector in the future.

In a joint statement, the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the city region’s six local authorities said: “The past six months have been an exceptionally difficult period for local businesses but despite the challenges they have faced, many have done an incredible job, showcasing the creativity, determination and resilience our region is known for.

“We know business owners and staff are absolutely at breaking point and we will do anything we can to prevent businesses and jobs going to the wall.

“The furlough scheme announced by the Chancellor last week falls far short of what our region needs and deserves. If 80% was the right level of support back in March, then it should be in November. Lots of the people affected by these new restrictions will be in low paid, insecure work and it is deeply unfair to expect them to survive on two-thirds of the minimum wage.

“We will continue to fight for a more comprehensive funding package, but in the meantime, where the national government has stepped away, we, as local leaders, will step up.

“We know that once a business is gone, they are gone, and we must do everything we can to prevent that.

“Our hope is that this fund can provide some interim support and will mean local businesses and their staff survive in the coming weeks and months, until the government does the right thing.

“Our own teams have worked round the clock, in partnership with the sector, to get this fund ready for applications.

“We are committed to ensuring that we turn applications round at pace and get money to those businesses who so desperately need it.

“If, and when, we are successful in securing more national support, it may well replace the need for this fund, enabling us to repurpose the money back to other areas where it is also sorely needed.”

Paul Askew, Chef Patron of The Art School restaurant, said: “The new Tier 3 restrictions are a real hammer blow for hundreds of businesses in our sector and for thousands of our staff.

“I’ve been pleased to work with our colleagues in the Combined Authority and the six Local Authorities to help shape it to our needs.

“It will provide an urgent life-line to hundreds of viable businesses who might otherwise face closing for good due to the restrictions.

“While this fund is hugely welcomed, I join the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and local authority Leaders in calling on the Government to now step up quickly to provide the hospitality sector and our whole economy with full the support we need.”

Natalie Haywood, owner of Leaf and Oh Me Oh My, said: “This emergency fund is sorely needed to help save hundreds of businesses from collapse and thousands of jobs.

“It’s impossible to overstate just how difficult it will be for hospitality businesses to keep trading with these restrictions in place – either because they are still trading but not breaking even or because they are forced to close.

“Once a business and the jobs it supports are gone, they will not come back easily, so we have to do everything we can to keep going so that we have an industry left when we get through Covid-19.

“We are doing everything we can to keep going and protect our staff and have been really pleased to collaborate to shape this emergency fund to meet our needs.”

Find out more from the Sefton Council website now.

 

COVID restrictions guidance including update for people considered clinically extremely vulnerable

On Monday 12th October the Prime Minister announced new restrictions for Sefton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region, which have now come into effect.

Exact details of some of the new restrictions are still being clarified but the FAQs on the Sefton Council website have been updated to explain how residents and businesses will be affected.

You can find the updated FAQs here.

With Sefton and the rest of Liverpool City Region having been placed at the Tier 3, Very High COVID alert level, new guidance has been issued for people who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable. These are people who have specific health conditions, certain cancers or who are organ transplant recipients.

These people, who are likely previously to have been shielding, are being advised to stay at home as much as possible, to work from home and to avoid all but essential travel. They are also being told to reduce shopping trips significantly, to use online delivery services or ask other people in their household, support bubble or volunteers to collect food and medicines.

However, clinically extremely vulnerable people should still try to go outside for exercise, and can still go to school and to work if they cannot work from home.

Anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable and who needs support to follow the guidance should contact the Council’s Call Centre on 0345 140 0845.

People can also find out more about the restrictions from the Sefton Council website. 

 

Constructive intervention by Council helps Bootle business to re-open

Sefton Council’s Environmental Health officers have been working with the owner of a Bootle business, closed for not implementing the required precautions to protect staff and customers against COVID-19, to enable it to re-open again safely.

Last week the Council issued a Closure Notice to the owner of Skin Kerr in Bootle after visits to the premises by the Council’s Environmental Health team raised concerns that current restrictions and public health guidance were not being adhered to, meaning customers and staff were being put at risk from infection by COVID-19.

Productive

After meetings described as ‘productive’, Council officers were assured that the owner is willing to comply with the regulations and put the required measures in place. This means that the imminent threat of infection has been removed.

Under a new Direction Order, the business can re-open and trade provided the conditions agreed remain in place. Ongoing inspections will be carried out and any breach of the Direction Order’s requirements would result in the business being ordered to close again.

Constructive

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “I am pleased that our Environmental Health team has been able to work constructively with the owner of this Bootle business to put the measures in place that enable it to re-open.

“As we have made clear, Sefton Council will not hesitate to take action against businesses refusing to put in place measures to keep staff and customers safe, but equally we will do all we can to work with them to resolve the issues and enable them start trading again.

“The vast majority of our local businesses have been doing their utmost to meet their legal duty of ensuring they are COVID-secure and since the start of the pandemic in March we have been providing advice and support.

“We appreciate the efforts and sacrifices they have made and would encourage them to get in touch if they are struggling to meet the requirements.”

Supportive

Earlier this week, Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher joined the Metro Mayor, the Mayor and city region leaders in announcing an emergency fund of up to £40million in a bid to rescue Liverpool City Region’s vital hospitality and leisure sector from economic collapse. The unprecedented emergency fund is vital to protect the sector as a stop-gap until financial support from central Government is secured.

The fund has been set up a direct response to new government restrictions, which came into force on Saturday 3 October, forbidding people from mixing with other households in indoor venues – including pubs, bars and restaurants.

Find out more about the Emergency Aid package.

Council will not hesitate to take action against businesses failing to protect customers & staff from COVID-19

Cabinet member delivers warning after Closure Notice issued to Bootle business.

After making several visits and issuing a warning letter Sefton Council last week issued a Closure Notice to the owner of Skin Kerr in Bootle.

Visits to the premises by the Council’s Environmental Health team raised concerns that current restrictions and public health guidance were not being adhered to, meaning customers and staff were being put at risk from infection by COVID-19.

Because the adequate controls and measures required to make the premises COVID-secure were not put in place, despite being set out in a recent warning letter, the Council has moved to close the premises temporarily.

Cllr Paulette Lappin Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “It is the responsibility of businesses across Sefton to ensure they have the required measures in place to protect their staff and their customers from COVID_19 infection and we know that most of them are doing their utmost to comply.

“And, the Council is working closely with the Health and Safety Executive to provide support and advice to our local businesses.

“However, when businesses refuse to comply and insist on putting people at risk from the pandemic, we will not hesitate to take action against them as we have with Skin Kerr in Bootle.”

Further to its work with businesses, begun at the start of the pandemic in March, Sefton Council has been working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) since mid-September, to help Sefton’s businesses make sure they are COVID-secure. Phone calls and follow-up visits are being carried out with businesses in the hospitality, beauty & hairdressing and the warehousing sectors. During these checks, businesses are being provided with advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors.

Find out more about the Council’s work with the HSE.

When the joint initiative was launched, Cllr Lappin said: “Becoming COVID-secure is a legal duty and needs to be the priority and we know the vast majority of our local businesses are trying hard to get this right by putting the necessary measures in place.

“We appreciate the efforts business owners and managers are making and have undertaken this work with the HSE to provide any further advice and support they may need.”

Sefton Council also recently reminded businesses of the need to create a QR code for their premises which people can use to check in on the national COVID-19 app, by visiting www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster and following the instructions.

Businesses required by law to display QR code posters include pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés, hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades and close contact services such as hairdressers, barbershops and tailors. Council facilities such as community centres, libraries and village halls are also covered as are places of worship, community organisations with a physical location and events taking place at a specific location.

Find out more about creating a business test and Trace QR code.

 

Emergency Aid Package agreed for Liverpool City Region’s hospitality and leisure industry

Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher has joined the Metro Mayor, the Mayor and  city region leaders in announcing an emergency fund of up to £40million in a bid to rescue Liverpool City Region’s vital hospitality and leisure sector from economic collapse.

Cllr Maher was one of the six council leaders who, along with the Metro Mayor and the Mayor, said that the unprecedented emergency fund is vital to protect the sector as a stop-gap until financial support from central Government is secured.

The sector supports over 50,000 jobs in 4,000 business and contributes £5 billion a year to the local economy. Over 200 businesses in the sector have already been lost in the face of COVID -19 and without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.

The emergency stop-gap fund has been set up a direct response to new government restrictions, which came into force on Saturday 3 October forbidding people from mixing with other households in indoor venues – including pubs, bars and restaurants.  The restrictions are expected to deal a further hammer blow to many businesses, which are already at breaking point.

In a joint statement, speaking directly to businesses in the sector, the leaders said:

“The new Covid-19 restrictions will make the already perilous situation for our economy even tougher than it already is.

“As Leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent. But we also know that at the same time they will deal a hammer blow to our economy and in particular to our vital hospitality and leisure sector, on which over 50,000 jobs depend across our region.

“We want to send a message to those businesses that we understand the pain you are going through, your fight to survive and that we stand with you.

“We have made it clear to the Government that with new restrictions must come a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and that this is particularly urgent for businesses in your sector, many of which have already reached breaking point.

“We pledge to you that we are doing everything we can to convince the Government to help.

“But we know that this is not enough and that words will not help you pay your staff, your rent or your suppliers.

“And, as elected leaders, we are collectively committed to Build Back Better from Covid-19. But we know that once a business is gone it is gone and that if we do not act now to protect our economy from these new restrictions, we risk having nothing to build back from.

“So, our teams have worked at full-tilt, in partnership across the Combined Authority and our six Local Authorities, to identify and re-purpose funds for an up to £40million in to a package of emergency interim financial support, aiming to support as many businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector as we possibly can.

“We have taken this extremely difficult decision with the aim of providing last resort, stop-gap funding to keep viable businesses going in the short-term and protect as many jobs as possible while we continue to lobby the Government to invest in our economic survival and our future recovery.

“The fund is expected to launch this week (commencing 5th October).  We hope to process applications within a week to meet the urgent needs of successful applicants.

“The process will be coordinated through local authorities, just as previous government grants were earlier this year.”

Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of Liverpool City Region LEP said: “We have been making the case consistently through this pandemic that our visitor and hospitality sector, which is so critical to our economy, is suffering disproportionately from lockdown measures to protect public health and need additional support.

“The most recent local lockdown announcements have added to the urgency of this case and I pay tribute to the work of our Combined Authority and Local Authority Leaders and their executives in establishing this Hospitality Fund so quickly in the face of these announcements.

“This Fund will undoubtedly help save hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs in this sector over the coming months.”

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