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Joint statement from the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Council Leaders of the Liverpool City Region on potential new COVID-19 restrictions

“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.

“Cases are now averaging well over 200 per 100,000 people across our region – in some boroughs, much higher. Throughout the pandemic, we have always put the health of our residents first and we will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and keep as many people as possible safe.

“However, at the same time, we must be clear that any further restrictions will deal a hammer blow to our economy.

“Our region is an international destination, and our visitor economy is worth almost £5bn to the city region economy every year, employing over 50,000 people. Over recent years, our hospitality and retail industries have been vibrant and growing. But, in the last six months, we have already seen many of these businesses go under in the face of Covid-19 and, without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.

“While we protect lives, and our NHS, we must act now to protect the businesses that provide the livelihoods and jobs upon which our 1.6 million residents depend.

“And we must also act to protect the public services on which our communities depend. Our public services have been on the front line of Covid-19 response, but this comes at a huge cost. In the last six months alone, our local authorities and Combined Authority have incurred losses of over £350 million in costs and lost income.

“We are already at breaking point. With new restrictions – and who knows for how long they might be needed – our economy and public services may collapse.

“If we do not act now, we will see a legacy of unemployment and ill-health that will cost lives for generations to come.

“So, today, we are calling on the Government to work with us.

“If Government decide that new restrictions are required, they must also provide a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and our public services.

“And to help us minimise the length of restrictions required, we must secure from the Government an immediate uplift in testing capacity, that matches testing resources to the high level of cases in our region.”

“We are fully committed to working in partnership with national government, but we need the right support and resource to help us at a regional level. And we need it now.”

You can read Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher’s statement here.

Self Isolation Payments Scheme for Sefton residents who are self isolating

People on low incomes may be eligible for a £500 payment if they are required to self-isolate.

If you are in receipt of certain benefits and cannot work during your self-isolation period then you can apply for the one-off Test and Trace Support payment.

The new scheme is aimed at ensuring people self-isolate when they are required to, to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

People who fail to self-isolate when required could face fines of up to £10,000.

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

You must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from when your symptoms begin, or if you have tested positive and show no symptoms. You must self-isolate for 14 days if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Test and Trace Support Payment comes into effect from Monday 28 September, with claims eligible to be back-dated from the launch date.

Applications for those who qualify must be made to Sefton Council. Claimants will be asked to provide proof of NHS Test and Trace requesting they self-isolate, a bank statement and proof of employment or self-employment (such as evidence of self-assessment returns).

From 28 September you face a penalty between £1,000 and £10,000 for failing to self-isolate when required.

More information on how to apply for the payment will be available soon on the Sefton website

Cllr. Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council Cabinet Member, said:

“Self-isolating is vital in stopping the spread of coronavirus, which is why these new measures have been introduced. Self-isolating is one of the simplest and most effective means of containing the virus and we need everyone to take responsibility and play their part in ensuring people are protected.”

Council leader responds to new COVID restrictions for Merseyside

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has responded to today’s news that the Government has announced new restrictions for Merseyside Sefton from Tuesday 22 September,  in the light of rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the City Region.

Cllr Maher said: “I know people will be concerned at this news but with infection rates rising in people of all ages across our communities, it is important that we all make every effort to restrict the spread of the virus and these new measures will support that.

“This means not socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens. It means pubs, bars and restaurants stick to table service only for food and drink and that these establishments, along with cinemas, have to close at 10pm.”

The new restrictions also mean people should only use public transport for essential purposes such as travelling to school or work, and should not attend amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

Cllr Maher continued: “As I have said previously, the Council is really appreciative of all the efforts and sacrifices made by Sefton’s population and the Borough’s business to protect vulnerable people across our communities.

“Now we are relying on our residents and businesses to continue working with us and to follow these new restrictions to prevent tighter measures being re-introduced.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have been working with our partners to support vulnerable people across the Borough and we are reviewing the measures we have in place to support them, including those people who were previously shielding”

Cllr Maher stressed the need for people to continue with social distancing, follow the guidelines on wearing masks and face coverings and to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. He also called on Sefton’s businesses to ensure they are protecting their customers and staff by having all the required measures in place, including Test and Trace arrangements at pubs, bars and restaurants, in addition to the newly-announced restrictions.

Earlier this week, Cllr Maher also joined The Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and the Leaders of four Cheshire Local Authorities in calling on the Government urgently to deploy more Covid-19 testing capacity in the region.

An immediate increase in testing capacity is now urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, ensure that our keyworkers can continue to work and avoid further local lockdowns, they said.

Cllr Maher added: “I have written to the Minister in the strongest possible terms to express my disappointment and frustration over the lack of testing in Sefton.

“Testing is vital to helping prevent the spread of coronavirus and we need those people who develop the coronavirus symptoms of a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, to get a test immediately, for their own safety and the safety of others.

“To make an appointment at their nearest available Test Centre or order a Home Testing Kit, they need to visit  or call 119.”

Cllr Maher also said it is vitally important that if any Sefton residents are contacted by the Test and Trace programme, they comply with the requests of the contact tracers and stay home if they are asked to do so.

More, local information is available on the Sefton Council website.


Care home visits to be limited to protect most vulnerable from growing COVID cases

Sefton Council, along with authorities across Merseyside, is asking care homes to limit interactions with people from outside who may be carrying coronavirus owing to the significant increases in COVID-19 confirmed cases across the region.

Protecting the Borough’s most vulnerable residents has been a priority for Sefton Council since the start of the pandemic, which is why it has written to care home managers and owners instructing them to limit visits.

The following visits can continue but will be review on a weekly basis.

  • Essential visits by health professionals
  • Visits from families and relatives to those residents who are receiving end of life care may continue subject to robust risk assessments.
  • Garden visits subject to risk assessments.
  • All other non-essential visits and visits by family members into care homes are suspended until further notice.

To maintain contact with family members the Council is encouraging people to keep in touch with their loved one through digital channels such as Zoom or WhatsApp and we will support care home staff to facilitate safe contact in this way.

Sefton Council’s letter also explains to care sector providers that it is working with council colleagues across City Region to ensure a coordinated response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. This work includes requirements around a consistent approach to the Government’s recently-introduced ‘rule of 6’.

This includes considering the benefits and risks of people returning to day services, their transport arrangements and the number of days they may be able to access services.

In the letter, Sefton Council expresses its ongoing appreciation that care providers are all doing their best to support people and keep them safe. It also highlights the need to be aware of the risks posed by groups of people coming together while also taking the needs of service uses and their families into account.

Commenting on the move, Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “We know this will be a disappointment for care home residents and their families across the City Region and we acknowledge the hard work our Sefton Care homes have undertaken to manage the risks of an outbreak but it’s vital we take this action to prevent COVID-19 getting into care homes and spreading among residents.

“Younger people are less likely to be affected seriously by COVID-19 and are often asymptomatic and our concern is that when they visit they will unwittingly pass the virus on to their vulnerable relatives for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.”

“With numbers of coronavirus cases rising across the region, it is important that we weigh up the significant benefits our day services can provide for users and their families with the risks of groups of them coming together to use them.

“We are working closely with our colleagues across the City Region to ensure we are taking a coordinated and proportional approach that ensures people can understand what is happening and what is not and that no-one is missing out because they are a resident of a particular area.”

Sefton Council has told care providers it will be arranging a meeting with them in the coming days to discuss the concerns and questions and they may have.

New coronavirus measures for Sefton school visitors

From today (Friday 18 September) adults visiting Sefton schools will be required to wear face coverings when visiting or entering the school premises. Also, just one adult will be able to enter the premises for drop-off and pick-up.

Parents and carers dropping off or collecting their children are asked to arrive and leave promptly and not to congregate at the school gate or in the playground. And, school staff are being asked to wear face coverings when they come out onto the playground.

With number of COVID-19 cases rising across the region, and Merseyside having been identified by the Government as “area of concern”, these extra measures are needed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Although children and younger people are less likely to be affected seriously by COVID-19 or may even be asymptomatic, the Council’s concern is that they could take the virus home to potentially vulnerable relatives for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.

Commenting on the measures, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, Cllr John Joseph Kelly said: “It is important that our children get back to school and resume their education and I would like to thank all of our teachers, schools and education staff, parents and carers and the pupils themselves for working with us to achieve this as safely as possible.

“However, we know that since the Borough’s schools have re-opened, we have seen a number of class and year bubbles as well as school staff being sent home to isolate owing to positive test results or people showing coronavirus symptoms.

“I am pleased at the way each of these schools has dealt with the circumstances by following Public Health England guidelines and liaising with the Council to manage the situation.

“I hope these extra measures will help reduce the virus spreading in our school community and prevent more pupils and staff being sent home but if they don’t, we may have to contact schools about potential further measures.”

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