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Sefton Council work with HSE to ensure businesses are COVID secure

Sefton Council has been working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) checking on businesses to make sure they are COVID-secure.

Sefton Council’s Environmental Health officers and HSE inspectors have been conducting spot checks and inspections on businesses from all different sectors in the area to check they are following government guidelines.

Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk from coronavirus to protect workers, visitors and customers.

Sefton Council is responsible for the enforcement of health and safety legislation in sectors which includes shops, pubs and restaurants, whereas HSE regulates health and safety in areas such as construction and manufacturing.

By putting in COVID-secure measures to protect employees, visitors and members of the local community, it will help businesses to continue operating, which is key to the local economy.

During the checks, advice and guidance can be provided to help businesses implement work practices that reduce the risk of virus transmission, but where businesses are not managing this, enforcement action can be taken. This can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, prosecution.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, from Sefton Council, said: “As the Liverpool City Region has further lockdown measures in place, ensuring workplaces are COVID-secure needs to remain a main priority for all businesses in Sefton and beyond.

“It is a legal duty for businesses to protect their workers and others from harm and this includes taking reasonable steps to control the risk and protect people from coronavirus.

“Being COVID-secure can help reduce these risks and we want every business in the borough to follow the guidelines that ultimately protects our communities.

“Working with the HSE has enabled us to target the whole of the Sefton area from small businesses to large manufacturers, whether Local Authority or HSE enforced, ensuring all workplaces understand the importance of being COVID-secure.”

Sally Nicholson, HSE Head of Operations, North West, said: “Across the country we are working with local authorities, like Sefton Council, ensuring businesses are checked and are COVID-secure.

“All workplaces are in scope which means businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced check, by us or a local authority.

“If you are contacted by the HSE or your local authority, please engage with us as it is your duty to ensure employees and visitors at a workplace are protected from the virus.

“By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of local communities as well as support the local and national UK economy.”

HSE and local authority inspectors are finding some common issues across a range of sectors that include: failing to provide arrangements for monitoring, supervising and maintaining social distancing, and failing to introduce an adequate cleaning regime particularly at busy times of the day.

For more information on HSE’s spot checks and inspections, see www.hse.gov.uk/campaigns/spot-inspections.htm

For the latest information and safer business guidance, see www.gov.uk

Two new walk-through Test Centres for Sefton

Sefton is benefiting from two new, walk-through Local Testing Sites, at Crosby Library and Netherton Activity Centre, for people who have the Coronavirus symptoms.

Open from 8am to 8pm, they provide easy access to COVID-19 tests for people who do not have access to a car and for those who have coronavirus symptoms and should not travel by public transport.

Each Test Site has between four and eight testing bays which can each test up to three people an hour. Users will be asked to self-swab when attending and visitors will need to wear a mask or face covering which they will be asked to dispose of in bins provided or to take them home, after the test.

Unlike the three-day Mobile Units, the Local Testing Sites in Bootle and Southport will be open for several months.

August saw the opening of Merseyside’s first two walk-through centres, at Bootle Town Hall and at Southport Town Hall and Mobile Testing Units have been at sites across Sefton on most days since the start of July. This has mean tens of thousands of tests have been provided to people across the Borough .

Testing is only available for those either with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste – or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor, public health professional or by their local council.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should book a test at one of Sefton’s walk through or mobile test units online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or by calling 119.

You may be advised to isolate if you have been in contact with a confirmed case but you should only get a test if you have symptoms.

By following these simple rules, we can ensure people who need a test can get one.  The swab test takes less than a minute and is relatively pain free.

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council said:

“Testing is still a vital tool in helping to overcome the spread of COVID-19 infections across the Sefton Borough and I am delighted we have been able to establish these two new walk-through sites for people with symptoms, in addition to the new Mobile Unit location at Aintree Racecourse earlier this month.

“The opening of the new walk-through centres is the latest important step in ensuring we have accessible testing facilities for the people of Sefton, when and where they need them.”

Cllr Maher added that Sefton Council is continuing to explore more opportunities for test sites across the Borough.

Find out more about October’s remaining Mobile test Unit dates.

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.

 

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.”

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.

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