01 Oct Norman’s Notes
The winter flu season is upon us and government has launched the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history. Please ensure you and your staff are winter flu protected to reduce concurrent illness and confusion about whether that, “I’m feeling under the weather” is a normal winter virus or Covid-19.
More information on how to keep safe is available here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Government’s new job support package
The new Job Support Scheme is designed to top up the wages of employees working fewer hours due to reduced business demand, thus enabling workers to keep their jobs by working shorter hours rather than being made redundant. The scheme runs for six months from 1 November.
Employees must work a minimum of one-third of their normal hours and be paid for that work as normal. The government will cover the remaining two-thirds of pay.
The scheme aims to support small and medium-sized businesses, although larger companies may be eligible if they have experienced a reduced turnover during the pandemic.
In the meantime, further information is available here:
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant extended further
Government is continuing its support self-employed people by extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant. An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period 1 November to 31 January 2021. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.
An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from 1 February to 30 April 2021.
Further information using:
Have you download the new NHS Covid-19 app yet?
Following the launch of the new NHS Covid-19 app, people are being encouraged to download it onto their phones to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as infection rates rise.
Following positive trials and careful testing, the app was launched as a new and important tool to work in conjunction with traditional contact tracing. The aim is to reduce the virus spreading.
The app features tools to enable contact tracing via Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, symptom checking and test booking. User privacy and data security have been key priorities throughout development of the app.
The app is available to those aged 16; you and your staff are strongly encouraged to download it. Major mobile network operators have confirmed that all in-app activity will not use customers’ data allowance.
The contact tracing element of the app works by using Bluetooth to log the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for Covid-19 – even if you don’t know each other. All this without disclosing any personal information. You will be advised to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.
To reassure you and to protect your user rights to privacy, the system will generate a random ID for your device. This can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth. These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity. GPS is not part of this process. The app also does not hold personal information such as your name, address, or date of birth. It only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. No personal data is ever shared with the government or the NHS.
For further information have a look here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nhs-covid-19-app-launches-across-england-and-wales
MSDC is running a six-week public consultation about dog control measures in Mid Sussex
Mid Sussex has four Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) relating to dog control. The measures are in place to protect the local environment and deter irresponsible dog ownership. However, the current PSPOs expire later this year and MSDC will be required to extend them to keep them enforceable. The Council is proposing a simple extension of the existing powers it has under the PSPOs.
The consultation runs until 22 October 2020 so if you wish to comment please click on the link below.
At the launch of the consultation I said, “This is a key piece of work for the Council because, as a pet loving nation, it’s important that we have policies in place to protect dogs, their owners and other users of our open spaces”.
The proposed Public Space Protection Orders will cover:
Fouling of Land by Dogs: In order to reduce the amount of dog fouling in Mid Sussex, owners are required to clean up their dogs’ mess. This order is applied to any land which is open to the air and to which the public have access.
Dog Exclusion: To prevent people, or the dogs themselves, being injured as a result of sharing activity space, dogs should be excluded from all fenced children’s play areas and fenced recreational areas such as tennis courts, bowling greens and multi activity areas owned by Mid Sussex District Council.
Dogs on Lead by Direction: To stop a loose dog disrupting sporting or community events or disturbing local wildlife, dogs must be placed on a lead if requested to do so by an authorised officer. This order applies to Mid Sussex District Council owned land on which formal sports and community events regularly take place, and all designated nature reserves.
Dogs Specified Maximum Amount: The number of dogs one person, or one group, can take onto designated Council land is six. This applies to some Council owned nature reserves, adjoining land and several large recreation grounds.
The consultation is available to register your comments at: www.midsussex.gov.uk/dogcontrolconsultation
Mid Sussex leisure centres successfully reopened
MSDC Leisure Centres successfully reopened on 1 September with the focus on the gyms, classes, and swimming pools, followed by a carefully managed range of additional activities.
Customers have been requested to book all activities in advance via the Places Locker app or the Places Leisure website. There will be a 15-30-minute changeover period between each session to allow customers time to exit their activity safely and Places Leisure staff to clean the facilities before reuse.
At the time the decision to reopen was made, the Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said, “Once the leisure centres are open, I hope that residents will make use of them. They are safe and the more they are used, the less the burden will be on the taxpayer. I hope that the reopening on 1st September will be another important step towards a more normal way of life”.
Workplace Health in a post-Covid world
Mid Sussex District Council has successfully run virtual health talks for the past 3 months via Microsoft Teams. These free and interactive talks offer workplaces a range of individual topics, depending on interest. These can include stress and resilience, food and mood or improving sleep.
MSDC launched Virtual Wellbeing MOT’s several months ago: these are short 30minute discussions around lifestyle via Microsoft Teams, or telephone if preferred.
Following a MOT, employees can choose to have further support through 6 one-to-one lifestyle sessions, discussing any goals set during the MOT and potential signposting, also via telephone or on Microsoft Teams if preferred.
Additional services include Alcohol Support, currently on an individual basis, but group workshop sessions are also being developed for workplaces.
It has been suggested that 1 million people have stopped smoking during lockdown, but as these people return to the workplace they may be tempted back to smoking. MSDC offers Nicotine Replacement Therapy either collected from MSDC offices or delivered to participants homes.
Virtual health talks are planned to coincide with Alcohol Awareness week which runs from 16 to 22 November.
For more information have a look at https://midsussex.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/