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Issue 22: 16 September 2020

Latest Updates on Salford Council's response to the COVID-19 outbreak

The main council information page on the Coronavirus is updated daily.

New national restrictions

From Monday 14 September, the government has introduced several new national restrictions. Social gatherings of more than six people are now illegal across the country. The new restrictions won’t apply to schools, workplaces, weddings, funerals and organised team sports as long as Covid-secure guidance is followed. The council website keeps information up-to-date so to check the national and local restrictions in Salford see www.salford.gov.uk

Also, from 18 September, hospitality businesses must have a system in place to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. Any egregious breaches will result in enforcement.

Local restrictions

The local restrictions that were introduced in several areas in the North of England on 31 July remain in place for Salford and are being reviewed every two weeks. As a result, people in Salford should be following the following rules:

In areas subject to local restrictions in the North of England, which includes Salford, people should not:

  • Meet people they do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where they have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law)
  • Visit someone else's home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas
  • Socialise with people they do not live with in other indoor public venues —such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainmentvenues, or visitor attractions.
  • They may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with) butshould avoid interaction with others. If they run such a business, they should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 secure guidance
  • Visit friends or family in care homes, otherthan in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.

Full additional guidance for areas with local restrictions can be found here.

The City Mayor has written to every household in the city and videoed a statement for social media which is available to view at https://www.salford.gov.uk/covidmessage

PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES

Coronavirus Cases

The infection rate in Salford has increased from 66.8 per 100,000  in the previous seven day period (up to 4 September) to 77.3 per 100,000 (up to 11 September, this rate may increase as cases come in).

COVID-19 Test trials in Salford

As part of a £500 million Government fund to increase COVID-19 testing capacity and introduce next generation testing technology, the council has agreed to work with the Department for Health and Social Care to launch a community-based testing trial in Salford that will start with 250 tests a day and will explore how regular repeat testing can be made as accessible as possible. The trial will see Salford playing a leading role in efforts to spread community testing across the country. The City Mayor had previously written a public letter to the Secretary of State in April 2020 on the issue of mass testing and contact-tracing to ensure an accurate understanding of the disease at that time.

Prior to committing to the trial, the City Mayor has sought assurances from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Locally, we believe that increasing the availability of community testing is a crucial part of our response to contain the spread of the virus, keeping our residents safe and ensuring our schools, universities, communities and businesses can function as normally as possible. 

Outreach and Engagement Campaign 

The Health Improvement Team’s campaign aims to consolidate and focus efforts to both reduce and prevent the spread of Covid 19 amongst communities by raising awareness and understanding of how to reduce the spread, and by increasing this intervention in areas or communities of increased risk. 

Activities undertaken as part of the campaign include:

  • Targeted interventions to communicate the key messages into a range of different languages, which will be shared with community leaders in the city. 
  • Brief interventions delivered more widely to the general public in a range of community settings including supermarkets and parks.  Residents are able to access free face coverings and bottles of hand sanitiser at these events.  It is estimated that the service will engage with a minimum 20,000 residents. 
  • Hyper-local social media and Health Improvement Service Facebook (which has a following of over 4,500 residents with a 15% engagement rate) will be used to reinforce the local restrictions key messages. Residents can participate in an online quiz and receive a free face covering. 
  • A number of pages have been purchased in local newsletters and magazines to promote the local restriction messages and the Covid Risks Health Checks. 

ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS IMPACT

GM Economic Resilience Dashboard

The GM Economic Resilience Dashboard has been created to track and analyse key indices for the Greater Manchester Economy. The latest data from the dashboard shows that the total GM claimant count in July 2020 was 142,665, a 1.4% increase since June 2020 and a 91% increase since March. It should be noted that the number of people that have become economically inactive (i.e. not in work but also not currently seeking work) is not reflected in these official statistics.

407,900 GM residents were on furlough under Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in June (32% of the working population>which is in line with the England average). Job vacancy data insights at the local level show that whilst vacancy volumes dropped to a low of just 2,000 per week in early May (down almost 2,000 compared to the previous year), the most recent data (ending25 July) shows significant improvements, with total vacancies at 4,250 which is comparable to levels at the same point last year.

Most economic measures for GM remain at historically low levels and there remain significant economic challenges, most immediately with the withdrawal of the furlough scheme which we will monitor closely. The latest Business Growth Hub survey indicated that of those firms that said they are considering making redundancies, 54% said they were considering doing so in the near-term (September or October).

IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES

Community Safety

Greater Manchester Police continue to experience extremely high levels of demand relating to COVID-19 restrictions, with several hundred reports of COVID-19 related incidents at weekends. The police approach continues to be to engage, explain and encourage before moving to an enforcement stage. At 10 September 2020, GMP had issued 110 fixed penalty notices in response to the revised local COVID-19 legislation.

Spirit of Salford Helpline

The council is continuing to operate the Spirit of Salford Helpline and last week (7-11 September 2020), received 790 calls (there have been 15,808 since the start of the helpline) from residents seeking help with issues such as benefits, debt and money advice, and access to food and essential supplies. Track and trace calls are also being handled by the Helpline.

IMPACT ON THE VCSE SECTOR

Emergency grants

The GM BAME Network has launched phase 2 of its emergency grants scheme for BAME led Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations in Greater Manchester working in communities that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. From early September, small grants of £1000-£3000 will be available to help groups respond to the needs of their communities during the crisis. The deadline for applications is noon on 13 October 2020.

VCSE State of the Sector survey

The 2020 Greater Manchester State of the Sector survey for VCSE organisations is now live and will be open for submissions until 25 September 2020. The State of the Sector is a partnership research initiative between 10GM (a joint venture to support the VCSE sector across Greater Manchester), GMCVO and locality partners. The research is being conducted on behalf of the partnership by the University of Salford. The 2020 survey provides an important opportunity to assess how the VCSE sector has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

GOOD NEWS STORIES

Spirit of Salford Community Awards>

The Spirit of Salford Community Awards 2021 are now open for nominations. This year the awards are focussed on recognising the great work of individual and groups in addressing the impact of the pandemic in Salford.

An alternative Manchester Pride Festival

An alternative Manchester Pride Festival took place this year on the weekend of 28 August, with celebrations online including live performances and DJ sets.

spirit of salfordFor the very latest information on the council’s emergency response to coronavirus including up-to-date service information and support available for residents and business visit our dedicated webpages which are updated daily.

do your bitPlease continue to help us reinforce government and local messages regarding the Salford and Greater Manchester restrictions through your networks and social media channels.