New Government Guidance
The Prime Minister announced changes to the lockdown guidelines on Sunday 10 May. These included:
- Return to work for those who work in construction or manufacturing and who can not work at home, from Wednesday 13 May.
- Avoid using public transport where possible, drive, cycle or walk instead.
- Going out for exercise more than once a day is now permitted.
- Meeting one person from outside your household in an outside space but observing social distancing is allowed.
- Plans for primary school children (starting with reception, Year 1 and Year 6) to return to school in June and for secondary pupils, facing exams, to get some time with their teachers before the end of the school year.
- Phased reopening of shops from June at the earliest.
- Some outdoor hospitality businesses may be permitted to open from July subject to the five tests being met.
- There is no change for the many people who are more vulnerable to the disease who are therefore "shielding" until at least the end of June.
Jim Taylor, in response, has said in a staff newsletter “I can confirm that the council will not be making any immediate changes in response to Sunday’s announcement. As I mentioned last week, we will continue to prepare for the next phase working with each service and our partners to develop a phased approach in the city to living and working with coronavirus based on government and Public Health England advice. Any changes to our approach will be communicated by myself and the corporate management team and our priority will always be the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees to ensure that we minimise risks.”
The Prime Minister also announced a new COVID alert system. The alert level will be determined by the rate of infection and the number of coronavirus cases. The Covid Alert Level will tell us how tough we have to be in our social distancing measures – the lower the level the fewer the measures. Level 1 will mean the virus is no longer present and level 5 the most critical level.
Further government guidance on the new measures has been released today and a further briefing on these details, looking at the implications for Salford, will be issued later in the week.
Funding for active travel
Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund - the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.
Fast-tracked statutory guidance, published 9 May and effective immediately, tells councils to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES
In line with the regional picture, Salford continues to see an increase in new cases. As of Sunday 10 May, 864 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 19% since last Monday 4 May, 137 additional cases).
We have expanded community testing greatly, and therefore these are no longer just the severe cases tested in hospital. We are finding the numbers of residents with symptoms is now reducing in most care homes. This indicates the situation is stabilising locally but there remains a significant risk of further outbreaks and a potential second wave.
PPE equipment is now being provided and distributed to all open early years settings and childminders. Salford’s Public Health team are in daily contact with all care homes, monitoring the PPE stock and testing of residents and staff – the team also provide guidance on managing outbreaks, isolation and safe hospital discharge. We have issued PPE guidance on sessional use of fluid resistant masks for residential settings and home care.
Due to the increasing number of people eligible for a test, work is underway to have a military pop-up testing site in Salford in addition to the local testing site at AJ Bell Stadium. This site will use a different laboratory to analyse the results. It is envisaged that eligibility will expand further in line with contact tracing.
The Care Quality Commission offer of whole care home testing has been confusing to care homes and highlighted the real need to test asymptomatic staff and residents in care homes similar to the NHS. This is not in place yet and has been a source of great concern and expended much time needlessly.
KEY SERVICE UPDATES
A full list of information about council services and access by the public can be found at council services information.
The council has been working hard to pay out the £44 million funding we received from government to support local Salford businesses.
To date, £31 million has been claimed by Salford businesses with this figure increasing daily. The council is continuing to promote the various grants available to businesses that have yet to apply or complete their application. Any Salford business who has not yet applied should check the grant criteria and if they consider themselves eligible are encouraged to complete the application form online and submit relevant supporting documentation.
However, many small businesses across the city were ineligible for these grants for reasons such as they operated from shared workspaces and so were not the main payer of business rates. In response, the government has extended its local business grant fund scheme to support small businesses that were previously outside the scope of these schemes.
£617 million is being made available to councils to provide discretionary grants of up to £25,000 to support small businesses adversely affected by the lockdown.
Salford is awaiting its exact allocation but local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, bed and breakfasts, regular market traders, and small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief. What this will mean for Salford businesses will be published soon on the council’s website.
Spirit of Salford network
As of 10 May, the hotline has received 7,400 telephone calls, along with over 1,000 requests for support from the website. Over 2,300 food boxes have now been delivered.
Recent online sessions for young people have included a youth council session, Tea and Toast for Trans parents and youth groups.
Some young people and families are reporting that they do not have the IT equipment to engage in online activities, and this is particularly affecting young people on the C2C Youth Crime Prevention project. These young people are being encouraged to seek laptops through their local school. Youth service staff are planning targeted community outreach sessions for young people who have not engaged in online activity and who they have not been able to contact so far.
Youth service workers and young volunteers distributed parcels for vulnerable families in the Little Hulton area. The food was collected from Tesco Fareshare on Friday and distributed on Saturday.
Schools and early years
The Early Years’ Service are developing a phone app to support the collection of information from childcare providers on Children’s Plans, Children in Need, Looked After Children, Education, Health and Care Plans, Vulnerable and critical worker children.
An update from The Fed
The Fed is the leading social care charity for the Greater Manchester Jewish Community. The Fed has produced a great update on their services, including updates from their volunteers, residents and advice and volunteering teams.
The team have filmed a video with an important message: "We are here for you". You can watch the video on YouTube
The continued dedication of all of our teams who are working in our residential facilities means that some of our most vulnerable young people are looked after and safe during these times. It was really nice to receive the message below which is from our commissioned supported accommodation services for 16-24 years:
“Here is a thank you to everyone social distancing and saying thank you to essential workers. Every Thursday they get excited about that evening’s clap, so they’ve done this in preparation.”
A thank you message for key workers from the residents of one of our commissioned supported accommodation services
We have also received many messages of thanks from our residents, here’s a selection from our social media channels:
“Big shout out to the binmen of Irlam. Mum always leaves them a lemon drizzle cake. None last week. They asked her why, no flour, she said. Next day two bags of flour arrived. Legends.”
“Thank you very much for carrying on emptying our bins, I dread to think what it would be like without this service. Thank you to all council workers, you are all very much appreciated.”
“I would like to pass on my thanks to all the bin men who empty our bins. During these strange times they have attended each week without fail and are efficient and friendly. Thanks to all of you and keep safe.”
“Every single week without fail the Ellenbrook crew fill my two year old son with excitement. They are always cheery, smiling and waving at him while he dances frantically in the window. Thank you so much from little Oliver.”