Coronavirus (Covid-19)

TOWN COUNCIL’S NEWSLETTER – To view the Town Council’s latest Newsletter, containing important contact information throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit: https://www.cowestowncouncil.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Newsletter-Christmas-2020-FINAL.pdf

COWES TOWN COUNCIL OFFICE – The office is currently closed and the Clerks are working from home. This follows latest Government national measures issued on 22 September 2020 to address rising cases of coronavirus in England. Part of those measures relate to working from home. “To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter.” Council meetings are being held as scheduled via Zoom. The Clerks can be contacted by email: townclerk@cowestowncouncil.org.uk or telephone: 01983 209022. Out of hours emergency number: 07502 444883.

LOCKDOWN HAS LIFTED – See the following graphic for current restrictions that have been lifted:

Informative poster displaying current coronavirus restrictions in England

MAJOR CHANGES TO SYMPTOM FREE COMMUNITY TESTING – Coronavirus testing for Islanders without symptoms is set to undergo major change over the coming days. From Friday, 30 April, IW Council sites are closing in Yarmouth, Cowes, Sandown and Ryde. Instead, many local pharmacies across the Island will become the go-to places for people without symptoms to access free supervised testing on a regular basis. This service is called ‘Pharmacy Assist’ and will be available from 16 pharmacies from Tuesday 4 May. This is a drop-in service but anyone wishing to have a supervised test is advised to phone ahead where possible, to enable pharmacy staff to schedule appointments and reduce waiting times. Residents can find their nearest participating pharmacy by visiting https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/ (sites will be live from 4 May).

Where can I collect home testing kits? 

Free home testing kits can currently be collected from participating pharmacies across the Island. This service is known as ‘Pharmacy Collect’.

People can also order online for home delivery: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

Are there any other changes?

County Hall, Newport, will be open all next week for supervised testing and collection of test kits. The County Hall site will close for good at 5pm on Friday 7 May.

From Saturday 8 May, Newclose will become PCR testing again only. It will be open seven days a week, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

CORONAVIRUS WEBPAGE – The IW Council has a dedicated webpage which will be updated regularly relating to the Coronavirus: https://keeptheislandsafe.org/

HELPLINE NUMBER – A helpline number is available to support the Island’s most vulnerable residents affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) self-isolation measures. People who do not have a local network of friends or family to support them while they are self-isolating or social distancing can call (01983) 823600 (six days a week, times above.

GRANT SUPPORT FOR ELIGIBLE ISLANDERS WHO NEED TO SELF-ISOLATE – Islanders may be eligible for a £500 grant if they need to self-isolate due to coronavirus. Residents on lower incomes can apply for the national Test and Trace Support Payment if they’re unable to work from home while self-isolating and will lose income as a result. The one-off payments which do not need to be repaid are designed to help everyone comply with important self-isolation rules and stop the spread of COVID-19 while easing lockdown restrictions.

The scheme has recently been expanded to parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate but need to take time off work to look after a child or young person who is self-isolating. To check to see if you quality for financial help, visit www.iow.gov.uk/IWtestandtracesupport 

The website also includes details of a separate discretionary payment scheme run by the IW Council. Anyone who does not self-isolate following a positive COVID test, or after being told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, could face fines starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches. Residents are advised to prepare a plan for self-isolation. It is more than likely you will have little or no notice that you must self-isolate. Islanders are being urged to consider how they would access food, who would walk their pets, who may be able to go shopping on their behalf, and whether they’re able to work from home.

People can call the Isle of Wight Coronavirus Helpline on (01983) 823600 for support with food and medicine. They can help if you don’t have friends and family to support you.   

For more information on self-isolating and other COVID-related advice, please go to www.keeptheislandsafe.org

NEW DISCRETIONARY GRANT SCHEME LAUNCHED FOR ISLAND BUSINESSES – More Island businesses will be able to access further grant funding from 14 April as the IW Council launches its latest Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme. The government has allocated the IW Council a further £852,000 of discretionary funding to support businesses severely impacted by COVID-19, but which are not eligible for the previously announced Restart Grants. This could include businesses in the supply chain for non-essential retail and the hospitality sector, businesses operating from domestic rated properties such as bed and breakfast accommodation and the self-employed not operating from premises, such as taxi drivers and mobile personal care (hairdressing etc). As before, applications are via a downloadable application form available on the IW Council’s website — see here. Detailed guidance about the scheme is also available on the website. The ARG scheme is separate to the Restart Grants for ratepaying businesses announced in the government budget of 3 March and which are due to be paid shortly.

NEW COVID-19 GRANT FUNDING FOR HAMPSHIRE, PORTSMOUTH, SOUTHAMPTON & ISLE OF WIGHT COMMUNITIES – HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

‘We’re All Together’ Fund Now Open – The HIWCF ‘We’re All Together’ Fund is now open for grant applications from community groups, charities and voluntary organisations based in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton. Grants will support projects and services that are helping local people impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and the funds will close on 4th May 2021.

Made By Sport – ‘Clubs In Crisis’ Fund – Offering vital funding for sports clubs and organisations across Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton to help them to continue bringing sport into young people’s lives, following the disruption caused by Covid-19. Find out more here: www.hiwcf.com/grants/made-by-sport-clubs-in-crisis-fund/

RESTART GRANTS FOR ISLAND BUSINESSES TO GET UNDERWAY – Eligible Island businesses in certain sectors will soon receive government Restart Grants to provide support as coronavirus restrictions are eased. The Restart Grants for business ratepaying businesses were announced in the government budget of 3 March, and will begin from April. Island businesses which have previously received a government COVID-19 business support grant should automatically be paid via their existing details held by the council. However, the council is seeking further clarification from the government on exactly which previous COVID-19 business support grants and periods qualify.

Businesses which have not previously received a government COVID-19 business support grant, but which are eligible under the scheme, will be able to apply via a form which will be available soon on the council’s website at www.iwight.com/covid19_businessadvice.

The Restart Grant support is aimed at non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England who receive a business rates bill.

The support will take the form of one-off grants via local councils:

  • Up to £6,000 to non-essential retail business premises, to help them reopen safely.
  • Up to £18,000 to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises, which may open later under plans set out in the government roadmap and will be more impacted by restrictions when they do reopen.

Businesses must have been trading on 1 April 2021 to be eligible to receive funding under this scheme. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-restart-grant

COVID COMMUNITY FUND – This fund is now open for applications from 15 February 2021 until the 30 April 2021. Grants of up to £2,500 are being made available to town & parish councils, voluntary & community groups and charities. The funding is to help support those residents classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) who are on the NHS Shielded Patients List and also other vulnerable residents. Funding is available to help residents access shopping & medication deliveries and receive basic support during the current period of national restrictions (lockdown). Please click on this link to see the list of medical conditions which defines clinically extremely vulnerable groups.

What can this fund be used for

Funding from this the grant is to support operational costs only. In accordance with government guidelines it cannot be used for the direct provision of food unless there are exceptional circumstances. Emergency food requirements should be directed through the Citizen’s Advice Help Through Crisis provision. Grant can be used to deliver the following for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) and other vulnerable residents:

  • Wellbeing – social contact, providing reassurance, check-ins, vaccination appointment transport, welfare calls and suicide prevention etc
  • Practical needs – meal deliveries, shopping & medication deliveries, domestic tasks including dog walking, gardening, post office errands, personal care and home maintenance etc

Who is this Fund available to

Charities and not for profit organisations. Town and Parish Councils on the Isle of Wight can also apply. They must be responding to community wellbeing support and emergency shopping needs. Local groups with no bank account or Third Sector business status should seek to affiliate themselves with a local group or council. 

Who is this Fund Not available to

  • For-profit businesses

How much can be applied for

Groups and organisations can apply for a grant up to £2,500

Outline Principles of the Fund

Through the application process the group will be linked into the council’s Covid Community Response Cell. If the application is successful the group may be contacted to support residents that have called the council’s Covid Helpline (01983 823600) or those that have contacted a local community hub.

Reasonable operating costs and fuel used for support transport can be covered by the fund, subject to keeping travel logs and reimbursement of mileage to a maximum of 45p per mile (HMRC rate).

How to Apply

To make an application for your organisation please email c19fund@iow.gov.uk  with the following details:

  • Name of the organisation
  • Address of the organisation
  • Name of the lead person
  • Contact telephone number
  • Amount of funding you wish to receive (up to £2,500)
  • Area covered for support by the community group
  • In 500 words – how the grant would be used to support clinically extremely vulnerable and other vulnerable residents including if possible evidence of demand

Terms and conditions will apply. Once your application has been approved you will be asked to sign the Terms of Funding Agreement. You will also be contacted for bank account details for payment.

GRANT AVAILABLE FOR ISLE OF WIGHT COMMUNITY GROUPS – Currently open offering grants to Isle of Wight charities, community groups and voluntary organisations, as below:

  • The John Swires 1989 Trust is offering grants of between £500 to £3,000 to help children and young people from disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds whose lives have been impacted by Covid-19, who have suffered domestic violence, are homeless, need support with their education or help with mental health problems. Closing date 26th February 2021. www.hiwcf.com/funds/john-swire-1989-trust/

1. When must I self-isolate?

You must stay at home and not leave your home for anything other than to get a test for ten days if:

  • you have symptoms of COVID-19;
  • you have had a test and are awaiting your COVID-19 test results;
  • you have been told by NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with a person with COVID-19;
  • someone you live with or someone in your support bubble has tested positive for COVID-19;
  • you are returning from a country that is not on the government’s travel corridor list.

COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

2. COVID-19 symptoms

If you have any of these symptoms, please self-isolate and book a free test straight away:

  • A high temperature.
  • A new, continuous cough.
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

3. Book a COVID-19 test

You can book a test online.

You can book a test via the NHS COVID-19 app on your mobile phone.

You can call 119 to book a test if you can’t get online.

Please do not travel on public transport or travel to the mainland to get a test.

100% BUSINESS RATE RELIEF FOR MANY ISLAND BUSINESSES – Island business ratepayers in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, are being sent revised bills taking account of the government’s 100 per cent expanded retail discount scheme. It means that most occupied businesses in these sectors will not have to pay any rates for 12 months under the scheme, as part of the government’s package of measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The discount scheme is separate from the grant funding that many businesses will have received, which has been restricted to properties below certain rateable values. Under the discount scheme, the total amount of government-funded relief available for each property for 2020/21 is 100 per cent of their bill, after mandatory reliefs and other discretionary reliefs have been applied. Any businesses with queries about their revised bill are asked to email business.rates@iow.gov.uk

Details of the full package of government measures can be found on the government’s website at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/ and via the council’s website at www.iow.gov.uk/covid19_businessadvice Any businesses with questions about the government package of measures are asked to email ecdev@iow.gov.uk

NEW PARTNERSHIP WILL SUPPORT HARD-HIT ISLAND FAMILIES – The IW Council has teamed up with the Getaway Foundation to support hard-hit families struggling in the wake of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The foundation was set up earlier this year to help families in poverty by providing holidays to help create happy memories. However, since the outbreak of Covid-19, it has provided grants and donations for vital school equipment to enable children to continue their learning from home during the crisis. Working with the council’s children’s services team, the foundation has assisted two special schools on the Island with Samsung tablets, cases and vouchers, and has pledged to support more schools in the days and weeks to come. For more information on the foundation, visit www.thegetawayfoundation.com

IW COUNCIL COMMUNITY ESSENTIAL SHOPPING AND DELIVERY FUND – Charities and voluntary groups leading the fightback against coronavirus (Covid-19) can now access two financial support funds launched by the IW Council. The Third Sector Lifeline (TSL) and the Community Essential Shopping and Delivery (CESD) funds have been set up to get money out to where it’s needed as quickly as possible. The TSL fund offers loans of up to £30,000 to help not-for-profit organisations and community interest companies ‘bridge the gap’ while they wait for government funding through schemes such as furlough.

The fund also offers grant aid to help towards operating costs incurred by charities working on the Covid-19 frontline. Through the new CESD fund, the IW Council aims to support the army of volunteers delivering essential shopping and medical supplies to vulnerable Islanders. This fund of up to £5,000 is being made available to community groups in the form of loans and grants to enable them to support residents by advancing monies to pay for and deliver essential shopping. Residents will be expected to repay the costs of the shopping to the community group. For more information about the funds, including eligibility and how to apply, visit www.iow.gov.uk/covid_19communityfunding

You can book a postal test if you need to.

APPLICATIONS FOR LOCKDOWN BUSINESS GRANTS ARE NOW LIVE ON IW COUNCIL WEBSITE – Island businesses eligible for government grant support under the latest national lockdown can now apply via the IW Council’s website. The application forms and details of the grant help can be accessed via: www.iow.gov.uk/covid19_businessadvice

Under the national lockdown there are rolling payments and top up grants for eligible ratepaying businesses in certain categories. Some businesses may also qualify for grant support relating to the brief period around Christmas when the Island was under Tier 3 and then Tier 4 restrictions. There is also support for ‘wet’ led pubs for late December. In addition, the council is offering government-funded discretionary grant help to businesses which may fall outside these schemes, and has created a Winter Business Support Grant scheme. The grant schemes for which businesses can apply are as follows:

  • Rolling grant payments (from 5 January 2021) – These are 28 day rolling payments ranging from £1,334 to £3,000 depending on rateable value for eligible ratepaying businesses in certain categories (non-essential retail, hospitality venues, accommodation, leisure and sports facilities, entertainment venues, animal attractions, indoor attractions at venues, personal care facilities, community centres and halls).
  • One-off top-up  grants (from 5 January 2021) – These range from £4,000 to £9,000 depending on rateable value, and are for eligible ratepaying businesses in certain categories (retail, hospitality and leisure sectors), which are legally required to close under the current lockdown, and which cannot operate effectively remotely.
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) – This scheme relates to grants that are available to eligible ratepaying businesses for the period during the earlier local Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions on the Island around Christmas and the new year.
  • Winter Business Support Grant (WBSG) – The council has created this scheme as an extension of the previous Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, which operated for the previous November lockdown. This discretionary scheme will support businesses severely impacted by the lockdown, including those in the supply chain and not eligible for national lockdown or LRSG support.
  • Christmas support payments for ‘wet’ led pubs – If your pub was in Tier 3 between 2 December 2020 and 29 December 2020 you may be eligible for a one off payment of £1,000. Island pubs were in Tier 3 from 26 December.

COVID-19 ACTION CARDS NOW AVAILABLE TO HELP THE ISLAND FIGHT THE VIRUS – A series of quick-reference ‘action cards’ is now available for hotels, campsites, tourist attractions, shops, restaurants and other Isle of Wight work places to use in the event of a coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The cards provide key steps to help people quickly identify, report and respond to one or more confirmed cases of Covid-19 in their business, setting or organisation. Sixteen cards have been released in the initial tranche with more planned in the future. The action cards, which are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand, provide details of how and who people should contact if they suspect a coronavirus outbreak in their work place or setting. In addition, they give clear guidance on how individual settings can help prevent the infection by applying existing guidance on:

  • social distancing;
  • sticking to the risk-assessed safe working advice;
  • cleaning hands regularly;
  • disinfecting objects, surfaces and common touch points; and 
  • cohorting the workforce and minimising contacts outside of the household.

The action cards are available here for download.

IW COUNCIL PLAYGROUNDS – Families are being urged to stay alert while children are using playground equipment and observe social distancing rules. People are being urged to take notice of posters on display in all 25 council play parks reminding families of the current guidance to help keep everyone safe. These include:
• If you or anyone in your family are showing symptoms of Covid-19 do not enter the play area.
• Remember to socially distance from people who are outside your bubble.
• People are advised to wipe equipment before and after use — it is not possible for the council to clean the equipment on a regular basis.
• Wash or sanitise your hands before and after using the play area and try not to touch your face while playing.
• If the park is crowded do not enter if you cannot stay a safe distance from others.
• Refrain from eating and drinking in the play area.
People are also asked to dispose of their litter and dog waste in the the bins provided or take it home.
For latest guidance on social distancing, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/

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