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.

NORTHWOOD RECREATION GROUND – SPORTS FACILITIES CLOSED UNTIL 29 MARCH 2021 (AT THE EARLIEST) – In line with latest Government Coronavirus restrictions, the Outdoor Gym equipment, Skatepark and MUGA sports court at Northwood Recreation Ground are closed. Please adhere to Government rules.

Poster describing things you are permitted to leave home for during Lockdown due to the Coronavirus

ENGLAND IS IN LOCKDOWN – The government has announced that England has moved into Lockdown (stay at home). For a larger version of the graphic: https://www.cowestowncouncil.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/COVID-19_England_Lockdown_Poster__Digital___1_.pdf.

  • help to access pharmacy medication delivery services and healthcare needs;
  • access to online shopping delivery services or small essential shopping requests;
  • signposting to partner agencies for support with issues arising from isolation including welfare, finance, mental health, childcare issues, crisis advice and support or other caring responsibilities.

For further information, visit https://keeptheislandsafe.org/

ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN – On 23 February 2021 the Government announced its roadmap out of lockdown. A summary of the changes are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary#four-steps

Get the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

If you wish to report Covid breaches or concerns, further information is available https://www.cowestowncouncil.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/How-to-report-a-covid-19-concern-or-complaint.pdf.

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 (seven days a week, 9am-5pm).

COVID-19 TESTING CENTRE TO OPEN FOR LONGER – The Island’s COVID-19 testing centre is now open seven days a week.

The centre at Newclose County Cricket Ground, Blackwater Road, Newport, will also be open for longer each day — from 8.30am until 4.30pm, including Sundays for the first time.

The changes will enable more tests to be carried out as needed.

People with COVID-19 symptoms who are unable to get a test slot online should call 119 and will then be advised of available appointments. Home testing kits can also be ordered online or via 119.

Simon Bryant, the Island’s director of public health, said: “It remains extremely important that we all stick to the guidelines and stay at home – only leave home to purchase essential items, get a COVID-19 test, for exercise or to work if you absolutely cannot work from home. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate and don’t leave home for any reason except to get a test.”

BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR RAPID COMMUNITY TESTING – Islanders can now book themselves free COVID-19 tests and play their part in helping to reduce the spread of the virus. People who have a legitimate need to be out and about because they cannot work from home are being offered regular testing to help detect cases of COVID-19 in those who are not showing any symptoms. The tests are aimed at those who have to leave home to attend work, such as taxi and bus drivers, childcare and retail workers, building or maintenance workers. They are also for people who are in contact with others who are vulnerable, such as carers, and are not covered by other programmes.

Testing is available at the following locations with further sites due to be announced in due course:

  • County Hall, High Street, Newport.
  • The Heights Leisure Centre, Broadway, Sandown.
  • The Learning and Development Centre, Westridge, Brading Road, Ryde.

The testing centres are open Monday to Friday, 7am until 7pm, and between 7am and 1pm on Saturdays. A pre-booking system is in operation and people are advised to book at least 24 hours in advance at www.keeptheislandsafe.org/communitytesting or by calling (01983) 823660. Workers with smartphones are advised to download the NHS COVID-19 app before they arrive for their test. The tests being used are called lateral flow tests. They do not require a laboratory to process and usually provide results within 30 minutes. The test involves taking a swab inside the nose and throat (tonsil), using a long cotton bud. People will do the swab themselves in a booth and the booths will be cleaned after each use. People will get their results by email or text. If they don’t have an email address or mobile phone they will be contacted on their landline. Businesses are being urged to encourage their staff to book twice weekly tests to help keep the Island safe.

Anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should isolate and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Home testing kits are available at: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

The testing site for people who are symptomatic is located at Newclose County Cricket Ground, Blackwater Road, Newport.

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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