12 October, 2020
*Test & Trace Support Payments Scheme*
The application form for the Government Test & Trace Support Payments Scheme is available on our website www.rochford.gov.uk/TestAndTrace from today. If you do not have web access you can make a telephone application by calling 01702 318008.
The Test & Trace Support Payments Scheme is a 500 lump sum payment for people on low incomes who are unable to work because they are self-isolating.
To be eligible for the 500 lump sum payment a person must:
* have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace either because they have tested positive for coronavirus, or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
* be employed or self-employed;
* be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
* be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
Where no qualifying benefit is being received but the other criteria is met, local authorities have the power to award the 500 payment under a local discretionary scheme. The Rochford District discretionary scheme is currently under development and more details will be published on the web-link above in due course.
This payment scheme will run until at least January 2021.
*Updates from Government *
*Job Support Scheme*
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work – protecting jobs and enabling businesses to reopen quickly once restrictions are lifted. The Government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of 2,100 a month.
Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days. The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December.
In addition to expansion of the JSS, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to 3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to 1,500 every three weeks which was available previously. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.
These measures will sit alongside the original JSS – which is designed to support businesses that are facing low demand over the winter months – and the 1,000 Job Retention Bonus (JRB) which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.
*NHS Test & Trace*
Designated venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus.
The guidance has been updated to add further clarification on the venues in scope of the policy. Also added guidance to hospitality venues on how to verify whether an individual has checked in on the NHS COVID-19 app.
*Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme*
The YouTube video about the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing has been updated.
*Stay at home guidance *
Stay at home guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection has been updated to add information on actions to take in case of a negative test result, enforcement of self-isolation, and aerosol transmission.
Mauritius, and the Greek islands of Lesvos, Milos (Serifos), Tinos, Santorini and Zakynthos have been added to the travel advice exemptions list, following the latest assessment of COVID-19 risks. The FCDO no longer advises against all non-essential travel to this country and islands. Read our guidance before planning any travel.
Everyone is reminded to follow the NHS advice which includes preventative measures about social distancing. Please also remember to keep your hands clean, especially if you have been outside e.g. at the supermarket or using an ATM.
*Please use our website!*
Don’t forget a lot of useful content is available via our website and this will be updated regularly, www.rochford.gov.uk is the best place to check first and we have a dedicated section at www.rochford.gov.uk/coronavirus [ Our other media channels are also good sources of information –www.rochford.gov.uk/tellmemore Facebook: Rochford District Council [ https://www.facebook.com/Rochford-District-Council-276358509073126/?fref=nf ], Instagram: @RochfordDC [ https://www.instagram.com/rochforddc/?hl=en ]andTwitter: @RochfordDC [ https://twitter.com/RochfordDC ]
We would like to reassure everyone that we are working closely with our partners from across Essex in the NHS, emergency services, county council and other local authorities, ensuring that well-practiced plans are put into place.
The council is monitoring Government guidance daily and will be issuing communications to staff, members and the public regularly, so please watch our website, sign up for e-mail alerts or go to our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the latest information.