SSDC Coronavirus Update

Support for businesses

With COVID-19 placing local businesses under unprecedented pressure South Somerset District Council has been urging companies to access the support available to them.

In response to the global pandemic the Government has announced a range of measures designed to help businesses in the UK, including the Small Business Grant fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

We made contact last week with business around our district who we believe are entitled to claim these grants and so far around 600 of the district’s 3000 businesses have been in touch. To make it even easier to access the funding we have set up an online form enabling them to submit their details to us as quickly as possible. To access this site visit: https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/forms/apply-for-something/business-support-grant-application/ – please help spread this message locally as we want to ensure we reach as many people as possible.

Homelessness

See our latest news release on this topic here – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/news/2020/3/coronavirus-covid-19-how-we-are-helping-those-who-are-homeless-or-at-risk-of-homelessness-through-this-crisis/

If anybody requires help at this time or is at risk of being made homeless, please contact 01935 462462. If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, please use the StreetLink website, www.streetlink.org.uk.

StreetLink exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with local services that can support them.

If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen rough sleeping, you can use the website to send an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide are sent to SSDC who then act upon the information received. If the person you are concerned about is under 18, please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police.

Call for carers

Somerset’s local authorities are calling for care workers to come forward and play a vital role in tackling Coronavirus pressures.

To ensure more hospital beds are available for patients with the coronavirus, hospitals, councils and care providers will be working together to increase the number of medically-well people who can be discharged home or to a residential care home. 

This will be happening quickly and safely in the coming days, and many of those leaving hospital will need care support, either at home or in a care home.

Extra rooms have been bought in care homes across the county and at least one redundant care home will be brought back into use. Local authority staff are being retrained to work in care, but more are needed across the care sector.

Somerset’s local authorities are therefore appealing for former care workers to come forward and help further strengthen the system. They are looking for people who have ideally worked in care settings before and have retired or moved into different fields.

These will be paid positions working for care providers, initially Somerset Care, the county’s largest care provider. Refresher training and support will be provided.

The following roles are needed:

  • Care home workers who can assist with personal care
  • Nurses who can oversee care plans
  • Domestic support – cleaning and preparing meals
  • Gardeners and property maintenance

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help should call 0300 123 2224.

Debt recovery guidance

We are aware that many of our customers and taxpayers will be experiencing very real difficulties during this uncertain period.

Use this link to get the latest guidance for residents regarding the Hardship Fund, Council Tax Relief, Direct Debits, how to get help with rent payments and more https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/news/2020/3/debt-recovery-guidance-for-covid-19-guidance-for-customers/

South Somerset District Council wellbeing hub

As previously reported, Westland’s Entertainment Venue is established as the SSDC Wellbeing Hub for South Somerset to support those being “shielded” who have been identified as high risk due to underlying health conditions, and others that our vulnerable in our area.

A team of officers (with support from Yeovil Town Council) are establishing a food warehouse, customer booking system and home delivery service for our shielded and most vulnerable residents.

We anticipate further guidance on how to access support from this hub and how it will operate moving forward will be issued before the end of the week and we will ensure you are provided with the latest information regarding this as soon as it is available.

Crematorium

Revised Government guidance was issued on Tuesday which means we have had to close the grounds of the Crematorium to the public. Funerals are still taking place and further information is available here – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/news/2020/3/crematorium-takes-difficult-decision-to-restrict-access-during-covid-19-pandemic/

This has not been an easy decision for anyone concerned and we greatly sympathise with any family that has been affected. We have to take all necessary measures to ensure this facility, one of only a few in the region and operated by a small, highly trained team, can remain operational.

Cremations can now take place on Saturdays and are available to the funeral directors in an effort to help ease the likelihood of future demand.

LATEST UPDATES:

Please continue to follow our Your Council page on our website for updates – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/your-council

Important messages are also being shared on our social media channels, primarily Facebook and Twitter. Please feel free to share these post through your own channels.

WHAT IS THE LATEST ADVICE?

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home. Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Advice for people at high risk

If you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it. These include:

  • not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
  • avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible

Read the full advice on protecting yourself if you’re at high risk from coronavirus on GOV.UK.

Anyone at high risk should have already been contacted by the NHS

FURTHER GUIDANCE:

How can you avoid catching or spreading coronavirus?

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

KEY INFORMATION AND LINKS:

SSDC updates on Coronavirus – www.southsomerset.gov.uk/your-council/

Please visit the Government’s website for the latest information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) here – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you need guidance from the NHS, visit https://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

If you are a business in need of support, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

or the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s dedicated page – https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/covid-19-guidance-for-business/

SCC updates on Coronavirus (including Somerset Waste Partnership) – https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/

LGA guidance including the role of councillors during the pandemic – https://www.local.gov.uk/covid-19-outbreak-councillor-guidance

Remember, Stay at home

Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work; stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people; wash your hands as soon as you get home; anyone can spread the virus.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Contact communications@southsomerset.gov.uk if you need further support.