Useful information for the Cheapside community
Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus
Today (14 June), the Prime Minister gave a statement on coronavirus and confirmed a four-week delay to step four of the government’s roadmap until 19 July due to concerns caused by the Delta variant and to allow for more people to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before further easing of restrictions takes place.
However, more than 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes from 21 June. The number of people able to attend such events will be determined by the number that can be safely accommodated in the venue with social distancing in place.
The Prime Minister provided an update on the vaccination programme and confirmed that vaccination greatly reduces transmission and two doses provide a very high degree of protection against serious illness and death. He also confirmed that the government will bring forward second doses of vaccines for over-40s and the clinically vulnerable groups from 12 weeks to eight weeks. He added that the government has set an earlier target to give every adult in this country a first dose by 19 July, that is including young people over the age of 18 with the online vaccination booking system available to 23 and 24 year olds from tomorrow (15 June).
The proposed extension will be reviewed to see if action can be taken two weeks’ sooner on 5 July.
70 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in UK
On 11 June, the government announced that over 70 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in the UK, with 78% of adults now having received a first dose.
Health services across the UK working alongside councils have administered a total of 70,253,625 vaccines since 8 December, including 41 million people with their first dose and 29 million with their second.
To ensure people have the strongest possible protection against COVID-19, appointments for second doses have been brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive both doses.
The move followed updated advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has recommended reducing the dosing interval to counter the threat of new variants of concern.
Surge testing for new COVID-19 variants
On 11 June, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), working in partnership with councils, announced that additional surge testing and genomic sequencing is being deployed in Northwich and Winsford in Cheshire West and in Leek (ST13) in Staffordshire following the identification of a small number of confirmed cases of the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.
The government is using surge testing and genomic sequencing to monitor and suppress the spread of coronavirus as well as to better understand new variants.
Last week, the government updated the guidance on how surge testing and genomic sequencing are being used to include the areas where the Delta variant is spreading faster.
100 Days Mission to Respond to Future Pandemic Threats report
On 12 June, the government published a report to the G7 group of nations, by the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership on making diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines available within 100 days of a pandemic threat being identified.
The Pandemic Preparedness Partnership is chaired by the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and includes health experts, international organisations, regulators and industry.
The report recommends that the international community should aim for the following interventions to be available in the first 100 days of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern:
- Accurate and approved rapid point of care diagnostic tests
- An initial regimen of therapeutics
- Vaccines ready to be produced at scale for global deployment
New ‘We Offer Testing to our Staff’ scheme launched
Yesterday (11 May), the government launched a new scheme for businesses across the UK offering workplace testing for staff through NHS Test and Trace.
Businesses that offer rapid workplace testing to staff, either through on-site testing or workplace test collection, will be able to download posters and stickers to demonstrate their offer for free, regular testing to their employees.
Participating businesses will be able to access digital resources from 11 May online. Councils are encouraged to promote the scheme in their local area.
For further information and any questions should be directed to queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City re-opens April 12th 2021
Please see here for a message from Charlotte Fletcher, Chair Cheapside Business Alliance and Alastair Moss, Chair, Planning & Transportation City of London Corporation
Easing Lockdown Measures Announcement
The government has given details of the roadmap for easing lockdown from 8th March.
See more details here.
Get tested: One in three people with Coronavirus have no symptoms
Rapid COVID-19 tests are available by appointment for City retail workers who do not have Coronavirus symptoms. Please see here for details of test centres in the City of London.
Updated guidance for arranging or attending a funeral
The Government has updated the guidance (13 January) for arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic in line with the new national lockdown restrictions.
This advice is designed to assist people who are involved in arranging or attending a funeral related to a death from any cause during the Covid-19 outbreak.
This guidance has been developed to ensure that:
- bereaved people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect
- funerals can continue to take place while minimising the risk of infection.
NHS England Stakeholder Briefing Note – Wembley Vaccination Centre
Please see here for a letter about the latest stage of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the capital from Martin Machray, Joint Regional Chief Nurse, NHS England and NHS Improvement – London.
PHE: Every Mind Matters
Public Health England (PHE) are launching the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign to support the nation’s mental wellbeing with the encouragement that “When things aren’t so good out there, make inside feel better”.
The campaign is aimed at adults but weighted towards those most at risk of mental health problems. The key message will be to encourage people to create a free NHS-approved ‘Mind Plan’. The partner resources will include a range of materials that will direct to the Mind Plan tool and drive to Every Mind Matters content on nhs.uk.
UK closing all travel corridors
From Monday 18 January, all travel corridors will be shut for one month. The Prime Minister made an announcement (15 January) that travellers entering the UK must have proof of a negative COVID test that has been taken in the 72 hours before departure and must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
Free school meals during the February half-term break
The Government has announced that it will not be extending the provision of free school meals during the February half-term and that councils should provide support using funding allocated under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.
DfE have updated their guidance (13 January) on providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Event – Safer Business Network 21st January
Safer Business Network are holding a free to attend webinar on 21st January. Please click on the link to register for the event.
COVID-19 – Conflict and Safety Webinar Tickets
Thu 21 Jan 2021 at 12:30 | Eventbrite
City workers urged to complain if they are being forced to go to work
The City of London Corporation is urging workers in the Square Mile to speak out if they are being forced or pressured to come into work during the national lockdown.
Government restrictions, set out in law, state that we all must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance. Full details are available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Workers concerned about the behaviour of their employer can contact the City Corporation here.
Enquires will be dealt with in strict confidence, and officers are more than happy to provide advice, answer questions and refer issues to other relevant bodies where required.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. All relevant information relating to employee safety and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the City Corporation website here.
Businesses must take every possible step to facilitate employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
Employers should also be familiar with the City Corporation’s Standard Operating Procedure for premises including details on processes and procedures on COVID-19 outbreak prevention and management.
City of London Police officers have issued more than 50 fines relating to breaches of COVID-19 restrictions in the Square Mile.
Port Health & Environment Committee Chairman Keith Bottomley said:
“The current situation is extremely serious, so it is vital that we stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“No one should be travelling into work unless it is absolutely necessary, and those that do should think carefully about whether they truly need to be at their workplace.
“If your employer is pressuring you to go into work when you don’t need to, please do speak out.”
Businesses and venues that breach restrictions on the national lockdown are potentially subject to a range of fines, starting at £1,000 for the first offence and rising to £10,000 upon repeat offences. Businesses can also be closed where they pose a serious and imminent threat to public health, including where this is necessary and proportionate to manage the spread of COVID-19 in the local authority’s area
Individuals can also be issued with a fixed penalty notice, starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings. The police also have the power to take action against those holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people. This includes issuing a fixed penalty notice of £10,000.
More information is available here.
Chancellor announces £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.
Counter Terrorism Policing New Winter Vigilance Campaign
Protective Security Information for the Business Community.
Chancellor announces new support measures
The Chancellor announced today new measures to support businesses hit by Tier 2 restrictions, including an increase of the government’s contribution to wage costs under the JSS scheme and additional grants for businesses and the self-employed. More info:
London to move into Tier 2 of COVID-19 restrictions
Statement by Ruth Duston OBE, OC
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government bulletins
13th and 14th October
Local Covid alert levels: what you need to know
On 12 October the Government published guidance on the Local Covid alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are.
The Local Covid alert levels set out information for councils, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area. It contains information on what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local Covid alert level.
Full list of local Covid alert levels by area
Find out the coronavirus restrictions in a local area
Promotional material: Local Covid alert level posters
Test and Trace Support Payment scheme: claiming financial support
On 12 October the Government published guidance on who can claim support and explains how to apply.
If someone has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, they are under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.
Communications toolkit for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme
On Monday (12 October), the Government published guidance on who can claim support for self-isolating and explains how to apply.
If someone has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020, they are under a legal obligation to do so, and could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.
The following resources are to help support you to publicise this scheme in your area.
To download resources:
The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government bulletin of 23 September 2020
Coronavirus: What has changed
In line with the Prime Minister’s address last night (22 September), the Government announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England.
The measures cover the following areas:
- Face coverings
- Working from home
- Meeting people safely
Two key documents were updated yesterday (22 September) to reflect the latest government guidance.
Staying alert and safe
Read latest safety guidance here
Coronavirus: Meeting with others safely (social distancing)
Read latest meeting guidance here
The guidance on face coverings has been updated today (23 September) with changes to the following sections: ‘When to wear a face covering’, ‘Enforcement measures for failing to comply with this law’, ‘When you do not need to wear a face covering’ and ‘Face coverings at work’.
Read latest face coverings guidance here
Venues required by law to record contact details
The government today (10 September) announced that premises and venues across England must have a system in place to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff in the latest move to break the chains of transmission of coronavirus.
Coronavirus testing guidance for employers
The government today (10 September) published guidance for employers and third-party healthcare providers on the regulations and legal obligations of running testing programmes. The guidance is for employers that may want to introduce their own internal testing programmes outside of the NHS Test and Trace service.
New grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns
The government yesterday (9 September) announced new funding to support businesses impacted by coronavirus.
Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local coronavirus restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000.
Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a three-week lockdown period. Each new three-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.
Reporting an Outbreak & Continuity Plans
Guidance for Businesses
Action Cards have been developed by the Government and are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on-hand in your business or organisation.
TfL updates travel guidance for businesses and employees
Please see below a letter from Vernon Everitt, Managing Director, Customers, Communication and Technology, Transport for London.
We are committed to playing our full part in getting London moving and working again, safely and sustainably.
You and your employees have told us that you want a clean, reliable and well managed transport service. You have also asked for information on the times of day when the network is quiet to help you stagger working hours outside the busier early morning weekday period. This is what we are delivering for you.
Our services on London Undergound, rail and buses are now back to near normal levels. Compliance with the mandatory requirement to wear face coverings is very high and the British Transport Police are enforcing this. The network has never been cleaner. Our intensive cleaning regime follows Public Health England guidance to make the network COVID secure.
We have developed this guidance in collaboration with the business community as we continue to work together to help London recover from the pandemic.
Please share this with your employees, members or affiliates to ensure as many businesses and employees are equipped with the latest information. To support this guidance we will shortly be publishing an Active Travel Recovery toolkit with practical tips for encouraging more walking and cycling.
As ever, if you feel there are any forums or meetings that would benefit from a TfL representative joining to discuss our latest travel advice then please do get in touch.
Managing Director, Customers, Communication and Technology
Transport for London
Latest Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government Bulletin of 22 July 2020
The Business and Planning Act
The Business and Planning Act has today (22 July) received Royal Assent. The planning guidance to accompany the Act has been updated to reflect the provisions in the Act. The guidance is now no longer draft.
The Home Office has today (22 July) also published guidance on the temporary alcohol licensing provisions in the Business and Planning Act. The guidance includes information on:
- • the purpose of the temporary off-sales extension
- • the difference between pavement licences and alcohol licence
- • the new summary off-sales review process
- • general advice on conducting off-sales
Advice for rail passengers from Govia Thameslink and Southeastern Railway
Read the advice for passengers who are returning to work.
Covid-19 Cycle With Confidence
Cycling in and to the City
Information on route planning, cycle hire, bike shops and maintenance, cycle training and cycle parking in the city.
Data Protection at Home
Are you data aware at home?
While working from home it is important that we carry on implementing
GDPR throughout all our working involving personal data.
Easing Lockdown Restrictions
Government Guidance SCG Comms Hub – Guidance summary (24th June 2020)
On the 23rd June 2020, the Prime Minister announced measures to ease lockdown restrictions in England. The government has issued a series of updated guidance documents to accompany these new measures.
NHS Test and Trace
Guidance for Employers and Businesses
The NHS Test and Trace service forms a central part of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care sector. Once launched, this service will also play a vital role in providing an early warning if COVID-19 activity is increasing locally, regionally or nationally. This information will then be used to inform the Government’s approach to stop the spread of the virus.
Transport for London – Briefing for businesses
20 May 2020
Following the Government’s recent announcement of a roadmap to easing existing lockdown measures, Transport for London are working to safely and gradually build up service levels to where they were before the coronavirus pandemic. This toolkit sets out their latest travel advice for businesses, as well as sharing some tips for planning to return to work in the longer term.
City of London Corporation Guidance
Please see below a letter from the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor William Russell and the Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Policy & Resources Committee, Catherine McGuinness.
Dear Business Owner,
We hope you are keeping safe and well in these difficult times. We are all in a very different environment both in terms of work and home life. It is extremely important to us that our businesses have the right information at the right time, which is why we are writing to you.
Preparations are underway to assist with the economic recovery of the City. We are working closely with the government, the Mayor of London, London Boroughs, Transport for London and major business organisations, to prepare for a further gradual relaxation of the lockdown measures in the City.
We know how important it is for businesses to be confident that their employees and customers will be able to travel into and around the City safely. We are looking at options to increase space available to assist with social distancing measures, advice for queues management for shops, and how to accommodate and increase in the number of people who choose to cycle.
Central Government has published guidance on how to maintain safety in the workplace, including offices. For those properties where we are the landlord, we are in discussions with managing agents and tenants about the safe use of the buildings. We do not anticipate an immediate return to normal, with large numbers of people returning to the City as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, and encourage businesses to think about how they can continue to operate with fewer people in the workplace and stagger journeys to and from work.
Central Government has provided consolidated information to support business in response to this pandemic. This information can be found here. However, as the situation progresses the City is are becoming increasingly aware of businesses/sectors that are not provided for within pre-existing schemes. We continue to raise these concerns with Central Government and would like to encourage you to contact your local Common Councillors with any matters we may usefully bring forward in these discussions. You can find the details of your local Common Councillors and Ward Aldermen here.
Based on guidance from Central Government, the City Revenues Team has now awarded the 100% retail relief to those occupied properties that are eligible to receive the Enhanced Retail Relief and Small Business Rates Relief in the 2020/21 financial year. We continue to make business rate grant payments to all eligible businesses and we have now paid around 90% of the money allocated to us by government. Revised bills showing the adjustment have been issued. More information, including information for Serviced Offices and how to contact the team, can be found on our Business Rates webpage.
We will be providing updates and information on our plans for the City on our dedicated COVID-19 Advice for Businesses website and via social media @cityoflondon. Our website features a range of information on topics such as latest government advice, business grants schemes and updates on support offered by the City of London Corporation. It also provides links to related areas such as parking for key and non-key workers, and other helpful advice and information from Business and Trade Associations.
The City of London Corporation will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops and as we move through a relaxation of the lockdown.
Alderman William Russell, The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor
Catherine McGuinness, Chair of Policy & Resources
Gradual safe return to the Square Miles streets
Follow the link below to read how The City of London Corporation has detailed its transport plans to ensure the gradual safe return of people who work, live and visit the Square Mile.
COVID-19 Mandate Fraud
The threat from mandate fraud has increased during the COVID-19 response. This could result in organisations losing substantial amounts of money that will be difficult to recover. However, whilst mandate fraud is becoming more sophisticated, it is entirely preventable if your organisation is aware and takes the threat seriously.
Read the Government Counter Fraud Function COVID-19 Mandate Fraud Guidance
City of London Corporation:
Member Briefing – Support for Businesses
An overview of the City’s response to COVID-19 in support of businesses as of 21 April 2020.
Security, fraud and scams
How you can help to protect your business from online fraud whilst working from home.
Criminals will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, to scam people in a variety of ways. The number of these scams are only likely to increase and we need individuals and businesses to be fully aware and prepared.
As more people stay indoors and work from computers and laptops at home, there is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious and uncertain about the future.
The CoL Counter Terrorism already received nearly 400 reports of fraud related to COVID-19, the majority of which are online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived. We have also seen a large amount of phishing emails and texts circulating, that use COVID-19 as a hook, and try to get recipients to click on links or attachments which harvest information and lead to the individual revealing personal or financial details.
While the number of reports of fraud in general is not increasing, we are warning people that the current social situation we find ourselves in could lead to any number of fraud types increasing as this immediate public health crisis unfolds. We are advising people to be particularly vigilant around:
Computer Software Service Fraud – as more people work from home, fraudsters may capitalise on slow networks and IT problems, to commit computer software service fraud. Be wary of cold calls or unsolicited emails offering you help with your device or to fix a problem.
Mandate Fraud – with more people working at home, it may be easier for fraudsters to impersonate senior decision makers, with seemingly valid reasons why they cannot be contacted, and request a change in a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by purporting to be an organisation you make regular payments to. The change they ask you to make will divert funds to their own bank account.
Many organisations are either moving to working remotely for the first time or significantly increasing it, and this presents a number of cyber security challenges. Advice on how to respond to those challenges is set out in the NCSC’s working from home guidance.
There are a number of practical steps organisations can take to reduce the risk including:
- Supporting people to use stronger passwords and setting up two factor authentication.
- Ensuring staff know how to report problems, especially those related to security.
- Creating ‘How do I’ guides for new software and tools staff may be using.
- Using VPNs to allow users to securely access the organisation’s IT services.
- Ensuring devices encrypt data whilst at rest.
Some organisations may be allowing staff to use their own devices to work remotely. In this case, please refer to the NCSC’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidance.
In addition to following the guidance set out above, it is worth being aware of phishing emails which trick users into clicking on a bad link. Once clicked, the user is sent to a website which could download malware onto your computer, or steal passwords. We know that cyber criminals are opportunistic and will look to take advantage of people’s fears, and there is evidence that the coronavirus outbreak is being exploited in this way.
Those who do fall victim shouldn’t feel bad – these scams can be extremely convincing – but what they should do as quickly as possible is report it to their IT department when the incident is work-related or Action Fraud when it is personal. They can also open their antivirus (AV) software if installed, and run a full scan, following any instructions given. If they’ve been tricked into providing password, they should change their passwords on all their other accounts. The NCSC’s guidance on suspicious emails provides more tips on this.
Our Cyber Griffin team have also created a series of short video guides on how to keep you and your family safe while online at home which contain practical hints and tips and cover a range of topics, including passwords, phishing, vishing and multi-factor authentication.
To report a fraud please follow this link: actionfraud.police.uk/
Useful Business Links
During the uncertain times of the Coronavirus Pandemic we have collated the below useful links which may be of use to our business community:
Working from home
Thousands of people are now working from home for the first time due to the coronavirus outbreak.
For others, it’s just like any other week. About 1.5 million people work from home, and it’s becoming more popular all the time. So if you’re not self-isolating, but have been told to work remotely, what’s the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?
For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work.
Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful, and also useful if they need to dial into a video call.
If you’re employed by a company, you’ll probably have set hours of work, and it’s important to stick to these when you’re working from home.
Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in your office or workplace, and finish your day at the same time.
Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up indoors all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day as per government guidlines.
So get your shoes on, get outside and remember to stay 2 metres away from other passer-by and enjoy that fresh air. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.
When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with colleagues but when you’re working from home, you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.
Pick up the phone or learn how to Zoom and do video calls!
It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous. And you shouldn’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office. Plus drinks lots of water and keep hydrated!
Have a family break! Play a quick game with them, have snacks and drinks talk about their day so far! This is also a challenging time for our children with no real daily structure.
Food delivery and takeaway guidance
Following new Government restrictions placed on public houses, restaurants, cafes etc during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may be considering diversifying your food business to provide food from your normal menu or new dishes for delivery or takeaway.
This can be a great service to the community. After working long hours, key workers may want access to quick hot food, and those who are self-isolating may seek alternative ways to access the food they enjoy in their own homes.
For more information please read the following flyer from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health:
Food delivery and takeaway guidance