Tue, 03 Nov 2020
People and businesses in West Berkshire needing support during the second coronavirus lockdown have been urged to contact the district council.
Non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality businesses across the country are set to close from Thursday, November 5 until Wednesday, December 2 following a vote on the measures on Wednesday.
West Berkshire Council's Community Support Hub will continue to support residents in financial hardship or who are clinically extremely vulnerable and a new tranche of funding to support businesses will be available.
Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen), said: “Local businesses were among the most impacted by the lockdown earlier this year and we understand that although vital to keep the public safe, these new restrictions will be very difficult for them. We want to reassure them that we stand ready to support them where we can throughout this period.
“Two new government grants will be made available to support those businesses who have been most affected: one for those who have been required to close and another for those who remain open but are suffering particular hardship.
"As soon as we have finalised how they will administered, we will work quickly to get them out to those who need them, as we did earlier in the year. We would also encourage any firm experiencing difficulty in paying their business rates to get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will exercise flexibility with payments where we can.
“The new guidance does allow businesses to offer takeaways, deliveries and click and collect so even though it’s not possible to visit non-essential businesses in person, I would encourage residents to support their favourite local shops, cafes and restaurants by shopping with them online."
We look forward to receiving these funds and will look to get them out to businesses as quickly and efficiently as we can. Please watch out for more details https://t.co/6bP7lqRJP6 https://t.co/rjKqoYd3QW— Lynne Doherty (@LynneDoherty_) November 2, 2020
Mrs Doherty said that the Public Protection Partnership, Public Health and Economic Development teams would be offering advice about the guidance and what it means for individual businesses.
The Community Support Hub is open between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, or between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Friday.
Mrs Doherty said: “The Government is set to bring in new national restrictions in England to help control the spread of COVID-19 and ease the burden on the NHS, as announced on 31 October. At the end of this period, the Government aims to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.
“We are fully committed to supporting our residents and businesses who will be adversely impacted by these new national restrictions. Although not as restrictive as the national lockdown we’ve had earlier this year, we understand that these new measures will still be very disappointing news for many residents and businesses, especially as certain businesses and venues will be required to temporarily close.
“We ask that clinically extremely vulnerable residents or those struggling financially to please call our Community Support Hub if support is needed; we are here to help. We are also continuing to work closely with our partners, including Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Greenham Trust, to support the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the meantime, we would like to thank everyone in the West Berkshire community once again for their support by following the rules which are imperative to staying safe and saving lives.”