Easing of Lockdown
In last Thursday’s press conference, the government said they were satisfied the ‘five tests’ are currently being met and therefore they can continue to ease lockdown restrictions. From Monday in England six people from different households will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, ensuring they are social distancing at all times. This does not include those on the shielded list – the most clinically vulnerable must stay shielded at this time. Wigan council are continuing to support our residents on this list through our community hubs. The full announcement from the press conference is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-press-conference-statement-on-the-five-tests-28-may-2020
Mobile Testing to Return
The military pop-up test facility will return to Wigan at Robin Park Arena on:
• Friday 12th June, • Saturday 13th June, • Sunday 14th June
Tests will be done on an appointment-only basis. Those eligible for testing are public sector key workers, for example health staff and carers, who are showing COVID-19 symptoms. People can book a test at www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test
The council understands that from this week antibody tests will be made available to NHS and care staff, eligible patients, and care residents to find out if they have had Covid-19 and have developed antibodies. If you missed it, the full announcement is here.: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-offer-antibody-tests-to-health-and-social-care-staff-and-patients-in-england
Test and Trace System
On last Thursday the government announced the introduction of a national test and trace system. Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms must now contact 119 or order a test online immediately here.: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ If someone tests positive, they must isolate for 7 days and members of their household isolate for 14 days. The NHS test and trace service will then text, email or call that person and ask them to share details of people they have had close, recent contact with and places they’ve visited. Those people will then be identified and advised to isolate for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms. Professor Kate Ardern has written a blog about the importance of developing a regional test, track and trace system which will enable us to get the borough moving – you can read it here.: https://wigan.gov.uk/News/Health-column/Test-track-and-trace.aspx
Wigan council have advised our schools that 8th June should be the earliest date by which we begin to introduce more children into primary schools. This position will continue to be reviewed and again early next week following updated government advice. The council are supporting schools with their risk assessments and plans for wider opening and have posed several questions that need answering to give further assurances about the safety of staff and pupils to the DfE. Secondary schools will now plan as advised for wider re-opening in line with new guidance from 15th June, again this will be reviewed following any further government announcements. I will update you on this when I get new information.
Reopening of Market Facilities
Following recent government announcements, risk assessments have been undertaken regarding our outdoor market facilities and social distancing guidelines, to protect shoppers and traders. Wigan’s outdoor market will re-open to the public on Monday 1st June. Traders that wish to attend will need to have completed their own risk assessment template that has been previously provided. Following the assessments, the decision has been made not to open the outdoor markets in Leigh and Ashton from next week. We are not satisfied that these sites allow for current social distancing guidance to be maintained safely. We will continue to review this position and keep traders, members and residents informed of any updates. Further updates regarding Wigan and Leigh indoor markets will be communicated to traders next week.
Reopening the High Street
A new £50million fund was announced over the weekend to help councils in England reopen high streets safely. It will enable authorities to introduce a range of safety measures to kick-start local economies including practical measures such as new signs, street markings and temporary barriers.
You can read the full announcement here.: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/50-million-boost-to-support-the-recovery-of-our-high-streets
Last week Wigan council have outlined plans for the transition to a post-Covid-19 borough, looking at the challenges we now face and how we’ll have to adapt.
Latest financial forecasts suggest we’re facing a £20m shortfall. We must accept we will not be able to go back to how we operated before this pandemic as we face new challenges.
The key areas for our recovery are:
• Protect and improve health and wellbeing
• Support a sustainable economic recovery
• Build on new strengths within our communities
• Ensure children and young people return and thrive in their education/training
• Meet financial challenges and retain new and better ways of working
You can read more about these plans here.: https://www.wigan.gov.uk/News/Articles/2020/May/Wigan-Council-outlines-plans-for-recovery-framework.aspx
Thanks to Councillor Paul Collins from Shevington for this information