Further information can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

 

 

 

Who does it affect?

  • Residents and businesses within the district
  • Chichester District Council staff and councillors
  • Parish councils
  • Community groups and charitable organisations

In this briefing

  • Latest update

Local news

  • Service status
  • Vaccination programme in the Chichester District
  • Have you applied for business grant funding?
  • Look out for your elections polling card
  • Free Reopening and Recovery support for businesses
  • Help with financial support
  • Need help with the Census?
  • Stay up-to-date

National news

  • New 'roadmap regulations' and Coronavirus Act set out
  • UK regulator confirms that people should continue to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Update on shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Update to guidance for parents
  • Update to international travel red list
  • New coronavirus studies
  • Consultation on autumn exam series 2021
  • EU Settlement Scheme -100 days left to apply

Latest update

This week marked the anniversary of the first national lockdown. We joined people from across the country to observe a National Day of Reflection with a minute's silence to remember friends and relatives who have died during the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister reflected on this occasion in his briefing on Tuesday and confirmed that a permanent memorial will be built to commemorate the loved ones that have been lost.

The country's vaccination programme, which is playing such a crucial role in helping to pave the way back towards normality, is progressing quickly and making a difference to so many people. The Health Secretary recently announced that half of all adults in the UK have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and the Prime Minister has urged the public to continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so.

The next stage of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown is due on Monday (29 March) when two households, or up to 6 people, can gather outdoors, including in private gardens. From this date, outdoor sport facilities, such as golf courses, outdoor swimming pools and tennis and basketball courts, will reopen. People will also be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports. More information can be found at: COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 .

Even though the Stay at Home message will also be lifted from 29 March, people are being urged to stay local as much as possible and to continue to work from home where they can. It's also vital that we continue to wash our hands, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces, and observe social distancing.

Local news

Service status

The majority of our services are currently operating as usual, and as of this week. Our leisure centres, which are run in partnership with Everyone Active, are currently closed during the national lockdown, however the current indication from the Government is that leisure centres will be able to reopen for some activities from 12 April. For more information, visit: Westgate Leisure .

Our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre are also closed during the current restrictions, however people can enjoy a virtual visit of the museum at The Novium Museum - virtual museum .

In line with the national guidance, our sports pitches are due to be available to hire from next Monday (29 March). An update on all of our services can be found at .

Vaccination programme in the Chichester District

Our NHS colleagues and volunteers in Sussex reached a major milestone last week when they gave their 750,000th COVID-19 vaccination. In Chichester, over three quarters of all priority groups have now received their COVID-19 vaccination and more than 40,000 vaccinations have been delivered across the GP practices in and around Chichester.

The NHS have provided us with a special update on vaccination progress in the Chichester area, and you can read this here: word icon NHS Vaccination Programme update_23 March 2021 [19kb]. This is in addition to the regular NHS updates for Sussex, which can all be found on our website at Coronavirus support for residents.

Have you applied for business grant funding?

Some of the Government business support grants are due to close on 31 March 2021 - so please don't miss out.

If your business has been affected by coronavirus, we'd urge you to check whether you are eligible for any of the Government grants available, and apply, here: Coronavirus support for businesses.

Despite some of the grants closing to new applicants, further Government business rate grants have been announced. These are known as 'restart grants' and will take effect from 1 April 2021. More information is available by visiting: Business rates announcements and this scheme will be open for applications on this page from 6 April.

Look out for your elections polling card

Next week, we will be issuing poll cards to registered voters for the upcoming West Sussex County Council and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections on 6 May. When your poll card arrives, please remember to check your polling station as it may have changed

If you haven't already, you can register to vote for these elections at Gov.uk - register to vote until midnight on19 April. If you are unable to go to the polling station, or would prefer not to, you can apply to vote by post before 5pm on 20 April 2021.

You can download a postal vote application form  online or by calling 01243 521010. You can also apply to vote by proxy. For more information about the elections, visit: Current elections .

Free Reopening and Recovery support for businesses

We are keen to make local businesses aware of a series of free reopening and recovery webinars , organised by Best Bar None, the Institute of Licensing, National Pubwatch, Purple Flag, as well as other industry partners, and featuring expert speakers from trade associations and the Home Office. We've been sharing these on our social media channels, but there's still time to catch the last few webinars.

If you're a district business, please remember that our Covid Information Officers are also available to help you. They can help you make your premises safe and Covid-secure, and offer reassurance and advice. If you need help with your Covid risk assessment, or if you have questions about current Government guidance and regulations, you can contact the team by emailing: healthprotection@chichester.gov.uk or calling: 01243 534602. You can also find out more about their work in this quick video .

Help with financial support

The coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone and many people are experiencing financial difficulties as a result, but we are here to help. From help to pay a Council Tax bill to support for people struggling to meet their rent payments, there are a number of ways in which we can help people who are struggling to pay their bills during this difficult time. Residents can find more information and useful links at Help with finances affected by coronavirus, or contact our team by emailing benefits@chichester.gov.uk.

If you receive financial support from us and your income has changed as a result of the coronavirus crisis, don't forget to let us know as you may be entitled to more support. You can update your details at: Change of circumstances.

Anyone who is concerned that they may lose their home as a result of not being able to meet their rent or mortgage payments can contact our Housing Advice Team by emailing housingadvice@chichester.gov.uk or calling 01243 534734.

Need help with the Census?

Last Sunday was Census day, but don't worry if you haven't completed your form yet as you've still got time and there is lots of support if you need help.

Anyone without internet access or digital skills can get support from West Sussex Library staff who can complete the form online for residents over the phone. To book an appointment, phone 0330 222 3455, Monday to Friday between 10am-4pm. You can also go to Census 2021 or ring the national Census Support Centre on 0800 141 2021 to request a paper form or for help completing your survey.

To ensure that everyone has the help they need, Census field officers will follow up with people who haven't yet completed their questionnaire and will be able to point them towards support if they need it. This will be done without anyone ever needing to enter anyone's home. The field officers, who will socially distance from the public and who will be wearing PPE, can offer a wide range of support and advice, including arranging for replacement unique access codes, paper forms if they are needed, and answering specific questions. The Office for National Statistics has issued guidance to help anyone who is concerned that the person on their doorstep is not a genuine census official - you can find this information on our website at under 'follow up visits and scam advice'

Stay up to date

Keep up to date on all the latest council news by visiting our Latest News page. Here, you can find:

  • details on further council tax support to help residents who are experiencing financial hardship,
  • news that a timetable has been agreed for the Local Plan Review,
  • information on how to register to vote, or apply to vote by post, for the upcoming West Sussex County Council and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections, and the Chichester City Council by-election, on 6 May 2021,
  • the announcement that work on cycling-related projects in the Chichester District will move forward over the next year thanks to a £61,000 funding boost,
  • this week's District Dispatch column from the Leader, and
  • previous issues of our newsletter that you may have missed.

National news

New 'roadmap regulations' and Coronavirus Act set out

The Government has set out new ' roadmap regulations ' that will pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June, and proposals to maintain support for the vulnerable, businesses and public services. The Government has also published a review of the Coronavirus Act, which sets out measures that will be expired or suspended as they are no longer essential to the national response to coronavirus, as well as the measures that will be retained and how they will help to support businesses and individuals.

UK regulator confirms that people should continue to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Following a rigorous scientific review of all the available data, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed that the available evidence does not suggest that blood clots in veins are caused by the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine . This follows a detailed review of report cases as well as data from hospital admissions and GP records. The MHRA's advice remains that the benefits of the vaccines against coronavirus continue to outweigh any risks and that the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so.

Update on shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable

The Government has announced  that clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield from 1 April 2021. Letters to people on the shielded patient list contain updated guidance and set out practical steps to reduce their risk of catching the virus.

Councils and supermarkets will continue to provide support for those shielding until 31 March 2021. If people have already registered for priority access to supermarket delivery slots, they will continue to be able to access these until 21 June 2021.

Update to guidance for parents

The Department for Education has published guidance for parents and carers of children attending early years settings, schools and colleges . This combines essential information for the spring term and guidance on coronavirus testing; clubs and out-of-school settings; home schooling and remote education; support for children and young people; as well as new information to support parents considering elective home education for their child and information on returning to boarding schools from overseas.

Update to international travel red list

The Department for Transport has announced that Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar have been added to England's red list of countries . Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) and Mauritius have been removed from the red list.

New coronavirus studies

Since our last update, The Office for National Statistics has published ' The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: a year like no other ', which sets out how life, society and the economy have changed during the pandemic and how the period compares with other years.

Public Health England has also published new findings showing that an estimated 76% of 70 to 84-year-old blood donors had antibodies against coronavirus in early March. The group with the highest proportion of antibodies after natural infection are the 16 to 29-year-olds, indicating ongoing infection and transmission in younger people.

Consultation on autumn exam series 2021

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) has started a two-week consultation on how an autumn exam series for GCSEs, AS and A levels should run this year (2021). They are keen to hear from students, teachers, exam boards and the wider education sector on the proposals. The consultation closes on 9 April 2021, and if you would like to take part, you can do so at: Consultation on autumn exam series 2021 .

EU Settlement Scheme -100 days left to apply

This week, the Home Office marked 100 days to go for applications to be made to the EU Settlement Scheme. All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members, who were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, are being urged to apply as soon as possible so that they can continue to work, study, access free healthcare and benefits in the UK after 30 June 2021. Residents can apply at: Applying for settled status .

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As the situation around coronavirus changes, it's important that people across our district have the most up-to-date information possible. Please encourage your friends and family to sign up to this newsletter so that we can all be prepared and play our part in the fight against the virus.