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
  • Easter travel guidance
  • Vaccination programme in the Chichester District
  • New Government business grant to launch 6 April 2021
  • Business Enabling Grants scheme announced
  • Support for the vulnerable
  • Changes to the Test and Trace support payment
  • Stress management support
  • Councillor nominations open for May elections
  • Stay up-to-date

National news

  • Coronavirus testing updates
  • Vaccination updates
  • Measures to support businesses during economic recovery
  • Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing
  • Checklist to help spot false information
  • Business advice on cyber security
  • EU trading support for businesses

Latest update

On Monday of this week, further coronavirus restrictions were eased as part of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown. People can now meet outdoors either in a group of six (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible). People can also now take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people; outdoor sports venues and facilities can reopen; childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children; and formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to fifteen attendees (children under five are not counted in this number).

The Government is reminding people that they must stay outside when meeting others, and is reiterating that it is vital to continue washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and to observe social distancing. Even though the Stay at Home message has been lifted, people are being urged to stay local as much as possible and to continue to work from home where they can. The Prime Minister delivered a briefing earlier this week to update everyone on the changing restrictions and on the coronavirus vaccination programme, which has now seen 30 million people across the UK receive their first dose.

From today (1 April), those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield but should continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves, including by keeping the number of social interactions they have low and limiting the amount of time they spend in settings where they are unable to maintain social distancing. More information can be found on the Government website .

Local News

Service status

The majority of our services are currently operating as usual. As of this week, our sports pitches are available to hire once again. An update on all of our services can be found at: .

Our leisure centres, which are run in partnership with Everyone Active, are currently closed. On Monday, we will find out if the Government is ready for us to move to step two of the roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions. If this stage gets the green light, then the leisure centres will reopen their doors for certain activities on 12 April. For more information, visit: Everyone Active - Chichester .

Our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre are closed during the current restrictions, however we are pleased to confirm that they are proposing to reopen their doors on 18 May subject to stage 3 of the Government's plan to ease coronavirus restrictions. The museum will be releasing two virtual Easter craft activities over the Easter holidays, which you can take part in and enjoy from home. These will be available on The Novium Museum Youtube channel and The Novium Museum on Facebook .

Easter travel guidance

The Government is advising people to minimise travel wherever possible. If you need to travel, the advice is to plan your journey, regularly wash and sanitise your hands, wear a face covering where required, and keep your distance from others wherever possible. In addition to this, we have worked with our partners to produce some advice on keeping safe when out and about and highlighting all of the measures and advice that are in place. You can read about this at: Keeping safe when out and about.

Vaccination programme in the Chichester District

Across Sussex, more than 900,000 coronavirus vaccinations have been given so far. Our NHS colleagues are urging anyone in the nine priority groups who has not yet had their vaccination to book an appointment or call 119. Alternatively, those eligible can contact their local vaccination service to arrange an appointment.

You are now eligible for a vaccine if you:

  • are aged 50 or over
  • are at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • have a learning disability
  • are an eligible frontline health or social care worker, or
  • are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus

We are continuing to share updates from the NHS, and you can find these on our website here: Coronavirus support for residents.

New 'Restart Grant' scheme launches on 6 April

A new Government grant is being launched to support businesses as they get ready to reopen their doors following the national lockdown. The Restart Grant scheme, which will open for applications on 6 April 2021, aims to help district businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors to reopen safely as restrictions are lifted.

This scheme offers a one-off grant of up to £6,000 for non-essential retail premises, and another of up to £18,000 for non-essential hospitality, leisure, personal care and gym premises. Please visit our website to find out if you are eligible: Business rates announcements. The scheme will open for applications on 6 April, and will be live until 30 June.

Business Enabling Grants scheme announced

On 12 April, we will be launching a new grants scheme for small enterprises in the district. Managed by our Economic Development Team, the Enabling Grant Scheme will give small businesses in the district the opportunity to access funding that will help them to grow and develop. There are three types of grant - one is for capital projects; another is for website and social media projects; and the third is for start-up businesses. If you are interested in finding out more about this and you want to read the guidance notes in advance, please visit: Enabling Grant Scheme.

The scheme is separate to the range of coronavirus support on offer, and we would urge any businesses that have been affected by the pandemic to visit: Coronavirus support for businesses to see if they are eligible for a Government Covid-19 grant.

Support for the vulnerable

We are continuing to work in partnership with West Sussex County Council to support those who are most at risk. You can contact the Community Hub if you, or someone you know, need help in these difficult times. If you have support in place, please continue to use it. You can contact the Community Hub on 033 022 27980 or online .

Changes to the Test and Trace Support Payments scheme

The Department for Education has announced that parents and carers of children who have been advised to self-isolate by their education setting or by NHS Test and Trace are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment of £500 , if they meet the eligibility criteria.

To find out more about the Test and Trace Support Payments scheme, and to see if you are eligible, please visit Test and Trace Support Payments Scheme .

Stress management support

Today marks the start of Stress Awareness Month, a yearly national campaign that aims to raise awareness of the causes and cures of stress. The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all, and in some cases has led to an increase in stress and a decline in emotional wellbeing. Our Chichester Wellbeing team can offer free, friendly and confidential support on a 1-1 basis on all aspects of stress awareness and management. If you would like to arrange a free appointment with a Wellbeing Advisor, please call 01243 521041 or email info@chichesterwellbeing.org.uk.

Councillor nominations open for May elections

Anyone wishing to stand as a candidate in the Chichester City Council and Southbourne Parish Council by-elections, or in the West Sussex County Council elections, can now submit their nomination. All three elections are taking place on 6 May 2021, and nominations must be received by 4pm on Thursday 8 April 2021. For more information and to request a nomination form, contact our Elections team by calling 01243 521010 or emailing elections@chichester.gov.uk.

Stay up to date

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

  • News that £224,000 of Government grant funding has been secured to help the district's Everyone Active leisure centres to reopen safely when restrictions allow
  • More information about the council's Enabling Grants scheme to support local businesses
  • Further details about the Government's Restart Grants scheme
  • This week's District Dispatch column from our Chief Executive, and
  • Previous issues of our newsletter that you may have missed.

National news

Coronavirus testing updates

The Government has published guidance for adult care homes on how to access test kits and step-by-step guides for regular and outbreak testing of residents and staff. Regular webinars are also being run and care homes can sign up at: Whole Home Testing Webinars .

The Department for Education has also published guidance on how staff in early years settings can access regular rapid coronavirus testing. This guidance explains the options for staff in school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools; staff in private, voluntary and independent nurseries; and childminders. The asymptomatic testing programme does not replace the current testing policy for those with symptoms.

The guidance on rapid asymptomatic coronavirus testing for staff in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools has also been updated to include information on who should be offered testing, how the testing works, how pupils should be tested, and what staff with symptoms or a positive test result need to do.

Vaccination updates

Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation, the Health Secretary has confirmed that NHS England and Improvement will take forward work to look at prioritising household contacts of the severely immunosuppressed alongside priority group six in phase one of the coronavirus vaccination programme.

Also this week, the Office for National Statistics has published COVID-19 vaccination rates from 8 December 2020 to 11 March 2021 in people aged 70 years and over by socio-demographic characteristic. You can find this data on the Office for National Statistics website .

The Government has also published a new study , which has found that 99% of people generate a robust immune response against coronavirus after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Analysis carried out by Public Health England also indicated that the coronavirus vaccination programme prevented 6,100 deaths in those aged 70 and older in England up to the end of February.

Measures to support businesses during economic recovery

At the end of last week, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government published a Written Ministerial Statement on the Government's measures to support businesses to reopen, operate safely and recover.

In the statement, he set out the following measures:

  • Continuing the current temporary extensions to construction working hours until 30 September.
  • Encouraging councils to take a flexible approach to planning enforcement so retailers can extend their opening hours to 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday.
  • Extending the current flexible approach to planning enforcement to allow retailers of food and essential items to increase the frequency of deliveries.
  • Encouraging councils to continue with their work to support social distancing measures on high streets and relax planning rules where possible to ensure social distancing can continue in both construction and retail.

Businesses can find more information about this announcement on the  Government website .

Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing

From 6 April, the Government's workplace testing programme will supply home test kits to companies with over ten workers where it is not possible to set up testing on-site. Businesses are encouraged to register before 12 April in order to access free tests until the end of June, even if they're not yet open or are not able to start using the tests straight away.

Checklist to help spot false information

The Government's SHARE checklist aims to help the public spot false information by giving them five easy steps to identify whether information may be misleading. These are:

  • Source - make sure information comes from a trusted source
  • Headline - always read beyond the headline
  • Analyse - check the facts
  • Retouched - does the image or video look as though it has been doctored?
  • Error - look out for bad grammar and spelling

The checklist has now been updated and you can find more advice and tips at: SHARE checklist .

Business advice on cyber security

New figures show that two in five businesses (39%) and a quarter of charities (26%) report having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last 12 months. Businesses, charities and educational institutions are being encouraged to follow free help and guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) . The guidance includes advice on the secure use of video conferencing, secure home working and how to move businesses from physical to digital.

EU trading support for businesses

Businesses are being reminded that a range of webinars and on-demand videos about trading with the EU are available on the  Government website . Businesses can also use the Brexit Checker tool , which provides a personalised list of the most up to date actions that businesses need to take.

The Government has also announced that as part of the revised timetable for the phased introduction of import border controls, a ban on imports of specific products of animal origin has been delayed, subject to prohibitions and restrictions, until 1 October 2021. More information can be found here on the  Government website .

Share this with a friend

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.