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
  • NHS coronavirus vaccination service
  • Help with housing payments and bills
  • Don't forget - Covid business grants close on 30 June 2021
  • Support for the vulnerable
  • Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021
  • Chichester Roman Week returns this May half term!
  • Mental Health Awareness Week
  • Stay up-to-date

National news

  • JCVI advice on COVID-19 vaccine for under 40s and Government statement
  • Transport Secretary's update on travel
  • More restrictions to be eased for care homes
  • 'We Offer Testing to our Staff' scheme launched
  • New funding for COVID-19 variant vaccine testing centre
  • New Breathing Space debt scheme
  • Daily contact testing study launched
  • Ofqual confirms autumn assessment arrangements

Latest update

As a result of the excellent progress that is being made to drive down infection rates, the Government announced on Monday that we are ready to move towards Step 3 of the roadmap from 17 May. This means that from next Monday: up to six people or two households can meet indoors; the limit for outdoor gatherings will increase to 30; indoor hospitality will also reopen, but customers will still have to order, eat and drink while seated; indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, museums and children's play areas can reopen, along with the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotel, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes can restart. We're pleased to say that our Novium Museum will be reopening its doors from next Tuesday 18 May. You can plan and book your free visit at: The Novium Museum - plan your visit .

From the same date, face coverings will no longer be required in classrooms, or for students in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges, and all remaining university students will be eligible to return to in-person teaching and learning. The 'Stay in the UK' restriction will be lifted and people will be able to travel to green list countries, if they permit inbound travel - you can find out more about the easing of travel restrictions in the 'national news' section below.

This week, it was also announced that the UK COVID-19 alert level is to move from level four to level three. More information about the planned easing of restrictions can be found on the  Government website and at: Covid-19 restrictions - what you can and cannot do .

Local news

Service status

The majority of our services are currently operating as usual, and an update on all of our services can be found at: .

In line with Step 3 of the Government's roadmap, our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre will reopen their doors on Tuesday 18 May. For more information and to book your visit, see: The Novium Museum . Our leisure centres, which are run in partnership with Everyone Active, are currently open for certain activities and, from Monday 17 May, group exercise will resume in line with Government guidance.

NHS coronavirus vaccination service

It's amazing to see how well the vaccination programme is going and the difference that this is making to our route back to normality. Two-thirds of UK adults have now received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and in Sussex more than 90% of those aged 65 and over have now had their second dose. To find out if you are currently eligible for a vaccine, please visit: Sussex Health and Care COVID-19 vaccination programme .

If you're eligible, you can book your appointment online or by calling 119.

Our NHS colleagues have announced a dedicated ' Quiet COVID-19 Vaccination Session ' for people in West Sussex requiring their first dose COVID vaccination. The session is taking place on 22 May 2021 between 8.30am and 3.45pm at the Children and Family Centre (Home Start Portacabin), St James' Road, Chichester. This session is being offered to people living in Sussex who are currently eligible for the vaccine and who may need more time for their appointment, or who have extra access needs where a quieter and calmer environment would help support them to receive their vaccination.

Help with housing payments and bills

If you are experiencing financial hardship then please contact us for advice. There is a lot of help available, and we want to reach out to people before their situation worsens and before people slide into debt or are faced with potential homelessness. There are many different circumstances affecting people: for example you may have been furloughed, or made redundant, or your household may have suffered the loss of one or both incomes. This may have caused you to fall behind with your rent or mortgage for the first time. Or, you may be a landlord with a single property which acts as your retirement pension, but you are currently not receiving any income and don't know what to do. Our benefits team can offer advice and guidance about your options and where to go for further support. You can find out more information at: Help with finances affected by coronavirus.

The Government has introduced a new debt respite scheme to give those facing financial difficulties 60 days to receive debt advice, or mental health crisis treatment, without pressure from creditors or mounting debts. You can find out more about this in our 'national news' section below.

Don't forget - Covid business grants close on 30 June 2021

If you own a business and haven't checked whether you are eligible for the latest Government coronavirus support grants, please make sure that you visit: Business rates announcements and apply before the schemes end on 30 June 2021. There are three Government grants available and we are urging district businesses to check whether they are eligible and apply now to make sure they access the support they are entitled to.

Since November 2020, we have issued 5,981 Government Covid grants to district businesses, totalling £21.4m of financial support.

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 .

Apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

This Tuesday marked 50 days to go until the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications to be made to the EU Settlement Scheme. We have joined forced with Arun & Chichester Citizens Advice to remind EU citizens living in the Chichester District that they need to apply for the scheme as soon as possible in order to protect the rights they currently have, including access to healthcare, benefits and pensions. All EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members, who were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, must apply for the scheme before 30 June this year, and they can do this by visiting EU Settlement Scheme . You can also find out more on our website at: latest news.

Chichester Roman Week returns this May half term!

The award-winning Chichester Roman Week is back between Monday 31 May until Saturday 5 June, celebrating Chichester's vibrant Roman history with a packed programme of district-wide events. Led by The Novium Museum and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, this year's Chichester Roman Week is set to deliver a range of exciting in-person and virtual events, including theatre, talks, trails, guided tours and family activities. You can find a full programme of events and book on the museum's website now: The Novium Museum - Roman Week 2021 .

All events will take place within Government guidelines relating to Covid-19 at the time. Please note that due to Covid-secure measures in place, numbers are strictly limited and early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme for this year is nature. Getting out in nature is one of the best ways to boost our emotional wellbeing and just ten minutes of time outside each day can be enough to see an improvement in our mood. Our programme of HeartSmart walks offers lots of opportunities to get out and enjoy the beauty of our district. For more information about our programme of walks, visit: HeartSmart Walks. Our Wellbeing team also offer free and confidential one-to-one wellbeing check-ins - to find out more or to book, please call 01243 521041 or email info@chichesterwellbeing.org.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:

  • The latest media releases, including details about applying for the EU Settlement scheme and more information about Chichester Roman Week,
  • The news that nominations will open this month for a by-election in Chichester District Council's Chichester East Ward,
  • This week's District Dispatch column from our Council Leader, and
  • Previous issues of our newsletter that you may have missed.

National news

JCVI advice on COVID-19 vaccine for under 40s and Government statement

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has published new advice that recommends adults aged 30-39 without underlying health conditions should receive an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. They advised this should happen only where an alternative is available and only if this does not cause any substantial delays in being vaccinated. Everybody that has already had a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same jab, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots from their first vaccination.

The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that the Government will follow the recommended approach . You can find out more on the Government website .

Transport Secretary's update on travel

The Transport Secretary has confirmed that from 17 May, the 'Stay in the UK' regulation will cease, and international travel will be allowed to restart , governed by a new traffic light system.

In the statement, he gave an update on:

  • The traffic light system
  • Demonstrating COVID-19 vaccination status
  • Future reviews

Turkey, Maldives and Nepal have been added to England's red list of countries. Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar are among 12 green list destinations. The list will be reviewed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre every three weeks.

More restrictions to be eased for care homes

From 17 May, care home residents will be able to have more named visitors and more opportunities to make visits out with no need to self-isolate when they return: More restrictions eased for care homes .

As part of Step 3 of the roadmap, the Government has announced that the number of named family members or friends able to visit care homes will be increased from two to five, with a maximum of two visitors allowed at any one time or on any given day. Residents will also be able to go to medical appointments, a workplace, educational setting or day centre without having to self-isolate on their return.

New 'We Offer Testing to our Staff' scheme launched

This week, 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. For further information and if you have any questions, please email: weoffertesting@dhsc.gov.uk.

New funding for COVID-19 variant vaccine testing centre

The Health Secretary has announced that the Government will invest £29.3 million in Public Health England’s testing facilities at Porton Down to assess the effectiveness of existing and new vaccines against variants of concern. The funding will increase the site's current capacity from 700 to 3,000 blood samples tested a week.

New Breathing Space debt scheme

The Government has announced the launch of Breathing Space, a new debt respite scheme which will give those facing financial difficulties 60 days to receive debt advice, or mental health crisis treatment, without pressure from creditors or mounting debts.

Under the scheme, people will be given legal protections from their creditors for 60 days, with most interest and penalty charges frozen, and enforcement action halted. They will also receive professional debt advice to design a plan which helps to get their finances back on track. The Breathing Space scheme can be accessed by contacting a professional debt adviser. It's worth being aware that residents must contact a professional debt adviser to be considered for the Breathing Space scheme - as a council, we aren't authorised to determine who can qualify for this particular support. You can find more information, including how to apply for the scheme at: Breathing Space debt scheme .

Daily contact testing study launched

On 2 May, the Government announced a new study , led by the UK Health Security Agency, that will increase understanding of how effective daily contact testing could be for people who are contacts of positive COVID-19 cases.

Daily coronavirus tests will be given to as many as 40,000 people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to gather evidence on safe alternatives to self-isolation. If successful, the study could provide evidence to help reduce the length of time people who are contacts of positive COVID-19 cases need to self-isolate.

Ofqual confirms autumn assessment arrangements

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation has confirmed that students who receive a teacher assessed grade this summer will be eligible to take GCSE, AS or A level exams in the same subject in autumn 2021. This also applies to those students who exam boards believe would have sat exams in summer 2021 had they not been cancelled.

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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.