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05 August 2020   |   Issue 28

Thank you for continuing to support Westminster and the rest of London through this unprecedented time. Please find below the latest information from the City Council on how we are supporting our communities and businesses.

Westminster Reopening

Council Leader, Rachael Robathan and Cabinet Member for Business and Planning, Matthew Green visited businesses on St John’s Wood High Street yesterday to find out how the recently launched Shop and Eat Local schemes are being received.

The council has introduced a range of measures across the city - including pavement widening and outdoor dining - to encourage people to visit their local area for shopping or a meal. The approach and the measures introduced are unique to each neighbourhood. In St John’s Wood a temporary one way system has created more space for restaurants and shoppers. The new campaign aims to help reassure the public that they can visit the city’s high streets safely and allow businesses to generate much needed income.

You can support your local pubs and restaurants by visiting them as part of the government’s new the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Remember to book ahead and to follow the safety measures businesses have put in place. You can get 50% off your food and non-alcoholic drinks up to a total value of £10 per person if you eat or drink in, and support the hospitality industry at the same time.

Find your local Eat Out to Help Out businesses

Hospitality Businesses - tell us your story to be featured: We'd love to hear about the measures your business has in place to welcome customers back. 

Last week we met with the manager at Harry Morgan's Restaurant & Deli in St John's Wood High Street, who told us about how they are making things safer for their customers, as well as their new al fresco dining option - part of the Council's table and chairs licensing policy, which is helping to support restaurants to re-open again. 


If you'd like to have your business featured on our communications channels, email us at businessunit@westminster.gov.uk and tell us about how you have safely re-opened.

Cllr Rachael Robathan joins Times Radio for an online debate chaired by journalist Matt Chorley
How to save our cities: The Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Rachael Robathan, was one of four council leaders invited by Times Radio, the new national radio station, to debate the topic “saving our cities”. Cllr Robathan was joined by Susan Aitken (leader, Glasgow City Council); Peter Soulsby (Mayor of Leicester) and Keith Aspden (City of York) for the 25-minute discussion.

Public confidence in the safety high streets and initiatives to get people back to shops and attractions emerged as a common theme. Cllr Robathan said Westminster City Council worked on an ambitious scheme to promote open-air dining as a way of keeping the 3,700 licensed premises in the city going. The Westminster leader also spoke of the “devastating effect” of coronavirus on theatres and galleries, and said the sector needed both clarity on social distancing and renewed confidence in public transport to bring visitors back. The interview can be heard on spotify by clicking this link. 
Do you have a view on how Government can support high streets after coronavirus? The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has launched a new inquiry to examine how high streets can survive the economic and social consequences of coronavirus, and wants to hear your views. Click here to read about the inquiry into support for high streets.
Every week we publish news and information for businesses in Westminster. See our latest business newsletter for key updates, events and resources and a range of support for your business here.

Community Updates

Helping rough sleepers during and after lockdown: Westminster City Council has started to move rough sleepers out of emergency accommodation on a large scale, following actions taken at the start of the pandemic, writes Council Leader Rachael Robathan in an Inside Housing article this week.

As lockdown was announced, Westminster placed hundreds of rough sleepers in emergency accommodation, typically hotels and self-contained apartments, to keep them safe. Working with charity partners, including St Mungo’s, The Connection at St Martin’s, The Passage and West London Mission, more than 240 people have now been moved into more sustainable longer-term housing.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected so many people in negative ways, but it has also given us an unprecedented opportunity to work with rough sleepers - not only to offer them a home but also support them with the services they need to live independently. This includes mental health or drug and alcohol support which does not end once someone is housed. 

We cannot be complacent, as the reality is that people still sleep rough in Westminster, and our outreach teams continue to work every day to try and help people find a route away from rough sleeping. Now we are determined that lessons from the pandemic will shape our services for the future. A comprehensive review is planned to look at issues including whether we can phase out shared accommodation, such as hostels, to give people their independent space as the best foundation to support them away from the streets permanently.

Carnival to celebrate online for the first time: COVID-19 has put a dampener on most public events this year, but whilst it cannot take place on the streets this year Notting Hill Carnival is going online for 2020.

In a nod to the wonderful history that has been Notting Hill Carnival we’re asking people to dig up pictures, videos and stories of their best carnival memories. If you or your communities have memories to share, send them via Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #MyBestCarnival to appear on Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensingston & Chelsea’s social media feeds.
Westminster leisure centres have reopened: Moberly Sports Centre, Paddington Recreation Ground, Little Venice Sports Centre, the Porchester Centre, Seymour Leisure Centre, Marshall Street Leisure Centre and the Queen Mother Sports Centre have all now reopened for gym and group exercise classes in line with Government guidelines. The swimming pool facilities at most centres will be reopening for lane swimming and clubs from this Wednesday (5 August), with a lane booking system in place. Swimming lessons will also commence from Saturday 22 August.

We know how important getting and staying active is to our residents and our entire community, and we are excited to welcome back residents to our leisure centres, gyms and pools. During lockdown each facility has been deep cleaned. Now that the centres have reopened, our teams are carrying out regular cleaning throughout the day, including using disinfecting ‘fogging’ machines. For more information, please visit our Active Westminster website. For the full complement of reopening measures and to find out more about booking activities, visit the Everyone Active website.

If you would prefer to keep active at home or outdoors, you can find some great ideas for things to do at the ActiveWestminster website.

Public Health Updates

Advice in other languages: Government advice on shielding, staying at home, and what to do if you develop symptoms of coronavirus is available in languages other than English on GOV.UK.

Changes to self-isolation advice: The Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have updated the self-isolation advice for anyone who has symptoms of, or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Previously, the advice was to stay at home for 7 days if you have a positive result or have symptoms of the virus. This has now been updated to 10 days. Click here for more information.
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