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24 June 2020   |   Issue 22 

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. 

Armed Forces Day: To celebrate Armed Forces Day this Saturday, the Leader, Cllr Rachael Robathan, the Lord Mayor Cllr Jonathan Glanz, and the Council’s armed forces champion Cllr Mark Shearer attended a ceremony to raise the flag at City Hall. Armed Forces Day commemorates the service of men and women in years gone by and across the world today.

The Leader of Westminster City Council, Cllr Rachael Robathan, said: "This year has already been significant for the armed forces - we had the 75th Anniversary of VE Day in May, and we will shortly be celebrating the same anniversary for VJ Day marking the end of the final conflicts of World War Two. Our serving men and women show superb professionalism whatever we ask of them, and they have again performed with distinction at home by helping us to contain the pandemic. For example here in Westminster we have had soldiers from the Grenadier Guards operating a mobile testing unit at Hyde Park. While most planned celebrations for Armed Forces Day can’t go ahead this year, we wanted to mark the moment by raising the flag at City Hall to show our support and gratitude for everything servicemen and women do to protect us.”

Government Updates

Business Reopening: As of 4 July, pubs, cafes, restaurants, bars and hairdressers in England that are COVID-19 secure will be allowed to open for business as the Government further eases lockdown restrictions. These join a growing list of services that can also reopen on this date, including:
  • Hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes, caravan parks and campsites
  • Cinemas, museums and galleries
  • Libraries, social clubs and community centres
  • Places of worship
  • Outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms
  • Funfairs, theme parks and amusement arcades
On Friday the Council will be releasing further guidance to support the hospitality sector reopening.

Social distancing: The two-metre social distancing rule is also set to be relaxed. Where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, with mitigation to reduce the risk of transmission. More information can be found here.

Rules will ease for people shielding: From Monday 6 July, those currently shielding will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing. Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules already in place for the wider population. More information can be found here

Planning regulations: New measures to help the construction industry boost building and return to work safely will be introduced this week. Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement with their local council. Read the government's full announcement.

Food supply businesses: The Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have announced a series of measures to help businesses in the agriculture and food and drink industries grow their trade activity overseas. Read the government's press release here.

Business Support

Being Scam Aware: The National Trading Standards Scams Team has launched Businesses Against Scams. It is a simple toolkit that businesses can use to help train their employees on how to spot certain types of scams that are more prevalent due to the current pandemic. Please share the webpage with your partners and networks to help businesses avoid and report scams. 
The Business Survey still open: We are asking businesses to take part in a survey which will help inform our approach to supporting the borough’s recovery from lockdown. We want to hear from a wide range of businesses of all types and sizes. The survey is open until Friday 3 July. Please share this survey link with your partners and businesses so they can take part
Joining Shop Local: With nearly 400 businesses having signed up to the Shop Local campaign, please help us to spread the word by sharing the interactive map and sign up form here. It's a great opportunity to profile local business and support the reopening of Westminster.
Every week we publish news and information for businesses in Westminster. See our latest business newsletter for key updates, events and resources here. 

Community Updates

Be part of Westminster's History: For over 25 years, Westminster Archives has been documenting the life stories and memories of our residents. Now, the team is looking for residents to share their experiences of lockdown, for future generations to learn from. We want to know how life has changed for Westminster residents and how they are adapting to new daily routines. Please encourage people living in the city to contribute their experiences to our archive collection. Contributions can be made in many ways: 
  • photos and drawings
  • written or video diaries
  • poetry and prose
 Find out more about the project here and submit your story here.
The coronavirus mobile testing unit will return to Hyde Park on Thursday 25th June and Friday 26th June from 10.30am to 3.30pm.  

Help us spread the word, so we can test people in Westminster and help stop the spread of coronavirus. 

The entrance is through Victoria Gate and the unit can be found on North Carriage Drive.

You can ask for a test:
  • for yourself – if you have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with – if they have coronavirus symptoms
You can ask for a test through the NHS or by calling NHS 119. You must book to attend, please do not turn up without an appointment. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email or text telling you the time to attend. You should not use public transport to attend the test. If you travel on foot, please observe social distancing at all times.

Essential workers or those living with essential workers who have coronavirus symptoms should apply for a coronavirus test on GOV.UK.

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