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28 July - Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives – and keep up social distancing!

Wash hands frequently and wear face coverings in shops.

So have we just learned a Spanish lesson?  The disappointing news on Saturday was that holiday makers returning from Spain will now have to go into quarantine for 14 days.  The news from across the rest of Europe is hardly more encouraging, as numbers of infections rise and there is talk of a ‘second wave’.

Our tentative steps to a post-lockdown recovery are based on reducing the number of infections in the borough and keeping the ‘R’ number as far below 1 as possible. An increase will threaten current and future relaxations. 

Last week, the government issued updated guidance for visiting arrangements in care homes. We all recognise the wider health and wellbeing benefits of residents being able to see a family member once again and we intend to take a balanced approach to how the risks are managed.

However, allowing visitors back into care homes is dependent on us all doing the right thing.

Solihull’s Director of Public Health is working with our care home providers to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission and prevent future outbreaks. This will include continuing support to make sure they have the necessary infection prevention measures in place to allow routine visits from a single designated person. More details can be found here

But if numbers rise locally, we will need to take steps to limit visiting to keep older and vulnerable people safe. 

Throughout the lockdown we have been working with local businesses to help them survive and now as we move into recovery, to prosper. The Small Business Grants Fund, the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grants Fund have been vital to our local economy.

To date £25.8 million of these government grants has been paid to over 2,000 businesses across Solihull.  We are in the final stages of the programme. The vast majority of eligible businesses have now claimed grants, but if you think that you are eligible and have not yet been in touch with us about this, please do so as soon as possible.  The schemes will close by 28 August 2020.

You can read more information on the eligibility criteria for the cash grant here.  After reading this, if you think you may be eligible, please complete our online form as soon as possible.  We aim to respond and process the majority of form submissions within approximately 10 working days, although it can be sooner than this;  complex cases may take longer. 

The Expanded Retail Relief announced in March 2020, will give eligible businesses 100% relief from their business rates in 2020/21, more details on this scheme can be found here.

The Government also announced that many childcare providers would pay no business rates in 2020/21. We have identified the nurseries eligible for the additional support and have sent out revised bills.

If you do need to contact us please email businessgrants@solihull.gov.uk  or if you need to urgently discuss these grants, please telephone our Business Rate Team on 0121 704 8175 for help and assistance.

Details on all the support available for businesses can be found here.

More comprehensive guidance for businesses on COVID-19 can be found here.

And finally if you want to find out which local bars and restaurants are participating in the “Eat Out to Help Out” discounted meals scheme, follow this link here and simply enter your postcodeBon appetit!

Please take care – we are not out of this crisis yet!

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, 28 July 2020

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