I am writing to you with a further update about Coronavirus issues.
Firstly, you will have seen that the Government announced yesterday a package of additional support for employers and employees. I have yet to get all of the detailed information about the package, but you can access initial information here.
If you have specific questions please let me know, and I will try to find the answers for you.
What You Can & Can’t Do
You will be aware of the tightening of some of the coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week. All the details about what is and is not permitted can be found here.
I appreciate that there are strong views locally about what is happening, particularly as we remain an area where incidence of the virus is relatively low still. As these messages are meant to focus on providing information, I won’t get into the debate here. But the one thing I would say is that I hear strong views on both sides of the argument locally, with some people wanting more measures and some fewer.
I would, though, encourage people to follow social distancing guidelines in particular, whether you are out shopping or a young person walking in a large group coming home from school. If nothing else, we do want to stop the virus spreading back through our local community and risking the safety of more vulnerable people.
A number of people have raised with me the issue of flu jabs this winter. As you may know, the Government is recommending that as well as the over-65s, those between 50 and 65 also have the jab this year. However the initial priority is to inoculate the over-65s, who are at most risk from flu, and people with particular health vulnerabilities. The aim is to get this done by November. From November onwards the intention is to extend the programme to the younger age group. I am expecting people to receive a direct invitation from their GP practice when they are due to receive a jab.
There has been some speculation about whether there will be enough vaccinations available. I was on a call with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer this morning and he told us that several tens of millions of doses are due for delivery, and that the stock will be far more than we have ever had before. So whilst I can’t be absolutely sure, it does look as if there will be plenty available for those who need the vaccination. Fingers crossed.
Special COVID Epsom & Ewell Business Awards
Finally, you may remember that I founded the Epsom and Ewell business awards a few years ago to recognise local businesses that go the extra mile for the local community and for their customers. Because of this year’s special circumstances, the 2020 awards are going to be streamlined and a little different. Instead of the normal range of awards and a presentation ceremony, we are doing the awards with a Coronavirus theme and the prizes will be awarded in an on-line ceremony later in the year
The prizes this year will be awarded to businesses that have gone out of their way to do more for local people and the local community during the crisis. That may be a business which has provided extra support for the NHS or which has done extra home delivery for the elderly, for example. Details of the awards are at www.epsombusinessawards.co.uk. Please do either enter or nominate an entry.