Support during Coronavirus pandemic
A massive £35.5 million has been handed out to Richmondshire businesses over the last 12 months to help them cope with the Coronavirus pandemic.
As the country marks the anniversary of the first lockdown today (March 23), the District Council is looking back at the enormous amount of central government aid it has given to local businesses.
Council officers have dealt with around 6,500 claims from individual businesses since March last year handing out £35,514,040 by the end of last week (March 19). Many businesses have received multiple grants to help them keep going over the 12 months.
On top of that it has provided information to every household on the various stages of the lockdown restrictions – and continued to provide day to day services like waste collections, council house repairs and benefit support.
It also ran a successful ‘Visit Richmondshire Safely’ campaign to encourage people to come to the district last summer but to do so within guidelines, and has worked with local communities to help them cope with the pandemic restrictions.
“Our businesses, like others across the country, have been severely affected by the pandemic so we have worked hard to get aid to them as quickly as we can,” said Council Leader, Councillor Angie Dale.
“We have given a massive amount of money to businesses large and small, as well as offering support and advice during the last 12 months. Now we are working with them on how we get back to normal and we will be looking once more at our successful Visit Richmondshire Safely campaign as we welcome people back into the district.”
Businesses have also been helped with information on how to deal with the Covid-19 restrictions. Twenty business bulletins have been issued and a range of material produced for them to use, including posters on social distancing and safety measures. The business toolkit will continue to help hospitality and retail businesses as they begin to reopen in the coming weeks.
And the environmental health team has worked with partner agencies to help businesses and the general public interpret the changing guidance and legislation. That has included assessing business Covid risk assessments to enable reopening and events; signposting businesses to available grants; setting up a Pavement Licensing Scheme; assisting with workplace Covid outbreak investigations; and investigating complaints of non-compliance received from the public and police.
“Our toolkit is aimed at retail, food/drink businesses and personal services to help them spread the message that they are open and want to welcome their customers back safely,” added Cllr Dale.
“This last 12 months has taught us how vital our local neighbourhoods are. The communities have worked together to cope with the pandemic, whether that has been helping those shielding or living alone to do their shopping or just being a friendly face. And we will continue to do as much as we possibly can to continue to support them and our local economy.”
The council has also ensured that all homeless people have had a roof over their heads during lockdown by working with local accommodation providers forced to close due to Covid.
And despite staff covering all these issues the council has continued to maintain normal service provision including providing waste collection service, benefits functions, advice on planning, pollution control functions and remote food hygiene inspections.