MDC COVID-19 Briefing
21st June, 2020
High street businesses will not face eviction for non-payment of rent
The Government will extend measures to prevent high street businesses facing
eviction from 30th July to 30th September, meaning no business will be forced out of
their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months. A new code of
practice has been developed with leaders from the retail, hospitality and property
sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to
encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.
Safe reopening of swimming pools
Swim England has published guidance on the safe reopening of swimming pools.
Included in the five detailed documents are recommendations for operators, casual
swimmers, lane swimming, family-fun sessions, club activity, teachers and those
attending swimming lessons.
Coronavirus drug breakthrough
A trial led by a team at Oxford University has found that treating patients on oxygen
or a mechanical ventilator with steroid treatment Dexamethasone could reduce death
by up to 35 per cent. Described by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty,
as “the most important trial result for COVID-19 so far”, the drug will be made widely
available on the NHS and become the standard of care for all COVID-19 patients on
oxygen in hospitals.
Green jobs growth
More than a million jobs could be created in the low carbon and renewable energy
economy. Nearly 700,000 direct jobs could be created by 2030, rising to more than 1.18
million by 2050.
Music for Dementia
A new internet radio station created for people living with dementia and their carers.
It is free to listeners and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The five available
channels play music that evoke memories based on the years when a listener was
There’s been a lot of false information shared about coronavirus, which can make
people feel very anxious. A useful website has been set up to help you tell whether
news you see online is reliable or not, and whether you should share it.
Scams Awareness Fortnight 2020 15th-28th June
Citizens Advice launched its annual Scams Awareness campaign, which aims to
create a network of confident, alert consumers who know what to do when they spot
a scam. The campaign will be focusing on raising awareness of the scams that have
emerged as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
It is more important than ever to be scam aware as criminals seek to exploit
uncertainty and fear surrounding the virus outbreak. Citizens Advice has reported
that almost one in every three people has been contacted by a scammer since the
outbreak began and are urging people to remain vigilant.
They have developed some useful resources and information on recognising these
scams and how to avoid them, which can be shared with friends and family.
To find out what to do if you have been a victim or how to report a scam, visit the
Citizens Advice website. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/sa20/
Complete our 15-minute Residents’ Survey
We want residents to help us shape our services, focus our efforts and priorities,
post pandemic. Our survey takes 15-minutes to complete.
Find the survey here: www.mendip.gov.uk/survey
Alternatively, call customer services 0300 303 8588 and the Council can arrange for
the survey to be completed over the phone, or will issue a paper copy by post.
Community and Resilience Cell Update
Coronavirus response and helpline 0300 790 6275
The community response work continues, and the helpline is still active for those
who need assistance. People can ring this number for help with personal care and
support including food and delivery of prescriptions, support for the homeless,
emotional support if you’re feeling worried or anxious, financial assistance, transport
to medical appointments and waste collection and disposal.
The work of the Community and Resilience Cell is nicely summarised in an infographic
we’ve attached for your information. (Document 1)
Reopening: Help for our high streets
What your Council is doing:
Suspending fees in pay and display car parks until August 6th.
Suspending Mendip Market rents throughout June and July.
Supporting stallholders to ensure social distancing is observed.
Providing guidance and to support to all businesses.
£28 million paid out in Business Grants as of Friday 19th June.
2,234 eligible local businesses have benefited from the Business Grant.
62 businesses received Discretionary Grant payments this week.
Total Discretionary Grant payments this week – £384k as of Friday 19th June.
Issuing public information to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Installing signage, posters and barriers in retail areas to encourage safe
shopping and build confidence back in the high street.
Supporting a green recovery – making it easier for people to travel by bike
and on foot through an ambitious network of walkways and cycle paths.
Visit our pages here: www.mendip.gov.uk/reopenhighstreet
Read about it in our press releases:
Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to
work safely during the coronavirus pandemic can be found here:
Guidance on which businesses and venues must remain closed is here:
Reopening: Changes to travel
Your high streets are open – but things won’t look or feel quite the same as we
ease out of lockdown. Here are some of the key travel measures being delivered:
Mendip Frome Providing access only to the Market Place from 22
June to enable Market Place improvement works with
car parks remaining open.
Mendip Street Temporarily pedestrianise (with delivery vehicle
access only) High Street from Leigh Road to Vestry
Road (where market normally takes place).
Mendip Wells Reduced scheme now agreed for closure of Market
Place and a small section of the lower High Street.
Market Place car park is closed as part of
pedestrianisation/social distancing arrangements.
Mendip Glastonbury Temporarily pedestrianise (with delivery and bus
access only) High Street, Magdalene Street and
Mendip Shepton Mallet Shepton Mallet Town Council have requested no
temporary interventions to the existing highways and
traffic flows in the town. This will be kept under
Mendip Wells to
Temporary closure (with residential / farm access
only) of Long Drove following existing cycle route to
facilitate safer cycling between the towns and support
social distancing on public transport (Glastonbury –
Wells bus service).
Reopening: Mendip Markets return!
After a successful reopening of Wells Wednesday and Frome and Wells Saturday
markets last week, we are now going full steam ahead to resume all the other weekly
markets in the District.
Frome Wednesday Market will start on June 24th and run from 9am to 2pm
in the Cattle Market Car Park and Boyles Cross.
Shepton Friday Market will start June 26th, 9am to 2pm in the Market Place.
Glastonbury Tuesday market will start on 30th June in its temporary new
home in St Dunstan’s Road Car Park, Magdalene Street.
We are in discussion with Street Parish Council regarding Street Thursday market,
but are planning to bring this market back as soon as possible.
Recovery: Grants and funding
Business Grants update
Some £28 million has now been paid out in Business Grants, to 2,234 eligible local
businesses as of Friday 19th June.
Business Grants are not loans – firms will not be asked to pay this funding back. And
forms are easy to navigate.
Register here today: www.mendip.gov.uk/businessrates
Local Authority Discretionary Grants payments going ahead
Some 62 businesses have received Local Authority Discretionary Grant payments this
week. A total of £384k was paid out as of Friday 19th June.
The applications for this grant are being reviewed and processed in batches on a
weekly basis and businesses will receive information when a payment is made.
Please avoid calling or emailing to follow up, as this delays the processing of
More businesses will receive payments into their accounts next week.
If your query is urgent: Mendipgrants@mendip.gov.uk
Sport England Inequalities Fund – do you qualify?
Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), has received funding from Sport
England to help keep people most affected during this pandemic physically active, or
ready to get or resume activity.
The Inequalities Funding aims to support targeted groups. They are; people from
Lower Socio Economic Groups; Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic Communities; Disabled
People; People with Long Term Health Conditions.
Project will be valued between £200 and £2,000. Larger projects will be considered
where the impact justifies it. Expressions of Interest will be reviewed within a two
Full details can be found on their website here:
Expression of Interest Form can be completed here:
Broadband for rural properties
CDS (Connecting Devon and Somerset) in cooperation with Mendip District Council
are looking for rural communities of 50 to 100 properties in the district with poor
internet connectivity to upgrade their broadband using the Government voucher
scheme. There will be support from CDS to enable this. For more information contact
Cllr Peter Goater.
Email: cllr.Goater@mendip.gov.uk or see https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/
Dairy response fund – now open
Qualifying farmers can apply for support to cover up to 70% of their losses due to
coronavirus disruption across April and May, up to a total amount of £10,000 each.
The funding will be paid out from 6 July.
Information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses can be found here:
Route Map to Recovery
The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s ‘Route Map to Recovery’
outlines measures to help stimulate our local economy.
You’ll find details here: https://heartofswlep.co.uk/news/15395/
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Government has released new guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention
Scheme which includes: information on changes to the scheme and key dates that
you need to be aware of; how to claim, and the information you’ll need to do so;
how to work out how much you can claim, including an online calculator to help you;
plus information on amending your claim.
You’ll find help here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/worker-support
June is peak month for tick bites. Please share this important health
information with your families, friends, communities and networks.
Ticks are small, spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including
people. During this feeding process, they can transmit pathogens that can result in
infections such as Lymes Disease.
Hot and humid weather is perfect for ticks. With lots of us making the most of the
warm weather and spending longer outside please be aware that tick activity peaks
If you’re going out for a walk to any woodlands, grasslands or moorlands in the
Mendips, make sure you carry out a tick check afterwards. Look and feel for attached
ticks on you, your family and your pets.
You can prevent being bitten by:
Walking on clearly defined paths
Using insect repellent that repels ticks
Wearing light colour clothing so ticks are easier to spot
Most tick bites are harmless, but some do carry Lymes Disease so it’s important to
remove them safely and be aware of symptoms:
Mild flu-like symptoms including fever
Bulls-eye rash Hot and humid weather is perfect for ticks.
News from Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP)
All 16 sites will be moving to ‘shop-style’ social distancing
approach next week
Since reopening, extra staff have been making sure that social distancing is being
followed and controlling access to skips. This staffing has been gradually phased out
and over the course of the next week, barriers will be removed.
The public will be expected to take responsibility for keeping themselves and others
safe, with the help of floor markings and extra signs – a set-up similar to that seen
in supermarkets and other shops.
Other access and safety restrictions will remain in place:
Gloves to be worn when outside the vehicle
Maximum of two people per household
Trailers and 3.5 tonne vans only allowed between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays
Lifting assistance not available.
There will be a further update when all sites can take the last few materials currently
not being accepted, including glass and cardboard which can be recycled at the
kerbside. There have been long queues at times, especially in the morning. We
expect this to continue and would ask people only to come if they really need to.
We are aware of some ongoing issues with collections, especially with garden waste
services. Although affecting a relatively small number of people, we understand how
frustrating these issues are and apologise for the inconvenience.
For more information visit https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/dealing-withongoing-
You can also sign up to SWP’s e-newsletter here.
Campaigns: LBGTQ+ Pride Month
Mendip District Council will once again fly the flag at its buildings in Shepton Mallet
in honour of Pride Month. We will be changing our logo on our Facebook and
Twitter accounts too, from 22nd-29th June. Keep an eye on social media for stories,
videos and signposting to support organisations.
Pride month takes place in June each year to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities around
the world. Usually our streets would be filled with colourful marches and parades,
however with coronavirus and social distancing still in place, people need to celebrate
a little differently. While many social events are postponed or even cancelled, we are
encouraging residents to continue to celebrate from the safety of their homes. Online
events called ‘Pride Inside’, have been organised. These will be a virtual celebration
of the LGBTQ+ communities.
Visit our LBGTQ+ webpages here: https://www.mendip.gov.uk/equality
Also go to: https://www.prideinside.co.ukE
Armed Forces Day
On Saturday 27th June will be the twelfth annual Armed Forces Day and the first to
be marked virtually.
You can show your support for the UK’s armed forces by encouraging people to
join a virtual event listed on the Armed Forces Day website or social media
channels, and by encouraging people to watch, listen or read about the UK armed
forces and the work they do.
To find out all about the campaign, visit: https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/
Free webinars for Community Buildings
The Community Buildings Team at CCS (Community Council for Somerset) are
running free weekly webinars for community buildings throughout Somerset.
They are suitable for all forms and sizes of community buildings including village
halls, community centres and church halls.
For the full list of webinars, and to sign up visit:
Council changes at Mendip
Cllr Edric Hobbs, who was previously an Independent Councillor, joined the Liberal
Democrats as of 15th June 2020.
This alters the political make-up of the Council to:
•Liberal Democrats 23 Members
•Conservatives 10 Members
•Green Party 10 Members
•Independents 2 Members
•Others 2 Members
If you have any questions please email Mendip District Council:
When will council meetings be held in public again?
The Local Government Association (LGA) continues to receive queries from
councillors, officers and communities about the future of public meetings.
The legal advice they have received on the interpretation of the current Regulations
states that councillors are not allowed to gather for meetings (more than six people
outdoors or more than two people indoors). The LGA’s legal counsel has advised that
neither the “reasonably necessary for work” nor the “fulfilling a legal
obligation/participating in legal proceedings” exceptions apply in the case of council
The LGA acknowledges people have questioned why national government has been
allowed to return to Westminster, but local councillors are unable to perform similar
democratic functions (while adhering to social distancing). Parliament revoked their
own resolution passed in April which allowed them to work remotely and passed
another resolution to allow them to return.
The LGA view is that the regulations should be amended, or guidance should be
issued to allow councillors to hold hybrid meetings in the same way as Parliament is
able to. The LGA has raised the issue as a priority with Government – watch this
Useful links and numbers
Make your own face covering
Coronavirus FAQs on what the public can and can’t do
Safer travel guidance for passengers
At home shouldn’t mean at risk
National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247. In an emergency call 999.
Mental health weekly radio slot
Mindline. The charity has teamed up with BBC Somerset and Spark to broadcast a
weekly slot on Wednesday evenings 7-8pm. They are available on 01823 276 892.
Mendip District Council: www.mendip.gov.uk/coronavirus
Government information on coronavirus: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
NHS information: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
The LGA have issued some general guidance specific to elected councillors that you
may find useful: www.local.gov.uk/covid-19-outbreak-councillor-guidance
These briefings are produced by Mendip’s Marketing and Media Team. We’re doing
everything we can to make sure we’re directing you to the most up-to-date
information and advice regarding COVID-19.
Mendip District Council’s corporate Facebook page www.facebook.com/mendipcouncil
We are also on Twitter twitter.com/MendipCouncil
And LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/mendip-district-council
Finally, here’s our official website: www.mendip.gov.uk