Published: Tuesday, 17th November 2020

The Leader of Medway Council has issued another message to residents.

Dear residents,

 As we approach what we hope to be the half-way point in the national lockdown I hope this message finds you well.

We are continuing to help our most vulnerable residents as well as provide advice and financial support to Medway’s businesses which have been affected by the current national restrictions.

You may have seen our Trading Standards team out and about across Medway whilst doing your essential shopping. We’re offering advice to businesses in line with the new national restrictions and we are working with the police to take enforcement action, where necessary.

During the first weekend of lockdown, our Trading Standards team visited 400 businesses and were pleased to report that the majority were complying with the new government guidelines.

If you are worried that a business is not complying with the government guidelines, we have launched a new online reporting tool for you to let us know. 

I’m pleased to let you know that last week a new walk-through coronavirus testing site opened in Luton Road, Chatham. We have a comprehensive testing programme in place in Medway and the more testing sites that are available, the easier it is for our residents to book a test if they develop symptoms. Anyone who develops symptoms must self-isolate and book a test online or by calling 119 as quickly as possible.

We, like other local authorities across the country, will be continuing to support the fight against coronavirus by supporting the national NHS Test and Trace team. If the national team has been unable to contact a Medway resident who has tested positive for the virus, we will be contacting them to ensure they continue to self-isolate at home. It’s incredibly important that we all continue to follow government advice. If you test positive you must stay at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms first started, if you’ve come into close contact with someone who has tested positive, you must stay at home for 14 days. Following this guidance and staying at home will help prevent the virus from spreading to others in Medway. 

I am pleased to let you know that Gillingham market reopened last Saturday (14 November) and will continue to be held on Mondays and Saturdays. In line with the current government restrictions only stalls selling essential items will remain open.

Millions of pounds worth of government funding is available to help Medway businesses struggling as a result of the new national restrictions. Medway has been allocated £3.526million Local Restrictions Support Grant funding which will be payable to businesses that were open as usual, providing in-person services to customers, but legally had to close due to the national lockdown on 5 November. We will be writing to almost 2,000 businesses, which may be eligible for the new grants, to encourage them to apply. Businesses will be able to apply on the council’s website in the coming weeks and the deadline for applications is Sunday, 31 January 2021. The government has also announced a discretionary grant scheme for businesses which are able to remain open during the new lockdown but their business has been severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions. The £5.571million Additional Restrictions Grant funding is to further support businesses between December 2020 and March 2022. We’re currently considering the best ways to use the funding to support Medway’s businesses and economy throughout the next 16 months, in line with government guidance.

Residents can now buy caddy liners, dog waste bags, electricity cards (for Cuxton caravan site only) and radar keys on our website and collect the items from your local community hub or library. Find out more.

It remains vitally important that we all continue to follow the latest government guidance and I would urge residents to play their part in the fight against coronavirus. If we do, we will be able get back to the things we love such as visiting the cinema and theatre, attending football matches and local events, and most importantly, spending time with our family and friends. 

Cllr Alan Jarrett

Leader of Medway Council

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