Image courtesy of the Eastbourne Herald
Eastbourne COBR Meeting 7th April 2021
Darrell Gale - PHE Update
Testing twice a week is encouraged and available to all from Friday. Community testing is very slow and they have more capacity. Testing can be done at home twice a week. Home testing kits are available from libraries. Results are not guaranteed so personal protection must continue. (Please note: there are still 1 in 15 people in Eastbourne infected with the virus so please continue to protect yourself, and others.)
East Sussex infection rates are low at present. All vulnerable people are encouraged to attend the community test centres. You can still walk in. The College Road centre has moved to the Fort Fun car park on the seafront.
There is still a £500 grant available to encourage people to self-isolate if they test positive although the claims are not easy to make as proof of earnings can be very difficult.
Vaccination certificates are recommended to give people the confidence to go to events, policing it should not be left to the businesses however; while vaccinated people can still carry the virus, the severity is much reduced. It is recommended that everyone who travels abroad gets a vaccination passport giving evidence of all vaccinations, not just Covid.
Ian Fitzpatrick - EBC Update
EBC have paid out £12m to 2800 people since November. Additional support grants and exceptional hardship grants are still available. Restart Grants are also available to apply for now. 216 applications so far. 1500 businesses eligible. Payments will be made quickly, usually within 4 days.
EBC are looking at a second round of funding for exceptional hardship as there is £350K left to hand out.
Miles Berkley asked for an update on the £500 isolation fund. How many were turned down? How much money is still available? IF will circulate this and acknowledged that the govt criteria for this payment are very strict.
Phil Evans – EBC Tourism Update
Bandstand refurbishment work is to start after September. Safety work is done and the bandstand will reopen for events this year in late May.
The Welcome Centre vaccination centre will continue until end May. Then it will move to Hampden Park in June.
The Sovereign Centre opens for swimming from Monday 12th and so the vaccination centre has moved to the Sovereign Harbour Community Centre. The College Road test centre has moved to Fort Fun car park on the seafront.
Stage Door, the Café are giving out door service from Monday 12th. Inside service will be available from 17th May if the infection rates stay low.
Bookings for Black Robin cottages can be made from Monday. The £1.8m Cultural Recovery Fund will pay for new equipment in our theatres to assist in re-opening.
The Winter Garden looks terrific. Floors refurbished this weekend. Dance floor sanded and looking great.
Lots of shows and acts booked already in all the theatres.
Newsletter to follow.
Phil Evans is leaving on Friday 9th April and the Chamber thanked him for all his help and support.
Christina Ewbank – Business Update
CE went through the BID plan to reopen the town centre Monday 12th.
We are installing:
· 42 new lamp post banners. Many with ‘welcome’ in several different languages.
· 3 new cross street banners.
· 3 new directional signs.
· A new steam cleaner to keep signs free of birdlime.
· The Ambassadors are back full time and have already found over 74 bottles full of Methadone abandoned at Debenhams Lismore Road.
· Bid and Chamber Member survey being completed tofind out how businesses are coping and what they need going forward.
We have also got 3254 responses to our visitor survey developed and funded by Edeal and Prowse Marketing with the support of the EHA. The data and report will be available this week. CE will go through it with David Tutt as soon as it is available. We are checking the responses by age group as they vary across different age ranges. Some very interesting data is emerging which will inform our marketing strategy and next steps.
We have asked the council to support larger, independent businesses who employ large numbers of people with grants and are really keen to get this from the remaining hardship grant of £350K. This is for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses whose business dropped away over the last year due to the pandemic.
Kristian Hayter – EHA Update
Their BEIS project is completed. Creating hotel watch with Adam Godden. Supporting hotels reopening. Seminars booked. Argenta are starting to make insurance payments. KH got turned down twice forthe Isolation Grant when he was isolated with Covid. The process was very onerous.
The EHA appreciates the grants received and the council’s support.
All their Eastbourne staff are working from home and so furniture is available FOC. Call CobbPR if you need any office furniture on 01323 416999.
Cllr Robert Smart
When will the wheel start turning on the western lawns? From Monday 12th we think.
When will Dotto Train operate? PE will check with Stagecoach.