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IMPORTANT IMFORMATION Hitchin Town Centre Businesses 1/6/20
Hitchin BasketPlease submit your businesses by Friday 12th June
The new Hitchin Basket website will launch on Monday 15th June and will be a central point for customers to effectively search for the goods and services they require from the town centre shops and businesses. It will be heavily promoted across all our social media sites and there will be posters all over town, and in the shops and businesses. In order for us to prepare the information before the launch, please submit your details by Friday 12th June at 3pm. Follow this link to submit https://test.hitchinbasket.com/login/?action=register  
 
Please note – the information you provide must be relevant from 15th June
 
Business Reopening Packs & PPE 
We have bulk purchased PPE equipment to ensure businesses looking to reopen can access products at a significantly subsidised prices. All these products are industry standard and meet the Government guidelines for protection. The Information Centre, 1A Churchyard will be open on the follow days for collection -
 
  • Wednesday 3rd June – 10am to 1pm
  • Thursday 4th June – 10am to 1pm
  • Friday 5th June – 10am to 1pm  
 
The packs will be available for £10 and include the following products.   
 
  • Pack of 56 antibacterial wipes
  • 500ml push top hand sanitiser 70% alcohol
  • 10 cotton, anti-droplet washable face masks
  • A3 Covid-19 information poster
  • A4 Sanitise Your Hands poster 
  • A4 Clean Assured Premises poster 

Individual items are prices as follows 
 
  • Pack of 56 antibacterial wipes - £3
  • 500ml push top hand sanitiser 70% alcohol - £5
  • Anti-droplet washable face masks - Pack 50 - £25
  • IIR anti-virus, anti-fog, anti-dust face masks - Pack 50 - £35

External Floor Stickers 
We have sourced a company to supply U-Tack textured external 2m round floor stickers (300mm x 300mm) with a non-slip finish. These will be available for £2 each. These will be delivered hopefully by the end of this week. I will email out as soon as they arrive.   
 
North Herts Council Discretionary Scheme
There was considerable lobbying by North Herts Council to the Government in support of businesses that did not meet the initial grant criteria to be offered financial support. I am pleased to announce that this request was approved, and the Government has issued the Council with £1.3m of discretionary funding for local businesses effected by Covid-19
 
They have taken the view to have a three-week application window running from today to 17.00 on Friday 19 June 2020. The reason for this is to allow all businesses the chance to apply rather than allocating money on a first come first serves basis where some very deserving cases may miss out because they are too late.
 
If you did not receive a grant and your business has been affected by the pandemic please follow this link and apply for the discretionary grant.  www.north-herts.gov.uk/business-support  
 
Hitchin Town Centre Pedestrianisation
I have been liaising with the MP, Herts County Council, Network Management, Highways and North Herts Council on the pedestrianisation of some area in the town centre. The objective is to ensure the public can continue to socially distance while allowing queueing outside non-essential shops and food businesses. I received several complaints from businesses regarding the current measures put in place which are not fit for purpose and may cause delivery/collection issues in the future. I have sent a counter proposal to be considered and a meeting is being held at 12:30pm tomorrow.

Flexible furloughing
From 1‌‌ July 2020, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.
You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. You can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if you prefer. You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.
If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.