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Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, May 29

The ongoing coronavirus situation is changing by the hour with announcements being made about businesses and services that are being forced to adapt and change.

Punchline is committed to trying to keep you up to date with all the news that matters to you and your business.

Our team will update this story throughout the day, to ensure that the latest important developments can be found in one - clickbait free - place.

If you or your business has any news, views or advice to share with the Gloucestershire business community, get in touch with Punchline team at news@moosemarketingandpr.co.uk

Friday, May 29

Update #639 - 17.10 Coronavirus death toll in the UK rises by 377

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, in today's daily press briefing.

It has been said that a further 324 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 38,161 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

Update #638 - 16.47 Tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs at risk

One quarter of manufacturing companies in the UK are drawing up plans to cut jobs in the next six months, according to a new survey.

Lobby group Make UK says the slump in orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic could cost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs with a further 45 per cent considering making cuts.

Only 30 per cent of those surveyed expect to emerge from the crisis with all of their existing staff in place.

Make UK chief executive Stephen Phipson said: "There is no disguising the fact these figures make for awful reading with the impact on jobs and livelihoods across the UK."

READ MORE 

Update #637 - 16.08 GFRS offer fire safety top tips for a safe summer

With the dry weather predicted to last across the county, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is asking everyone to follow some simple steps to make sure they have a fun filled, fire free summer.

Due to the ongoing dry conditions, the risk of wildfires across the county has increased, with GFRS having already being called to a number of fires in open areas.

Everyone can play a part in helping the county stay safe by taking a few simple measures. When enjoying public spaces or the countryside litter should be disposed of properly. Glass and reflective material can start fires if left lying around and cigarettes must be discarded safely.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #636 - 14.54 Mitsubishi Motors sales showrooms to reopen from June 1

Sales showrooms across the Mitsubishi Motors dealer network in England are reopening from June 1 following the government's easing of restrictions announced yesterday by the PM.

When revealing the plan to reopen sites within the group, a statement added that special programme of safety measures has been introduced to help dealers do everything possible to protect their customers and staff from infection, such as:

Social distancing measures to be introduced include staggered showroom admittance; specific visitor appointments; designated floor markings; extensive two-metre reminder signage; reconfigured customer waiting areas and specifically allocated car parking.

Rob Lindley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK said: "The safety and wellbeing of our customers, our dealer partners and our staff is of the utmost importance so while we're delighted that the wheels of our dealer network in England can start turning again we want this to happen in the safest and most responsible way possible.

"To ensure we get off to a flying start next week, we've been preparing our operations, and those of our dealer network, to work successfully within the ongoing safety guidelines and we have an ample supply of new and used vehicles; parts and accessories to meet demand."

Update #635 - 14.36 Chancellor prepares to announce furlough changes

Employers will be expected to pay 20 per cent of furloughed workers' wages as the Government begins to roll back its coronavirus support schemes.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce the move in the next few days with employers also asked to pay National Insurance and pension contributions.

READ MORE 

Update #634 - 14.08 Parking charges to resume in the Cotswolds next week

As lockdown eases, parking charges will resume in the Cotswolds next week and ticket machines will come back into use. But for those working in the NHS and for care workers, the Council is offering free parking in its car parks until August 31.

Stock image: parking meter

Parking charges in local car parks have been suspended since March 24 when COVID-19 safety restrictions put ticket patrols on hold.

With the country now slowly beginning to move out of lockdown, and small changes in public behaviour as some of us travel a little further from home, Cotswold District Council is responding.

From June 1, car parks across the District will start charging again alongside new safety measures.

READ MORE 

Update #633 - 13.05 King's School to hold Virtual Open Morning

The King's School in Gloucester will hold its first Virtual Open Morning on Saturday, June 6.

At this time of year, the school would normally be inviting prospective parents and pupils to visit the school and learn about its environment and ethos. But due to the current restrictions, the school is unable to welcome visitors in person, so has come up with a virtual alternative.

FIND OUT MORE 

Update #632 - 11.45 Councils warn grant money is tight as applications open

Discretionary Business Grants from the Government is unlikely to meet the demand from small businesses in the Cotswolds, according to one senior councillor.

Cotswold and Forest of Dean District Councils have announced they will accept applications from June 1 from small businesses not eligible under other support schemes.

Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud District Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council are still to announce how they are administering the scheme as a joint enterprise.

First payments for Cotswold and Forest applications should be received in the week beginning June 22, but Councillor Mike Evemy has warned the help might not be enough.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #631 - 11.23 Dentists give cautious welcome to return

The British Dental Association has welcomed a government green light to resume routine care services in England from June 8.

But it has warned practices can only proceed if they have the correct personal protective equipment and can implement social distancing measures and cross-infection control.

BDA chairman Mick Armstrong said: "A return of high street dentistry will be welcome news to millions of patients left with few options during lockdown, but key questions remain.

"It is right to allow practices to decide themselves when they are ready to open.

"Dentists will be keen to start providing care as soon as safely possible, but we will need everyone to be patient as practices get up and running."

Update #630 - 11.20 National Trust opening outdoor attractions

No sites in Gloucestershire are among the first National Trust properties which will reopen next week.

Around 30 garden and parkland sits are due to open across England and Northern Ireland from June 3 with more to follow in the next few weeks.

Numbers will be limited to allow for social distancing measures and tickets need to be pre-booked.

Facilities at the sites such as houses, shops and campsites will remain closed.

Update #629 - 11.17 Nationwide writes off £101m as profits fall

Nationwide Building Society has seen profits fall by 40 per cent after taking a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain's largest building society has earmarked £101million to offset expected credit losses, adding to an already predicted fall in profits.

Underlying profit before tax fell from £788million to £469million after an underlying income of a little more than £3billion.

Chief executive Joe Garner said: "We are helping members in financial difficulty with payment holidays on mortgages and loans and interest-free overdraft periods.

"We have promised that no mortgage member will lose their home over the next 12 months due to the impact of the coronavirus.

"We are paying our suppliers early, especially smaller ones, to help them stay in business."

No sites in Gloucestershire are among the first National Trust properties which will reopen next week.

Around 30 garden and parkland sits are due to open across England and Northern Ireland from June 3 with more to follow in the next few weeks.

Numbers will be limited to allow for social distancing measures and tickets need to be pre-booked.

Facilities at the sites such as houses, shops and campsites will remain closed.

Update #628 - 10.07 Lakefest postponed until 2021

Set in the grounds of Eastnor Castle, Lakefest music festival was due to take place in early August.

However the coronavirus has put a stop to that, with organisers announcing its cancellation this morning.

A statement on the festival's website read: "As a grassroots independent festival we say this with great sadness but it has become clear from talking with local authorities and monitoring the global crisis caused by COVID-19 that it would be unsafe for us to deliver Lakefest in August.

"The health and well being of the Lakefest family including customers, staff, vendors and the local community is our utmost priority and it would be irresponsible of us to go against advice and wider trends in the events industry.

"However it's not all bad news, when the gravity of this situation was apparent we set in motion our plan B which was to postpone until next year with an improved line up and entertainment. After a lot of hard work we are excited to announce that Lakefest 2021 will take place on the 12th - 15th of August.

"A big thanks to everyone for the patience and support during this tough time, we can't wait to see you all again next year!" 

Update #627 - 10.03 Volunteers come together to provide PPE for carers

Leonard Cheshire care workers across Gloucestershire and the wider South West region have received 500 protective face shields thanks to an initiative in Devon and Somerset.

PPE4Exeter is an Exeter-based team of volunteers, small businesses and organisations that are working together to produce and distribute protective face shields to local health and care workers.

They donated more than £1,200 worth of visors to leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire, who are currently spending £400,000 every month on PPE.

READ MORE  

Update #626 - 09.55 Monsoon Accessorize close to collapse

In more bad news for the high street, Monsoon Accessorize is reportedly on the brink of going into administration, putting 3500 jobs at risk.

It's thought that the fashion retailer, which has stores in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester, is readying FRP Advisory to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators over the next few days, as reported by Retail Gazette.

The company's owner is said to be looking for a buyer for the business and is in talks with several potential bidders. Although it looks like it could already be too late to save the Gloucester store, which has been stripped bare during lockdown.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #625 - 08.25 Update on coronavirus cases in Gloucestershire

Public Health England have released new data showing that the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county sits at 1,369 as of 9am on May 28 - no increase on the day before.

It was also announced yesterday that there had been a rise in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

New information released on Thursday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 223 - an increase of one on the day before.

Of these deaths, it has been reported that 189 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Thursday, May 28

Update #624 - 17.00 Coronavirus death toll in the UK rises by 377

The department of health and social care has announced the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 377 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 37,837 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

Update #623 - 16.15 Lucky few feel better off in lockdown

With many businesses fighting for survival, employees on furlough or worried about redundancy, a lucky few are actually escaping the financial ill effects of the pandemic.

In fact, half of Brits who are still able to work are reporting less financial stress than usual, according to research by income streaming provider Wagestream.

Covid-19 has brought the country to a standstill, shut entire industries, brought financial misery to households and forced more than six million workers to be furloughed. But despite this, financial data shows that just over half of those still working are actually feeling better off than usual.

Wagestream analysed how much pay 70,466 workers have been drawing down early using its income streaming service. In total, 52.5 per cent of those still working are accessing less pay than usual prior to payday. This has been blamed on lockdown, which has restricted leisure spending, including visits to bars and restaurants, as well as holidays.

READ MORE 

Update #622 - 15.57 Debenhams targets opening on June 15

Debenhams says the majority of its surviving stories will reopen on June 15 when government coronavirus restrictions has lapsed.

The department store is in administration for the second time in a few months and has been negotiating deals with landlords for the bulk of its 142 stores.

While a handful of locations have been confirmed as closing, Gloucester is not among them and Debenhams says it has finished lease negotiations for 120 stores.

A Debenhams spokesman said: "In the context of a retail industry undergoing profound change, the management team is working on the future shape of the group with a view to seeking an exit from administration as a going concern.

"With a leaner and more flexible operating model, Debenhams will have the ability to adapt to what are likely to be fundamental shifts in the future trading environment."

Debenhams employed around 3,000 people before the lockdown with several hundred jobs expected to be lost at head office with more redundancies possible in stores as they reopen on reduced hours.

Update #621 - 15.53 Virgin Media to shut shops

Virgin Media is expected to vanish from the high street with affected staff moved to fresh roles.

The Guardian reports that the cable and TV company is shutting its 53 retail stores, including one in Gloucester, with 341 staff being offered jobs elsewhere in the company.

Most are expected to move to customer care.

Update #620 - 15.51 MPs demand help for aviation

A cross-party group of MPs has called on the Government to take urgent action to safeguard jobs in the aviation industry.

The 40-strong Future of Aviation Group has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, detailing a "lack of progress" in support for the industry and calling for reviews on 14-day quarantining of new arrivals in the country which is due to start on June 8.

Their letter to Mr Shapps said: "The wider aviation family makes a significant economic and social contribution to the UK and will be central to our long-term economic recovery.

"We are concerned at the lack of progress being made in providing wider support for the industry and in the development of a long-term roadmap that will enable the sector to recover as quickly as possible and play its vital role in our national overall economic recovery.

"We need urgent action now to safeguard jobs. The consequences of inaction in this vital area are simply unthinkable."

Update #619 - 15.35 Public toilets to reopen in the Cotswolds

As the country slowly begins to take steps to move out of lockdown more of us are beginning to travel a little further from home.

At the request of local residents and following concerns about sanitation, today (May 28) the Cotswold District Council will reopen the public toilets it provides in Bourton-on-the-Water.

The remaining sites in Bibury, Chipping Campden, Cirencester, Fairford, Lechlade, Morton in Marsh, Northleach, Stow-on-the-Wold and Tetbury will reopen on Monday, June 1.

READ MORE 

Update #618 - 15.30 Last chance to join our Zoom Q&A with Alex Chalk MP

What does the future look like for Cheltenham's high street? How will the town's economy bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic?

Punchline-Gloucester.com will look to find out the answer to these questions and more in an exclusive Q&A session with Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk.

Last Friday's Zoom discussion with Gloucester MP Richard Graham proved a huge success with business leaders coming together virtually to quiz the MP on everything from the impact of coronavirus on the economy to business rates and worrying levels of unemployment in young people.

This week will see the second instalment in our Q&A series with Punchline editor Mark Owen chairing a session with Mr Chalk from 2pm on Friday, May 29.

REGISTER YOUR ATTENDANCE 

Update #617 - 13.21 Milestone reached as two million items of PPE delivered 

More than two million items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have been delivered across Gloucestershire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The milestone was reached last week thanks to a huge collective effort from partners across the county since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Items including gloves, masks, visors and gowns have been delivered to health and care settings around Gloucestershire to keep doctors, carers and nurses safe as they provide vital care to those affected by the coronavirus.

READ MORE 

Update #616 - 12.07 Pret opening doors in Cheltenham

Pret A Manger is reopening its branch in Cheltenham High Street for takeaways and delivery on Monday.

The sandwich and coffee chain has reopened 101 of its shops across the UK already with Cheltenham among the 204 outlets which will follow suit on June 1.

Coronavirus safety measures in place include protective screens, restricted numbers in each branch and increased cleaning.

Each site will offer a limited menu to help with social distancing in the kitchen which will include meals which can be reheated at home.

Update #615 - 12.05 Costcutter reports soaring sales

Costcutter says it experienced "one of its best-ever years" after announcing a rise in profits in 2019.

The budget retailer announced earnings before tax of more than £9million after sales at its 1,500 UK shoes rose by 10 per cent to £426million.

The company has also reported a 22 per cent increase in non-tobacco sales during the first four months of this year.

Update #614 - 12.03 EasyJet to cut 30 per cent of jobs

EasyJet is planning to cut 30 per cent of its workforce as the impact of the coronavirus on travel continues to hit.

Pilots' union Balpa described the move as an "ill-considered knee-jerk reaction" with about 4,500 jobs thought to be at risk.

A company statement said: "To effect the restructure of our business, EasyJet will shortly launch an employee consultation process on proposals to reduce staff numbers by up to 30 per cent, reflecting the reduced fleet, the optimisation of our network and bases, improved productivity as well as the promotion of more efficient ways of working."

EasyJet grounded its entire fleet in March and plans to restart flying on June 15.

The airline is the latest to announce job losses with British Airways set to cut up to 12,000 roles, Ryanair 3,000 and Virgin Atlantic another 3,000 in the UK.

Update #613 - 11.20 NHS Test and Trace service launches

Update #612 - 10.47 John Lewis opening doors early in Cheltenham

Cheltenham will be among the first John Lewis stores to reopen when coronavirus restrictions are lifted next month.

Non-essential retailers are able to open again from June 15, providing there is no sharp rise in the number of cases and that shops are following strict safety guidance.

John Lewis has announced plans to open two shops - in Kingston and Poole - on June 15 and another 11 three days later.

Cheltenham's High Street store, which opened in October 2018 on the sit of the former Beechwood Shopping Centre, is among those resuming trading on Thursday, June 18.

READ MORE 

Update #611 - 08.20 Update on coronavirus cases in Gloucestershire

Public Health England have released new data showing that the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county has reached 1,369 as of 9am on May 27.

It was also announced yesterday that there had been a rise in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

New information released on Wednesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 222 - an increase of one on the day before.

Of these deaths, it has been reported that 188 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust. 

Wednesday, May 27 

Update #610 - 17.10 Coronavirus death toll in the UK rises by 351

The department of health and social care has announced the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 412 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 37,460 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

Update #609 - 17.00 The Music Works raises money for the NHS

A group of young people has come together on a musical track to thank the NHS and key workers, and provide hope through lockdown.

More than 60 children and teenagers working with music charity, The Music Works, wrote and performed the new song 'Every Rainbow Drawn'. It's a way of saying 'thank you' to doctors, nurses, supermarket workers and teachers. Proceeds from the track will support local hospitals through Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity.

That's why Punchline has nominated them as our latest Business and Community Champion - an initiative backed by GFirst LEP, the Growth Hub, Gloucestershire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

READ MORE 

Update #608 - 15.41 John Lewis opens doors early in Cheltenham

Cheltenham will be among the first John Lewis stores to reopen when coronavirus restrictions are lifted next month.

Non-essential retailers are able to open again from June 15, providing there is no sharp rise in the number of cases and that shops are following strict safety guidance.

John Lewis has announced plans to open two shops - in Kingston and Poole - on June 15 and another 11 three days later.

Cheltenham's High Street store, which opened in October 2018 on the sit of the former Beechwood Shopping Centre, is among those resuming trading on Thursday, June 18.

Update #607 - 15.27 Council seeks local landlords with property for let

With the coronavirus crisis leaving more people than ever living in temporary accommodation, one District Council is looking to team up with local landlords to help those in need.

In the Forest of Dean there are currently 21 households living in temporary accommodation (as of May 26).

And the Forest of Dean District Council is calling for anyone with a property available for private letting to get in touch.

Whether a property is available immediately or in the coming year, whether it is currently listed with an estate agent or they are an independent landlord, the council wants to hear from them.

FIND OUT MORE 

Update #606 - 13.12 Premier League votes to start contact training

The Premier League has voted to resume contact training as it looks to restart the season.

Clubs voted unanimously to enable players to "train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising unnecessary close contact".

Players are being tested twice weekly with eight positive tests among 1,744 across the Premier League.

There has been no football since March 13 with non-contact training resuming last week.

Update #605 - 12.40 All McDonald's Drive-Thrus to reopen

Fast food giant Mcdonald's has announced that it will reopen all 924 of it's UK Drive-Thru sites by June 4.

A statement released on Facebook read: "Following a successful pilot, we can confirm that 924 Drive-Thru restaurants will reopen between June 2-4. We will also add 75 restaurants to McDelivery via either Uber Eats or Just Eat.

"In order to allow for social distancing, we will have fewer employees in our kitchens and service areas

"To help our smaller teams, we will be offering a limited menu (no breakfast, wraps or shakes), over reduced hours (11am-10pm).

"We continue to ask that you limit your spend to £25 and use contactless payment methods where possible."

"We are delighted to be returning to communities across the UK and Ireland, but it will look different and will take a little longer. Please bear with us."

Update #604 - 12.32 "It could take Gloucester five years to recover" - Liberal Democrats

Hand sanitising points, affordable homes, safety grants for community groups and recovering the costs to the council are part of a Liberal Democrat plan to help Gloucester recover from the coronavirus lockdown.

And the local party leader has warned it could take five years for the city to recover.

The Conservative-led Gloucester City Council has appointed Councillor Dawn Melvin as cabinet member for economic recovery to lead the city's response to the crisis.

But the Liberal Democrats have launched their own six-point plan for the city which covers economic recovery, housing, supporting communities, the environment, culture and rebuilding council services.

READ MORE 

Update #603 - 12.17 Furlough scheme supporting 8.4 million workers

Around 8.4 million UK workers are now on furlough according to latest figures from the Treasury.

The figure has risen from eight million a week ago with claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme due to cost £15billion.

A support scheme for self-employed workers has seen 2.3 million claims for a total of £6.8billion.

Update #602 - 11.50 Council trials socially distanced transport measures

Water-filled barriers and the removal of on-street parking spaces are among measures being trialled at four locations across Gloucestershire to help people remain socially distanced.

Gloucestershire County Council is introducing the measures to make it easier for people to remain two metres apart on walking and cycling routes as coronavirus restrictions are removed.

The four sites in London Road, Gloucester, Bath Road, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury High Street and Bourton-on-the-Water have been chosen to allow the council to look at different types of schemes which could be rolled out around the county.

READ MORE 

Update #601 - 11.30 Greggs firing up the ovens for June reopening

Greggs is hoping to reopen more than one third of its shops by the middle of next month.

The high street bakery chain is running trials in selected outlets in the north east on safety measures with a view to opening around June 15 when coronavirus restrictions are relaxed on non-essential retailers.

Greggs has around 2,050 shops across the UK with about 800 understood to be in line to reopen.

A Greggs spokesman said: "We have planned and delivered robust shop trials using our new operational safety measures and they have progressed well, allowing us to now move to open an increased number of shops from mid-June."

Update #600 - 10.42 New mental health service for young people

Kooth is an online mental wellbeing service provided by the county council in response to Covid-19, to add to the range of mental health support already available for children and young people in the county.

Young people aged 11 to 18 living in Gloucestershire can now access free anonymous counselling from qualified counsellors via an online mental wellbeing platform at www.kooth.com . Kooth is designed for young people experiencing issues with their emotional wellbeing, such as anxiety, low mood or stress.

Counselling can be accessed through a drop-in service or booked sessions. There is no referral needed from a health professional, no waiting lists, and no criteria to meet to get support.

FIND OUT MORE 

Update #599 - 08.25 Update on coronavirus cases in Gloucestershire

Public Health England have released new data showing that the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county has reached 1,368 as of 9am on May 26.

It was also announced yesterday that there had not been a rise in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

New information released on Monday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 221.

Of these deaths, it has been reported that 187 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Tuesday, May 26

Update #597 - 16.30 SURVEY: £500m windfall from extra bank holiday

An extra bank holiday in October could be worth £500million to the UK economy as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, according to one leading economist.

Tourist agency VisitBritain has proposed the additional holiday to help the tourism industry recoup some of the £37billion in lost income during the crisis.

The Government is believed to be considering the proposal, probably during the scheduled half term holiday.

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Update #596 - 16.00 Coronavirus death toll in the UK rises by 134

The department of health and social care has announced the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 134 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The total death toll in the UK now sits at 37,048 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

Update #595 - 14.56 Model workforce tests out new range

Weird Fish had to go angling for a fresh solution when it needed models to help market the company's latest collection.

With coronavirus restrictions limiting the Tewkesbury-based clothing brand's option, they turned to staff working from home to model the clothes being put to the test.

Brand communications manager Naomi Hedicker said: "Taking part in our staff photography initiative has really helped bring the new collection to life for me.

READ MORE 

Update #594 - 12.45 Join a Zoom Q&A with Alex Chalk MP

What does the future look like for Cheltenham's high street? How will the town's economy bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic?

Punchline-Gloucester.com will look to find out the answer to these questions and more in an exclusive Q&A session with Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk.

Last Friday's Zoom discussion with Gloucester MP Richard Graham proved a huge success with business leaders coming together virtually to quiz the MP on everything from the impact of coronavirus on the economy to business rates and worrying levels of unemployment in young people.

This week will see the second instalment in our Q&A series with Punchline editor Mark Owen chairing a session with Mr Chalk from 2pm on Friday, May 29.

And we want you to take part.

FIND OUT MORE 

Update #593 - 12.23 Latest guidance on working in vehicles safely

The government has updated its guidance for working in vehicles, as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.

The guidance relates to couriers, lorry drivers, bin men and anyone else who works in or from a vehicle. It includes instructions on frequent cleaning of surfaces such as door handles, keys and encouraging all workers to wash their hands before getting into a vehicle.

It advises avoiding having more than one person working in a vehicle where possible. Where people have to work in teams or pairs, the guidance recommends using fixed teams, to help reduce the number of people each worker comes into contact with.

READ MORE 

Update #592 - 11.27 Moss Bros deal going ahead

The proposed takeover of Moss Bros will go ahead after plans to appeal a watchdog's ruling were dropped.

Brigadier Acquisition, run by the owner of Crew Clothing, was told by the Takeover Panel it could not pull out of the £22million deal for the menswear retail, which was initially announced just before lockdown restrictions were introduced.

Uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic had been cited as a reason behind the attempted withdrawal, but Brigadier has accepted the watchdog's decision despite saying it planned to appeal.

Update #591 - 11.25 Quarantine imposed on charity shop donations

Charity shops will prepare to reopen next month by placing donations into quarantine for 72 hours.

The move is part of guidance from the Charity Retail Association ahead of shops reopening next month as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

All new donations will be placed in quarantine with donors directed to donation points - empty shops or warehouses - other than leaving goods at the shops.

Other measures will see changing rooms closes, hand sanitiser stations, cough guards and face coverings for staff.

Update #590 - 11.22 Lufthansa handed £8billion support package

The German Government has come to the aid of troubled airline Lufthansa with a rescue deal with £8billion.

The deal, which needs to be approved by shareholders and the European Commission, will see the government take a 20 per cent stake which it plans to sell by the end of 2020.

It will also inject around £5billion in non-voting capital which can be converted into a five per cent equity stake - enabling the government to veto a hostile takeover.

The previously profitable airline has been another victim of the crisis which has hit the airline industry.

It has decommissioned more than 40 aircraft, closed budget airline Germanwings and said it would look to offload Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings.

The French and Dutch governments have pledged a package worth more than £11billion to support Air France-KLM.

Update #589 - 11.20 Hertz stays on the road in UK

Hertz's UK operations are continuing to operate after the car hire giant's US and Canada arm filed for bankruptcy.

The firm has shed 12,000 jobs worldwide and placed 4,000 more on furlough after seeing debts soar to £15.3billion during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hertz has more than 400 outlets across the UK and Ireland.

Update #588 - 11.00 Moreton Show cancelled for 2020

Organisers of The Moreton Show have announced the cancellation of this years event, which would have taken place on September 5.

In a statement, show chairman Ed Hicks said: 'It is heartbreaking for everyone involved to be cancelling Moreton Show because so many people put so much time into making it one of the biggest one-day agricultural shows in the country.

"Above everything else, however, we must ensure the safety of everyone involved. This includes our visitors, the exhibitors, the traders, members and all the volunteers who work on the show as well as everyone in Moreton-in-Marsh and the wider community.

"We've obviously been monitoring government guidelines on social distancing and the prospect of staging any big event is still a long way off. Last year, the show celebrated its 70th anniversary and it has become a major event in the Cotswolds calendar. This cancellation means that we're probably looking at losses heading towards £100,000 but this counts for little besides the far more significant and personal losses suffered by families throughout the UK.

"We know that everyone will appreciate that we're facing immense challenges in our way of life because of COVID-19 and I'm sure people will understand why we have taken this difficult decision to call off the show for 2020. We waited for as long as we could before making this decision but it's important to make it now to offset more losses."

Update #587 - 10.19 Stroud business is blooming as gardeners go green

An organic gardening business near Stroud is seeing a huge rise in sales, as green fingered growers look for eco-friendly ways to manage their gardens during lockdown.

Gardening Naturally is a small, family-run business based near Aston Down, who specialise in organic solutions that allow gardeners to grow fruit and vegetables without the use of pesticides.

One of their top-selling products this season are nematodes - microscopic worms that eat garden pests without harming other wildlife.

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Update #586 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated figures released on Monday (May 25) show that the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 36,914 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 121 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, there have now been a total of 221 confirmed deaths according to figures released by NHS England on Monday.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 187 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 34 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county hit 1,365 as of yesterday afternoon.

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