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Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, July 10

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, July 10

Update #1000 - 15.53 Children invited to join the 'Silly Squad' with Gloucestershire Libraries

Gloucestershire Libraries are calling for children to keep reading over the summer holidays by joining the Silly Squad for the Summer Reading Challenge 2020.

In Gloucestershire, there will be a launch on Monday 13th July, which ties in with the introduction of collection services at some of the county's libraries . This will be followed by an online programme of activities and ideas throughout the summer holidays created by Gloucestershire Libraries to keep children busy and reading until they go back to school in September.

READ MORE  

Update #999 - 14.45 Completely Motoring adds new site and brand amid record sales

Completely Motoring has bucked the trend during the coronavirus pandemic - adding a new business to the group, taking on a fresh brand and recording record sales figures.

The Staverton-based family-run business is in the process of buying long-established Gloucester firm Clearwater Cars and has also announced a change of name and switch to Kawasaki at one of its Completely Motorbikes branches.

And all that on back of soaring sales throughout the last two months - doubling last year's figure throughout June.

READ MORE 

Update #998 - 13.20 Stroud firm looks to future after £120m PPE contract

Steve Dechan

A Stroud medical device company has secured its future after securing a £120million contract to supply half of the NHS supplies of face shields during the coronavirus pandemic.

Platform-14 went from employing eight people and losses of around £500,000 last year to taking on new staff - despite its main pain management work drying up.

And managing director Steve Dechan said the the contract was based on a proven track record with the NHS. 

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #997 - 12.11 No-deal Brexit would see food prices soar

The UK faces higher prices next if a tariff-free trade deal cannot be agreed with the EU, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Around 80 per cent of food imports into the UK comes from the EU, which also plays a key supply chain role in items such as clothing and homeware.

The latest round of trade talks over a Brexit deal broke up last week without agreement.

And the Government's tariff schedule without a deal will see 85 per cent of food imports facing an average tariff of more than 20 per cent.

READ MORE  

Update #996 - 11.15 Virgin Atlantic in talks over £1billion rescue deal

Virgin Atlantic is holding talks in the next few days over a rescue deal reportedly in excess of £1billion.

According to Sky News, the airline is is talks with payment processors Cardnet, which is owned by Lloyds Banking Group, and First Date to release about £200million to aid working capital.

Reports suggest other parts of the negations over financing commitments, which include a £200million injection from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, are largely agreed.

The refinancing plans have been agreed in principle by Delta Air Lines, which owns 49 per cent of the company, and could be provisionally signed next week.

Update #995 - 11.13 Four in 10 chain pubs opened doors immediately

About 40 per cent of chain pubs across England began serving drinks when they were allowed to reopen last weekend, according to new figures.

Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which collates sales across 32 pub chains, said sales over the weekend were 45 per cent pre-coronavirus levels.

The figures showed just 12 per cent of chain restaurants reopened over the weekend and reported sales 41 per cent below the normal level.

Update #994 - 10.55 Coronavirus testing centre set up in Stroud

Anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus are being offered tests for COVID-19 at a mobile centre in Stroud.

The drive-thru site at Stratford Park Leisure Centre's car park started operating yesterday  until Monday, July 20 between 10.30am and 3.30pm.

It is being run by the Department for Health and Social Care and members of the public are being asked to book a test online via this link .

Priority testing is being offered to essential workers, with as many tests as possible being provided to the wider population.

Update #993 - 10.53 Museum in the Park's Walled Garden is Good to Go

Stroud's Museum in the Park Walled Garden is reopening to the general public tomorrow (Saturday 11th July) - and it's officially Good to Go!

The Visit England Good to Go mark shows that the museum conforms to the latest government and industry Covid-19 guidelines, with a recognised process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

As a result, daily admissions will be strictly limited to pre-booked timed appointments. Visitors need to book online in advance, specifying the date and time they intend to visit.

SEE MORE 

Update #992 - 08.25 Six new coronavirus cases confirmed in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county as increased.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire has risen to 1,833 as of 9am on July 9 - an increase of six on the day before.

One new cases was recorded in Tewkesbury, one in Cheltenham, two in the Forest of Dean and two in Gloucester.

Total figures for confirmed cases are as follows:

Gloucester: 536 cases

Cheltenham: 424 cases

Tewkesbury: 254 cases

Stroud: 257 cases

Cotswolds: 200 cases

Forest of Dean: 162 cases

Data also shows that there had not been an increase in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Information released on Thursday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28). Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Thursday, July 9

Update #991 - 17.01 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 85

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 85 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (July 8).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 44,602 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 287,621 people have tested positive for the virus, with 152,362 tests processed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (July 9). 

Update #990 - 16.11 Positive property market may not last warns report

The UK housing market saw a bounce during June as the country emerged from lockdown - amid warnings that it could quickly lose momentum.

Monthly figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said more people were looking for a home last month with an increased number of new properties on the market.

And two of the country's biggest homebuilders said interest in new homes had picked up since the housing market reopened in England during May.

READ MORE 

Update #989 - 14.51 MD steps down as Cheltenham task force changes course

Jeremy Williamson is stepping down as managing director of the Cheltenham Development Task Force as it changes into a new organisation focused on recovery.

Mr Williamson will leave his post at the organisation, which has overseen development planning and delivery, from July 16.

He previously held a similar position with the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company.

He said: "Initially established for a three-year run, the Task Force has outlived all expectations having operated successfully for more than a decade.

"That is thanks to a combination of factors including unstinting support for members and, critically, Graham Garbutt as chairman, solid commitment from Cheltenham Borough Council and partners such as Gloucestershire County Council, Cheltenham Chamber and Homes England.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #988 - 13.20 Libraries offering collection services announced

Libraries have been closed since March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but these new services will enable customers to request books, DVDs and other available materials they would like to borrow as part of a phased reopening.

READ MORE 

Update #987 - 12.25 Boots plans to cut 4,000 jobs in restructuring

Boots has become the latest big high street name to announce job cuts.

The company said it was consulting on plans to restructure stores and its head office with 4,000 jobs at risk - around seven per cent of its workforce.

The plans include the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores with staff at its Nottingham support office particularly affected.

Managing director Sebastian James said: "The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.

"We recognise that today's proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time."

Update #986 - 12.14 Council asks for your views on Forest of Dean town centre changes

The Government's lifting of lockdown restrictions to enable non essential shops to reopen was based on a set of guidelines aimed at making pedestrian use of High Streets as safe as possible.

In recent weeks the Forest of Dean District Council has made a series of temporary changes to town centres in consultation with town councils. These changes follow those government guidelines on opening business while preserving social distancing.

And now they want your thoughts.

FIND OUT MORE 

Update #985 - 11.33 John Lewis to shut eight stores

John Lewis is to close eight stores around England with 1,300 workers at risk.

Department stores in Birmingham and Watford will not reopen after the coronavirus lockdown while sites at Heathrow airport and St Pancras railway station, together with At Home stores in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth will close.

The retail chain said the affected stores had been "financially challenged" before the pandemic.

John Lewis partnership chairwoman Sharon White said: "We believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership - and continue to meet the needs of our customers, however and whenever they want to shop."

Update #984 - 10.20 Burger King boss warns of potential closures

Burger King may be forced to shut up to 10 per cent of its restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to chief executive Alasdair Murdoch.

He told the BBC the move could cost more than 1,600 jobs from its UK workforce which is in excess of 16,500.

He said: "If we can possibly avoid it, we will. We don't want to lose any. We try very hard not to, but one's got to assume somewhere between five per cent and 10 per cent of the restaurants might not be able to survive.

"It's not just us - I think this applies to everyone out there in our industry."

Update #983 - 10.17 Ofgem proposes changes to energy firms

Proposals from energy regulator Ofgem could see household bills cut by £20 a year.

The watchdog wants energy firms to almost halve their return on investments and invest £25billion on greener energy over the next five years.

A National Grid statement said: "We are extremely disappointed with this draft determination which risks undermining the process established by Ofgem.

"This proposal leaves us concerned as to our ability to deliver resilient and reliable networks, and jeopardises the delivery of the energy transition and the green recovery."

Update #982 - 10.14 John Lewis stays top of satisfaction survey

John Lewis has again topped a customer satisfaction index which polled 10,000 shoppers across the UK.

The department store chain scored 83.5 out of 100 in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index by the Institute of Customer Service, holding on to the number one spot it took over in January.

But Debenhams, the chain it replaced at the top of the six-monthly survey, has fallen out of the top 10 in the latest rankings.

Two banks - Nationwide and First Direct - filled the next two slots while Marks and Spencer entered the top 10 twice, its clothing and home department in fourth with the food business jumping from 49 to five.

Subway also jumped from 31 to sixth - alongside Amazon - while Aldo entered the top 10 for the first time.

Update #981 - 10.11 Frasers Group looks for rent-free period

The owners of Sports Direct and Cheltenham's Cavendish House has told landlords it will not be paying rents until it is "fully able to freely trade as a business".

According Estates Gazette the Frasers Group, which includes House of Fraser, Game and Jack Wills among its brands, aims to go rent free until trading returns to the level when terms were agreed.

The group has reportedly asked landlords to switch from quarterly to monthly rent payments.

Update #980 - 08.20 Update on coronavirus cases and deaths in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire has risen to 1,827 as of 9am on July 8 - an increase of two on the day before. 

Both of these new cases were recorded in Tewkesbury, which now has a total of 253 coronavirus cases. 

Figures for other areas of the county remain as follows:

  • Gloucester: 534 cases
  • Cheltenham: 423 cases
  • Stroud: 257 cases
  • Cotswolds: 200 cases
  • Forest of Dean: 160 cases

Data also shows that there had not been an increase in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Information released on Wednesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28). Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Wednesday, July 8

Update #979 - 16.15 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 126

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 126 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (July 7).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 44,517 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 286,979 people have tested positive for the virus, with 240,340 tests made available in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (July 8).

Update #978 - 16.10 Cheltenham Festivals scoop more than £200k from COVID-19 arts fund

The Arts Council has announced an investment of more than £33 million in 196 of its National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), including three in Gloucestershire.

This short-term emergency fund that was specifically designed to help those organisations that needed financial support to stay afloat until the end of September, because of the impact of COVID-19.

Cheltenham Festivals has received the biggest pay out of county organisations from the scheme, with an impressive £204,000 of funding provided to the charity.

Cinderford Artspace and Stroud's Prema Art Centre follow behind with £19,322 and £15,000 respectively.

READ MORE 

Update #977 - 15.24 H&M plans to shut 170 stores as sales fall

Fashion retail chain H&M is to shut 170 stores after seeing sales dive during the coronavirus pandemic in the last quarter.

The Swedish group has 300 outlets across the UK, including branches in Cheltenham and Gloucester, among 5,000 around the world.

Closures will be made around the globe with 130 new shops planned to open before the end of the year.

SEE MORE 

Update #976 - 15.00 Chancellor unveils package to "support, create and protect" jobs

A jobs retention bonus, kickstart scheme to create work for young people, £2,000 for businesses offering new apprenticeships, a temporary rise in the Stamp Duty threshold and a cut in VAT for hospitality and tourism were among the key points in the Chancellor's economic statement.

Chancellor RIshi Sunak unveiled his plan which he said was worth up to £30billion to "support, create and protect jobs" after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "We face profound economic challenges. More hardships lie ahead... I will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome.

"People need to know, we will do all we can to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work. Nobody will be left without hope.

READ MORE   

Update #975 - 13.23 Kickstart scheme can make "real difference"

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £2billion "kickstart scheme" to create more jobs for young people.

The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Punchline has spoken to business figures for their reaction to the news.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #974 - 12.20 Stroud told to get social and Shop Local

Stroud District Council has launched a Shop Local campaign - and wants people to spread the word about their favourite places in the area.

From Nailsworth to Stroud, Stonehouse to Dursley, Wotton-under-Edge and every village shop and cafe in between, the council is calling on shoppers to tag stores and traders on social media.

The council is asking people to support their favourite places by using #ShopLocal or localising the hashtag - #ShopDursley for example - on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as sharing council posts.

READ MORE 

Update #973 - 11.42 Job worries driving people to seek help

Citizens Advice has been receiving calls seeking redundancy advice every two minutes.

The charity, which says it has received 4.4 million page views on its benefits advice web pages since lockdown restrictions were introduced in March, is calling on the Government to ensure people have "enough to make ends meet".

Chief executive Dame Gillian Guy said: "Investment in jobs and training will be critical for economic recovery, but any measures have to be underpinned by a strong safety net," she said.

"At this incredibly worrying time, the government must ensure that the benefits system provides people with enough to make ends meet if they lose their job."

Update #972 - 10.46 River Island office jobs under threat

River Island is believed to be the latest high street chain to be planning job cuts.

According to Retail Week, staff at the fashion retailer have been told 250 jobs are to go at its head offices.

Staff at the chain's 300 shops, which include outlets in Gloucester and Cheltenham, will not be affected.

River Island placed most of its staff on furlough during lockdown and closed its online store until mid-April, as well as negotiating rental agreements with landlords and introducing pay reductions.

Update #971 - 10.44 Warning over scams playing on fears

Warnings have been issue about a potential rise in scam telephone calls as coronavirus lockdown measure are eased - including among fake call centres.

National Trading Standards said calls from fraudsters fell during the lockdown, but have warned early signs of an increase are likely to continue as fears over the pandemic are exploited.

Louise Baxter, head of the NTS scams team, said: "Scam callers are relentless and often leave their intended victims feeling scared, anxious and unsafe in their own homes."

Update #970 - 10.23 Cirencester's Waterloo car park postponed for a year

Development of a decked car park in Cirencester has been postponed for 12 months - as Cotswold District Council assesses the impact of coronavirus on demand.

The planned Waterloo car park

The decision to delay the Waterloo development was taken by the council's cabinet as it looks to understand the demand for parking and explore sustainable transport options.

Council leader Councillor Joe Harris said: "The pandemic and resulting lockdown have commanded a significant amount of the council's time and resources in recent months.

READ MORE  

Update #969 - 08.40 No change coronavirus cases and deaths in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire has risen to 1,825 as of 9am on July 7 - no change on the day before.

Data also shows that there had not been an increase in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Information released on Tuesday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28).

Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Tuesday, July 7

Update #968 - 16.28 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 155

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 155 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (July 6).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 44,391 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 286,349 people have tested positive for the virus, with 141,807 tests made available in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (July 7).

Update #967 - 15.39 Citizen and Echo publishers cutting 550 jobs

Reach, the publisher of the Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo, has announced plans to cut 550 staff across the UK.

The UK's largest group, which also includes the Gloucestershire Live website, Mirror and Express together with the Western Daily Press and Bristol Post, said around 12 per cent of its workforce was set to go.

Reach, previously Trinity Mirror, said the changes would be part of a more centralised editorial structure "bringing together national and regional teams across print and digital to remove duplication while maintaining the strong identity of our news brands".

Around 325 of the job cuts are expected to come across editorial and circulation.

SEE MORE 

Update #966 - 14.48 Ventilator Challenge makes final shipment to NHS

Ventilator Challenge UK - the consortium of businesses who switched production to helping the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic - has made its last shipment.

Since forming on March 19, the consortium of aerospace, motorsport, automotive and medical businesses, has more than doubled the stock of ventilators available to the NHS.

Renishaw was among the companies who supplied knowledge and resources along with Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Smiths Medical and Formula One teams including Williams, Mercedes, Haas, McLaren and Renault.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #965 - 12.58 Cheltenham ice rink plans delayed for another year

At the end of May, plans for an ice rink and expanded Christmas Market in Cheltenham were given the all clear by the borough council.

But unfortunately, the impact of the coronavirus crisis has forced the ice rink to be delayed for another year.

With Cheltenham BID will taking over responsibility for running the Christmas Market from the borough council for the first time this year, the ice rink would have been sited at Imperial Gardens in front of the Queens Hotel.

READ MORE 

Update #964 - 11.20 More than 130 jobs lost as Norville Group goes into administration

The Norville Group has entered administration - just days after the company's optician practices were sold.

More than 130 jobs are being lost at the family spectacle firm's laboratories in Gloucester, Bolton, Seaham in Durham and Livingston in Scotland.

Simon Girling and Christopher Marsden of BPO LLP have been appointed joint administrators and are hoping to sell parts of the business.

Hakim Group, who bought the Norville Opticians retail business last week, said the nine practices around Gloucestershire are not affected by the administration and will continue to operate under the Norville name.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #963 - 10.47 Deliveroo tipping the scales for local outlets

Deliveroo is poised to bring in a direct tipping function as part of a campaign to back restaurants as they aim to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Sky News, the delivery service is introducing a Love Your Local campaign which will include the tipping function not is app.

Deliveroo is believed to have seen 4,000 independent restaurants sign up since they were limited to delivery and collecting when lockdown restrictions were introduced in March.

A final ruling on Amazon's acquisition of a stake in Deliveroo is due later this summer after the Competition and Markets Authority made a preliminary decision to allow the move last month.

Update #962 - 10.34 Cycle sales on the up as Brits avoid public transport

Halfords, Britain's biggest bike retailer, has reported a jump in cycling sales during lockdown as people avoided public transport, but the boost was offset by a sharp fall in motoring sales.

The retailer, which has stores in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Cirencester and Stroud, was classed as essential and allowed to stay open during lockdown.

It has seen full-year profits rise ahead of guidance, but has still felt the impact of Covid-19, as reported by Retail Gazette.

SEE MORE 

Update #961 - 08.20 Update on coronavirus cases and deaths in Gloucestershire

Public Health England has released the latest data showing the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in the county.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Gloucestershire has risen to 1,825 as of 9am on July 6.

Data shows that there had not been an increase in deaths of hospitalised patients in Gloucestershire who have tested positive for coronavirus.

Information released on Monday said that the death toll in Gloucestershire sits at 227 and hasn't increased since Sunday (June 28).

Of these deaths, 193 were in the care of Gloucestershire Hospitals and 34 were patients at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Monday, July 6

Update #960 - 17.08 Coronavirus death toll in the UK increases by 16

The Government's Department of Health and Social Care has released the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It has been said that a further 16 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 5pm yesterday (July 5).

The latest total death toll for the UK now sits at 44,236 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

In total 285,768 people have tested positive for the virus, with 97,315 tests processed in the 24 hours prior to 9am this morning (July 6).

Update #959 - 15.07 Staycations boost Gloucestershire motor dealership as demand for motorhomes accelerates

The 102-year-old Warners Motor Group in Gloucestershire has seen soaring demand for motorhome rentals as holidaymakers plan UK trips because of restrictions on overseas travel.

The family-owned firm was forced to close its showrooms and furlough most of its 75 staff during lockdown, but has kept its servicing and maintenance operations open for NHS vehicles and key workers since the start of the pandemic.

Now its showrooms in Gloucester and Tewksbury are back open and managing director Mark Warner says he is seeing strong demand from car buyers who want to avoid public transport when they return to work, though he anticipates revenues for 2020 will be significantly down on last year.

READ MORE 

Update #958 - 11.55 Stroud extends free parking to help recovery

The return of parking charges in Stroud town centre has been put back until July 21 to help traders recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

And various other changes proposed before lockdown by Stroud Town Council and Stroud & District Chamber of Trade are being implemented to help shoppers and businesses ahead of Stroud District Council's Shop Local campaign.

Parking charges will have been suspended by Stroud District Council for four months by the time they return.

READ MORE 

Update #957 - 10.45 More jobs to go on high street says report

UK retailers have cut more than 24,000 jobs this year according to new figures - with many more to come.

The report by the Centre for Retail Research said at least 24,348 jobs have been lost with 31,628 at risk of being scrapped as companies teeter on the edge of administration.

The centre's director Joshua Bamfield said: "With the tapering of furlough from next month and the scheduled end of the lease forfeiture moratorium in September, the second half of the year could be disastrous for high streets."

Update #956 - 10.44 Chancellor targeting jobs in economic plan

A cut in VAT for the hospitality industry and a tax break for homebuyers are expected to be announced by Chancellor RIshi Sunak when he outlines his economic plan for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chancellor will reveal his plan on Wednesday with tackling rising unemployment expected to be his main focus.

But according to The Times, he will also raise the property tax threshold and announce a temporary VAT cut for pubs, restaurants and other hospitality firms.

And he is expected to announce £800million to recruit 13,500 extra staff for job centres.

Update #955 - 10.41 Pret closing 30 shops as sales tumble

Food chain Pret A Manger will close 30 of its shops by the end of the year with at least 1,000 jobs at risk.

The chain, which has an outlet in Cheltenham's High Street, has seen a 74 per cent drop in sales compared to this time last year as the coronavirus pandemic keeps people away from town centres.

Pret has reopened 339 of its 410 shops in the UK and says it has faced "significant operating losses".

The number of staff in the remaining shops will also be reduced with support teams being restructured and the company's main support office in London being put up for sale.

Chief executive Pano Christou said: "We cannot defy gravity and continue with the business model we had before the pandemic."

Update #954 - 10.19 Curtain goes up on £1.57billion package for arts and culture

Cultural venues across the UK are to receive £1.57billion in support from the Government to help them weather the ongoing impact of closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre and Gloucester Guildhall are among local venues which have added their voices to calls from across the arts for help in recent weeks.

Several theatres have announced job losses and closures while the Royal Albert Hall and ROyal Opera House are among major venues which said they feared closure.

Theatres, live music venues, galleries and museums have stood empty since lockdown restrictions were introduced in March with social distancing placing question marks over when they can reopen.

READ MORE 

Update #953 - 08.20 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 Saturday (July 5) show that the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 44,220 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 22 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, there have now been a total of 227 confirmed deaths according to figures released by NHS England on Saturday. An increase of zero on the day before.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 193 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 sits at 1,823 as of Saturday afternoon.

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