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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, October 9

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 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, October 9

Update #1633 - 15.23 Chancellor extends support scheme for lockdown closures

Employees at businesses legally required to shut down by increased coronavirus restrictions will have two-thirds of their wages paid by an extension to the Job Support Scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the new support package, which will come into force on November 1, with stricter lockdown rules expected in parts of the country next week.

The Government will pay up to £2,100 per month for affected workers off work for a minimum of seven days and the scheme will run for six months before being reviewed.

READ MORE 

Update #1632 - 14.24 Edinburgh Woollen Mill on the brink of collapse

Also owner of Peacocks and Jaeger, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has filed a notice to appoint administrators.

The high street fashion chain with stores in Tewkesbury, Gloucester, Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water and Broadway, will continue to open whilst discussions progress.

In a bid to save the business, Edinburgh Woollen Mills hope that the proposal will help to save the business which employs 24,000 workers nationwide.

READ MORE 

Update #1631 - 12.40 Gloucester Quays sales give reasons for optimism

Gloucester Quays outperformed retail figures across the country in August with trading up by more than 40 per cent on pre-Covid levels.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics showed there was a 2.5 per cent increase in spending across the UK compared with February - although total retail spend was down 4.8 per cent on 2019.

The Quays has outstripped those figures with sales well up on February, helped by the Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme attracting visitors to restaurants in the Docks.

READ THE FULL STORY 

Update #1630 - 11.05 Top chefs lead calls to appoint Minister for Hospitality

Top chefs are leading calls for the appointment of a Minister for Hospitality to work for the sector which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Marcus Wareing, Angela Hartnett and Paul Ainsworth are backing an online petition calling for the same representation as arts and sport.

The group of chefs said: ""Lockdown and the government's contradictory communication around it was the start of many difficulties for the industry, with the introduction of a curfew across the country the latest.

"With no representation in Parliament, the government was ill-equipped to assess the potential damages of its policy, or the ways in which these might have been mitigated."

Update #1629 - 11.01 Tim Hortons plans to cross the Atlantic

Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons has announced plans for a major UK expansion which could create 2,000 jobs.

An institution in Canada, Tim Hortons is best known for its coffee and doughnuts and has 23 outlets in the UK after opening its first one in 2017.

Owned by Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King, the chain plans to concentrate on drive-through sites in the UK.

It told the Telegraph the plan was to open in "every major city and town" in the next two years.

Update #1628 - 10.59 Economy growth slower than predicted

The UK economy continued to grow in August, but slower than expectations as it remains well below the levels before the coronavirus pandemic.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the economy grew 2.1 per cent during the month, well down on the 8.7 per cent in June and 6.6 per cent in July.

And it leaves the economy 9.2 per cent smaller than before the pandemic.

The ONS figures showed growth in manufacturing was limited but construction continued its recovery while the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and people taking holidays in the UK helped the hospitality and tourist sectors.

Update #1627 - 08.35 Latest coronavirus figures for 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.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 230 according to figures released by NHS England - no increase since August 27.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 195 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest government figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the pandemic began sits at 2,663 as of Thursday afternoon - an increase of 64 on the day before.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 738 cases (increase of 20)

Cheltenham - 615 cases (increase of seven)

Stroud - 398 cases (increase of 11)

Tewkesbury - 361 cases (increase of seven)

Cotswolds - 296 cases (increase of nine)

Forest of Dean - 255 cases (increase of 10)

Thursday, October 8

Update #1626 - 16.40 Update on coronavirus cases in the UK

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 77 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 4.00pm today (October 8).

The latest total COVID death toll for the UK now sits at 42,592 - which specifically includes those that have died within 28 days of a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID test.

Across the UK, 17,540 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 561,815 since the outbreak began.

Update #1625 - 16.37 Abercrombie & Kent relaunching African adventures

A luxury travel operator from Cheltenham is resuming small group trips in Africa after the coronavirus pandemic - starting with a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.

And Abercrombie & Kent is adding other African adventures including to witness the Great Migration on safari and visiting Egypt.

Founder Geoffrey Kent said: "After months spent at home, travellers are ready to get away but are asking where can we go that is safe?'."

SEE MORE 

Update #1625 - 14.54 National Trust cuts 1,300 jobs in cost-cutting measures

Almost 1,300 jobs are set to go as The National Trust looks to save £100million a year following the drop in income cause by the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation said 782 people were taking voluntary redundancy alongside another 514 jobs - saving £59million annually - with another £41million in savings from cuts in office and travel cuts, marketing and print spend.

The charity's director general Hilary McGrady said: "No leader wants to be forced into announcing any redundancies, but coronavirus means we simply have no other choice if we want to give the charity a sustainable future.

"We have exhausted every other avenue to find savings, but sadly we now have to come to terms with the fact we will lose some colleagues."

The trust, which has 5.6 million members, manages locations across Gloucestershire including Chedworth Roman Villa, Westbury Court Gardens and Snowshill.

Update #1624 - 12.51 HSS Hire to lose 300 jobs as it shuts branches

Tools rental firm HSS Hire has said 300 jobs will be lost as it shuts branches due to investment int its digital operations.

HSS Hire, which has a branch in Gloucester and has around 2,000 employees, said 134 outlets will close.

It said the closure of building sites during lockdown saw revenues fall by 22 per cent to £125.8million as it lost £12.5million in the first half of the year.

Chief executive Steve Ashmore said: "Covid-19 has demonstrated that we are now ready to accelerate our strategy by further investing in our technological platforms.

"These investments will allow us to reduce our physical footprint which, while regrettably resulting in the loss of around 300 roles, allows us to become a more agile, technology-driven business."

Update #1623 - 11.03 EasyJet expects first annual loss in its history

Budget airline EasyJet has warned of losses and more flight cuts in its latest trading statement published today.

The business has said it expects pre-tax losses of between £815m and £845m this year and to be flying at just 25 per cent capacity into 2021.

Although bookings are strong for next summer, EasyJet says the future remains uncertain. Since the pandemic began, they have taken a £600million loan from the government and cut 4,500 jobs.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "Aviation continues to face the most severe threat in its history and the UK government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes."

Update #1622 - 10.51 Permanent make-up artist sees eye treatments double

Since it became law to wear face coverings indoors - so only the top half of your face is visible - a Cheltenham permanent make-up artist has reported a 200 per cent increase in treatments that accentuate the eyes.

The rise in treatments such as microblading shows that customers are still willing to spend money on personal treatments, despite the pandemic, and that the Gloucestershire beauty industry may be able to recover, as long as it remains flexible and moves with the trends.

READ MORE 

Update #1621 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for 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.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 230 according to figures released by NHS England - no increase since August 27.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 195 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest government figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the pandemic began sits at 2,599 as of Wednesday afternoon - an increase of 47 on the day before.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 718 cases (increase of 14)

Cheltenham - 608 cases (increase of seven)

Stroud - 387 cases (increase of four)

Tewkesbury - 354 cases (increase of 10)

Cotswolds - 287 cases (increase of four)

Forest of Dean - 245 cases (increase of eight)

Wednesday, October 7

Update #1620 - 17.01 Update on coronavirus cases in the UK

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 76 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 4.00pm today (October 7).

The latest total COVID death toll for the UK now sits at 42,445 - which specifically includes those that have died within 28 days of a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID test.

Across the UK, 14,542 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 530,113 since the outbreak began. 

Update #1619 - 16.06 House prices continue to climb at record pace

House prices in the UK rose at their fastest pace for more than four years according to latest figures from mortgage lenders Halifax.

September's prices were 7.3 per cent higher than the same month last year - the biggest rise since June 2016 - with annual growth up from 5.2 per cent the previous month.

Prices rose 1.6 per cent from August to September with other figures out this week putting the average house at a record high of £283,000 in July, up 2.3 per cent in the previous year.

Update #1618 - 14.42 New state-of-the-art gritters will take to the roads this winter

20 new state-of-the-art gritters will be patrolling Gloucestershire and the wider South West's motorways and major A roads this winter as part of a multi-million-pound investment to help keep traffic moving in severe weather.

The new gritters will improve safety for drivers and workers due to the vehicles' improved technology, set-up and enhanced visibility.

They also treat the roads at a maximum of 50mph - 10mph faster than earlier models.

The addition of 20 new gritters takes Highways England's fleet of winter service vehicles to 60 in the South West.

The gritters will cover the A38 from Ivybridge to Exeter, the M5 from Exeter to Gloucester, the M4 from the Prince of Wales Bridge (junction 22) to Swindon (junction 15) and the M32, M48 and M49 in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

READ MORE 

Update #1617 - 13.37 Task Force appointed to help high streets respond to impact of COVID-19

The High Streets Task Force has appointed over 150 experienced professionals to work with towns in England over the next four years, supporting their transformation efforts and helping to tackle complex barriers to change.

The new 'experts register' is the first of its kind in the UK - bringing together experienced professionals across a broad range of specialisms, from architecture to planning, to sustainable design, place leadership and civic engagement.

Simon Quin, executive director of the High Streets Task Force said: "Our Experts will work with places in greatest need. They bring deep insight into town centre change and experience of working with communities to build capacity.

"This will support the development of the collaborative and challenging visions our town centres require."

Update #1616 - 13.01 Online orders double for Tesco as profits rise

British supermarket Tesco has revealed first-half profits as rising by more than a quarter as customers moved to online shopping during the pandemic.

The firm has reported pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to 29 August was £551 million, up 28.7 per cent up on 2019's figure.

Tesco said sales for the UK and Ireland rose 8.6 per cent to £24.3billion, but coronavirus released costs had hit £533million.

UK food sales increased by 9.2 per cent during the same period.

The supermarket also said it was increasing its interim dividend by 21 per cent to 3.2p a share.

Update #1615 - 12.32 Council puts social value at heart of spending policy

Communities will be placed at the heart of spending under Gloucester City Council's proposed Social Value Policy with the King's Square redevelopment set to become the first major project included.

The policy, which could be rubber stamped at a cabinet meeting on October 14, will procurement decisions are made with local impact in mind.

If approved, any procurement contract worth more than £50,000 will need to consider and outline the impact on the community's economic, social, and environmental wellbeing.

SEE MORE 

Update #1614 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for 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.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 230 according to figures released by NHS England - no increase since August 27.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 195 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest government figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the pandemic began sits at 2,552 as of Monday afternoon - an increase of 47 on the day before.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 704 cases (increase of four)

Cheltenham - 601 cases (increase of 10)

Stroud - 383 cases (increase of six)

Tewkesbury - 344 cases (increase of 11)

Cotswolds - 283 cases (increase of eight)

Forest of Dean - 237 cases (increase of eight)

Tuesday, October 6

Update #1613 - 17.15 Update on coronavirus cases in the UK

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 76 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 4.00pm today (October 5).

The latest total COVID death toll for the UK now sits at 42,369 - which specifically includes those that have died within 28 days of a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID test.

Across the UK, 14,542 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 515,571 since the outbreak began.

Update #1612 - 16.27 Detail and creativity needed for jobs, not rhetoric

Chancellor Rishi Sunak left out the detail in his Conservative Party conference speech, according to one regional business leader.

Mr Sunak spoke yesterday at the virtual conference, reiterating he could not save every job and admitting the "pain of knowing it grows with each passing day".

But Ian Mean, Gloucestershire director of Business West, accused him of missing out the detail of what happens next.

READ MORE 

Update #1611 - 12.39 Vaccine centre can 'transform' pandemic plan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said a development in Oxfordshire can transform the fight against the coronavirus and future pandemics.

Mr Johnson visited the UK's Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre which is being built with £158million of government funding.

He said: "Brilliant scientists are driving global efforts to develop a safe vaccine that works to defeat coronavirus.

"If one proves successful, we need to be ready to distribute it to the British people as soon as possible.

"When open, VMIC will be able to manufacture enough vaccine doses for the whole UK population in as little as six months, which would transform how we beat this virus and prepare for future pandemics."

Update #1610 - 11.46 The Restaurant Group reveals encouraging trading results

The Resturant Group, owners of Wagamamas and Frankie and Benny's, has reported strong trading since reopening sites after the UK wide coronavirus lockdown.

In its interim financial results released today, for the 26 weeks to June 28 the business reported a drop in revenue from £515.9m to £227.2m but trading for the 11 weeks to September 20 were much stronger.

The Restaurant Group said that since reopening for eating in, it has achieved a like-for-like sales growth of 11 per cent.

CEO Andy Hornby said: "It has been an extraordinary and difficult period for the hospitality sector but one in which we have pulled together to achieve a great deal."

"Since reopening, I am genuinely pleased with the strength of our trading performance."

Update #1609 - 10.38 Chancellor defends Eat Out scheme as cases rise

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has defended the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in the face of rising positive coronavirus cases.

August saw restaurants and pubs helped to attract custom by the discount scheme, but it has been followed by a 10pm closure as infections continue to rise.

But the Chancellor played down the link between encouraging people to go out and the surge in cases.

He told Sky News: "If you think of the spread of the virus this time around, what's happening here is pretty much in sync with what's happening around the world in second waves.

"I would be, I guess, cautious about jumping to simplistic conclusions."

Update #1608 - 10.35 Numbers fall on the high street

The number of people visiting UK retail destinations fell last week as the latest coronavirus restrictions took hold.

Bad weather also saw footfall drop at the end of the week with the latest figures from data research company Springboard showing a 3.5 per cent drop on the previous week.

It was the second successive week the figures fell on the previous seven days and only the third since the beginning of May.

Total footfall was down 31.4 down on last year with evenings showing a sharp fall of 8.4 per cent from 7-11pm as the 10pm pub curfew keeping numbers down.

Update #1607 - 10.05 Odeon to open weekends only at selected venues

Cinema chain Odeon is reducing opening hours across some of its UK cinemas to weekends only due to new film release delays.

The business, which owns 120 sites across the country and employees 5,500 workers, said the plans would affect a quarter of its cinemas.

This news comes as yesterday Cineworld confirmed it would mothball all of its UK and US venues.

Update #1606 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for 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.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 230 according to figures released by NHS England - no increase since August 27.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 195 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 were being treated through Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest government figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the pandemic began sits at 2,505 as of Monday afternoon - an increase of 37 on the day before.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 700 cases (increase of 11)

Cheltenham - 591 cases (increase of eight)

Stroud - 377 cases (increase of eight)

Tewkesbury - 333 cases (increase of three)

Cotswolds - 275 cases (increase of five)

Forest of Dean - 229 cases (increase of two)

Monday, October 5 

Update #1605 - 17.05 Blockbuster grant helps Sherborne Cinema

The Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester has been awarded almost £9,000 as part of a support package from the British Film Institute.

The former Mission Room and Christadelphian Hall in Sherborne Street, Kingsholm, has been given £8,940 as part of the Government's Culture Recovery Fund.

Owner Mark Cunningham said the money would be used to improve the ventilation system, online bookings and cleaning ahead of a planned re-opening at the start of December.

READ MORE 

Update #1604 - 16.51 Update on coronavirus cases in the UK

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 19 people have sadly passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, as of 4.00pm today (October 5).

The latest total COVID death toll for the UK now sits at 42,369 - which specifically includes those that have died within 28 days of a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID test.

Across the UK, 12,954 people have tested positive for the virus over the last 24 hours and 515,571 since the outbreak began.

Update #1603 - 15.53 Cineworld to hibernate - with thousands of job losses

Cineworld is to mothball all of its UK cinemas until at least next spring, with the loss of 6,000 jobs.

The chain, which has cinemas at Gloucester Quays and The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham, said the staff will lose their jobs this week. Job losses will include third-party workers, like cleaners and security staff. It is hoped that they can be re-hired when the hibernation ends, as reported by Sky.

With many cinemas in the US still closed, and a fraction of the usual audiences going to UK cinemas, studios have been reluctant to release films. Without the new movies, few cinema goers have braved a return to the big screen since Cineworld reopened in the UK on 31st July.

SEE MORE  

Update #1602 - 15.39 Busy Cheltenham road to close for most of this week

Gloucestershire County Council's highways team are closing a road in Cheltenham town centre this week to investigate and repair subsidence.

The A46 Bath Road between Montpellier Terrace and Montpellier Drive will be closed from 9.30am today (October 5), for four to five days.

With a 24/7 closure in place, it will allow workers to assess and repair subsidence on the carriageway.

FIND OUT MORE  

Update #1601 - 13.08 Government scheme looks to help coronavirus jobless

Gloucestershire is among the first counties in the UK to benefit from the launch of the Government's Job Entry Target Support.

The £238million programme is designed to supporting people who have been left without a job for three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is being rolled out across the country this month with Gloucestershire among the first counties to go live from today.

The latest Department of Work and Pensions figures for the county showed 44,555 Universal Credit claimants in August - up 978 on the previous month.

READ MORE 

Update #1600 - 12.51 Chancellor vows to protect finances

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has told the online Conservative Party conference that he would protect public finances after a rise in spending to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "We have a sacred responsibility to future generations to leave the public finances strong and through careful management of our economy, this Conservative government will always balance the books.

"If instead we argue there is no limit on what we can spend, that we can simply borrow our way out of any hole, what is the point in us?"

He said he was continuing to look at ways to help the economic recovery.

"Even if this moment is more difficult than any you have ever faced, even if it feels like there is no hope, I am telling you that there is and the overwhelming might of the British state will be placed at your service."

Update #1599 - 11.20 Cars slow off the forecourt in crucial month

New car registrations across the UK were down 4.4 per cent on last year in September, traditionally one of the industry's biggest months.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed there were 328,041 for the month, which is normally second only to March with the change in licence plates.

That is the lowest number since the change to new licence plates every six months in 1999.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "During a torrid year, the automotive industry has demonstrated incredible resilience, but this is not a recovery.

"Unless the pandemic is controlled and economy-wide consumer and business confidence rebuilt, the short-term future looks very challenging indeed."

Update #1598 - 11.18 Economy performs above September estimates

Britain's service economy held up stronger than expected during September according to a new survey.

The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers Index fell from 58.8 in August - a five-year high helped by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme - to 56.1, above an initial estimate of 55.1.

A result above 50 reveals most businesses reported growth in activity with the composite figure including manufacturing data falling from 59.1 to a better than expected 56.5.

The economy contracted by a record 20 per cent in the second quarter of the year when most lockdown measures were in place.

Update #1597 - 11.03 Survey suggests home working is here to stay

Coronavirus looks set to have a lasting impact on office use, new figures from the Institute of Directors reveal.

In a survey of 958 company directors conducted last month,  74 per cent said they would be keeping increased home working after coronavirus.

Furthermore, more than half of those polled said their organisation intended to reduce their long-term use of workplaces. More than one in five reported their usage would be significantly lower.

Roger Barker, director of policy at the IoD, said: "Looking ahead, it seems more and more companies will take a blended approach to where they work. Any transition can cause challenges, and the Government should look to ease this. In the long run, greater flexibility could benefit both business and worker alike. However, it's crucial that the legal and economic implications of this change are grappled with from the start." 

Update #1596 - 10.19 Hospice Care Week sees the start of a new partnership

Longfield Community Hospice in Minchinhampton is celebrating Hospice Care Week (5th-11th October) by joining forces with The Long Table to ensure people in need have access to good quality and nutritious food.

Longfield Hospice and The Long Table are on a mission to help provide the families and carers who come into contact with the hospice with easy, healthy and tasty food.

Zoe Davidson-Long from Longfield Hospice with Emma Hurrell and Shila Fletcher from The Long Table

During the height of the pandemic, The Long Table delivered over 40,000 free meals across the community and has now developed the Freezer of Love, where people can access freshly cooked meals, prepared from food that has been donated or otherwise may have been wasted.

SEE MORE 

Update #1595 - 08.29 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 yesterday show the UK death toll of people with coronavirus rose to 42,350 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 33 on the previous day's figures.

In Gloucestershire, confirmed coronavirus deaths remain at 230 according to figures released by NHS England - no increase since August 27.

It has been reported that of those who have died, 195 were being cared for at Gloucestershire Hospitals while 35 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 2,468 as of Sunday afternoon.

These cases are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 689 cases

Cheltenham - 583 cases

Stroud - 369 cases

Tewkesbury - 330 cases

Cotswolds - 270 cases

Forest of Dean - 227 cases

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