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Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, July 16

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, July 16

Update #8817 - 12.55 Takeaway pints and outdoor dining stay

Tables on the streets and pavements of city centres are set to stay for at least another year.

The Government has indicated its continuing support for pavement dining and pub outdoor licences.

Temporary permissions were brought in by the Government in response to the Covid crisis and calls for social distancing.

UK Hospitality called the move a 'great boost' for businesses in the sector.

Update #8816 - 12.45 Rolls Royce warns self-isolation hits production

Rolls Royce has warned that it may have to halve its car production because of the number of staff who are self-isolating under Covid rules.

The number of staff absent because they have been notified by the Test and Trace App is rising.

Meanwhile, Nissan reports a similar problem at its Sunderland factory.

Up to 900 workers, or ten% of its workforce have been sent home.

Anyone who has come into contact with an infected person is expected to self-isolate for ten days.

Update #8815 - 12.30 Summer of chaos as App causes mass self-isolation

The country is facing 'summer chaos' as a predicted 1.6m people in England are told to isolate in a week, according to The Guardian.

The findings come as the government says the Covid App is unlikely to be changed for weeks.

The number of new UK coronavirus cases climbed to 48,553 on Thursday, raising fears of 'a summer of chaos' as businesses and households feel the effects of mass self-isolation.

Ministers have warned the public to expect 50,000 daily cases by the time of England's big reopening on Monday.

Update #8814 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 128,593 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 63 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 48,553 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,281,098 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,097,464 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of July 14 and 35,341,428 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 29,430, as of Thursday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 922.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 8,328 cases (increase of 100)

Cheltenham - 5,236 cases (increase of 68)

Stroud - 4,723 cases (increase of 69)

Tewkesbury - 4,081 cases (increase of 46)

Forest of Dean - 3,788 cases (increase of 79)

Cotswold - 3,274 cases (increase of 42)

Thursday, July 15

Update #8813 - 11.45  Job vacancies above pre-Covid levels

The Office for National Statistics reports there were 862,000 jobs on offer between April and June. That's 77,500 higher than the first three months of 2020.

It means the number of job vacancies in the UK has surpassed levels before the Covid pandemic.

The rise was driven by vacancies in hospitality and retailing.

The number of people on payrolls grew in June, the biggest rise since the start of the crisis, an increase of 356,000 to 28.9 million.

Increased activity in both the food and accommodation sectors, as people returned to work, drove this rise.

Update #8812 - 11.30 Halfords on major recruitment drive

Halfords is set to recruit more than 700 staff to fill roles across the country, following an exceptionally strong year in both its motoring services and cycling parts of the business.

The company, which has 404 stores and 374 garages, has roles for vehicle technicians, MOT testers, cycle technicians, auto technicians, store and autocentre staff as well as department supervisors and other management.

Andy McBride, Group Head of Resourcing at Halfords, said: "Our strategy of focusing on services is paying dividends as more and more people turn to us for fitting and repairs.

"At the same time, the acceleration in the adoption of electric vehicles is creating new opportunities in our garages. The UK faces a skills gap in electric technicians. As a nation we need to be training technicians at twice the current rate. We're determined to ensure we stay ahead of the game and play our part in helping people transition to electric forms of transport."

Update #8811- 10.25 Vue condemns use of vaccine passports in cinemas

Vaccine passports would establish a "significant barrier" between cinemas and consumers, says Vue's general manager.

Toby Bradon expressed a view that customers are already comfortable coming back to cinemas and that Due do not want to reduce the comfort in their experience.

"Obviously, we heard the comments from the Health Secretary in terms of the use of Covid status certificates, or Covid passports.

"As I say, we aim to deliver a safe and enjoyable environment and we believe we deliver that at Vue. We, in general, believe that is delivered across the cinema industry as well.

"We have had a growing number of people coming back to the cinema so they are feeling more comfortable and we have had great feedback from those that have come.

"As an industry, we don't believe that the use of Covid status certificates or passports will make the cinema experience a safer one, and there are also at the same time significant issues in terms of discrimination.

"We believe it will build a significant barrier between the sector, the industry and its customers, when we are trying to rebuild the business - rebuilding it safely but in an enjoyable way at the same time."

Vue will however be keeping the safety measure of enhanced and regular cleaning of its cinemas.

Update #8810- 09.56 Waterstones to ask customers to continue wearing masks

In a tweet, the high-street book shop said: "Following the lift of restrictions on 19 July across England, we will observe new government guidance.

"Given our enclosed browsing environment, we encourage our customers to wear face masks and observe social distancing, respecting the safety of staff and fellow book lovers."

Current coronavirus safety measures will remain in place, including staff wearing face coverings and screens being up at tills between staff and customers.

The ruling will be enforced through signs not staff members.

Update #8809 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 128,530 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 49 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 42,302 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,233,207 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 46,037,090 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of July 13 and 35,155,767 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 29,026, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 922.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 8,228 cases (increase of 79)

Cheltenham - 5,168 cases (increase of 56)

Stroud - 4,654 cases (increase of 58)

Tewkesbury - 4,035 cases (increase of 35)

Forest of Dean - 3,709 cases (increase of 71)

Cotswold - 3,232 cases (increase of 32)

Wednesday, July 14

Update #8808 - 08.25 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 128,481 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 50 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 36,660 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,191,459 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 45,978,017 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of July 12 and 34,997,491 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 28,695, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 922.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 8,149 cases (increase of 70)

Cheltenham - 5,112 cases (increase of 47)

Stroud - 4,596 cases (increase of 34)

Tewkesbury - 4,000 cases (increase of 29)

Forest of Dean - 3,638 cases (increase of 62)

Cotswold - 3,200 cases (increase of 36)

Tuesday, July 13

Update #8807 - 11.56 Nightclubs and large events urged to ask customers for Covid passes

Heath Secretary Sajid Javid has asked that nightclubs and organisers of other large events should ask for proof that customers have had two jabs or tested negative for coronavirus.

In confirming that most lockdown rules will end on July 19, Mr Javid encouraged the use of vaccine passports at larger venues, but the guidance is not mandatory.

The vaccine passports are available through the NHS app and will also show if a person has natural immunity after contracting the virus.

PM Boris Johnson added: "As a matter of social responsibility we're urging nightclubs and other venues with large crowds to make use of the NHS Covid pass, which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity as a means of entry." 

Update #8806 - 10.58 UK retail shows best quarter on record

Retail sales have seen a bounce back in the last quarter according to the British Retail Consortium, with April to June reported to be the best three months on record.

In June, total sales increased by 13.1 per cent, against a decline of 1.3 per cent in June 2019. This is above the three-month average growth of 10.4 per cent.

UK retail sales increased 17 per cent on a Like-for-like basis from June 2019, when they had decreased 1.6 per cent from the preceding year. Online sales play a far greater role in like-for-like, so is said to have increased the growth rate significantly.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "The second quarter of 2021 saw exceptional growth as the gradual unlocking of the UK economy encouraged a release of pent-up demand built up over previous lockdowns.

"Nonetheless, UK retail is still facing strong headwinds with many retailers still making up for ground lost during the previous lockdowns." 

Update #8805 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 128,431 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

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

Across the UK, 34,471 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,155,243 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 45,923,721 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of July 11 and 34,872,131 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 28,417, as of Monday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 922.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 8,079 cases (increase of 90)

Cheltenham - 5,065 cases (increase of 57)

Stroud - 4,562 cases (increase of 29)

Tewkesbury - 3,971 cases  (increase of 37)

Forest of Dean - 3,576 cases (increase of 53)

Cotswold - 3,164 cases (increase of 28)

Monday, July 12

Update #8804 - 12.40 Business confidence 'highest for 16 years'

Business confidence jumped in June to its highest point since 2005, as businesses look ahead to the lifting of lockdown restrictions later this month, according to the latest Business Trends report from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

The firm's Optimism Index moved 2.74 points from 109.71 in May to 112.45 in June, marking the fifth consecutive month of growth and its highest point since records began in 2005. The index now stands well above the average level of 100.

The rise was driven by the Manufacturing Optimism Index, which rose from 102.98 to 113.22 in June. This reflects an improved global economic outlook.

Kaley Crossthwaite, Partner at BDO LLP, said: "After a gruelling year of unpredictable change, the ending of restrictions is timely."

Businesses are feeling optimistic that a 'Summer spending surge' will provide a boost to the economy, though it warns that rising inflation may be a sting in the tail.

Update #8803 - 11.40 Apple warns it could quit UK over patent row

The American tech giant has threatened to quit the UK if court forces a $7billion fee for technology used in its iPhones.

Apple issued the warning as part of a court battle with UK business and patent holder Optis Cellular Technology and could see the end of new iPhone sales in the UK.

A High Court judge ruled in June that Apple had infringed two Optis patents, after it had refused to pay licence fees worth a possible $7billion for the technology that helps iPhones to connect to 3G and 4G networks.

Although critics say Apple is unlikely to follow through with the idea of pulling out of the UK markets, a trial in 2022 will decide how much Apple will have to pay.

At a hearing at the start of the year, Mr Justice Meade said that Apple "might be disappointed" by the rate set by the judge.

Update 8802 - 10.32 CBI calls for earlier end to self-isolation rules

Trade body Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is urging the government to bring forward the changes to coronavirus self-isolation rules.

Although most Covid restrictions are set to end on July 19, changes to self-isolation rules are currently continuing until August 16 at the earliest.

In suggesting this date be moved to the 19th too, it said the move would reduce the impact on staff shortages and help to ensure the next phase of lockdown easing "is a confident not an anxious transition".

As well as wanting further clarity over workplace testing and guidance for businesses reopening, the CBI also called for additional government funding.

CBI director-general Tony Danker said: "Learning to live and work with the virus is the right strategy. But we need to ensure this is a confident not an anxious transition, otherwise it won't work."

Update #8801 - 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 UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 128,425 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 26 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 31,772 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 5,121,245 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 45,881,721 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of July 10 and 34,764,511 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 28,123, as of Sunday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 922.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 7,989 cases

Cheltenham - 5,008 cases

Stroud - 4,533 cases

Tewkesbury - 3,934 cases

Forest of Dean - 3,523 cases

Cotswold - 3,136 cases

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