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Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, June 18

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, June 18

Update #8760 - 11.38 Retail sales fall in May

The Office for National Statistics has said sales fell by 1.4 per cent between April and May and Brits chose to visit bars and restaurants over buying food at supermarkets.

It added that sales at non-food stores rose on demand for outdoor furniture and online sales dipped as people returned to physical stores.

Although it is the third month in a row that online sales have dropeed, ONS said they ""remain nearly 60% higher than the level seen in February 2020". 

Update #8759 - 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 127,945 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 19 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 11,007 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,600,623 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 42,216,654 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of June 16 and 30,675,207 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 23,693, as of Thursday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test are 922*.

*Gov.uk - Some deaths previously reported in England have been reallocated to different resident local authorities. Total deaths for England are unaffected, but some local authorities and regions will show inaccurate daily reported numbers because of this change.

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

Gloucester - 6,745 cases (increase of 38)

Cheltenham - 4,032 cases (increase of 35)

Stroud - 3,922 cases (increase of 19)

Tewkesbury - 3,120 cases (increase of 18)

Forest of Dean - 3,198 cases (increase of 13)

Cotswold - 2,676 cases (increase of 10)

Thursday, June 17

Update #8758 - 12.16 Rapid COVID-19 test kits now available at five city libraries

From Wednesday (June 16) you can collect your free, rapid COVID-19 test kits from one of five libraries located in and around Gloucester City.

Regular, rapid COVID-19 tests are for people with no symptoms. Rapid testing helps to detect cases of the virus, that we might not have otherwise known about, so that action can be taken quickly to help prevent the virus spreading to others.

The following libraries are offering the service, please check opening hours as these will vary between each site:

• Hucclecote Library: Hucclecote Road, Gloucester GL3 3RT

• Gloucester City Centre: Eastgate Shopping Centre, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1HT

• Longlevens Library: Church Road, Longlevens, GL2 0AJ

• Quedgeley Library: Bristol Road, Quedgeley, GL2 4PE

• Churchdown Library: Parton Road, Churchdown, GL3 2AF

There are also more than 100 pharmacies county-wide where you can pick up your free rapid tests, with some pharmacies starting to come on board to offer onsite testing. The NHS Site Finder Map includes the locations of all participating pharmacies and Community Collect points across the county.

www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/testing 

Update #8757 - 11.05 Epidemic growing across England

The Covid-19 epidemic in England is growing, according to the scientists who are tracking it, mainly driven by younger people who are not yet vaccinated.

The analysis, from the React-1 study, looked at the period 20th May to 7th June, as reported by the BBC.

Researchers found:

• Of the 108,911 people tested, 135 were positive - a rise from 0.1% to 0.15%

• Most cases were in 5-12-year-olds and 18-24-year-olds

• The reproduction (R) number was an estimated 1.44

The rollout of vaccinations to younger people is key to reducing further spread, researchers from Imperial College London say. The government has a clear aim to vaccinate all adults by 19th July.

Update #8756 - 10.55 Inflation soared in May

The UK's rate of inflation leapt higher than expected last month, with more expensive clothing being one of the main factors.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) hit 2.1 per cent for May, ahead of the Bank of England's two per cent target. It was also way ahead of analysts' forecasts of 1.8 per cent, as reported by Retail Gazette.

The Bank of England said a rise in inflation above the target must be only temporary, and that long-term levels of high inflation need to be "avoided at all costs".

The rise was led by fuel prices, which fell a year ago, but have increased due to rising crude prices, and an increase in clothing prices of 2.3 per cent, as retailers significantly reduced their discounting.

Update #8755 - 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 127,926 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

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

Across the UK, 9,055 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,589,814 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 42,021,089 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of June 15 and 30,440,373 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 23,560, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test are 922*.

*Gov.uk - Some deaths previously reported in England have been reallocated to different resident local authorities. Total deaths for England are unaffected, but some local authorities and regions will show inaccurate daily reported numbers because of this change.

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

Gloucester - 6,707 cases (increase of 27)

Cheltenham - 3,997 cases (increase of 30)

Stroud - 3,903 cases (increase of seven)

Tewkesbury - 3,102 cases (increase of 19)

Forest of Dean - 3,185 cases (increase of 19)

Cotswold - 2,666 cases (increase of 22)

Wednesday, June 16 

Update #8754 - 12.45 Growth in jobs as retail adapts

Jobs created in logistics, fulfilment and food have contributed to an increase in salaried employees in UK retail.

According to the latest numbers from the Office for National Statistics, there were 3.042 million employed in retail in the first quarter of 2021, up 1,000 from the first quarter of 2020.

Overall, the number of salaried employees in the UK climbed for the sixth month in a row in May 2021, rising by 197,000 to 28.5 million. But this is 553,000 less than before the Covid pandemic.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said jobs in logistics, fulfilment and food retail, as well as the many technical roles required by the huge growth in online sales had contributed.

She said: "These jobs are often more productive and better paid, reflecting a trend in the industry."

Update #8753 - 12.30 No extension to furlough or rates relief

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has rejected calls to extend furlough and business rates relief, set to begin winding down from the start of next month.

The furlough scheme will go from paying 80 per cent of people's wages to 70 per cent from 1stJuly, with support due to be withdrawn altogether by September.

The fourth and final stage of taking England out of lockdown was originally set for 21stJune, but the Prime Minister announced a four week delay on Monday.

Business rate relief is set to fall from 100 per cent to 66 per cent from 1stJuly, but it will remain in place until March next year.

Update #8752 - 12.08 Covid jabs to be compulsory for care home staff in England

Coronavirus vaccinations are set to become compulsory for staff in care homes for older people in England, reports to Guardian.

Care home staff are said to be being given 16 weeks to have the jab, or risk being redeployed aware from the frontline or losing their job.

The Guardian said the plans are expected to be announced by the government in the coming says. Similar rules could be enforced for other health and care staff too, with consultations set to begin soon.

The British Medical Association said in a statement: "While some healthcare workers are already required to be immunised against certain conditions to work in certain areas, any specific proposal for the compulsory requirement for all staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 would raise new ethical and legal implications."

Update #8751 - 11.22 Clothes and fuel prices push inflation to two-year high

The rate of inflation in the UK jumped 2.1 per cent in the year to May, the highest for almost two-years.

As lockdown eased and consumer spending rose, this is said to be driven by the rising cost of fuel and clothing, according to the Office for National Statistics.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: "The rate of inflation rose again in May and is now above 2% for the first time since the summer of 2019.

"This month's rise was led by fuel prices, which fell this time last year but have jumped this year, thanks to rising crude prices. Clothing prices also added upward pressure as the amount of discounting fell in May."

Update #8750 - 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 127,917 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 10 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 7,673 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,581,006 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 41,831,056 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of June 14 and 30,209,707 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 23,463, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 952.

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

Gloucester - 6,680 cases (increase of 22)

Cheltenham - 3,967 cases (increase of 25)

Stroud - 3,896 cases (increase of 15)

Tewkesbury - 3,083 cases (increase of 30)

Forest of Dean - 3,164 cases (increase of 14)

Cotswold - 2,644 cases (increase of 15) 

Tuesday, June 15

Update #8749 - 13.15 Unemployment still high despite May job boost

The number of people in work is still below pre-Covid levels despite an increase in May.

Those in pay rolled employment is 553,000 down despite a widespread easing in coronavirus restrictions, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

There were 197,000 more people on Pay As You Earn (PAYE) in May compared with April, driven by the hospitality sector.

It comes as the unemployment rate fell again to 4.7% in the three months to April, down from 4.8% previously. But unemployment remains high among the young and those based in London.

Update #8748 - 11.32 Less than one per cent of UK travel insurance policies offer full Covid cover

Fewer than one in 100 travel insurance policies provide 'Complete' cover for Covid disruption, a Which? analysis of more than 250 policies has revealed.

The consumer champion found that many policies exclude plausible - and often expensive - scenarios, such as new lockdowns in the UK or destination country.

Which? looked at 263 travel insurance policies' Covid cover and gave them ratings ranging from 'Basic', to 'Low', 'Superior' and 'Complete'.

Just two policies, HSBC Select and Cover and Barclays Travel Pack, were rated as 'Complete'.

Gareth Shaw, head of Which? Money, said: "As the removal of Portugal from the green list shows, last-minute disruption to holiday plans can happen - and our research shows that many travel insurers don't offer much protection if it does."

Update #8747 - 10.35 Hospitality shares dive after Freedom Day announcement

Shares in hospitality and travel have fallen as PM Boris Johnson delayed Freedom Day by a month.

The Restaurant Group, owners of Wagamama, fell 4.3 per cent, with Wetherspoon also down 4 per cent and Premier Inn owner Whitbread also dropping 1.8 per cent.

British Airways parent company IAG was 4.2 per cent down, and Easyjet dropped 2.7 per cent.

Dr Roger Barker, the Institute of Director's director of policy, said: "We are now approaching a cliff edge, with government support for business ending or beginning to taper off.

"It is vital that this support is pushed out commensurately with the lockdown extension. Economic support and public health measures must be aligned." 

Update #8746 - 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 127,907 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

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

Across the UK, 7,742 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,573,419 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 41,698,429 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of June 13 and 29,973,779 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 23,394, as of Monday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 951.

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

Gloucester - 6,658 cases (increase of 15)

Cheltenham - 3,942 cases (increase of 17)

Stroud - 3,881 cases (increase of six)

Tewkesbury - 3,053 cases (increase of 15)

Forest of Dean - 3,164 cases (increase of eight)

Cotswold - 2,644 cases (increase of six)

Monday, June 14

Update #8745 - 11.10  Cardiff Airport worst hit by restrictions

Cardiff Airport was the worst affected UK airport by Covid, with an 87% decline in passengers.

Traveller numbers fell from 1,656,085 in 2019 to just 219,984 in 2020.

The Airport received a further blow after Aer Lingus' operators Stobart Air went into liquidation on Friday after failing to find a buyer.

Air travellers in the UK, as a whole, last year, were less than a quarter the normal number.

After Cardiff, the worst affected airports were Glasgow Prestwick - with a 85.8% decline in passengers - and Exeter (85.5%).

Update #8744 - 11.00  Shipping crisis threatens Christmas

Disruption to world shipping could impact on Christmas shopping, as shortages and supply chain issues continue to bite.

The BBC reports that an outbreak of Covid-19 in Guangdong province in southern China has caused acute congestion at the region's ports.

James Baker, containers editor at shipping publication Lloyd's List told the broadcaster "the system is already at breaking point, or past breaking point".

He expected disruption to last for at least another 12 months, with consumers in Europe and North America facing longer waits than normal. 

He advised Christmas shoppers to "start shopping now."

Update #8743 - 10.50  Pub and bar sales slump

Pubs and bars saw their sales plummet by more than a third last month compared to before the lockdowns.

Ongoing social distancing rules saw pub revenues fall by 34% compared to 2019, despite a sunny bank holiday to end the month with.

The Coffer GCA business tracker showed that bars fared even worse - down by 38% on 2019.The freedom to serve indoors gave a boost to the restaurant sector but sales were still down 13% on May 2019.

Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: "Hospitality is fighting for survival."

Update #8742 - 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 127,904 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

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

Across the UK, 7,490 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 4,565,813 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 41,551,201 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of June 12 and 29,792,658 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 23,327, as of Sunday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 952.

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

Gloucester - 6,643 cases

Cheltenham - 3,942 cases

Stroud - 3,881 cases

Tewkesbury - 3,053 cases

Forest of Dean - 3,164 cases

Cotswold - 2,644 cases 

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