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Coronavirus 18 June 2020 - 3.00pm

This is today's round-up of the latest Coronavirus news on Thursday 18 June 2020.

#StayHomeSaveLives  #HereForSwansea

Business rates scrapped for a year for 2,000 city businesses

About 2,000 businesses in Swansea have had their business rates for the year scrapped to help them through the Coronavirus pandemic.

The council's Cabinet has agreed a move that means many city retailers, pubs, restaurants, gyms and similar businesses will automatically see their business rates reduced to nothing for this financial year.

The Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme is worth up to £35m in Swansea and is being paid for by the Welsh Government.

Those eligible to receive the 100% business rate discounts will be any retail, leisure or hospitality venue with a rateable value between £6,000 and £500,000. Qualifying businesses will not need to contact the council as the rates relief will be automatically applied to accounts.

Qualifying businesses would typically be food retailers, pharmacies, post offices, petrol stations, garden centres and markets as well as restaurants, takeaways, cafes, pubs and wine bars. Tourist attractions, gyms, sports and leisure facilities, cinemas, hotels and nightclubs would also be eligible.

 

More help for those facing domestic abuse

We've become the first council in Wales to launch a high-tech chatbot to help support people experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse.

As part of its You Are Not Alone campaign, launched to support people at risk of Domestic Abuse through the pandemic, the hub team has worked closely with colleagues in Social Services and Microsoft to develop a chatbot using AI which is now live on the service's website at: www.swansea.gov.uk/YouAreNotAlone

The bot ask the user a series of questions to help direct them to the most appropriate support. Users remain anonymous and the service is completely confidential.

 

Two-metre rule

Please don't forget that although lockdown measures have been eased by the Welsh Government, the two metre physical distancing rules still apply. If you are out and about you must remain at least two metres from anyone not in your immediate household. Welsh Government guidance on this and other Coronavirus regulations can be found here: gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance

 

Knotweed service

Our knotweed service is back. Our experts are available to provide free estimates to householders and other landowners struggling to deal with the invasive plant.

Knotweed can grow virtually anywhere and causes many problems including loss of native plant species, physical damage, rapid spread, reduction in land values and difficulty in obtaining mortgages. In Swansea it is found on beaches, grassland, wet ground, along water courses, in gardens, derelict land, graveyards and railway embankments and hedges.

There's some useful information on how to identify it and book a visit by one of the team here: www.swansea.gov.uk/knotweed

 

Our call centre is here for you

If you need to report an environment problem you can go to www.swansea.gov.uk/reportit or email the team at EVH@swansea.gov.uk or you can ring them on 01792 635600 or on 01792 636000.

If you are a council housing tenant who needs an emergency repair, please contact your local district housing office, email HousingRepairs.callcentre@swansea.gov.uk  or ring the team on 01792 635100.

 

Small businesses urged to act fast on grant bids

More than 3,780 small businesses in Swansea have claimed £47.3m in grants from the Welsh Government via our business team since the start of April. If you think you're eligible and have not yet made an application, you've got till the end of the month to make a claim.

Your application could start here at: www.swansea.gov.uk/covid19adviceforbusinesses.

Welsh Government advice can be found here: businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

 


Staff

Staff and their families are being urged not to be taken in by a number of convincing-looking Coronavirus cyber scams.

Among the latest is an email phishing scam that uses the Office 365 logo to attempt to encourage you to go to a link claiming to allow you to go to a link where you can continue using your current password.

Most scams emails are stopped before they get to your mailbox. But if one slips through you can find out more about how to deal with it on Staffnet: www.swansea.gov.uk/staffnet/covid19cyberscams

If you become a victim of fraud in your personal life, then report it to Action Fraud: www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

Report any threats/scams to the Information Security Officer - infosec@swansea.gov.uk

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