15 June 2020
Covid-19 Q&A at the Barn Theatre

Barn Theatre Live session

Re-opening shops

12 June


Thank you for joining me today as I discuss the re-opening of shops ahead of Monday 15, when non-essential shops in England can start to open their doors once more.  These are essential steps to getting Britain back to work after a significantly challenging period that has threatened the future of so many businesses and jobs.

I will be discussing the issues surrounding the re-opening of shops, department stores, and shopping centres, including the proposed reduction from 2 to 1 metre social distancing.  The steps that are being taken to keep workers and customers safe and a particularly important issue in a rural area such as the Cotswolds, parking, to encourage people back to our high-streets there needs to be adequate parking at a competitive prices.  Joining me today to consider these issues are a panel of local industry experts, thank you for joining me:

David Hawes - Sales Director Jesse Smith 

Dino Mussell -  MD of Parlour Farm

Rob Gibson - MD of Dolcetti Italian Ice cream.

Andrew McHugh - owner of One Stop South Cerney and Rendcomb village shop. 

Andrew Wright - Overider Fashion


Local Update

Discretionary Fund

As discussed last week, the Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro-businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes. You can get a grant of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. Applications close on Sunday 14 June.

Care Homes

The county council has received £7.7 million from Government to help tackle the spread of Coronavirus in care homes and to protect those who receive care at home.  The money comes from the new national Infection Control Grant set up to help halt the spread of Covid-19.

The Government has launched a PPE portal for Healthcare providers so they can order additional personal protective equipment through the website to top up their existing supplies for COVID-19 in an emergency.

Covid-19 tests have been offered to every care home for elderly or for those with dementia.  I have been working with a number of care homes in the constituency to secure their testing and will continue working to improve this service.  

An important part of moving beyond the virus is getting track and testing working efficiently, which is why after this show I am going to visit the new Hempsted Meadow Coronavirus Testing site in Gloucester.


Westminster Brief

For more information on any of the following announcements please go to the Government website www.gov.uk/coronavirus.  There is an extensive amount of information and guidance available on the website, with a frequently asked questions page with all updated lockdown guidance.

The Economy

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said that due to the impact of Covid-19 the UKs economy could recede by 11.5% in 2020, which is predicted to be a slightly worse outcome than that which is expected for other major economies in Europe.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in response to the report that due to the unprecedented action taken by the Government to support the economy, it will ensure the economy recovers as quickly as possible, likely to be in the second year and stronger bounce back.

Zoos and Outdoor attractions

From 15 June, zoos and outdoor attractions such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas will reopen as part of the Government’s plan to cautiously restore our way of life.

Working closely with the zoo industry, we are confident this can be done safely with safeguards and limits on visitor numbers, while providing families with more options to spend time outdoors, where the risk of transmission is far lower.

Support Bubbles

From this weekend, single adult households, meaning adults living alone or single parents with children under 18, can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.  All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household, meaning they can spend time together inside each others’ homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart.

Support bubbles must be exclusive, meaning you cannot switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households.  And if any member of the support bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the normal advice on household isolation.


The Government has announced that whilst primary schools won’t be required to open for all years for a month before summer, schools with the capacity will be able to welcome back some more children before the holidays.  Getting children back to school is an absolute priority, which is why we’ve already prioritised getting early years, year 1 and year 6 back to school, with some secondary school pupils returning to school on Monday too.

In the meantime, we are ensuring children can continue to learn from home, backed by £100 million of government funding, providing children from disadvantaged backgrounds across England with free laptops and tablets, as well as 4G routers for those families who do not already have internet access.

In Gloucestershire 10,469 children attended school on 1 June with 81% of schools in opened to more children on 1 June. This was the highest proportion in the South West.