Coronavirus update - message from Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor
1 April 2020
Council Car Parking
In addition to removing a number of restrictions on residential streets, it is now free to park in the following council car parks:
✅ Bushey Arches
✅ Town Hall
✅ Watford Business Park
This is to make sure that key workers and local residents have somewhere to park when on-street parking may be harder to find than normal. A number of third party car parks are also offering parking spaces for free. Find out more about these arrangements.
Support for homeless
I’m delighted that, through working with New Hope and One YMCA, we have been able to secure emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in the town so they are able to self-isolate and get access to medical care. Everyone in our town needs supporting during these difficult times. I’d like to thank our fantastic homeless charities as well our brilliant housing team for making this happen so quickly.
Support for Business
We have been working flat out to try and provide emergency support for businesses in our town who now find themselves without an income. We have set up an online form for businesses needing to access the government’s new grant scheme. Apply/to see what support your business could be eligible for.
Council Tax Relief
Thanks to a new government support scheme, we are now able to provide a hardship payment of up to £150 to local residents who entitled to council tax relief. There is no need for residents to get in touch about this payment; this is an automated process to everyone who current is entitled to relief.
We run a relief programme for people with low incomes. Find out more about this and whether you are eligible to apply.
Mayor’s Small Grants Fund
I’m delighted that I’ve already been able to support both Watford Mencap and Electric Umbrella with their requests for funds from my Mayor’s Small Grants Fund. We have opened this early to specifically support community groups in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find out more about how to apply to this scheme.
Thousands of residents last week tuned into my Facebook Live broadcast about the town’s response to Coronavrius. If you missed it, you can tune in again.
I’ll now be hosting these weekly every Friday at 2:00 PM. If you have any questions for me, please watch the broadcast live and I will try my best to answer these.
Herts Libraries Virtual Reading Group
Although libraries are physically closed, Hertfordshire Libraries are launching various online reading initiatives, for example, a virtual reading group is starting today via their Facebook page.
Food price hikes
There are media reports about some food outlets taking this as an opportunity to put up food prices. In some cases this may be due to increases in prices from suppliers, in others it might be opportunistic. If it is opportunistic, this is illegal. If you wish to report a business, you can do so via the Citizens Advice consumer service (which operates on behalf of Trading Standards) and they will decide whether or not to investigate.
Renters and Landlords
Parliament has adopted measures so that nobody is forced out of their home as a result of this epidemic. The full package available to renters (social and private) and landlords.
Cremations and Burials
The Government’s emergency legislation has been amended, following concerns raised by those of all faiths and none, regarding the prospect of forced cremations during this period. All local councils mow must make sure that all burials and cremations are in keeping with someone’s religious beliefs.
I would just like to finally take these opportunity to thank everyone who has been working to help the town to respond to this crisis. Our council staff, our Veolia waste collection team and our voluntary sector have all responded brilliantly. Of course, our thanks and support should also go to our NHS staff, who are working in incredibly challenging circumstances. Thank you to all of them.
Thank you, stay safe, stay home and save lives.