With just a few days left to register, businesses in Wolverhampton are urged to sign up to provide routine testing for their employees, before the deadline passes.
Businesses with 10 or more staff only have until Monday (12 April) to register for free on-site rapid Covid-19 testing or free rapid home test kits via the Government’s workplace testing scheme, which includes support and financial help.
Businesses that register for the scheme can provide rapid testing for their staff through onsite testing, with test kits, support, training and standard operating procedures provided by NHS Test and Trace. Alternatively, businesses will be able to order free rapid kits for employees to use at home – but only if they cannot provide testing in the workplace and staff cannot work from home.
For details of either option, and to register, businesses should visit www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests by 12 April. Businesses with between 10 and 50 staff which want to register for home test kits should email firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance. If your business is closed or you cannot provide tests now, you should still register so you can do so in the future.
Employers of all sizes in Wolverhampton can also apply for Business Testing Grants of up to £10,000 to provide their workforces with access regular testing but must do so by Friday 30 April.
Business Testing Grants are available to any organisation in Wolverhampton which commits to over 75% of its workforce being tested twice a week. A grant of £500 is available to businesses with one or two employees, £2,000 is available to those with between three and 49 employees, businesses with 50-249 staff can apply for a grant of £5,000 and a grant of £10,000 is available to those employing 250 workers or more.
The grant is intended to encourage businesses to embrace rapid testing and to help with any costs this might entail, for instance with PPE and cleaning for on-site testing and time away from work for staff attending off-site testing.
Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, businesses will receive 25% of the grant when they apply and the remaining 75% after they demonstrate they have met their weekly commitment to get 75% of staff tested twice a week up to the end of June. For more details and to apply, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/testinggrant by 30 April.
Meanwhile, sole traders, the self-employed and people working for local businesses of any size are encouraged to get a regular test, either at the mobile test unit which is at Phoenix Park in Blakenhall this week or at rapid test sites at the Civic Centre, The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Pendeford Library, The Hub at Ashmore Park and St Joseph’s Church. Although booking is not essential, specific slots allowing employees to access a test at a convenient time without having to wait can be reserved up to five days in advance at https://bit.ly/3uuEkzD.
Richard Lawrence, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Regeneration, said:
As restrictions ease, businesses reopen and more people return to their places of work from next week, it is important that employers make sure their staff can access rapid testing. With one in three people with Covid-19 not having any symptoms it would be very easy for an infection to spread through a workplace. Regular testing of employees will help to track down these cases and therefore prevent the virus spreading further.
We want all employers in Wolverhampton to ensure that staff members who cannot work from home access rapid testing twice weekly, either at our public test centres or in the workplace. I urge any businesses planning to sign up for the Government's workplace testing scheme or to apply for a Business Testing Grant, to do so straight away, as deadlines are 12 April and 30 April respectively.
Businesses with questions about rapid testing for their workforce, or which requires support, should please email email@example.com.
Information about business grants can be found at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/businessgrants. Full details of the latest national business support measures can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.
Latest figures show there were 55.1 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days to 4 April. That means 145 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that seven day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.