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Grants to help small firms stay Covid secure

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston is set to launch a Covid grant scheme to help small businesses protect their staff and customers.

Small businesses and the self-employed will shortly be able to apply for funding to cover the costs of making their environments Covid secure.

Details of the scheme are being finalised, but grants will be soon available for protective equipment and other safety measures.

Mr Preston said: "Businesses across the town have already moved heaven and earth to change the way they operate. They've responded quickly to fast-changing advice and I'd like to thank everyone who has acted responsibly.

"Our new grant scheme will provide financial support for small businesses and the self-employed that need help to put more measures in place. This is aimed at people like self-employed taxi drivers and others who have contact with lots of people.

"Businesses with headquarters behind them get help to take these steps, but others may require our support.

"We'll do all we can to help companies and families play their part in protecting each other from the spread of Covid."

Details of the application process will be announced in due course. The grants will be covered by government funding.

The Council is continuing to urge residents and businesses to follow Covid guidelines

As of Friday, Middlesbrough's infection rate per 100,000 of population was 44.

It's expected the town will remain on the government watchlist as "an area of concern" when it's published on Friday.

Mr Preston added: "The Council is working day and night on local contact tracing to stop the spread.

"At the same time we're heading into another weekend, the Boro are on TV and people will be heading out.

"Businesses need to have everything in place to keep people safe and we all must socialise responsibly. I would particularly urge anyone with even the mildest of Covid symptoms to stay at home. If in doubt, don't go out."

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus should self-isolate and book a free test online or by calling 119.

The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to taste or smell.

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