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20 March 2020

COVID-19 Multi Agency Update - Thursday 19 March

Cumbria County Council

The council’s main public buildings, including Cumbria House in Carlisle, remain open for the time being.  The council continues to provide daily updates to all staff regarding the latest advice, guidance and information on COVID-19, as well as preparing managers and their teams for change. This includes reviewing and implementing business continuity plans to ensure all essential services are maintained.  The council is supporting staff to work from home where possible and providing guidance on how to do so, as well as keeping the number of face to face meetings to a minimum by utilising online platforms such as Skype.

All of the council’s Household Waste and Recycling Centres are currently operating as per their normal opening hours. For more information and to find your nearest centre, visit the website here www.cumbria.gov.uk/recycling

Cumbria Care, the council's in-house care provider, is restricting visitors to its 23 Residential Care homes in response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Visit www.yourcumbria.org for further information.

Following the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England, the council has taken the decision to suspend all Member committee meetings and associated working groups until the end of this week. It is now reviewing all other Council meetings that are planned over the next six weeks and will make a decision about those meetings and future arrangements before the end of the week.

 

School closures

Following the announcement last night regarding school closures, we are now making urgent plans to respond. We have been in contact with the Regional Schools Commissioner and it is agreed that the county council will play the core co-ordinating role.  Our ultimate strategic aim is to facilitate life-saving work and to protect our most vulnerable children, staff and their families.

Ultimately, the plan is to have a number of strategically important schools open, matched to areas of demand.  Plans are being developed to ensure a sufficient number of staff are available at these schools.

This is a fast moving situation and we are working hard with our partners to develop a clear plan for managing school closures in Cumbria.

Further updates and information will be issued to schools and parents in due course as the situation develops.  We understand that people have a lot of questions and concerns about how this will work - we are working as quickly and efficiently as possible to provide the information and support that people need.

 

Copeland Borough Council

Funeral arrangements:

A spokesperson for Copeland Borough Council, said:

“We want to reassure our residents that we are taking every possible measure to protect their health and safety, and that of our employees.

“Following government advice regarding social distancing we have put the following measures in place in an effort to reduce the potential spread of the virus and avoid cross-contamination:

  • Our employees will no longer meet and greet relatives and friends
  • Funeral directors and celebrants will lead services into the chapel
  • We recommend that numbers attending funerals be reduced if possible
  • All hymn books have been removed from our chapels
  • We have increased our cleaning regime
  • We advise attendants to please leave at least one seat between themselves and others
  • We ask that any tissues or other personal belongings are removed upon leaving the chapel
  • We kindly ask that if anyone feels unwell, that they please do not attend the service

“We would like to thank funeral directors and celebrants for their continued support, and our residents for their understanding at this time.”

Copeland By-Election:

Copeland Borough Council’s by-election that was set to take place next week has been postponed.
The council’s Returning Officer has taken the decision to postpone the by-election that was due to take place on Thursday, March 26 for the Whitehaven Central ward.

The new advice from the Cabinet Office has given the council the ability to delay the by-election due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

The Returning Officer has decided that the priority must be to keep people safe and, acting in line with the national position, she has taken the decision to postpone.

Candidates have been notified and notices will be placed at polling stations. Further information on a rescheduled date will be released when social distancing measures are lifted.

Copeland Borough Council asking the public to contact its Planning team via email only at present. Please email devcontrol@copeland.gov.uk

 

Eden District Council

The council is receiving a high volume of enquiries from businesses regarding the chancellor’s announcement of business rate holidays and business grants. We’re encouraging business owners to visit our website for the latest information -

https://www.eden.gov.uk/business-and-trade/business-rates/covid-19-support-for-businesses/

We also issued a media release with an update on Eden’s response to Coronavirus to date. Actions include:

  • Facilitating home working for staff
  • Cancelling all council organised external events
  • Cancelling all internal and external staff meetings that can’t be facilitated remotely
  • Postponing non-essential council meetings
  • Closing the Penrith Museum and Tourist Information Centre to the public
  • Closing the Mansion House Contact Centre to focus and reduce customer contact through the Town Hall Contact Centre
  • Sharing information on coordinating local community volunteer response efforts

More information on the news pages of the councils website - www.eden.gov.uk

 

Allerdale Borough Council

The council’s website has some key information, links and advice for residents and businesses. The address is: www.allerdale.gov.uk/coronavirus . This page will be used to direct people to all the key information including business advice.  

Digital services 

To help reduce the risk of infection, the council is also continuing to encourage its customers to avoid using its customer service centres where possible and to access its services through its digital channels. The council’s website has a number of online forms, as well as a bin collection calendar and facility to report a missed bin. There is also a webchat service to contact a customer service staff member. Many of these services are also available via the ‘myAllerdale’ app which can be downloaded from the app store. 

Community social media 

To help get the message to our communities, the council has been contacting community Facebook groups asking their assistance with sharing messages. The communications team would like to thank everyone who has responded and shared messages so far. Any admins who would like to join please email corp.comms@allerdale.gov.uk or message the council direct. 

Takeaway advice 

Any restaurant which wishes to start offering takeaway services is advised to follow the advice on the council’s website: www.allerdale.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Cashless in car parks 

To limit the amount contact members of the public and staff have with cash, Allerdale Borough Council has made a decision to go cashless at its car parking sites. Machines on council-owned car parks will no longer accept cash and will be asking for payments by debit/credit card and through the MiPermit mobile app only. Workington’s multi-storey will be accepting cards only at the moment. 

Advice on what to do with your waste 

The council is offering some advice to households that may contain someone suffering with coronavirus symptoms on what to do with their waste. 

Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths and tissues): 

  1. Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. 
  2. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. 
  3. It should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage until the individual’s test results are known or at least 72 hours has passed. 

Waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours. 

  • If the individual tests negative, this can be put in with the normal waste 
  • If the individual tests positive, then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste 

If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste by a specialist clinical waste contractor. We do not offer a clinical waste collection service. They will supply you with orange clinical waste bags for you to place your bags into so the waste can be sent for appropriate treatment. 

 

Barrow Borough Council

The Forum, in Barrow, is now closed to the public. All planned events and shows had been postponed earlier this week. The venue itself is now closed as we take all precautions possible in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Our teams are also doing their utmost to keep essential services running as normal. We would ask, however, that residents use the council's online system for reports and requests instead of calling or visiting the Town Hall in person.

 

Carlisle City Council

Customer Contact Centre update

From Friday 20 March we are changing the way our customers can contact us and are restricting access to the Civic Centre Customer Contact Centre. This is to minimise risk to those using the contact centre - both customers and our staff.

We’re assuring our local communities that we’re still here to support them. They are advised to phone us on 01228 817200 or email customerservices@carlisle.gov.uk and help with available.

From Friday 20 March, those vulnerable customers that need face to face help are asked to arrange an appointment by calling 01228 817200. These appointments will be held in the customer contact centre with safe social distancing arrangements put in place.

Everything possible is being done to ensure we can continue to provide vital council services to everyone. We are constantly reviewing our processes and will always endeavour to provide the best service possible in line with government advice.

Garden waste collections:

Due to the ongoing impact of Coronavirus, we have taken the steps to divert our resources to protect our key operational services for residents such as refuse collections. It has therefore been necessary to suspend all garden waste services until further notice. We are also unable to take any new bookings for our bulky waste collection service.

We ask for your support and understanding in these unprecedented times as we work to maintain your refuse collections and other priority services. Please check our website for updates or changes to your service.  

Please do not put garden waste into your household bin. Please also continue to recycle using your bags and boxes or visit one of our many local recycling points. We recognise that this may not be an option for everyone or for those that are self-isolating, and we would also reinforce the public health messages about avoiding unnecessary journeys.    

For further information about recycling, please visit www.carlisle.gov.uk/refuseandrecycling

Bereavement Services:

Our Bereavement Services is continuing to take both burial and cremation bookings.

However, to allow staff to concentrate on these bookings, we will not be able to make any garden appointments or burials of cremated remains for the foreseeable future.

Following advice from the government and ICCM, the Cemetery and Crematorium office is now closed to the public. However, the Bereavement Services can still be contacted by 01228 817390 or email bereavement@carlisle.gov.uk  

All mourners are being asked to stay outside the Crematorium building until just before a funeral starts.

We are communicating daily with funeral directors and providing updated guidance regarding social distancing. Hand sanitizer is provided at both the entrance and exit to the chapel.

We ask for your patience in this matter.

Events:

The following events have been cancelled or postponed:

  • 3 April - Carlisle Easter International Market, Carlisle city centre.
  • 3 - 13 April - Easter Fair, Castle car park.
  • 8 - 10 May VE Day programme of events, Carlisle city centre (postponed).
  • 9 May - Skate Jam, Bitts Park.
  • 13 May - Urban Trail Run Carlisle City Centre, Bitts Park and Rickerby Park.
  • 25 May - Upperby Gala, Hammonds’ Pond.
  • 13 June - Cumberland Show, Brisco.
  • 12 July - Race for Life and Pretty Muddy, Bitts Park and Sheepmount (postponed).

Park Runs in local parks have also been cancelled.

Support for businesses and vulnerable households:

The UK Government has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs.
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance.
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme.

A £500million Hardship Fund to support economically vulnerable people and households was also announced in the Budget Statement on 11 March.

We are awaiting guidance on how these funds and packages will be put in place.

Please check our website - www.carlisle.gov.uk - and our social media accounts for updates.

In the meantime, additional information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses


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Cumbria County Council COVID-19 Update for 19 March