Council confirms changes to services during national lockdown
Wakefield Council has confirmed changes to its services, following the Prime Minister's announcement of a third national lockdown which started today, Tuesday 5 January.
The latest national lockdown, which will also include the closure of all schools for all but vulnerable children and children of critical workers, means people must stay at home, with a limited set of exemptions:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible
Nurseries will remain open, and childcare bubbles can remain in place. Clinically extremely vulnerable people are also being told to shield again.
From today the following changes will take place to the Council's services until further notice:
- All museums will be closed
- All libraries will be closed except to provide essential PC/digital services. A click and collect service is available online and over the phone
- Pontefract Castle grounds and toilets will remain open
- Sandal Castle grounds will remain open, but the café will be closed
- Wakefield Council markets remain open to traders selling essential items
- All leisure facilities and golf courses will be closed (a temporary freeze will be placed on all Aspire memberships). Aspire at home will offer a range of online classes
- Country parks remain open, including toilet facilities (except at Newmillerdam Country Park). The café at Pugneys Country Park will be serving takeaway food and drink only
The Customer Access Point at Wakefield One remains closed but the Council can still be contacted online or by calling 0345 8 506 506. Or alternatively, for:
Funerals can be attended by up to 14 people at Pontefract Crematorium, or 16 at Wakefield Crematorium. This is the maximum number that can fit in the chapel and maintain proper social distancing. Up to 30 people can attend a burial outdoors, as long as social distancing is maintained.
Registrars' services remain open for appointment only to register a birth or give notice of a marriage or civil partnership. Death registration appointments will continue via telephone. Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted during the national lockdown.
All children and adult services remain unaffected. Children's Centres and Children First Hubs remain open for individual appointments and support only.
Bin collections and other essential Council services will continue as normal, including Household Waste Recycling Centres at South Kirkby, Castleford and Wakefield which will remain open, although people are asked to avoid peak weekend times if possible to minimise traffic disruption.
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "This is yet another challenge facing our district but one which I know you will play your part in, to help stop the spread, protect one another and reduce pressure on our NHS services. I would like to thank all our residents and businesses for their ongoing commitment to following the rules.
"We are urging residents to stay at home and avoid meeting people you do not live with. It is absolutely essential that we continue to wash our hands regularly, wear a face covering in indoor public spaces and maintain social distancing with anyone outside of our household or support bubble.
"We are working hard to ensure as many services as possible can stay open and we will be continuing to support our residents, businesses and communities through this difficult time. Our helpline remains open for those needing support."
The Council has a dedicated phone line for anyone worried about themselves or someone else, who does not have an existing support network of friends, family or neighbours. Call 0345 8 506 506 between 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, and choose option 3 to make a request for support to be arranged.
Andrew Balchin, Chief Executive of Wakefield Council, said: "Our priority is to provide support to the most vulnerable in our district and keep our essential services running, in line with government guidelines.
"Bin collections will continue as normal and Household Waste Recycling Centres will remain open for essential rubbish. Please only visit if essential and please adhere to social distancing rules.
"It's important that you keep healthy both physically and mentally during this time. With that in mind, our Aspire@home programme offers a range of resources to keep you active at home. Our libraries will be closed but a click and collect online service is available.
"These restrictions are going to continue to be a huge challenge to us all, especially as we enter a new year, but we must continue to work together to keep slowing down the infection rate in the district.
"Information on all changes to services or closures can we found at www.wakefield.gov.uk. You can still contact the Council online or by calling 0345 8 506 506. Lines are likely to be busy so please bear with us. We will help you as soon as we can."
Full details are available on the Council's website at www.wakefield.gov.uk/coronavirus
Anyone displaying coronavirus symptoms – of a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell - is urged to get a test by accessing local testing or by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119.
The local testing service is available from Monday to Friday and bookings for appointments can be made at www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or by calling 01924 224497.
Those without symptoms (asymptomatic) should not be seeking a test unless they have been advised to do so by a health professional, Public Health England or the Council's public health teams – it could take a test away from someone who really needs it.
To find out more about the national restrictions visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/about-the-council/coronavirus-information
A £4.6bn business support package has been announced by the Government. Further details on these business grants are yet to be released. As soon as information is made available and businesses are able to apply for grants, details will be communicated to businesses via Wakefield First.
In the meantime, the Council's business support team is ready to provide support and guidance to all businesses who are affected by the national restrictions.
They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01924 306 630.