This note provides an update on the Covid-19 information posted on this blog last week (29.5.20).
Key messages for today
- Please stick with us as we try to gradually restart some of our services, in line with changes to lockdown over the coming months. We really appreciate your patience and support.
- North Wales Police has tweeted some useful advice to help protect you against ‘track and trace’ fraud.
- Schools will reopen on June 29. Please don’t worry…your school has already started to plan which days your children will be able to attend, and will let you know in plenty of time.
- The suspension on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies is being extended until July 31.
Ian Bancroft – Chief Executive
Mark Pritchard – Leader of the Council
Things will be different…
As we all adjust to the ‘new normal’ – and some lockdown measures begin to ease – you might wonder when various council services will be available again.
As you know, we’ve been able to reopen our recycling centres with social distancing measures in place.
We’ve started to hold some of our council meetings using Zoom. And our schools will reopen on June 29, with appropriate safety measures in place.
So we’re making some small, measured steps towards recovery.
But we’re having to do things differently, and it’s really important we don’t get carried away and start-up services without careful planning.
We’re still very much in a public health emergency, and we have to balance the risks to staff and residents with everyone’s desire to get services going again.
It’s going to be a long time before the UK fully emerges from this crisis. So even as we try and get more council services back to normal, it will be a ‘new normal.’
For example, social distancing means we won’t be able to have the same number of people in our buildings.
Things will be different for you, as customers and members of the public, and they’ll be different for us…as staff and councillors.
People in Wrexham have been incredibly patient and supportive over the past couple of months, as we’ve had to suspend services or change the way we deliver them.
So please stick with us as we try to gradually restart services, in line with any changes to lockdown over the coming months.
We really appreciate your patience and support.
Protect yourself against track and trace fraud
As you probably know, Welsh Government has been rolling out the Test, Trace and Protect programme since June 1.
The aim is to lead Wales out of the pandemic through enhanced health monitoring in the community, including ‘contact tracing’ – a tried and tested method of controlling the spread of infectious diseases.
It involves tracing people who’ve come into contact with someone with an infectious disease, and advising them on what to do (e.g. get tested, self-isolate).
So if you’ve been in contact with someone whose been confirmed as having Covid-19, you might receive a call from a contact tracer.
The programme is hugely important for Wales, and it’s important we all co-operate and do our bit.
However, it’s worth being on your guard against potential fraud. This tweet from North Wales Police offers some sensible advice…
The Test and Trace service is vitally important, but gives criminals an opportunity to pretend to be contact tracers to gain access to your personal information
— North Wales Police #StayHomeSaveLives (@NWPolice) June 3, 2020
Schools reopening on June 29
Earlier this week, Kirsty Williams – Welsh Government’s Minister for Education – announced that schools will reopen on Monday, June 29.
They’ll remain open until Friday, July 24.
The aim is to give pupils a chance to “check in, catch up and prepare for summer and September.”
The Minister made it clear that not all pupils will attend every day, and no more than up to a third will be in school at any one time.
Your school will be in touch
Next week, Welsh Government will provide guidance to help ensure the return is as smooth and safe as possible, and risk assessments are also being carried out in schools across the county borough.
However, there’s a chance that not all schools will be able to offer the same level of provision – due to factors like building capacity and staffing – and the priority will be to ensure pupils and staff are as safe as possible.
Your school has already started to plan which days your children will be able to attend, and will let you know in plenty of time ahead of June 29.
So please don’t worry…there’s no need to contact your school at this point.
You’ll also be provided with information about school transport and school dinner arrangements as soon as possible.
Weddings and civil partnerships suspended until July 31
On March 24, Wrexham Registration Service suspended marriage, civil partnership and other discretionary ceremonies (renewal of vows, baby naming etc) at licenced venues until further notice.
This suspension was initially until June 30. However, as social distancing continues to be very much part of our lives, we’ve decided to extend this until July 31.
If you’re affected by this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org – providing your name, date, venue of marriage and contact number – and we’ll get in touch.
Other registration services
Unfortunately, we’re still unable to provide appointments for births, notices of marriage or citizenship ceremonies. We’ll let you know when appointments can begin through our social media channels.
However, parents can still make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit prior to registering their child’s birth.
Could this money help your business? Apply by June 30
We’ve helped 1,914 businesses and sole traders in the county borough by providing £22.77m in business grants since lockdown began.
This includes small charities and community sports clubs following recently revised eligibility rules.
However, Welsh Government recently announced that the grants scheme will close for applications on June 30.
So this is a call for any businesses out there who haven’t already received a business loan or funding from the Economic Resilience Fund, to go to our website to check if they’re eligible and – if they are – make a claim.
You’ll find all the relevant information on our site, including revised criteria for small charities and community amateur sports clubs.
We’re particularly asking owners of shops, offices, hairdressing salons, garages and petrol stations, and non-council community centres or buildings to consider claiming.
Reminder – reliable sources of information about Covid-19
Latest information on the virus and what people should do about it is provided by:
- Daily TV statements by the Government (including by Government ministers) at around 5pm.
- Daily statements by Welsh Government at around 12.30pm.
- Daily official briefings from the Department of Health and Social Care at 2pm, and Public Health Wales at 3pm.