This note provides an update on the information posted on this blog last week (12.6.20).

Key messages for today

Ian Bancroft – Chief Executive
Mark Pritchard – Leader of the Council

Schools will now reopen for three weeks…not four

Earlier this month, Welsh Government announced that schools will reopen for four weeks on Monday, June 29.

However, national discussions have been taking place about whether schools should be open for the fourth and final week (the week starting July 20), or whether they should close at the end of the third week, when the original summer holidays were due to start.

It’s our understanding that Welsh Government and trade unions are struggling to reach agreement, and the Government has stated in the media that “schools and councils will have the final say.”

We can’t leave this until the last minute

This puts schools and the council in a very tough position.

There’s no contractual obligation for staff to work the extra week – putting the onus on individual head teachers and staff, which is unfair.

It could also lead to inconsistency and confusion, with some schools able to open for the fourth week, and some not.

We know that many parents will be feeling anxious and uncertain about sending their children back to school, and need to know exactly what’s happening so they can make arrangements and feel confident.

So this isn’t something that can be left until the last minute, and it’s only fair – to staff, parents and pupils – that we make a decision for the whole of Wrexham now.

Not tomorrow, or next week, but today.

As a result, we can confirm that schools across the county borough will not open for the fourth and final week, and will close for the summer holidays on Friday, July 17.

So to be clear…

Schools will reopen on Monday, June 29 for three weeks – not four weeks, as originally planned.

Your school might need to contact you again

We know this is really hard for everyone. It’ll mean more work for schools in planning for three weeks instead of four, and it could mean your school needs to contact you about reducing the number of days your child can attend.

Schools will continue to work extremely hard over the next few days to make any required amendments to the arrangements, and it would be appreciated if parents don’t contact schools this time…as schools will be contacting parents / carers if there are to be any changes.

We want to make it clear that this is in no way the fault of our schools. It’s a national issue, and a decision we haven’t taken lightly.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We’re still living in such strange times and facing challenges every day as a result of Covid-19.

Your support means so much to your school, and to the council.

How can you tell if a call from a contact tracer is genuine? Follow this advice…

By now, you’ve hopefully heard about ‘contact tracing’…and how it’s being used to help combat Covid-19 in Wales.

It involves tracing people who’ve come into contact with an infected person, and advising them on what to do (e.g. get tested, self-isolate).

So if you’ve had a test, or been in contact with someone whose been confirmed as having Covid-19, you might get a call.

Here’s some really important advice…

  • If you’re contacted as part of the Test, Trace, Protect programme, you’ll never be asked to give any financial information, bank details or passwords. Testing is free.
  • If you receive a call from a contact tracer in Wrexham, and you’re worried it might not be genuine, you can check by hanging up and calling us on 01978 292000.

Read the blog article we posted earlier today for more info…

“How can I tell if a call from a contact tracer is genuine?” Follow this advice…

Shopping in Wrexham town centre

Welsh Government today confirmed that non-essential shops can reopen in Wales from Monday (June 22).

We know how important this is. These last few months have been incredibly difficult for so many businesses, and we need people to support our town and ‘shop local’…while staying safe.

So we’ll be putting in place various measures, including:

  • Signage reminding shoppers to stick to Welsh Government guidelines – e.g. social distancing signs on lampposts, and floor markings.
  • One-way pedestrian systems in areas too narrow to allow two-metre distancing (such as Bank Street).
  • Social distancing wardens to provide reassurance, and politely remind people to stick to the guidelines.
  • Click and collect parking on High Street.

We’ll also be looking at re-opening public toilets in adherence with guidelines. We hope this will happen very soon.

These are just some of the measures we’ll be introducing, and our town centre management team will be working with any businesses that need advice.

In Wales, guidelines are still in force that state no-one should travel over five miles for non-essential purposes.

So we’re not expecting extremely high numbers of shoppers in the first few weeks, and this will hopefully give traders time to adjust to their new, safe way of trading.

It’s worth remembering that town centre car parking in council-owned car parks remains free until the end of September.

So please support local shops wherever you can…but follow Welsh Government’s guidelines at all times, and help keep yourself and others safe.

We’re gradually restarting work on some of our housing

We’ll be gradually resuming outside planned works and improvements to some of our council housing stock from Monday. This will be phased and will increase over the coming weeks.

We won’t be doing any indoor work just yet – only outside works like re roofing works, external works to gardens and external wall insulation. We will also be starting to work on some of the empty void properties.

It’s important we get this work underway so we can make these homes available again – helping to make sure Wrexham has enough good quality housing for local people.

Keeping site-workers and surrounding communities safe is our priority, and work will be undertaken in line with contractors’ and risk assessments that have been prepared for our staff.

Could this money help your business? Apply by June 30

We’ve helped 1,945 businesses and sole traders in the county borough by providing £23m 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:

Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) – public briefing note 12.6.20