This note provides an update on the information posted on this blog yesterday (19.3.20).
Ian Bancroft – Chief Executive
Councillor Mark Pritchard – Leader of the Council
As well as the frightening health implications, we know this virus is creating financial anxiety for many people in Wrexham and across the UK.
People are worried about the economy, their jobs and their businesses. Many people are losing hours because they’re having to self-isolate or take time off work to look after their children.
The country has never faced a peace-time challenge like this before, and it’s still not clear what kind of financial help will be available for many people who are badly affected.
But we want you to know, that as your council, we empathise and we understand. We share your anxiety.
If you receive a letter about your Council Tax in the coming weeks and you’re worried, or if you’re worried about paying your housing rent, we will do our best to help…and sign-post you to any support and advice that becomes available.
As a council, we’re continuing to deliver essential public services, but we’re having to make changes to the way we provide our services every day.
We’ve put together the following information to help you understand the latest changes to council services, and to reiterate the advice being shared by the UK Government and health services.
All schools in Wales will close for statutory education provision by the end of today.
However, they will take on a new role from Monday – providing places for the children of ‘key workers’ (as defined by the Government, e.g. health and care workers, emergency services officers, supermarket delivery drivers, prison officers) so they can keep doing their jobs. Schools will also be providing places for children registered as vulnerable.
We’re continuing to seek clarification on some aspects of the arrangements.
Transport arrangements for children accessing school from Monday (i.e. children of key workers and vulnerable children) will be available as normal.
But if we need to make any changes at any point, parents and carers will by notified by their school.
Free school meals
We know that some parents whose children normally receive free school meals will be worried about the new arrangements.
We’re working with other councils and Welsh Government to find a way to continue to provide meals to those children.
We’ll update you as soon as we know more.
Face-to-face council services and public buildings
As reported yesterday, all of our face-to-face reception areas are now closed.
We’re encouraging customers to access services and contact us online wherever possible.
More information about library closures
You’ll no longer be able to walk into our libraries.
If you’re worried about books you have on loan and potential fines, don’t worry.
Please keep your library items at home. Items will be renewed automatically and all charges will be waived. You won’t be fined.
You’ll be unable to reserve any library items, but you can still join online.
Council tax letters
You should receive your annual Council Tax bill over the coming days.
Each bill will come with information for you to read. If you have any queries, please don’t worry…get in touch.
However, the impact of the virus means we have fewer people available to answer telephone calls…so please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support for businesses
If you run a business in Wrexham, our Business and Investment Team is continuing to provide support during these uncertain times.
Beware of Covid-19 scams
Trading Standards teams across the UK are getting reports of various scams that take advantage of the current situation around Covid-19.
So if you receive an offer of help, ask yourself if it feels genuine before you accept.
Sadly, there are people who will try to take advantage of you, even at times like this.
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 the Prime Minister).
- Daily official briefings from the Department of Health and Social Care at 2pm, and Public Health Wales at 3pm.
Can you help as a volunteer?
You can register as a potential volunteer to help staff delivering front-line services and to support community befriending.
AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham) is encouraging people to sign-up.
This is a rapidly changing situation, so we will issue further information as and when appropriate.LATEST INFO ON COVID-19