Loud speakers to remind people about social distancing
Since last Thursday (19th March) we have seen a significant shift in Government policy on social distancing with the announcement that pubs and restaurants should close from Friday 20th March. This was followed by messages to stop our usual Mother's Day celebrations over the weekend.
In order to reinforce these messages locally, we have made the decision to close our parks and country parks for a period of 4 weeks starting from yesterday (Sunday 22nd March). We have also arranged for signs to be placed along Aberavon seafront as well as other facilities where people would normally congregate and we will be mobilising a loud speakerphone to remind residents about social distancing.
The message from the government cannot be clearer - you must stay at home if you can, and if you have to go out, you must keep at least 2 metres away from others. This is crucial to reducing the spread of coronavirus, and to protect those who are most vulnerable.
On Friday (20th March), we launched NPT Buy Local, a free online advertising webpage http://www.npt.gov.uk/nptbuylocal to enable local businesses to promote what services they can continue to offer at this time. This service will be particularly relevant for businesses who offer a delivery service and may help sustain their business during this period. More features are due to be added this week to expand its capability to connect with local transport providers.
As of today (23rd March), we will be ready to support medically vulnerable residents who have been told to self-isolate but don't have any family, friends or neighbours to call on for help. Known as NPT Safe and Well, the service will arrange for a trusted volunteer to help with daily living tasks such as food shopping, collecting deliveries, posting mail and any other reasonable tasks. The service can be accessed by contacting the Council on 01639 686868.
We have identified businesses eligible for the first Government financial support package, and currently have 2400 letters ready to be mailed to those who qualify for the support. A new online portal for businesses has been established so we can get the money out as quickly as possible. This week we will also be mobilising the £10k of support for small businesses.
Our Education Department has mobilised the childcare for essential workers starting from today (Monday 23rd March). A full list of those who are eligible for the service can be found at http://www.npt.gov.uk/essentialworkers.
This week we will continue to promote the messages from Public Health Wales and Welsh Government to our residents, businesses and key partner organisations, whilst also continuing to update on the changes we are making to council services.
We have strengthened our communications locally, particularly to those who are not online, by partnering with local radio stations to push out our key messages.
Our web page: http://www.npt.gov.uk/coronavirus is being continually updated with advice and information, as well as any changes to council services.
Cllr. Rob Jones,
Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council