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Covid-19 update 21 05 2020

As the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic continues, Bridgend County Borough Council is continuing to focus its resources on providing essential services and protecting vulnerable residents. The following information provides a summary of latest developments.

Testing for Covid-19

Wales has now joined the UK-wide home testing scheme which allows anyone over the age of five to be tested if they are experiencing symptoms. This decision coincides with Wales joining a UK government-run testing website. Under these changes, members of the public can request a home testing kit. You can ask for a home test kit here. Home testing kits involve a combined throat and nose swab. To be tested you must have symptoms of Covid-19 which include: Fever (37.8 degrees or higher); A new or continuous cough; Loss of sense of taste or smell.

It is important that symptomatic staff members within the council, and their household members, still request a test via the existing arrangements in place.

Council’s financial response to Covid-19

Bridgend County Borough Council estimates it will spend more than £5m in the first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The additional costs include procuring Personal Protective Equipment, providing emergency accommodation for homeless people and the provision of food to those entitled to free school meals. The local authority is also experiencing a significant drop in both actual income in the short term, and forecast income for the medium term. It estimates that it will lose more than £4m during the first quarter of 2020/21 as a direct result of Covid-19.                                     

Deputy leader and cabinet member for resources Hywel Williams said: “While Welsh Government is currently providing funding to meet some of the additional costs we are facing, we do not know whether this will continue to be met in full or not. In the next few weeks, we will be reprioritising and considering services where we can make savings, and diverting resources to where they are most needed, and we will bring further updates as the pandemic continues.” 

Recycling and waste collections

There won’t be any recycling and waste collections on Monday, May 25 due to the Bank Holiday, so collections will be one day later than usual for the rest of next week up until Saturday, May 30.

Recycling centres to reopen next week

Community recycling centres at Tythegston, Maesteg and Brynmenyn will reopen for essential visits only on Tuesday, May 26. To help cut down on waiting times and manage the number of vehicles using the sites, an odds-and-even car number plate system is being put in place following successful trials in other parts of the UK. Further information on arrangements for the reopening of the recycling centres.

Test, Trace, Protect strategy

The Welsh Government’s ‘Test, Trace, Protect’ strategy includes undertaking effective and extensive contact tracing and supporting people to self-isolate where needed. The approach will bring together and build on the existing contact tracing expertise within local health boards and local authorities to deliver the strategy.

The strategy works by: Identifying those who have symptoms consistent with Covid-19, enabling them to be tested while isolating from wider family, friends and their community; Tracing those individuals who have been in close contact with the symptomatic person, requiring them to take precautions and self-isolate (for 14 days); Providing advice and guidance, particularly where the symptomatic individual or their contacts are vulnerable or at greater risk and; Ensuring that if the individual tests negative and the symptoms are not due to coronavirus, individuals and their contacts can get back to their normal routines as soon as possible. Further information will follow as the work progresses.

New timetable and maximum capacity on First Cymru buses

From Monday, June 1, First Cymru will be introducing a maximum capacity of 25 percent on their vehicles in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. It means a First Cymru bus which has a seating capacity of 39 will only carry a maximum of 10 passengers. When the service is 25 percent full, the destination blind on the front of the vehicle will show ‘full’ or ‘out of service’ until a passenger disembarks.

The bus operator is also introducing a new timetable from Monday, June 1, increasing the frequency of journeys, as well as reinstating some services such as the Cefn Glas Circular (Service No. 68/69).

Help protect children and young people in your community   

South Wales Police is asking members of our communities - family, friends, neighbours, postal workers, delivery drivers - to act as our eyes and ears during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to alert their local safeguarding team or the police if they believe a child is being neglected, experiencing abuse, or is at risk of harm. As lockdown has reduced the opportunity for young people to let someone know what is happening at home. The usual referral routes such as schools and nurseries are closed, resulting in a decrease of about 40 per cent of cases being brought to the attention of police and partner agencies. Signs of abuse could include repeated shouting, the sound of things being hit, smashed or broken, and continuing crying or pleas to stop. The child might have cuts or bruises, look confused or dishevelled, or be anxious or withdrawn. Anyone that is worried about the wellbeing of someone should not intervene themselves, but call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency, or contact the Bridgend Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Over £27m business support 

Over £27m has now been issued in business grants processed by Bridgend County Borough Council. With more than 2,183 successful applications to date, the support is available for businesses that are eligible for small business rates relief in Wales and who occupy premises with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. It also includes those who fall under small business rates relief but who do not currently pay business rates, and retail, leisure or hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £12,001 to £51,000. Applications can be made by completing the online form.                            

Pandemic business advice

Businesses are encouraged to check the council’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) information page for regular updates on available support as well as the Business Wales, Welsh Government and UK Government websites. General business support queries can be sent to     

Contacting the council

The Customer Service Centre at the Civic Offices in Angel Street, Bridgend remains closed to the public. Residents are asked to use the online My Account and Oggie webchat facilities, or to email or call 01656 643643.

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