It will be 'business as usual' for most council services as South Tyneside responds to the new restrictions imposed by a second national lockdown.
South Tyneside Council continues to deliver almost all services and has deployed additional resources to support residents and businesses who may be adversely affected by the new restrictions.
In line with the Government's announcement regarding the national measures, the Council's leisure facilities will be closed for the duration of the lockdown period from today (Thursday 5 November). All duo and multi-activity leisure memberships have been frozen until further notice.
Libraries continue to operate with a limited service from The Word in South Shields and Jarrow Focus sites only. Library users will still be able to pre-order books over the phone for collection and reserve access to libraries' public computers for essential use, on a strict appointment-only basis.
The Home Readers Library Service will continue to operate as normal. Library users will be able to hold onto books until after the lockdown. No new fines will be implemented at this time. Library users can also still access the range of online library services including the complete collection of eBooks in South Tyneside's Digital Library.
All waste services and bin collections will continue to operate as normal, with the green waste services continuing until the end of the season. The 'Even Plate, Even Date / Odd Plate, Odd Date' system will remain in place at the Recycling Village in South Shields. The site is open every day from 8am to 6pm.
Parks, beaches and playgrounds will remain open - essentially for exercise or to visit with people from the same household, a support bubble or with one person from another household. Car parks will also remain open. However, in accordance with the guidance, people are asked to minimise travel and take exercise close to home, wherever possible.
Schools, educational settings and the Council's STANLEY children's centres will stay open. Children's centre groups, such as baby massage, will move online and outreach support will continue for families.
Business centres also remain open as will the Council's Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000 and face-to-face Customer Services at South Shields and Jarrow town halls.
Support services are being stepped up. This includes support for the Borough's most at risk residents, families experiencing hardship and the business community with more details to follow over the coming days.
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "The past seven months have been a real period of change for local authorities with new measures put in place and good practices developed to enable us to continue providing services in a covid secure way.
"Almost all of our services will continue to be delivered during this second national lockdown, albeit some slightly differently.
"But above all, we want to reassure our communities that we are here for them. We continue to do everything we can to support people to be safe and to limit the spread of coronavirus in line with national government policy and have a range of services in place to support our most vulnerable residents and help businesses through this pandemic.
"Some of the government guidance remains outstanding, particularly around the distribution of business support grants, and we are pushing for further clarification on this so that we can support our local economy.
"However, we will be keeping our communities updated on any developments over the coming days, weeks and beyond. The Council's website is updated in real time and is the best source of information about any changes to local services.
"We would like to thank the overwhelming majority of people for adhering to the restrictions imposed upon them so far as we know life has been very difficult. This collective effort does mean that we enter the new lockdown in a better position than many.
"We urge everyone to continue following the rules around Hands, Face and Space as well as the current guidance on staying home and restrictions on households mixing. We would also encourage people to 'be a good neighbour' where they can, to check in with friends and families and those around them in their communities as we work together to keep people safe."
For updates on any service disruption or for details of the advice and support services available, visit South Tyneside Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus for follow on social media: Facebook STynesideCouncil and on Twitter @STyne_Council
For further details about South Tyneside Libraries, or to join the library, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/libraries
The Council's Contact Centre is available on (0191) 427 7000, from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6.30pm. Face to face Customer Services are available at South Shields Town Hall and Jarrow Town Hall, from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 3pm. Jarrow Town Hall is closed every Thursday.
Information about the Government's national lockdown restrictions, including the guidance for individual services or business sectors, can be found on the Government website at www.gov.uk
Important phone numbers:
- COVID-19 Support Hub - (0191) 424 7575;
- Hardship Fund - (0191) 424 7444;
- Business Advice Hub - (0191) 481 3456;
- Council Tax Support - (0191) 424 4300;
- South Tyneside Homes Rent - 0300 456 0501;
- Emergency Out of Hours - (0191) 455 6111.