COVID-19: Leader’s update

“As residents face the reality of coronavirus, I know many of you will be concerned about what this means for you, and the impact it may have on the services we provide.

“I have directed officers to take every possible step to prepare for what will be a difficult and challenging time ahead.  Our priority is to ensure that the Council continues delivering vital front line services in the coming weeks – and months, and to help those most at risk in our communities.

“We are working closely with our partners, GPs, community leaders, businesses and the voluntary sector to ensure the most in need are supported in the best way possible. Not only is a huge amount of work ongoing as I write this, but there is an equal amount of planning for a range of possible scenarios.

“During this difficult time, I urge everyone to remain calm and follow the self-isolating and social distancing advice that is being given by the government. It is also important that we look out for our friends and neighbours – please give a helping hand where it is needed and safe to do so.

“I have today requested that due to the threats presented by coronavirus to movement around the borough, Havering Council will only seek to enforce parking restrictions that pose a danger to other road users.

“I urge residents to park considerately and lawfully. Bad parking could prevent emergency service vehicles from reaching residents in real need. They could prevent disabled residents from parking to secure vital medicine or supplies.

“Our enforcement of parking restrictions will be focused on keeping the emergency services and key workers vehicles moving. It is more important than ever over the next few weeks that we all behave considerately and courteously, and that includes in our parking.

“This media briefing is designed to keep residents informed of the latest changes to services, however, I also encourage everyone to subscribe to our regular Living email newsletter and to look out for our service disruptions webpage.”

Cllr Damian White, Leader of Havering Council

New announcements and service changes

Schools closures

Schools in Havering and across the UK will close as part of the government’s response to curb the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

From Friday (20 March 2020) schools will be closed until further notice but will remain open to children of key workers and vulnerable children.

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home from Monday, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

Schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – those who are vulnerable and for children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

A list of key workers has been published by the Government, so you can find out who this applies to.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Colleges

Havering Adult College is temporarily closed, other than for the delivery of the Education for Independence provision, which is for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities. Parents of students in further education colleges are advised to check with their place of study for specific closure information.

Important advice on waste disposal around Covid-19.

Tissues, disposable gloves and other related items used by anyone with suspected COVID-19 and those cleaning up afterwards, should be double bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours before being thrown away inside your usual black sack waste.

Residents should not put this waste out with their usual rubbish for weekly collections until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.

Further changes to Registrar Services

From Monday, 23 March 2020, death registration appointments will no longer take place at South Essex Crematorium.

Instead, all bookings made will be held at Havering Register Office, Langtons House, Billet Lane, Hornchurch RM11 1XJ.

Langtons House will be closed to visitors unless you have a pre-booked appointment but please call beforehand to check this can still go ahead.

For urgent queries please call 01708 433481 or email registration@havering.gov.uk

Hand washing advice

Working in partnership with Learning Nexus, we are offering all local residents free access to an Effective Hand Washing online course.

Effective hand washing is one of the key methods to keeping both yourself and your family protected against coronavirus. This course takes you through the key stages of hand washing to help stop the virus spreading.

Coronavirus survives on our hands for roughly 10 minutes, and can enter the body if we touch our faces during this time. It is reported that we touch our faces an average of 16 times per hour, meaning it is imperative to have clean hands to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Watch the Video Guide to Effective Hand Washing

Previously announced

Culture and Sports

Havering Music School is suspended effective immediately. Meanwhile Fairkytes Arts Centre will not open beyond close of business today until further notice. The pre-school on the Fairkytes site will remain open tomorrow in line with government guidance on schools.

Havering Council’s arts and sports events and activities programmes are cancelled from now on and until further notice.

Fostering

Havering fostering service is currently following Government advice to support the containment of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

We are still going ahead with our scheduled information sessions but we are currently looking into innovative ways of how we can deliver these sessions online. Alternatively, if people are unable to join the online session but would still be interested in finding out about fostering, we are still available by email fostering@havering.gov.uk or by phone on 01708 434574.

Housing

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Farnham Road office is now closed until further notice. If you require information on any of our housing services then please visit our website www.havering.gov.uk

The Public Advice and Service Centre (PASC) remains open for members of the public to access a range of local services in one place. The PASC is located in the Liberty Shopping Centre, 20-26 The Liberty, Romford, RM1 3RL. Lifts and stairs to the PASC are located via the walkway between H & M and Next shops, opposite the public toilets.

For all changes to services visit our service disruptions webpage.

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