A guide to closures and changes across Essex facilities
PUBLISHED: 10:20 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 26 March 2020
Essex County Council (ECC) has released information on changes to and closures of a variety of services, including libraries and schools.
They are a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Here is the bulletin for Wednesday, March 25.
All Essex libraries were closed for up to three months from March 20.
Loans of material which are active as of the date of the closures will be extended until three weeks after the library that you borrowed from reopens.
The mobile and home library services are temporarily withdrawn.
Schools across Essex have also been closed since March 20.
Councillor Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education at Essex County Council, said: “The exception to this will be the children of key workers, such as NHS staff, police officers, delivery drivers, who would otherwise have to stay away from work, and also the most vulnerable children – those who have a social worker, or have an education health and care plan.
“Early year providers, nurseries and sixth form colleges will be expected to support this plan.
“There will be meals for those who receive free school meals. Exams will not take place in May and June, but the government has said it will ensure pupils will get the qualifications they need.”
All the recycling centres in the county closed on March 23.
People planning to visit a recycling centre are being asked to keep their items until the centres reopen.
No items such as DIY waste or large recycling should be placed into kerbside general rubbish collection. This will take up space in the collection vehicles needed for general household rubbish.
Keep up to date by following @loveessexuk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or at www.loveessex.org/coronavirus.
Country parks across Essex, such as Flitch Way and Great Notley, closed on March 22.
A spokesperson for Essex Highways said: “It is vital that priority roads in Essex are maintained for emergency vehicles, essential staff travel and food deliveries. Essex Highways is adjusting its scheduled activities and ways of working in order to ensure the public and its employees remain safe.”
Most repair work will, as of March 25, continue “for as long as possible”.
Report defects online at https://www.essexhighways.org/transport-and-roads/tell-us/problem-check.aspx.
ECC registration services including Chelmsford’s remains open, but on a restricted basis.
Following the prime minister’s announcement on March 23 that gatherings of more than two people are not permitted, the registration service is unable to support any wedding, civil partnership or citizenship ceremony.
Those with ceremonies booked in the coming weeks will be contacted by the registration team.
ECC and bus operators across Essex have agreed to extend the times at which older and disabled people’s free bus passes can be used.
Normally bus passes can only be used after 9am on weekdays and at weekends. From March 21, there is a temporary allowance to use them at all times, on all days.
Cllr Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education and skills said: “A number of supermarkets, banks and other businesses are making special early opening arrangements so that people in high risk groups can use them before the general public isnallowed in. Extending free bus travel for pass holders will let them make the best use of these opportunities.
“People should reduce personal contact, maintain social distancing and personal hygiene, particularly by sneezing or coughing into disposable tissues, avoiding touching your face and regularly cleaning hands thoroughly.”
ECC has announced a further £18.6 million of funding to increase residential care capacity during the pandemic, which will free up urgently needed space within the NHS and local hospitals.
Councillor John Spence, cabinet member for health and adult social care said: “Funding can ensure that social care needs can be met out of hospital, freeing capacity for people with COVID-19 complications.”
A new Facebook page, Essex Coronavirus Action, has been launched to help Essex residents during the new coronavirus outbreak.
It aims to help vulnerable members who may need help if they are self-isolating through putting them and their carers/families in touch with individuals or agencies who can assist.
It also aims to help prevent people from undertaking activities which may put them at risk, provide updates to the official advice and counter any misinformation.