Services across Middlesbrough are adapting fast to meet the latest Government guidance on the Coronavirus pandemic.
The drive to slow the spread of the disease was dramatically escalated this week, with the public told to stay at home where possible, avoid gatherings and all unnecessary travel.
Middlesbrough Council has been playing its part in the UK-wide shutdown, supporting the vulnerable and working with local businesses, while encouraging residents to follow the latest guidelines to the letter.
The crisis has had a major impact on the way the Council delivers services and works with local communities, and every effort is being made to ensure people have access to the latest updates and information.
For the foreseeable future, priority will be given to essential frontline services and the protection of the vulnerable, with non-essential services either scaled back or halted completely.
Key impacts across the Council's major service areas and activities include:
Council facilities and buildings
The following are closed until further notice:
- Middlesbrough Town Hall and Civic Centre - all Council meetings have been suspended until further notice
- Libraries and community hubs
- Parks and play areas
- Middlesbrough Bus Station
- Teesside Archives
- Middlesbrough Theatre
- Newham Grange Leisure Farm
- Zetland and Captain Cook Square multi-storey car parks - parking charges in Council car parks have also been suspended
- Register Office - in line with national guidance, all weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will cease until further notice.
Middlesbrough Council's switchboard is operating as normal, and the Middlesbrough House Customer Centre is open only for making cash payments to vulnerable clients.
- All public events are cancelled until further notice
Revenues and Benefits
- Middlesbrough House is closed to the public for Revenues and Benefits enquiries
- Online self-serve facilities are available via the Council's website
- Phone lines are busy but otherwise operating as normal
The following will be maintained for the time being:
- Cremations and burials - with a limit of eight mourners
- Building maintenance
- School catering
- Weekly refuse and fortnightly recycling collections
- Alley cleansing
- Emergency highways and streetlight repairs
- Emptying of litter and dog waste bins
- Fly-tipping and graffiti removal
- Pest control services
- Highways services including traffic signals, street lighting and winter maintenance
Services being reduced or stopped include:
- Pre-booked bulky and white goods collections
- Fortnightly green waste collections were due to start on April 14 - this has now been put back by a month and will be kept under review.
- Grass cutting
- Town centre mechanical sweepers and general street cleaning - although ‘hotspot' issues will be dealt with
- School closures - all schools closed their doors for most children from Friday, March 20 in line with Government advice and for the foreseeable future.
- Schools have been asked to make specific provision for vulnerable children, those with an Education, Health and Care Plan and children of critical workers
- Parents needing information should speak to their school in the first instance.
- Parents of children and young people who are vulnerable and/or have an EHCP who can't get information from their school, or find their school is closed should contact Single Point of Contact staff on 01642 201831
- Children's Centres are closed
- Council nurseries Bright Stars and Stainsby Nursery are closed
Adult social care
- All Day Centres are closed until further notice
- Adult Social Care can be contacted by email at AdultAccessTeam@Middlesbrough.gov.uk or 01642 065070 (Option 1) or 01642 726004 (Option 1)
- The Help Boro hub is available to assist with a variety of needs such as shopping, making meals, walking pets as well as providing a listening and support service - visit the Help Boro page or call 01642 729777
- Sexual Health Services can be accessed by calling 0300 330 11 22 The Live Well Centre clinic will not be accessible to those without an arranged appointment.
- Substance misuse and alcohol services can be accessed by calling 01642 876323.
- Harm Minimisation (Needle Exchange) is still open at The Live Well Centre. This can be accessed Monday-Friday from 9-5pm (9am-6.30pm on Wednesdays) and Saturdays from 9am-1pm.
- Smoking Cessation Services can be accessed online (from April 1) via the Stop Smoking South Tees website
All group-based Health Visiting and School Nursing Services have been suspended (including breastfeeding groups, baby clinics, school nurse drop-ins, antenatal groups and vision/hearing/weight screening).
New Birth Visits will be available as home visits - all other routine development checks will be offered via the telephone. Please call 0300 303 1603 for telephone advice and support.
- Only businesses that sell or serve food on a takeaway or delivery basis and cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools, prisons and military canteens can remain open. For further advice call 01642 728272 or email EHTS@middlesbrough.gov.uk
Selective landlord licensing and tenancy support
- The Council's Selective Landlord Licensing Team can be contacted on 01642 728100 to provide advice to landlords and tenants in the selective landlord licensing areas of North Ormesby and Newport.
- Activities currently on hold include interviews under caution, post tenancy visits and housing standards inspections.
Private Rented Accommodation
- Environmental Protection and Housing Officers are available to provide advice and support to residents - especially the vulnerable - living in private rented accommodation.
- Environmental Protection Officers will continue to respond to complaints about noise nuisance, with priority given to cases where there is serious detriment or risk to health.
- For residents who feel it necessary to make a complaint about noise please contact Customer Services on 01642 726001 or register your complaint online
Sale of goods and consumer services
- Contact the Citizens Advice Service via their website or call 0808 223 1133
Urging people to heed Government advice and play their part, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "As a Council we're adapting incredibly quickly to an unbelievably challenging and fast-moving situation.
"Our officers are doing amazing work - alongside partners from the public and private sectors - in every corner of our communities.
"We're working round the clock to offer support to everyone who needs it - if you need help let us know, and if you can help us, get in touch with the Help Boro team.
"We're also doing everything we can to reinforce the latest advice from Government on home working, social distancing and avoidance of unnecessary travel.
"If we all do that together, we can slow the spread of this deadly virus and save many lives - the stakes really are that high."