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Issue - meetings

COVID-19 Update

Meeting: 16/03/2021 - Cabinet (Item 41)

41 COVID-19 Update

Report of the Chief Executive

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Philip Whitehead, Leader of the Council, introduced the report which provided a summary of the key activities to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 in Wiltshire since the last update to Cabinet on 3 February 2021. He noted that the rollout of vaccinations was proceeding well and case numbers were reducing, but that it was important that residents continue to take care and following government guidance and restrictions.

 

Terence Herbert, Chief Executive, provided further updates along with other senior officers.  Details were provided on the full reopening of schools, including number of tests, positive cases, and there was particular praise for all headteachers and school staff for their work operating under difficult conditions over the last year. Updates were also provided on development of the Wellbeing Hub, and plans that this continue during the recovery phase and beyond, plans for operational recovery with deployment of council staff as restrictions were reduced, longer term impacts on economy and youth services and assistance with Covid-19 testing. An update was also provided on preparations for the May 2021 elections to ensure these would be safe and effective.

 

Councillor Graham Wright, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, reported that the Committee met on 9 March 2021 to consider the Cabinet report. A full update had been received from the Chief Executive and many questions raised as detailed in the minutes of that meeting.

 

In response to questions, comments and issues raised by Members, officers explained that any change to term time arrangements as a result of Covid-19 would follow update from government, but that this was not intended at present, that the council had offered assistance to the NHS and CCG if they required additional vaccination sites and noting the safety of all vaccines being delivered and how to report any adverse effects. Continuing to develop links between the Wellbeing Hub and local communities was raised, as well noting the great work undertaken in schools throughout restricted periods with partial operation and remote learning.

 

At the conclusion of discussion, it was,

 

Resolved:

 

That Cabinet,

 

1)    Continues to encourage all residents to download the NHS Test and Trace app on their phone.

2)    Encourages all residents to answer a call received from 0300 456 0100 as it may be the local contact tracing team within the Council.

3)    Continues to encourage all residents to follow national guidance and to note that the stay at home message continues until 29 March.

4)    Continues to encourage residents to attend for vaccination when invited and to continue to follow national guidance after vaccination.

5)    Encourages residents to consider postal vote for the upcoming elections.

6)    Notes the work underway to support response activities and roadmap development as we exit lockdown

 

Reason for Decision:

Wiltshire Council continues to work closely with partners to deliver in a rapidly

changing environment.


Meeting: 09/03/2021 - Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee (Item 24)

24 Covid-19 Update

To receive a report and update in relation to the council’s response to Covid-19.


The report to Cabinet and minute extracts from the Select Committees will follow in an agenda Supplement.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A report was received as detailed in Agenda Supplement 2 of an update on Covid-19, which would be considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 16 March 2021, as well as questions and comments made at Select Committees regarding recent Covid-19 updates.

 

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Philip Whitehead, presented the report along with the Chief Executive, Terence Herbert, and other senior officers.

 

Councillor Whitehead thanked the Chairman and Scrutiny for its work and provided an update on latest Covid-19 numbers and highlighted the importance of continuing to follow guidance to continue to reduce infections.

 

The Chief Executive provided further updates including but not limited to Covid-19 case rates, increase in schools testing with the reopening to all pupils on 9 March 2021, testing sites, communication of the government roadmap to relax restrictions, distribution of business grants, plans for the reopening of leisure and hospitality venues, election planning, the return of council staff to offices in the future, and future development of the Wellbeing hub to support residents.


The Committee discussed the update and sought additional information from the Leader and Chief Executive. Details were sought on an increase in postal vote applications, and it was confirmed that the government had not yet extended the law to permit virtual meetings to continue after the May elections and that local MPs had been lobbied regarding the matter. In response to queries it was stated council staff were not expected to return in significant numbers until at least June in accordance with government guidance, and that appropriate plans were being developed.

 

Clarity was sought in relation to the extension by 12 months of pavement licences for hospitality businesses and the impact on other types of businesses. The Leader noted concerns, but also that many businesses required such extensions to operate and be sustainable during ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

 

The council was thanked for its work communicating specifically with the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations in Wiltshire including translated materials and direct engagement. It was also confirmed that all polling stations for the May elections had received risk assessments for the new arrangements that would be in place to ensure safe and secure elections.

 

There was discussion of schools reopening and whether similar bubble arrangements in response to positive Covid-19 tests were in place as during previous terms. It was stated that specific arrangements were for each school to determine, and that some might continue with arrangements whereby whole year groups were sent home in response to a positive test, or it might be a more contained approach. Details were also requested regarding the opening of skate parks, which could open from 29 March 2021, but those run by parish councils would need to be confirmed by that council following risk assessments in line with government dates and guidance.

 

At the conclusion of discussion,

 

Resolved:

 

To note the update on the council’s ongoing response to Covid-19.

 


 

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