Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
We are working within a well-established set of structures governing how agencies work together to respond to keep people safe and well-informed during a major incident.
We are continuing to scale back a number of non-essential services to ensure we can focus our resources on those services that protect the most vulnerable.
More help for care providers
We are increasing the fees we pay to our care home and domiciliary care providers by five per cent in recognition of the additional costs they are facing. They look after some of our most vulnerable residents and we are supporting them to cope as best we can.
Cemeteries remain open as normal; they are not affected by the closure of parks and play areas.
The cashiers desks in each of our Customer Service centres have closed until further notice. If you use the desks to pay Council Tax, you can pay online by going to our website www.stockton.gov.uk/ctpay or by calling 0330 555 6780. If you are unable to pay via either of these methods please do not worry about it – we will make arrangements with you after this crisis is over and we are able to reopen our Customer Service centres.
Play areas in open areas
We are aware that some play areas in the Borough are in open areas and cannot be closed off. We are putting notices on the play equipment in these areas to say that they shouldn’t be used in line with Government guidance.
Green waste collections
Following yesterday’s confirmation that green waste collections will be suspended until further notice we’ve had a number of queries asking if green waste can instead be left alongside household waste bins for collection.
Unfortunately, the answer to that is no. We cannot collect green waste left out with household waste but why not visit our website for handy tips on composting at home? You can find them at www.stockton.gov.uk/greenwaste
Please note that regular household waste and recycling collections are continuing as normal.
Help for businesses
We have now applied the 100% Business Rate relief to the 800 businesses in the Borough that are eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief scheme and the Nursery Businesses relief scheme. You can find more about business support at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport
Help for parents/carers of children still attending school
We are working closely with our schools to support them as they offer specific provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children. The vast majority of schools remain open across the Borough but the numbers of pupils attending is very low. We also appreciate that staff absences may become an issue and so we are working on plans to move towards a ‘cluster’ model in case that becomes necessary.
We have set up phone lines that you can call if your school has to close at any point and you need help arranging alternative provision. Details can be found at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/schoolsandchildcare
Help for the vulnerable and elderly
Catalyst’s newly-assembled ‘COVID Community Support Team’ is operating seven days a week and is all about making sure help reaches those in our communities who need it most. Help ranges from food shopping and picking up prescriptions to making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the right support they need. You can call 01642 524 500 for assistance and find out all about it on the Catalyst website.
It is important that people remain calm, follow the latest national advice on the steps needed to reduce the spread of infection, and use only official sources of information when getting this advice.
For updates on all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in Stockton-on-Tees – including health advice and disruptions to services – visit the Council’s dedicated webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus