Statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparations being made by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
Councillor Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “I would like to reassure residents that we are working very closely with our partners, particularly the NHS and Public Health England (PHE), to support people in the Borough to manage the impact of Coronavirus.
“At this point Council services are continuing as normal, however we anticipate that we will move into a new phase of scaling back some non-essential services in the next few days.
“We have put extensive work into our business continuity planning to ensure we can manage and respond to staff absences due to Coronavirus and will focus our resources where they are most needed, with particular focus on protecting the most vulnerable.
“We also have well-established partnership working arrangements and support from our Local Resilience Forum, which specialises in emergency planning for complex and rapidly changing situations like this.
“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.
“We have created a webpage – www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus – with links to the main official sources, which cover everything from stay at home instructions to guidance for businesses and employers.
“If there is any disruption to services, or school closures, this information will also be accessible from the same page. We will all need to adapt to different day to day behaviours over the coming weeks and it is essential that we support each other.
“We are sending daily updates to our staff, and key officers are meeting every day to refine and review our plans in light of local and national developments to make sure we can respond to any issues or changes as and when they arise.
“We are also meeting with care home and domiciliary care providers to understand and build on our existing business continuity arrangements for the delivery of care and support across the Borough.
“Meanwhile, we are pressing the Government for details of the newly-announced national Hardship Fund and support for small businesses so that we can provide it as quickly as possible.
“By following this carefully-planned approach we are doing everything we possibly can to minimise risk to our residents, staff and businesses – particularly those most vulnerable – and that will always be our top priority.”