Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall.
We’ve been working flat out to ensure we’re ready for the second national lockdown, which will see new restrictions come into force from 00.01am tomorrow (November 5).
If you’re not sure what those restrictions are, you can read about them on our website at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/whataretherules.
As you’ll be aware, the new rules were only voted on in Parliament this afternoon and so a lot of national guidance has not yet arrived.
But we have moved as far as we can and as fast as we can to get ready.
In this update I’d like to provide some information about the help available to residents and businesses, as well as the changes we need to make a number of our services.
We will continue to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.
Help for vulnerable and elderly people
The COVID Community Support Team can support vulnerable and elderly residents with help collecting shopping, picking up prescriptions or making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the support they need.
The team can be contacted on 01642 733906 between 9am and 12noon, Monday to Friday or by emailing [email protected].
Help for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ to Coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. There are over 9,000 people on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) list in the Borough and we are working to ensure that their needs are met once the Government’s instruction to ‘shield’ comes into effect.
Council staff have already phoned all those on the CEV list who needed help in the last lockdown to check if they need extra help now. In addition to those we’ve called, we are writing to everyone on the list to provide further guidance and make sure they register with the national shielding support line to secure a priority supermarket food delivery slot.
Help for businesses
We're working through Government guidance on the financial support available to businesses forced to close due to the national lockdown starting tomorrow, and the retrospective grants payable to hospitality and leisure businesses affected by the Tier 2 restrictions imposed on the Borough in the middle of October. We’re doing all we can to get these schemes in place and get these payments made to eligible businesses as quickly as possible, while also drawing up a local discretionary scheme.
We’ll update the www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport webpage and post information on our social media channels as soon as possible.
Our four Family Hubs – Billingham, Redhill, Stockton and Thornaby – will close to the public with group activities held online wherever possible. A limited range of essential health and care services will continue to be provided from the Hubs by appointment – these include family contact time, assessments, and one-to-one support. Family Hub staff can still be contacted as follows:
Billingham Family Hub | 01642 527235 | [email protected]
Redhill Family Hub | 01642 528914 | [email protected]
Stockton Family Hub | 01642 528848 | [email protected]
Thornaby Family Hub | 01642 528947 | [email protected]
From tomorrow our libraries will have to close to the public.
However, Billingham, Norton, Stockton, Thornaby Central and Yarm libraries will offer an ‘order and collect/return at the door’ service, Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm.
You can either choose titles or genres from our online catalogue or call one of these libraries to request your books. They will let you know when your books are ready for collection at the door.
We will maintain our Home Library Service for people who are unable to get out to a library due to illness, disability or frailty.
Now might also be a good time to register for online library services – you can find out all about this at and more at www.stockton.gov.uk/libraries.
The cashiers’ desks in Billingham, Stockton and Thornaby Central Library buildings will remain open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm.
The outdoor markets in Stockton, Thornaby and Billingham will remain open but only for stalls selling food and groceries, essential goods, hardware supplies, pet supplies, and flowers and plants. Social distancing arrangements and signage are in place.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies
In line with national guidance, all weddings and civil partnership ceremonies that were due to take place during the lockdown period have been cancelled, and are only permitted in the exceptional circumstances outlined on the gov.uk website.
We have been in contact with the people affected.
Follow the rules
This week’s COVID-19 dashboard for the Borough showed there were 673 new cases of COVID-19 for the week ending November 1, a rate of 341.0 per 100,000 population.
That compares with 913 new cases and a rate of 462.6 cases per 100,000 population the previous week.
It’s down to each and every one of us to make sure that number continues to fall.
That means following the hand washing, face covering and social distancing guidance, and not mixing with people from other households anywhere indoors.
And it means following the new rules.
We all need to do our bit to help reduce the spread of the virus in the Borough.
Remember, you can keep up with all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in the Borough, including details of the help and support available, via our webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.