Open letter from Gill Alexander, Chief Executive of Hartlepool Borough Council
I fully understand many people across Hartlepool will be feeling worried about Coronavirus.
I want to take this opportunity to reassure everyone that Hartlepool Borough Council is doing everything we can to support residents across the Borough and we continue to follow national and regional advice.
Following the updated Government guidance that everyone should avoid gatherings and crowded places, we have taken the decision to cancel all Council events up to the end of June and close a number of our venues offering non-essential services.
We have also taken the decision to postpone all Council meetings pending national guidance which we are expecting to receive in the coming days.
At present, most council services are continuing to run as normal. However, it is inevitable we will have to focus our resources where they are needed most. We will communicate service disruptions via the Hartlepool Borough Council website – www.hartlepool.gov.uk/coronavirus – and social media channels as normal. We will also update residents via local media outlets.
As you are probably aware, there is a national shortage of hand sanitiser. The Public Health advice is that regularly washing hands for twenty-seconds with soap and hot water is the most effective measure to take.
I would also encourage all residents to follow self-isolation advice. One of the key new measures announced late yesterday is that if one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days – please be vigilant and follow this advice.
As a Council, we are carrying out a scenario planning exercise this week to help us strengthen our business continuity planning with a view to maintaining essential services during this unprecedented situation. We will also be carrying out a skills audit to help us understand where we can best deploy staff who are well into those areas.
We are expecting guidance from the Government imminently on the role Councils can take to help coordinate community capacity to help provide support to vulnerable and self-isolating adults in a way which also provides appropriate safeguards. As part of our scenario planning, we will also consider ways staff can be deployed to support people in this way.
The Government is introducing hardship funds to support businesses adversely impacted financially by this situation, as well as residents. Again, we are awaiting guidance from the Government this week on how this money can be distributed to where it is most needed.
I hope this information provides some clarity to residents. As you will appreciate, this is a fast changing situation and I will provide further updates as soon as I can.
I have no doubt residents across Hartlepool will pull together in this challenging time.