Outdoor markets at council-run locations across the city have closed, and new requests for bulky waste collections have stopped, following government guidance in response to the coronavirus emergency.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has confirmed that it is also reviewing indoor markets, in line with national guidance released overnight which allows stalls that offer essential retail, such as grocery and food to be open. In addition, Tunstall Market, which operates from inside the market hall in the town centre, has closed today (24 March), with the agreement of traders. The measures mean that the following outdoor markets are closed: Bentilee, Fenton, Hanley and Birch Terrace Sunday market also in Hanley. Stoke Indoor Market is open to the public via one entrance door, Longton Indoor Market is open to the public via two entrances and Hanley Indoor Market is open to the public via the one front entrance.
For those people who have already booked bulky waste collections, these will be honoured, but stopping the service means council staff can continue to prioritise grey and blue bin collections.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We all must do all we can to ensure we stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is the biggest health emergency in a generation. We have moved swiftly in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement last night; we are continuing to do all we can to protect residents, prioritise the delivery of services to those people who need our help the most, while protecting and supporting our staff, the vast majority of whom live in the city they serve.
“The message is clear: you must stay at home. Only leave home for shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, for any medical needs or to care for the vulnerable. Travel to and from work only if absolutely necessary. If you have to go out for any of the above reasons, you must adhere to physical distancing.
“Also in line with government announcements, we will now not be conducting wedding ceremonies, and only funerals will go ahead, following the national guidance. Our parks will remain open, but gatherings are not allowed. Police teams have clear instruction to respond to gatherings.
“Trading standards and environmental health teams are providing guidance to businesses on complying with the government guidelines.
“It is really important that vulnerable people are shielded, and we are working to support those people on the highest risk category. As a provider of public services, we are a category one responder, like the NHS – we provide essential services for the most vulnerable and have to be able to do this.”
A new community service to help meet the everyday needs of vulnerable people affected by coronavirus has already had more than 70 enquiries, 24 hours after launching.
#StokeonTrentTogether has been formed by the council and voluntary sector organisation VAST and will specifically help those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family to call upon.
Residents are being asked to get in contact if either they need support or are able to offer support to members of the community who are self-isolating or vulnerable – such as elderly residents and residents who need some extra help and are not already accessing medical or agreed care packages.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “As a local authority, we are doing everything we can to support people, but we recognise we are unable to respond to all the needs of the community alone at this time. We are pleased to be working with VAST as part of our response to coronavirus to ensure we are all looking out for one another.”
Residents can access the website via www.corona19.vast.org.uk, or call 0800 5615610 Monday – Friday 9am-5pm.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit Public Health England: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/
and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The importance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.