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Residents urged: ‘stay at home and save lives’ this Easter, as warnings raised over removing closure notices in play areas

Published: Thursday, 9th April 2020

Residents are being urged to follow national health advice to ‘stay at home and save lives’ during the Easter weekend, as warnings have been raised over people destroying closure signs at play areas

Residents are being urged to follow national health advice to ‘stay at home and save lives’ during the Easter weekend, as warnings have been raised over people destroying closure signs at public play areas.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is issuing the warning as closure notices have been removed from a playground in the city and crews have had to replace chains cut off at the entrance to Breakespear Street play area, in Goldenhill three times.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “The vast majority of people are acting responsibly and following national health advice through the coronavirus pandemic. But destroying warning signs, chains and barriers at play areas is not acceptable. Let me be clear: we all must adhere to health guidelines. Gathering in public places is not allowed. We all must follow the rule: stay at home and safe lives.

“We urge all residents to continue to do this, especially over the bank holiday weekend, where the weather is set to be warm. Please be vigilant and protect yourself and others from the risk of spreading this horrible disease.”

Residents are reminded that grey and blue bin collections will continue as usual over the bank holiday weekend. Residents who have collections due on Friday (10 April) and Monday (13 April) should put their bins out as usual. Council staff from other services that have closed or reduced during the pandemic are joining collection rounds to ensure residents can continue to have their waste collected.

Meanwhile, the council is continuing to administer support grants to small businesses affected by the coronavirus, and yesterday (Wednesday) issued £8.4m in funding. The authority has now issued around £22m of a total of £57m in government funding allocated to the city. Grants are available for small businesses and those operating in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector who meet eligibility criteria. More details can be found at www.stoke.gov.uk/businessratesgrants.

A dedicated team is in place to support businesses of any size with business related queries, due to Covid-19. They can support with enquiries about property related matters, details about business loans or grants as well as information for the self-employed. They can be contacted on 01782 236878 or by e-mail at: business.growth@stoke.gov.uk.

Councillor Brown said: “We vowed to move quickly to ensure thousands of businesses across the city that may be eligible for the funding receive it as soon as possible. Our teams have been working hard to process applications, carry out balances and checks and issue the funding. We are determined to give all the support we can to help businesses and keep our city going at this most testing of times.”

The council has confirmed that as a result of coronavirus, the consultation on the draft local plan scheduled for the spring has now been postponed. It is hoped that work can continue on the plan, which is being undertaken jointly with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, to ensure there is no delay to the overall plan timetable. Councillor Brown added: “Our ability to consult in accordance with the Statement of Community Involvement is obviously impacted on as a result of the restrictions from Coronavirus. We are hopeful that part one and part two consultation which cover strategy, policies and site allocations can now take place as one full consultation before the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, council leisure centres may have closed due to the coronavirus, but the authority is set to bring fitness classes online to help people keep active during the pandemic. Exercises classes created by the city council’s sport and leisure service will be broadcast on social media from next week. The mixture of live and pre-recorded sessions will include high intensity workouts, home circuits, relaxation classes such as yoga or Pilates, joint and strength exercises, and more gentle chair-based activities. They will be run by qualified gym instructors from the authority’s team. The sessions will be available on the Facebook pages of Dimensions Leisure Centre, Shapes Health and Leisure Club and Wallace Sports and Education Centre.

Residents who want to take part will just need clothing suitable to exercise in, enough space to work out safely and water to stay hydrated. Some of the sessions may need equipment but are designed to use items from around the home. The live events will also give participants a chance to message – via Facebook – helping to bring people together during the coronavirus emergency. Anyone will be able to access the videos – even if they are not a member of a council gym.

The pre-recorded classes will be uploaded from Monday (13 April) and the first live class is due to take place on Tuesday (14 April) – the time will be announced shortly on the Facebook pages. The videos will be posted for as long as needed while the authority’s leisure centres are temporarily closed. The live streams will take place on various days and times throughout the week. Sessions will be scheduled via Facebook and followers can sign up to receive notifications of upcoming classes. Visit the Facebook pages for information on session dates and times.

Following government guidance, all facilities at Dimensions Leisure Centre, Fenton Manor Sports Complex, New Horizons Leisure Centre, Wallace Sports and Education Centre, Stoke-on-Trent Gymnastics Centre and Northwood Stadium are temporarily closed to the public until further notice.

A summary of the Coronavirus Act 2020 which passed into law on 26 March is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-bill-what-it-will-do/what-the-coronavirus-bill-will-do.

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 significance 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.