Bridgend County Borough Council, South Wales Police and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board are urging people to stay at home wherever possible, and to avoid visiting areas such as Porthcawl over the festive season.
It follows reports of large numbers of people driving to beaches and beauty spots between Christmas and the New Year.
The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “With alert level four conditions still in place all across Wales, people are able to leave home for exercise, but that activity should start and finish at your home.
“If we are not moving, neither is the virus, so nobody should be driving into an area such as Porthcawl for a walk along the beach or promenade. South Wales Police have been stopping vehicles and carrying out spot checks, and the council is reinstating electronic signage to remind people of the rules.
“Colleagues in health are also reporting that hospital services and intensive care units are under extreme pressure. With 186 Covid-19 patients currently being cared for at the Princess of Wales Hospital and 57 recovering at the Ysbyty’r Seren field hospital, we all need to help prevent this from escalating further.
“The number of Covid-19 patients requiring hospital treatment has risen substantially in recent weeks, and is now at its highest since the first peak of the pandemic. With non-urgent services suspended and staff giving up their Christmas leave to cope with the situation, we can all help by supporting family members who have been discharged, and by using services correctly.
“If you feel unwell, visit NHS 111 Wales online or contact your local community pharmacist. If necessary, you can also contact your local GP, but please only call 999 or attend the Emergency Department for life threatening symptoms.
“The mobile testing facility at the former Revlon / Cosi factory off Oakwood Drive in Maesteg and the longer-term testing facility in the Bowls Hall car park of Bridgend Life Centre (CF31 4AH) are both available throughout the festive period, including on New Year’s Day.
“Appointments must be booked in advance by calling 191 or visiting the Welsh Government website. The Maesteg testing centre is located next to the Ewenny Road train station (CF34 9TS), so anyone arriving for a test there should follow road signs to the train station.
“We are all in this together, and must act as a single, unified community to protect our neighbours, family and friends.”
The following provides a run-down of council services and pandemic arrangements.
Under alert level four, people must stay at home (except for very limited purposes e.g. for work or to collect a prescription), and must not visit other households or meet other people whom they do not live with. While the level four alert is in effect, a single person household will be able to join with one other household, and people should seek to work from home as much as possible. The Welsh Government website offers more information on circumstances when people can leave their home during the alert.
Recycling and waste collections
Collections are currently running as normal. Over the festive period, they will be carried out on New Year’s Eve, but not on New Year’s Day. Waste that is due to be collected on New Year’s Day (Friday) will be picked up on Saturday 2 January. Visit the council website for more information.
Household recycling centres are currently open for essential use only between 9am-4pm. They will be closed on New Year’s Day. Due to restrictions on how many people can use the sites at any one time, some queuing should be expected, and staff will be unable to help carry items from vehicles.
Leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools and libraries
These are all currently closed under alert level four restrictions.
Coychurch Crematorium remains open, although please note that a total of 30 mourners are currently permitted. The crematorium grounds remain open between 9am-5pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-4pm Friday and Saturday, and 10.30am-4pm on Sunday and bank holidays. Visit the Coychurch Crematorium page at the council website for more information.
Test, Trace, Protect
Following an escalation in positive cases of coronavirus, the Test, Trace, Protect service is continuing to operate despite increasing numbers of cases and contacts being identified. The service is currently operating a triage process in order to focus on areas of highest risk.
Residents are allowed to leave their homes for exercise so long as it is done alone, with members of the same household / support bubble, or with a carer. The exercise should both start from and finish at your home, and please stay as close to home as possible. Visit the Welsh Government website for more information about what sort of exercise is allowed.
Businesses and shopping
Under the new requirements, many types of businesses are required to close e.g. non-essential retail, close-contact services, gyms, leisure centres, hospitality businesses and more. The Welsh Government website provides business FAQs on what types of premises are affected, which types can stay open, which can provide takeaway and home delivery alternatives, how they should be used and more.
Primary and secondary schools are currently closed. While arrangements are in place for them to reopen in the New Year, the situation is being monitored carefully – look out for further details soon.
The council is redeploying resources to ensure that essential social care is prioritised under the alert level four conditions. Services provided as part of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), mental health access, child protection, domiciliary care, supported living and residential services will all continue to operate.
Churches and places of worship
While churches and places of worship can remain open, residents are advised to avoid congregating with people they do not live with. Some faith leaders have set up arrangements for streaming or broadcasting religious ceremonies as a safer alternative. The Welsh Government website offers more information around churches and places of worship.
Childcare services and providers are able to operate, although any informal childcare should only take place be in essential cases. Welsh Government have provided guidance to help childcare settings ensure that their services are safe.
Council-maintained toilets at Bridgend Bus Station are currently open and are being cleaned each time they are used. All other toilet facilities in the county borough are either run privately or via town and community councils. Please note that the privately-run toilets located at Rest Bay are currently closed.
Public transport and car parks
Public transport remains available to support key workers in getting to and from work, and council-maintained car parks remain open. However, please observe alert level four requirements on staying at home wherever possible, and remember to wear a face covering while using a public transport service.
With non-essential businesses now closed and cases of coronavirus increasing, the Shopmobility service for Bridgend town centre has been temporarily suspended while the alert level four conditions are in place. The service will seek to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so in the New Year.
Playgrounds and parks
Playgrounds and parks currently remain open to support exercise and children’s mental health and well-being. Please note that not all facilities may be available, and remember to practice social distancing and hand hygiene. Parks and playgrounds should not be used for the purpose of meeting people from other households.
Bridgend Register Office
All appointments at Bridgend Register Officer have been temporarily postponed due to the alert level four restrictions put in place by Welsh Government – look out for further updates.
Support for homeless people during the pandemic remains in place. The Housing Solutions team is available to help assess housing and support needs, and advise about available options. For more details, call 01656 643643 or visit www.bridgend.gov.uk
Foodbanks over Christmas and New Year
Visit the Facebook foodbank page for details of how the following can be accessed:
· Porthcawl Foodbank: 10am-12pm on 31 December.
· Pencoed Foodbank: 1pm-3pm on 4 January.
· Cornelly Foodbank: 1pm-3pm on 31 December.
· Pontycymmer Foodbank: 1.30pm-3.30pm on 30 December and 1 January.
· Aberkenfig Foodbank: 10am-12pm on 31 December.
Coronavirus guidance and support
You can find out more by calling 119 or visiting the coronavirus page at the Welsh Government website.
Contacting the council
The Customer Service Centre at the Civic Offices in Angel Street, Bridgend remains closed to the public. Residents are asked to use the online My Account and Oggie webchat facilities, or to email [email protected] or call 01656 643643.