Following the announcement that England will return to national lockdown restrictions with immediate effect, Calderdale Council is working through the implications for its services.
Everyone must stay at home, except for essential reasons such as food shopping, exercise within the local area and medical appointments. As such, further Council service updates have been issued in line with government guidance.
Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools are now closed except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. The Council is working closely with all schools to determine additional need and supporting remote learning.
Waste collections in Calderdale are currently continuing as normal. The Council is closely monitoring the situation and will keep residents updated with any changes. The Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) will also remain open. For the safety of all users and staff, please continue to only use the HWRCs if it is essential and the waste cannot be safely stored.
In line with government guidelines, Halifax Central Library and other hub libraries (check website for details) will remain open for click and collect service and to provide access to IT and digital services for people who do not have it at home. The library home delivery service will also continue.
Council-run markets remain open for market stalls selling essential retail. Please support Calderdale’s market traders and shop locally if you are able – but only visit if you are feeling well and wear a mask if you are able to. Extra hand sanitising facilities are available in all Council markets – please use them and wash your hands often.
All leisure facilities and outdoor/green gyms must close but there are still lots of ways that we can be active within the new rules. Parks and playground areas will remain open for the one period of exercise we can all take each day, but users are reminded to stick to social distancing guidelines and limit the use of playground equipment (hands should also regularly be sanitised). Being active is great for lifting your spirits during this extremely challenging time and ideas to keep active at home available at https://active.calderdale.gov.uk/ .
Council staff will continue to work from home wherever possible. Over 1,200 Council staff are working from home, and this is set to continue in the long-term.
The Council’s Register Office will remain open for birth registrations and notice appointments, with deaths registrations continuing over the phone. In accordance with the guidance, weddings should only take place in exceptional circumstances and therefore existing bookings have been postponed (further guidance is available at https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/service-updates#notice-of-marriage). There are no further changes to the existing restrictions on attendees for burials or cremations.
Those classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised to following shielding advice available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home The Council and our voluntary and community sector partner organisations will continue to help residents who are most at risk, as they have done since the pandemic began. More information about local support is available at https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/help/support-vulnerable
Non-essential shops will close but can continue to operate a click and collect service. Hospitality venues will remain closed but may still provide a takeaway service for food. Information about support for businesses is available at https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/coronavirus/businesses/grants The Council is also working to set up the process for paying the Government’s recently announced one-off top up grants. More information will be available soon.
Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said: “COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly in Calderdale and there is growing pressure on the hospital. We are at critical risk if we don’t step up the action we’ve been taking in recent months.
“In line with government guidance we’ve made some additional changes to our services to protect staff and our communities. We all need to take the simple actions of staying at home, limiting contact with others, wearing face coverings, self-isolating when necessary and washing our hands.
“We continue to work with our partners in the NHS to support the rollout of the vaccines, and many people will already have received their first dose. As more of our most vulnerable residents get vaccinated, the more hope we have of returning to some kind of normality this year. We also have a strong local test and trace system in Calderdale, which is performing better than the national and regional average.”
Calderdale Council’s Director for Public Health, Deborah Harkins, said:
“Although we’ve been living under restrictions in Calderdale for some time, unfortunately we now return to a period of strict national lockdown.
“COVID-19 rates are increasing across the country and in Calderdale. Since Christmas we’ve seen a rapid rise in the number of cases in the borough and our local NHS is under pressure.
“Worryingly, the new variant is also present in Calderdale, although thankfully cases of this new strain are currently lower than in other parts of the country. It’s critical that we do all we can to keep it this way.
“We must all stay at home. This is the single most important action we can all take to protect ourselves, our communities, the NHS and save lives. The situation is serious and we all have a responsibility to do all we can to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
For detailed guidance about the new national lockdown restrictions, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
What are we doing to prevent and control COVID-19 in Calderdale?
We will continue to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. In line with Calderdale’s Outbreak Prevention and Control Plan, the Council, local partner organisations and communities are working together to protect people from the virus and to prevent and manage outbreaks. This includes:
Engaging with and supporting communities, particularly in areas of high infection rates, and helping local businesses to be COVID-secure
Increasing and improving access to testing for residents
Carrying out local contact tracing to support the national Test and Trace service
Providing support to people to enable them to self-isolate
Enforcing COVID-19 restrictions.
For up-to-date and reliable information about COVID-19, use trusted sources such as: