Joint statement

The Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Lees, and the group leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Green Party and Independents, Cllrs Dean, Barker, Gerard and Pavitt, have issued the following message.

Most people will be concerned around the emerging Covid-19 (Coronavirus) situation. We would like to reassure people that Uttlesford District Council is stepping up its plans to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, keep staff safe, and to minimise the impact on council services. We have moved into an emergency planning mode of working and have set up coordinated command arrangements to respond to this fast-moving situation.

We are working with the Council for Voluntary Services and other partners to coordinate and support the fantastic effort already happening across our communities to assist older and vulnerable residents who will need to isolate as the virus spreads. It is inspiring to see so many local people and groups willing to step in to support others. If you are able to, please do consider giving your time to help.

It is clear we are not at the peak of Covid-19 and there will be further challenges to come. We are confident the council is as prepared as it can be to meet this head on. As the situation develops it is inevitable that there will be changes to the way in which we provide some services, and we would ask residents to be patient and understanding.

For example, in line with government guidance we have already taken the decision to close a number of our outreach venues until further notice - the four day centres and Saffron Walden Museum, as well as our customer service facilities at Great Dunmow Library and Town Street, Thaxted. Further details about these changes and the alternative arrangements will be made available via the council website and social media channels (follow UttlesfordDC on Facebook and Twitter).

We would also remind everyone about the need to play their part - please continue to follow the public health messages around what you can do to prevent catching or spreading the virus, as well as what to do if you have symptoms. More information can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

These are extraordinary times and the situation evolves on a daily basis. We will continue to closely monitor developments and guidance from government and Public Health England, and keep residents and businesses updated as news arises. A dedicated Covid-19 page has been set up on our website - www.uttlesford.gov.uk/coronavirus - which contains links to trusted sources of information as well as details of local service changes, meetings and events. Please do check in to the page regularly to ensure you stay informed.

Finally, we have many small and medium businesses which are vital to our communities and who will be affected more than most - please do continue to support them.

17 March 2020