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‘Akin to war-footing’

Created on 02/04/2020 @ 11:54
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Councillor Rosemarie Harris, Leader Powys County Council, has shared her thoughts on the attest situation that we all find ourselves in due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Little did I think when I wrote my March column for local media that our world would change so radically in the space of a few weeks.

The spread of Coronavirus across the world has been dramatic and frightening, the consequences for the way we live in Powys unprecedented with community lockdowns and wholesale changes in the way the county council delivers its many services.

As a council we are at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic. We are working very closely with our colleagues in Powys Teaching Health Board and the Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) to fight and respond to the pandemic together. Together we have established a Community Sector Emergency Response Team to coordinate our volunteering efforts across the county. I would encourage residents to register with the Team Powys Volunteer Register if you are able to offer support.

In the Council we have moved to a business continuity approach which is akin to war-footing where only business critical services are now being delivered. Not surprisingly those that are considered less critical have been stepped down so that we can concentrate vital resources on social care and supporting critical front-line services.

We have closed all our libraries, leisure centres, household waste recycling centres, playgrounds, museums and most of our buildings.  Schools closed early for the Easter break and are unlikely to re-open normally for many months. Several schools have been set up as education hubs for the children of key workers and vulnerable learners, which are a vital resource in allowing essential workers to concentrate on fighting the pandemic.

Public transport has been reduced to a Sunday service schedule and some of our key projects have been put on hold as we concentrate resources on responding to the outbreak.

This is an incredibly challenging time for our residents, communities, businesses and our staff and I fear the situation will not change for some considerable time. We have already seen our county’s flagship events the Hay Festival, Greenman and Royal Welsh Show already cancelled, and the economic impact will probably be felt for years to come.

Since the Prime Minister announced the restrictions last week, residents have been asked to make sweeping changes to their daily lives, in order to slow the spread of the virus, protect vital services and save lives. We all have a huge part to play to help slow the impact of the pandemic, if we ignore the advice the consequences for our residents will be severe.

Our council staff are working tirelessly and playing a vital role in the huge response efforts, and I would like to thank all of them for the work that they have done and will continue to do in the coming months.  

If there is anybody at all in Wales who still thinks that they’re somehow exempt from shouldering this responsibility, my fellow councillors and I say to them: think again. No ifs, no buts. We must all abide by the Government’s instructions - every single resident in this county without exception – to protect ourselves, each other, our families and our communities from harm. We all have a chance to do something to help combat this dreadful outbreak disease even it is just listening to the health advice and staying in-doors.

Keep safe and well.”

Councillor Rosemarie Harris

Leader Powys County Council

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