SUSPENDING services and protecting the most vulnerable are among the measures Rotherham Council are taking to keep the public safe during the coronavirus crisis.
The council announced plans on Wednesday to temporarily close or suspend some of their “public-facing” services until further notice, calling it the move a “difficult decision”.
All children’s centres have been closed down as well as Crowden Outdoor Education Centre, Rotherham Civic Theatre, Herringthorpe Stadium, the caravan park and soft play at Thrybergh Country Park.
Parts of Clifton Park Museum will close this weekend — but wedding ceremonies will go ahead as planned.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read said no-one should doubt the seriousness of the situation.
“The coronavirus pandemic will define the way of life for everyone, individually and as a society for the immediate and foreseeable future,” he said.
“The council’s priority, alongside our partners, is the protection of life and we all have a role to play in that.”
The council said it was prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable residents and have been working with health service partners to identify those most in need and working with Voluntary Action Rotherham to help residents in self-isolation.
They are also encouraging residents to use their online services or phone instead of coming into council buildings wherever possible.
The director of public health at Rotherham Council said their priority is to keep people safe and healthy — and urged people to follow government advice.
Teresa Roche added that the council is in touch with Public Health England, daily, and working with the NHS and our health and care partners to try to prevent further spread of the virus.
“We urge the people of Rotherham to continue to wash their hands, for 20 seconds, and to follow good hygiene practices," she said.
"Social distancing, in accordance with the guidance from Public Health England, is also essential to prevent the further spread of the virus."
Health partners are asking residents to take care of their mental health throughout this stressful time and encourage people to exercise if safe to do so.
Next Wednesday’s planned council meeting has also been cancelled by the Mayor.
Other meetings will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The council are continuing to provide welfare advice and support for those facing financial difficulty and those affected should visit https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/money-debt-advice for details.
A spokeswoman said they were also working through the business support from the Government following their announcement this week and pledge to making more information available “in due course”.
Cllr Read said the council will be guided by the latest advice coming from leading scientists and public health specialists, adding: “Underpinning our response will be the resilience, kindness and community spirit for which Rotherham is renowned.
“I want to pay tribute to the public servants who are once again rising to the occasion.
“I would urge residents to follow the latest guidance from the government, to act responsibly, and I thank them for their patience and endurance over the coming weeks and months.”