Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest information

'Firebreak' for Wales

A short, sharp “firebreak” will be introduced across Wales at the end of this week (23/10/20) to help regain control of coronavirus, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

Find out more on this here - https://gov.wales/national-coronavirus-fire-break-to-be-introduced-in-wales-on-friday

Remember that Local Intervention Measures continue to apply in Blaenau Gwent also. For more information go to - https://gov.wales/coronavirus-circuit-break-frequently-asked-questions#section-53247

Local lockdown rules were recently amended in recognition of the emotional toll Coronavirus is having on people who live alone.

Adults living alone, including single parents, in areas under local restrictions are able to form a temporary bubble with another household in their local area.

The change is designed to help protect people living alone from the risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation and will enable to them to meet other people indoors – something, which is ordinarily not allowed unless someone has a reasonable excuse anywhere across Wales.

The rule of six will apply to these new single people household bubbles.

The Welsh Government continues to urge people to follow five simple steps to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • Keep our distance from others
  • Wash our hands often
  • Work from home wherever possible
  • Wear a face covering in indoor public places
  • Think carefully about where we’re going and who we’re meeting because the more places we travel and the more people we meet, the more chances there are to catch coronavirus.

Test Trace Protect

As part of Welsh Government COVID-19 Test, Trace and Protect, the Gwent contact tracing team will be telephoning people who may have been in touch with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Contact tracing is a tried and tested way of limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the community. 

The contact tracing team cannot arrange testing, this can be done via the Welsh Government coronavirus test page. https://gov.wales/test-trace-protect-coronavirus

Coronavirus Testing

If you display any of the given symptoms.

Home testing kits are now available and can be requested online https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test
If you have any of these symptoms you may request a coronavirus test and self-isolate;

- A new continuous cough
- A high temperature
- Loss of smell and/or taste

If you develop symptoms, self-isolate immediately for 7 days. Anyone else in your household, if they remain well, must isolate for 14 days.

You can access testing in the form of home kits or there are drive through hubs set up. If you or somebody requires a Coronavirus test but can’t get online you can call 119 to request a home testing kit over the phone. Testing is available to everyone with symptoms in Wales.

Testing Positive for Coronavirus

If you test positive for coronavirus you should not leave your home and must self-isolate immediately (Please see Guidance here). You will be contacted directly by a trained advisor from the Gwent Contact Tracing Service. To make this a success you will need to:

Answer your phone when you receive this call, which may come from a withheld number.

If you need any support with shopping or prescription collections whilst you are self-isolating, please call us on 01495 311556 or let your trained advisor from the Gwent Contact Tracing Service know.

COVID 19 – Premises Improvement Notices

Premises Improvement Notice

Improvement Notices (ORANGE) have been served on the following premises in Blaenau Gwent following failures to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

Closure Notice

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media

Our social media accounts to follow are:

  • Facebook – @blaenaugwentcbc
  • Twitter -  @BlaenauGwentCBC

Community Support

For more information about what support is available in the community go to our Local Help and Support Page.

Council Buildings

All our Council buildings remain closed to the public. Our 24-hour secure Internet payments service is available for online payments.

For any other help and advice please call us on 01495 311556.

For Council Tax advice or help please call 01495 355212 or 01495 356010.

For Benefit advice or help please call 01495 353398.

Children's Play Parks

Parks in Blaenau Gwent will stay open during the 'firebreak' period. Please remember to observe social distancing and practice good hygiene. There is signage at our parks advising families of safe use at this time.

Aneurin Leisure Trust Services

Gyms & Parks

All Aneurin Leisure Trust managed sports centres will close at 5pm this Friday, 23rd October 2020, and will reopen again on Monday 9th November.

Monthly paying members will automatically have their monthly membership costs reduced to ensure that they will not be paying for any services they cannot access during this closure period.
 
Most members will have this reduction applied to their November payment, but any new members that have joined us since 15th October will have this applied to their first monthly payment which is due in December.  
 
If you have a cash paying monthly membership the end date of your last payment will be extended.

For the rest of this week services and classes will run as normal.

Safety remains the top priority and customers should remain vigilant and continue to follow social distancing guidelines, use the hand sanitiser provided throughout the facilities and clean all equipment before and after use. Please note that everyone is now required to wear a face covering/mask when entering and exiting the centres and while using communal corridors on the way to and from your training zone. Contact information will also be required for each booking.

Gym sessions; exercise classes or swimming will need to be pre-booked via the Aneurin Leisure App (for members) - find on App Store or Google Play) or online at https://www.bglife.co.uk/ or by contacting reception. Non members will need to contact the sports centre.

Parc Bryn Bach

The park will be open daily from 8.30am - 5.30pm.

The Visitor Centre will be closed so no access to the toilets.

The café will be open for takeaways only between 10am and 4.30pm.

Golf course and driving range are closed.

The play area is open with 'quiet times' between 9am - 10am on Saturday and Sunday and 4 - 5pm Monday - Wednesday.

Angling is permitted for members only but anglers must walk to the site with their equipment.

Exercise but that it should be taken as close to home as possible with a link to the FAQs on the WG website.

Bedwellty House & Park

Registry office open for pre-booked appointments only.

The tea room is open for takeaways only.

Park gates are open 8.30am-5.30pm.

The House is closed to visitors so no access to toilets.

Blaenau Gwent Libraries & Adult Education Centres

Libraries in Blaenau Gwent will close at 6pm on Friday, 23rd October for the 'firebreak' period.
Cwm Library will continue to open on Tuesday mornings between 10am - 1pm to provide Post Office services only.

No home delivery or call and collect services will be available. Digital services remain available.

All Learning Action Centres will be closed from 6pm on Friday, 23rd October however most classes will resume week commencing 2nd November 2020 with teaching taking place remotely where possible.

Bridges into Work, Working Skills for Adults, plus Nurture, Equip and Thrive projects can be accessed via their Facebook pages or call 01495 355258.

For more information about Leisure & Culture Services go to - https://aneurinleisure.org.uk/

Business Advice

Advice for Businesses in Blaenau Gwent

For the latest advice and information for businesses in relation to Coronavirus please visit - https://gov.wales/business-and-employers-coronavirus

Important Information for Businesses

Financial Support for Businesses

The Welsh Government has confirmed that businesses affected by the ‘firebreak’ will be supported with a new £300m fund, which will open next week.

Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment.

Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.

There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses, which are struggling.
The £80m fund announced last week to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased to £100m, which includes £20m ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

Businesses will also be able to access the support available through the existing Job Retention Scheme or the new expanded Job Support Scheme.

We are currently awaiting further detailed guidance on this from Welsh Government.

For more information about Welsh Government support for business please visit:
https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice
 

Useful Links

Waste and Recycling

Kerbside waste & recycling services & bulky waste collections will continue as normal during the Fire Break period.

Local Recycling Centre

The Council’s New Vale Household Waste Recycling Centre located on Waun-y-Pound Industrial Estate, will close at 6pm on Friday, 23rd October and open for pre-booked appointments only from Monday, 9th November.

The facility will be open from 10am until 4.30pm daily until 30th April 2021. For more information go to -  https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/waste-recycling/household-waste-and-recycling-centre/

We ask everyone to continue to use their kerbside waste collections as normal and please recycle all that you can.

Waste Disposal Advice to Householders self-isolating for Coronavirus

If your household is self-isolating having identified symptoms of the Coronavirus, any household waste you accumulate in the 3 days (72 hours) before your normal day/date of collection will need to be set aside to be put out on the next collection date.

  • This is to minimise the risk of infection to others.
  • This does not represent any additional risk to yourselves.
  • Please place all personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths securely in a plastic bag or bin liner.
  • This plastic bag should then be placed in another plastic bag and securely tied.

Thank you.

Funeral Attendance

The Gwent Local Resilience Forum, including the five Gwent councils, agreed that the number of mourners permitted to attend funerals at cemeteries within the five local authority areas of Gwent is 30.

The number of mourners permitted at Gwent Crematorium is 20.

Good social distancing and cleaning regimes will allow for a larger number of family groups or bubbles within the chapel.

 

 

Schools & Education

For the latest information about schools and education on this please go to our COVID-19 Latest Education Information webpage which is updated with the latest news as necessary.

For the latest Welsh Government information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and Education please follow the link to the Welsh Government website below:

https://gov.wales/education-coronavirus

Latest WG Update document on childcare & Work Based Learning and the newly introduced Curriculum Bill Newsletter

WG Update 22.10.2020 - Covid 19 Education, Childcare & Work Based Learning Update

Link to the Vulnerable children webpage: https://gov.wales/vulnerable-children-and-safeguarding-coronavirus
Link to Safeguarding in settings webpage: https://gov.wales/education-safeguarding-guidance-coronavirus  

Early Years Services

Flying Start Hubs

All Flying Start hubs are open to support families with children aged 0-3, however access is by appointments only.  Health Visitors, Family Support Workers, Early Language and Dads Support Workers are still seeing families face to face for essential support and vital health checks via baby clinics. 

If you live in a Flying Start area and would like support please get in touch with the health visiting team:
Blaina Office – 01495 354713 or Tredegar Office – 01495363604.  Or email Sherelle.Jago@Blaenau-Gwent.gov.uk

The Flying Start Facebook group also offers a lot of online support from the team, plus parent to parent support and ideas.  Please join us via the following link:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/flyingstartbg

For any other general information, advice or assistance please contact our Family Information Services on 08000 32 33 39.

Early Years Services
Welsh Government Childcare Offer
For the latest information on the Childcare Offer in Blaenau Gwent visit https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/health-wellbeing-social-care/support-for-children-families/early-years-childcare-play/childcare-offer/information-for-parents/

Registered Childcare
Registered childcare continues to operate, for up to date information on registered childcare available within Blaenau Gwent visit: https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/resident/health-wellbeing-social-care/support-for-children-families/family-information-service/#:~:text=Blaenau%20Gwent%20Family%20Information%20Service%20provides%20free%2C%20quality%2C,activities%2C%20health%20issues%2C%20parenting%20support%20and%20much%20more.

Blaina ICC is closed to the public but Flowering Shrubs Private Day Nursery is open at Blaina ICC.

Vulnerable people

  • Cwrt Mytton - operating as normal but closed to non-essential visitors
  • Augusta House - closed to planned respite but available to support emergency situations from Wednesday 2nd September 20
  • Home Care - operating as normal but care calls are being prioritised based on critical levels of care and support only including Extra Care and Emergency Care at Home.
  • Community Options - all buildings are closed to visitors but where appropriate staff are supporting priority citizens in their own homes as an alternative support (in addition to this we are also providing  sessional support for citizens who have a medical/ physical critical need from the Bert Denning and Lake view establishments only).
  • Supported Living Service - operating as normal but closed to non-essential visitors.

We are continuing to look after our most vulnerable people and home care and domiciliary services are continuing. If you have particular concerns about a vulnerable person please contact us on 01495 311556.

Age Cymru is offering a free check-in-and-chat telephone service for anyone 70 or over who lives alone, to provide reassurances, answer basic queries and link people to local services and support during the Coronavirus outbreak.

All you have to do call the Age Cymru Advice Number on 08000 223 444 or email enquiries@agecymru.org.uk to register for a call.

Welsh Government Vulnerable Children and Safeguarding in Settings: Guidance 

Education safeguarding guidance: coronavirus
Vulnerable children and safeguarding: coronavirus

 

 

Blue Badge

All Blue Badge applications can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge

Council Tax

There is no public access to any Council buildings. Our 24-hour secure Internet payments service is available for online payments. For any other help and advice please call us on 01495 311556.

Please use online or telephone methods. View your Council Tax account, pay by Direct Debit, check your band and switch to paperless billing by using our online service https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/council-tax/council-tax-online/

Housing Advice

Housing Advice:

Many people are worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect their housing. Use the information below to help work out what COVID-19 means for you. You can also check the Shelter Cymru website for more detailed information https://sheltercymru.org.uk/get-advice/coronavirus/

The Housing Advice Centre remains closed. If you need any housing assistance, please contact the following numbers:

  • Housing Register
    01495 354600 (Option 1)
  • Homelessness
    01495 354600 (Option 2)
  • Cwmcrachen Site
    01495 357813 (Repairs & Site Management)
  • Disability Facilities Grants
    01495 357813
  • All Other Queries
    01495 311556

Housing Benefits

We can now accept Housing Benefits and Council Tax Reduction online here https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/housing-benefit/benefits-online/

Meals on Wheels

This service continues to operate.

Registration Services

Notice of Marriage Appointments & Registration Appointments

Birth Registrations and Notices of Marriage appointments arranged before the Fire Break announcement will still go ahead. No further Notice of Marriage appointments or Birth Registrations will be taken until the end of the Fire Break period. 

All Death Registration interviews will continue to be conducted over the telephone.

Please contact 01495 353372 for advice and help on any of the above.

Ceremonies

Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies at Blaenau Gwent Register Office, Bedwellty House, resumed from 1st July, 2020.

Wedding Ceremonies booked and due to take place in The Register Office only between the 23rd October and 9th November are permitted  to take place in accordance with Welsh Government regulations.

We are following the advice and guidance from Welsh Government on social distancing and public behaviour. Social distancing guidance will be followed ensuring that officers and visitors are kept safe and to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

 

Civic Centre Payments

Council buildings are now closed to the public. There are other ways to pay Council tax, for more information go to - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/council-tax/pay-your-council-tax/

Trading Standards

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, ‘phone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus, as well as setting up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’.

Our Covid-19 Trading Standards page has some good advice - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/trading-standards/trading-standards-covid-19-scams/