Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest information

1st June 2020 (COVID-19)

From Monday 1 June people from two different households in the same local area will be able to meet up outdoors. They must continue to maintain social distancing and strict hand hygiene.

People are being asked to stay local – this means, as a general rule, not travelling more than five miles from home. There will be exceptions – for example, travelling to work, to seek care and shopping for essentials if they aren’t available locally.

https://gov.wales/stay-local-to-keep-wales-safe
https://gov.wales/written-statement-review-lockdown-measures-and-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-wales

O ddydd Llun ymlaen, gall bobl o ddwy aelwyd wahanol, yn yr un ardal leol, gyfarfod â’i gilydd yn yr awyr agored. Mae’n rhaid iddynt barhau i gadw pellter cymdeithasol a gofalu eu bod yn golchi eu dwylo’n drylwyr.

Gofynnir i bobl aros yn lleol – mae hyn yn golygu, yn gyffredinol, peidio  â theithio mwy na phum milltir o’u cartrefi. Bydd eithriadau i’r rheol – er enghraifft teithio i weithio, i gael gofal a siopa am bethau hanfodol os nad ydynt ar gael yn lleol.

https://llyw.cymru/aros-yn-lleol-i-ddiogelu-cymru?_ga=2.232709532.2098459013.1590401025-862578067.1585922553

https://llyw.cymru/datganiad-ysgrifenedig-adolygur-cyfyngiadau-rheoliadau-diogelu-iechyd-cyfyngiadau-coronafeirws?_ga=2.161978815.2098459013.1590401025-862578067.1585922553

Changes to the advice for people shielding from coronavirus have been introduced from 1 June 2020.

People who have been shielding can now take exercise outdoors and meet people from another household, as long as it takes place outdoors.
There are two changes to the advice for this group:

  • Outdoor exercise is unlimited, as long as individuals strictly follow social distancing rules and hygiene practices.
  • Those who are shielding can meet outside with people from another household – but should not go into another person’s house or share food with them.

There are no other changes being made to the advice for people who are shielding at this stage. People who are shielding should continue to follow all the other advice previously given. They should not go shopping or attend work outside of home. They should continue to have food and medicine delivered to them.

Information is being updated regularly, and we would encourage all our residents to keep up to date with the latest advice and guidance to help keep one another safe and well. You can find this from the following websites:

The Council is working closely with partners to focus on its priorities and to continue to look after our most vulnerable residents & deliver critical services.

Any disruption to Council Services as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be updated on this page as necessary and also on our social media accounts.

Please note that our Council buildings are now closed to the public. We will inform you when this changes.

Last Updated 11.31pm | 02.06.20

Social Media

Our social media accounts to follow are:

  • Facebook – @blaenaugwentcbc
  • Twitter -  @BlaenauGwentCBC

Supporting our Community

Getting advice from Citizens Advice during coronavirus
To lower the risk to staff, volunteers and the people who come to us for help, we've closed our face to face services for the foreseeable future.

For general advice
Visit our website, citizensadvice.org.uk where you can also chat to an adviser online.

For advice on the phone you can call:

Adviceline Gwent 0300 330 2117 or Advicelink Cymru 03444 77 20 20
Textphone: 03444 111 445

For help claiming Universal Credit:
Phone: 0800 144 8 444

Marriage and Civil Partnership

The Welsh Parliament has published its own recovery document https://gov.wales/unlocking-our-society-and-economy-continuing-conversation.

This document uses a traffic light system. Within the “relaxing and special occasions” category, it states that “weddings and other events with limited capacity and physical distancing” are in the amber section.

We do not know when we will move into the amber section and when we do, we do not know:

  • The Locations where ceremonies will be permitted
  • How many guests this will include
  • If there will be any other restrictions or conditions
  • When we will be able to take legal Notices of Marriage

We are not as yet able to provide advice on any of these aspects until we receive further information from The Welsh Government. We sincerely apologise for the uncertainty and we will update our webpage as soon as we have further information.

Last Updated 12.22pm | 03.06.2020

Public Access to Council Buildings

All Council buildings are 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.

Closure of Leisure Businesses, Footpaths and Access Land

Blaenau Gwent CBC Public Rights of Way network remains open for the public to use. This will remain under review and may change if areas are identified where groups of people are congregating and actively ignoring measures set out by the Government.

We ask that all members of the public follow the requirements for social distancing and utilise their local routes rather then travel to the countryside unnecessarily. Many footpaths and bridleways cross private land, working farms and in some cases are close to private homes. Please keep to the paths, keep your distance from landowners and continue to follow the restrictions and measures which are in place to protect you and others. 

All path closure notices will be published online and notices posted on site under The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Closure of Leisure Businesses, Footpaths and Access Land) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

Beaufort Common in Ebbw Vale is closed.

If you still require further clarity on the information provided please call Chris Engel, Team Manager Natural Environment, on 01495 355545 or 07866856118.

Last updated 12.32 | 21.04.20

Parks and Open Spaces

Some parks in Blaenau Gwent will be re-opening on Wednesday, 3rd June 2020. All children's play areas will remain closed.

For the latest on parks and fishing in Blaenau Gwent please go to - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/story/news/update-on-parks-fishing-in-blaenau-gwent/

Social Distancing rules remain in place.               

Beaufort Common in Ebbw Vale is closed to the public.

Last Updated 17.00pm | 29.05.20

 

 

Leisure Services ( information from Aneurin Leisure Trust)

Aneurin Leisure Trust Closures

All Aneurin Leisure Trust managed sites are currently closed.

This includes:

  • Sports Centres
  • Adult Education Centres
  • Libraries
  • Bryn Bach Park Visitor Centre & Golf Course
  • Bedwellty House

Direct debit membership and swim school payments have been frozen.

Libraries

Aneurin Leisure Trust are working closely with Blaenau Gwent CBC to finalise the details of the reopening of libraries in the county.  Our priority is to make sure that we have the requisite procedures in place to ensure the safety of members and staff. 

Phill Sykes, operations director for Aneurin Leisure Trust said:

"We fully recognise the importance of libraries to our community and are working hard to make sure that all of our libraries are as safe as possible to reopen during the pandemic.  We are continuing to welcome new members and to direct all members to the Borrowbox service so that they have access to books whilst our physical sites are closed.

Last Updated 14.00 | 01.06.2020

Business Advice

Important Information for Businesses

Criteria for Economic Resilience Fund Revealed

The next phase of Welsh Government’s new £500m Economic Resilience Fund will go live for applications on April 17. It will be targeted at microbusinesses, SMEs and large businesses with critical social or economic importance to Wales.

The criteria to be satisfied by businesses or organisations applying for this grant include; demonstration of a significant reduction in turnover, VAT registration, being an employer in Wales and attempting to trade out of the crisis.

The full criteria can be seen here and you can find out if you are eligible by using the Business Support Eligibility Checker now. It is important to do this as it will give you time to prepare ahead of the opening of the application process. Check now and apply as soon as possible, as the fund will be made available on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Please note this funding will not be available to any business who has already qualified for business rate relief support, or any other form of Welsh Government Covid-19 related non-repayable funding.

Last Updated 1.09pm | 16.04.2020

Advice for Businesses in Blaenau Gwent

New rules to protect workers came into force on Tues 7 April. businesses will have to take all reasonable measures to ensure the 2m rule is maintained between people on their premises whenever work is being carried out. Updated details can be found here

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 introduced the requirement for certain businesses to close. Closure of the businesses lasts until a further direction is given by the Welsh Ministers allowing them to re-open.

Businesses and premises that breach the Regulations will be subject to fixed penalty notices incurring immediate financial penalties, prohibition notices forcing them to close, and potentially unlimited fines.

Help with Business Rates

Further information about the support we can offer to companies in Blaenau Gwent can be found here under the Business pages of our website.https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/business/advice-for-business-covid-19/

For any further detailed advice please visit the Blaenau Gwent Business Hub website.

Useful Links

Last updated 8.48am| 24.04.2020

Waste and Recycling

Kerbside waste & recycling services are continuing as normal. This includes green waste collections. Bulky Waste collections have resumed. 

Local Recycling Centre

The Council’s New Vale Household Waste Recycling Centre located on Waun-y-Pound Industrial Estate, Ebbw Vale is due to open on Tuesday, 26th May 2020. However you may visit by booked appointment only and must adhere to strict rules. For more information go to - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/story/news/new-vale-household-waste-and-recycling-centre-reopens-on-tuesday-26-may/

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.

New Commercial Recycling Service Roll Out Delayed

  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have no option but to delay the launch new trade recycling service
  • Customers will continue with the current co-mingled service using the same bins and bag arrangements
  • Customers who used the blue & clear recycling bags please continue to use these and call the service desk to arrange deliveries of more bags if you need more (01495 311556)
  • Billing will continue at the 2019/20 rates temporarily until we are able to launch the new service
  • Please go ahead and fill in the paperwork that you have received for the new service so that we are able to progress the 2020/21 service as quickly and efficiently as possible as soon as circumstances allow.


Funeral Attendance

Funeral Attendance Statement from Gwent Local Resilience Forum

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak and in line with government restrictions, it is necessary to limit the number of people in any public space and ensure necessary social distancing. These unprecedented circumstances mean that during times of bereavement and mourning, it is not possible to manage a safe and dignified funeral unless strict guidelines are followed and adhered to.

In light of current restrictions on people gathering, it is unfortunate but necessary to limit the number of people in attendance at a funeral.

With immediate effect, only the following people are authorised to attend a graveside funeral or funeral at a crematorium: 

- A maximum of ten (10) members of the immediate family of the deceased
- Minister or officiate for the ceremony/service
- Funeral director

This applies for any funerals, memorial services and gatherings at any cemetery within the five local authority areas of Gwent and the Gwent Crematorium.

This decision has not been taken lightly but is necessary for the safety, health and consideration of the local and wider community. It is essential to continue to follow this practice until further government advice is given.

Schools

Re-purposed hubs have been located within the largest towns throughout the county borough to provide childcare for the children of key workers. For more information and when and how to apply please go to our COVID-19 Latest Education Information webpage. Here you will find the latest information on the hubs and the arrangements for Free School Meals pupils.

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

For the Latest Important Information* - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/emergencies-crime-prevention/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-education-information/  

WG Update 03.06.2020 - Covid 19 Education, Childcare & Work Based Learning Update


Latest Welsh Government Information

WG Letter to Flying Start, Families First, Family Information and Childcare Services - (ENG) 08.04.20
WG Letter to Flying Start, Families First, Family Information and Childcare Services - (CYM) 08.04.20


Welsh Government is publishing regular updates and guidance and the latest information is below.

https://gov.wales/5-things-you-need-know-sending-your-children-school-or-childcare-coronavirus
https://gov.wales/written-statement-eligibility-ongoing-provision-children-who-are-vulnerable-or-whose-parents-are
https://gov.wales/how-schools-will-work-during-coronavirus-pandemic
https://gov.wales/coronavirus-and-childcare-provision
https://hwb.gov.wales/zones/online-safety/
https://gov.wales/coronavirus

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

Last Updated 8.07am| 04.06.2020

Early Years Services

Childcare Assistance Scheme

Parents doing jobs critical to our response to coronavirus will get FREE childcare during the pandemic.
The new scheme will cover children under five and vulnerable children, and is part of our effort to support our critical workers during this difficult time.

We are now open for applications. Please click on the following link to apply:
https://iweb.itouchvision.com/portal/f?p=customer:category_link:::::CUID,LANG:A2DDB6776AFCF1274938E05315A40B1A8C06EEEA,EN&P_LANG=en

For further information about the scheme, click on the following link: https://gov.wales/critical-workers-get-free-childcare

Last Updated:  3.50pm | 09.04.2020

Important information for Childcare settings / pre-school children/ parents and carers issued by Education Wales. Please follow the link for more information https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/health-wellbeing-social-care/support-for-children-families/education-and-childcare-coronavirus/ 

Childcare provision has been arranged at the Flying Start Garnlydan Hub for children aged 2 - 4 (and their siblings up to the age of 8) to support keyworker and vulnerable families. This is also available throughout the Easter break and we will accommodate bank holidays if needed. Flying Start childcare staff will run the provision so you can be assured that your child is in the best hands. The setting has been deep cleaned and will continue to be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis. Strict handwashing and hygiene policies are in place to minimise risks.

Please contact The Family Information Service (FIS) (08000 323339) for more information and to book a place.

 

 

Welsh Government - 5 Steps you need to know before sending your children to school or childcare (Coronavirus)

https://gov.wales/5-things-you-need-know-sending-your-children-school-or-childcare-coronavirus

Last Updated:  10.33am | 23.03.2020

Street Cleansing

Street cleansing services are currently suspended to allow the redeployment of staff into other services.

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 Monday 23rd March 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.
  • 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.


COVID-19 (Coronavirus) ‘Call To Action’ Volunteers Needed In Blaenau Gwent
 
GAVO are encouraging people who are not at risk themselves and are not experiencing any symptoms, to register to support individuals who are at risk and required to self-isolate, communities, groups, voluntary and Third Sector organisations, the NHS as well as other Public and Statutory services and wherever else the need may be.
 

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

Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

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/

HOUSING ADVICE CENTRE - BLAENAU GWENT 

https://www.blaenaugwenthomes.org.uk/LatestNews

In light of the current situation we have had to close the Housing Advice Centre. If you need any housing assistance, please contact the following numbers:

Housing Register

07971493453
07971314701

Homlessness 

07970176467
07870528250
07854368590

Cwmcrachen Site

07971493453 (Repairs)
07854367028 (Housing Management)

Disability Facilities Grants 

07846103921
07581533438

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 of births & deaths

During the current coronavirus outbreak, alternative arrangements have been made for registration services provided by Blaenau Gwent registrars.

Death registration will take priority.

In accordance with The Coronavirus Act 2020 we are now able to register a death over the telephone, provided  we have received the Medical Certificate from the Doctor - Please telephone 01495 353372 to make a telephone appointment to register.

Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister on the 23rd March 2020, all Weddings and Civil Partnerships are postponed pending further advice from The Welsh Government

If you have any urgent, marriage or civil partnership query please call 01495 353371 or email elaine.williams@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister on the 23rd March 2020, all Weddings and Civil Partnerships are postponed pending further advice from The Welsh Government.This means that some marriage and civil partnership registrations and ceremonies will have to be re-arranged.

Notices of marriage or civil partnership will not take place until after this current period of pandemic measures.

If you have any urgent, marriage or civil partnership query please call 01495 353371 or email elaine.williams@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Birth Certificate requests

If you were born in Blaenau Gwent and require a duplicate Birth Certificate urgently please telephone 01495 353378. If you were born in Abergavenny, please telephone 01873 735435

We are not registering births during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Parents are advised that they can now make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit prior to the birth being registered.

Last Updated 12.22pm | 03.06.2020

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/

Council Meetings

All committee meetings (Full Council, Executive Committee, Audit Committee and Scrutiny committees) are suspended until further notice.

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/