Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest information

Coronavirus regulations: Latest Update

On Friday, 31st July The First Minister of Wales announced a further easing of lockdown in Wales. A series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next 3 weeks:

From 3 August:

  • The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls
  • Licensed wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15
  • The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2 metres distance from each other or from adults. This reflects the scientific evidence, which shows the risk of transmission is lower among this age group. However, it is very important older children and young adults continue to follow social distancing and the other measures to keep them safe


If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

  • Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open
  • Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open


The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people  who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.

We will communicate the latest on Council services in relation to the changes via our website and social media channels.

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. 

People who test positive will be phoned by the Contact Tracing Service and asked to share details of people they have been in close contact with, for example at home or at work.

These ‘contacts’ will then be followed up and given advice on what they should do.

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. In Gwent the drive through testing hub is Rodney Parade Stadium, Newport. 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 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

Provide all information possible about who you have recently been in contact with. All information given is confidential and will be held securely. It won’t be shared with your employers or any of your contacts
Follow the self-isolation and infection control advice given by the advisor

  • Let your identified ‘close contacts’ know they will receive a call from the Gwent Contact Tracing Service
  • Everybody who is tested at Rodney Parade will be provided with an information leaflet explaining the contact tracing process.

Social Media

Our social media accounts to follow are:

  • Facebook – @blaenaugwentcbc
  • Twitter -  @BlaenauGwentCBC

Supporting our Communities

For more information about how we are supporting the community and to find out what help and advice is available 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

We are in the process of a phased re-opening of children's play areas - and many are now open for use. Social Distancing advice remains in place in all parks and open spaces and there is signage at all parks advising families of safe use at this time.

Leisure Services (information from Aneurin Leisure Trust)

Following the Welsh Government's latest update on the reopening of indoor leisure facilities from August 10th, the Aneurin Leisure Trust, which manages sports centres on behalf of Blaenau Gwent Council, is working to make all facilities as safe as possible for customers and staff. The centres will be re-opening on a phased basis with more details available in the coming days.

In anticipation of customer queries sports centres will be staffed by team members for phone enquiries during the following times:

• Ebbw Vale Sport Centre: Monday - Friday, 9am to 3.30pm
• Abertillery Sport Centre: Monday - Friday, 9am to 3.30pm
• Tredegar Sport Centre: Monday - Friday, 9.30am to 12noon

Bedwellty House Café & Parc Bryn Bach Visitor Centre are open for takeaways only.

The golf course at Parc Bryn Bach is now open.

Direct debit membership and swim school payments have been frozen.

Blaenau Gwent Libraries

As part of a phased approach to restarting Library Services, from Wednesday, 22nd July a new Call & Collect Service will operate from safe collection points in the foyers of Ebbw Vale and Abertillery Libraries. A contactless home delivery option will be available to those who can’t collect.

Customers are asked to contact the Library Service to pre-arrange either collection or a contactless doorstep delivery. The service is initially available Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. Please contact:

• Ebbw Vale 01495 355055
• Abertillery 01495 355646
• E-mail blaenaugwentlibraries@aneurinlesiure.org.uk

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

Business Advice

Advice for Businesses in Blaenau Gwent

All non-essential premises were required to close. Subsequent amendments have been made to the Regulations which introduced further controls. We have now entered the period where the requirements are again being reviewed in order to ease us out of lockdown. It is important that as a business you are clear when you are permitted to reopen and that you do not reopen until this time. In the meantime there are steps that you can take to prepare your business for reopening and we have produced guidance and identified useful links to information which might assist you with your preparations. For more information please visit the Advice of Business covid-19 page. https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/business/advice-for-business-covid-19/


The Covid-19 Non-Domestic Rates Grant Schemes

Covid-19 Non-Domestic Rates Grants scheme closed at 5pm on 30th June 2020. However, any applications submitted prior to this date will still be considered.

Last updated 5.00pm| 30.06.2020

Important Information for Businesses

Economic Resilience Fund (ERF): Criteria and Application For The Next Phase Of The Fund

Businesses can now find out if they are eligible to apply for financial support from the next phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF).

The next phase of the fund will enable businesses to access a further £100 million of financial support.
It is being targeted at microbusinesses, SMEs and large businesses of critical economic importance, which have yet to receive financial assistance from the ERF.

For further information, click on the following link:
https://gov.wales/economic-resilience-fund-find-out-if-your-business-eligible-support-next-phase

To check if you are eligible for the COVID-19 Economic Resilience Fund click on the following link:
https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/

Last Updated: 11.30 am |10.06.20

Useful Links

Last updated 11.20am| 30.06.2020

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, is open for pre-booked appointments only. 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

The Gwent Local Resilience Forum, including the five Gwent councils, has agreed to increase the number of mourners permitted to attend funerals at cemeteries within the five local authority areas of Gwent to 30. This will come into effect on 3rd August, 2020.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and in line with government restrictions, it is still necessary to limit the number of people in any public space and ensure necessary social distancing. Therefore, the number of mourners permitted to attend cremations at the Gwent Crematorium will remain at 10.

Read more - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/story/news/burial-attendance-update-permitted-numbers-of-mourners/

Schools

We're working with our schools for a full return to Education in September. For the latest information on this please go to our COVID-19 Latest Education Information webpage which is updated with the latest news as necessary. Here you will also find the latest information on 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

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

WG Update 31.07.2020 - 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

Last Updated 10.08am |  03.08.2020

 

 

Early Years Services

Childcare Assistance Scheme

Funded childcare (under 5 years & vulnerable children) for key workers will continue during the summer period until the end of August, where it has already been approved. No new applications are being accepted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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 Services

Birth Registrations and Notices of Marriage can be taken in Blaenau Gwent again from Monday, 29th June 2020.

This is on a strict appointment only basis, and adhering to all social distancing measures in place for safety of staff and public.

For more information about the latest changes go to – https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/story/news/some-registrar-services-resume-in-gwent/

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.

We are following the advice and guidance from Welsh Government on social distancing and public behaviour. This means the content and format of marriage and civil partnership ceremonies has been reviewed and we have introduced restrictions on the number of people permitted in our ceremony rooms at any one time. 

Social distancing guidance will be followed ensuring that officers and visitors are kept safe and to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

For more information go to - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/story/news/marriage-and-civil-partnership-update/

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/