Covid-19 update from Bridgend County Borough – 22 June (2)

Free car parking for town centres

Bridgend County Borough Council has confirmed that council-maintained town centre car parks will be free to use between now and the end of July. The concession, which follows the recent update from Welsh Government enabling non-essential shops to reopen, is being provided as part of the council’s overall support for local businesses. In Bridgend town centre, it is available at the Rhiw and Brackla Street multi storeys as well as the open air car park behind Wilkinsons. In Porthcawl, it will be available at the Hilsboro and John Street car parks. The car park at Salt Lake will remain temporarily closed until further notice. The free car parking concession does not include Rest Bay car park, which is now open once more with pay-and-display machines in use. The Rest Bay boardwalk has also been opened, while free parking continues to be available at Pencoed and Maesteg.

Support for shops to reopen

Non-essential retail businesses are being reminded that a new online resource and free training are available to help them reopen with social distancing and measures to protect staff and customers in place. The online resource provides details on frequently asked questions such as how businesses can change the layout of their premises to help protect staff and customers, whether facemasks need to be worn, what changes shoppers can expect to see, why contactless payment should be encouraged and more. It will be regularly updated as the situation develops further and more national guidance emerges.

Lifeguard service resumes

Seasonal RNLI lifeguard patrols at Rest Bay have resumed, with Coney Beach and Sandy Bay set to follow on 4 July. The cover will also be available at Trecco Bay from 4 July subject to latest Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance. The RNLI patrols are jointly funded by Bridgend County Borough Council, Porthcawl Town Council and Parkdean Resorts, with the RNLI covering additional costs through their national and local fundraising activities. Council staff will also provide further beach patrol duties and put additional measures in place.

Coastwatch volunteers in place

A dedicated team of National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) volunteers are also helping to keep people safe. Based at Porthcawl Harbour, the volunteers monitor all vessel movements in the Bristol Channel, and will be working closely with the council and the RNLI to look after local beaches. To support them in doing this, the council has installed two state-of-the-art cameras to help the NCI spot anyone in distress at sea or along the water’s edge, making it easier and faster to report incidents to the coastguard and emergency services.

Catch-up sessions and emergency childcare

Local schools will close for the 2020 summer break on Friday 17 July. In order to ensure appropriate supervision and to prioritise the safety and well-being of pupils the voluntary ‘Check In, Catch Up and Prepare’ sessions will be provided within a three-week timetable, with each participating pupil receiving two full days’ support. Alternative arrangements will be made for full-time nursery pupils who have been offered places for September 2020 – schools are in the process of contacting parents directly with further details about this and the sessions.

Emergency childcare

Schools will provide emergency childcare for the children of eligible key workers between 8.30am – 4.30pm from 22 June – 17 July. Families will need to make alternative childcare arrangements to cover 20 July – 31 August as the emergency childcare will not be available during the summer break.

Face mask reminder

People in Wales are being asked to wear three-layer face coverings on public transport and in other situations where social distancing is not possible. While not compulsory, the new advice is aimed at people who are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus. Cotton masks should be used instead of silk or nylon, and should not be worn for more than four hours. Anyone wearing a covering should wash their hands and the mask after use. Unless the mask can be washed between journeys, anyone using a train or bus twice a day should wear a different mask for each trip.

Recycling centres and two-bag waste

From today, vans, trailers and the permit system will all be back in use at community recycling centres. Please note that all materials must be sorted before entering a recycling centre, and only one person is allowed to get out of the vehicle to dispose of the waste. Households are also reminded that the two-bag limit on waste must be strictly observed from today onwards, and that limited places are available for the relaunched garden waste service.

Social care opportunities

More people are being sought to support the county borough’s most vulnerable residents. A number of employment opportunities are available, and anyone who has previously worked in social care or who has transferable skills is invited to apply. A fast-tracked application process and rapid refresher training course are available. To apply or find out more, visit the job pages at the council’s website.