The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home.
Last night (23 March 2020) the government announced three new measures, effective immediately, to reduce the spread of the infection:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
The full guidance on the limited purposes for which people can leave their home is available online.
Southampton City Council had already closed its own libraries, community centres and cultural venues (SeaCity Museum, City Art Gallery, Tudor House & Garden) in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Today it has gone further:
- Play parks are closed
- Public toilets and takeaway services that were running in park cafes are closed
- The Household Waste & Recycling Centre at City Depot in Millbrook is closed
- Cash office and Gateway (on Guildhall Square) are closed
- The Civic Centre is closed to the public
Many of the council’s services are absolutely essential to the day to day running of the city. We have robust plans in place to ensure we can continue to pick up your bins and care for and safeguard adults and children. We are also rolling out plans to provide a support network for the most vulnerable people in Southampton. We are working with the voluntary sector and other partners and will be redeploying non-critical staff into roles that support the effort to help people through the epidemic. More detail on this will be announced soon.
In addition to the closures above, we will be implementing the following measures from today:
- Permit Parking Restrictions will not be enforced in Resident Parking Zones 1 – 18, 20, 22 & 23 (the other zones are non-residential). This will be reviewed on the 30 April 2020. Charges still apply to both on-street and off-street pay and display parking as well as within the barrier controlled car parks. Card payments (including contactless) can be made at all of these locations.
- The Itchen Bridge will be free to everyone and this will commence from 7pm on the 24 March 2020. The situation will be reviewed in 3 weeks’ time.
- Permit parking restrictions will be temporarily lifted in Hollybrook Cemetery to facilitate parking for the additional NHS resources. This only applies to the marked bays within the cemetery. Vehicles should not be left on the “No Waiting” restrictions within the cemetery as this space will be required for cemetery operations such as funerals. This will be reviewed on the 30 April 2020
- Non-urgent housing repairs will cease but we will maintain our emergency repair services
- Marriage and civil partnership ceremonies are postponed
- We are continuing to allow people to enter the Bugle Street Office one at a time for registrations of births and deaths
The number of mourners allowed at the Crematorium has been reduced and ceremonies will only take place in East Chapel. Webcasts are available for cremation services free of charge for those who are unable to attend ceremonies or who would prefer to make use of this option
- School crossing patrols will cease due to limited numbers of children attending schools
The government has announced they will be keeping the situation under review. We will be following national developments closely and reviewing when services can resume and locations reopen.
We will be providing daily updates on all changes to our services in the city on our dedicated coronavirus web page
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, commented:
“We all need to do everything we can to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Which is why we’re supporting the government decision to restrict movement and social interaction by closing our buildings and stopping non-essential services.
“Rest assured our essential public services will continue and our priority remains looking after the most vulnerable.
I’d urge all our residents to adhere to the lockdown and follow Government’s advice. Southampton has faced many challenges in the past. But we’ve always come out the other side stronger by working together and looking out for each other. This time will be no different.”