Many of you will have watched and read reports about coronavirus, and the emerging risks as a result. It’s clear that this pandemic is a fast moving situation that is now beginning to affect all of our lives, and we all need to take appropriate steps to protect our health and our communities

We recognise that Derby City Council is a key player in the local response to coronavirus, as community leaders, a public health authority, education provider, employer, corporate parent and the provider of other key public services. However as an employer, we are also experiencing the impacts of coronavirus, which is reducing our capacity to continue to operate at normal levels.

This means that as a Council we will need to prioritise our response, so that we remain focussed on delivering life-saving services to those most in need of our support, such as the elderly and vulnerable, and determine what we need to do to keep those running.

We’re looking to ensure those people get the help they need through our existing services, and we’re working with the voluntary sector to encourage local people and communities to look out for each other and offer support where they can.

We also know that many of our local businesses are suffering, and we welcome the support of Government in its announcements about hardship funding as a result of the coronavirus situation. We’re working with the Central Government, Local Government Association and software suppliers to make sure we can pass these onto our businesses and communities as soon as possible, and will be issuing more information, and a dedicated webpage to provide the most up to date information available.

People across the country are being asked to avoid gatherings and public places, which will have a major impact on our leisure centres, libraries, council offices and major venues as well as planned events over the coming weeks. We will be updating our website daily with the status of our services.

The most notable differences to our services right now are changes to our refuse collections, and – in line with the Government guidance – we are planning to close our leisure centres and some of our libraries for a temporary period. We need to determine the best and safest way to do this, and will update customers with more information about this as soon as we can.

We do however intend to keep our parks and open spaces available for the public to use, to maintain personal physical health and mental wellbeing.

These decisions are not being taken lightly, and have only been taken in accordance with the national advice from the Government, and unfortunately it will mean disruption to our services longer term. We recognise this may be challenging for our residents and businesses, but we trust that the people of Derby will understand this is absolutely the right thing to do, during these unprecedented times. This will allow us to focus on safeguarding the most vulnerable members of our communities, and we are working with Community Action Derby to develop plans to help co-ordinate local help and support.