Posted: Fri 20th Mar 2020

How coronavirus is affecting council business and services in Gwynedd

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 20th, 2020

Council meetings will be cut down to a bare minimum as decision makers in Gwynedd try to keep key services operating during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Prioritising essential departments such as social services and benefits payments, Gwynedd Council says that some lesser priority services may be suspended over the coming weeks as it targets supporting the most vulnerable residents while taking into account potential staff shortages.

Among the measures already undertaken are the closure of Penygroes, Criccieth and Barmouth libraries as well as Bangor’s Storiel centre and Pwllheli’s Neuadd Dwyfor, with the Lloyd George Museum also not planning to open during Easter as was planned.

Recycling crews have also been instructed not to empty the top box/paper box on their trolley boxes if any tissue is present, for safety reasons, urging residents to place such tissues in bags and into the refuse bins.

Council business will also be impacted over the coming weeks, with most meetings to be cancelled for an indetermined period.

This, in order to ensure that social distancing is adhered to, means that any meetings or committees that are not needed to take “key decisions relating to the authority’s business continuity” will be postponed for the time being.

Meetings already cancelled include a planned education and economy scrutiny committee meeting in Caernarfon on Thursday, as well as Friday’s joint planning policy committee with Anglesey Council.

A statement on behalf of Gwynedd Council’s leader and chief executive, noted: “We provide a number of services to the people of Gwynedd, and are doing our best to continue to do so. However, as sickness develops amongst staff, and as people self-isolate, this will become difficult.

“We will continue to provide essential services, such as caring for vulnerable people, ensuring the safety of children and adults, and paying benefits. However, to enable us to this we must suspend some services that are not such a high priority for the time being.

“The Council offices continue to be open for residents that need to contact us, but, clearly it would be better to contact us online or over the phone whenever possible.

“We appreciate that this is a difficult time that is causing real concern for everyone, but we are confident that Gwynedd’s residents will pay attention to and follow the national advice, and contribute towards those community steps needed to protect our most vulnerable people.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter

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