As the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic continues, Bridgend County Borough Council is continuing to focus its resources on providing essential services and protecting vulnerable residents. The following information provides a summary of latest developments.
Team undertaking contact tracing training
Bridgend County Borough Council has set up a team to undertake contact tracing in the local area as part of Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy. The team which consists of existing local authority staff are undergoing training in preparation for the programme’s launch in June. Staff are working alongside colleagues from the other local authorities in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Public Health Wales and Welsh Government to deliver the programme. Bridgend County Borough Council, via the Shared Regulatory Services (SRS), is also contributing to the regional team and a small pilot has started this week.
Bank holiday weekend
The council is urging residents to stay local this bank holiday weekend and avoid trips to the seaside or other well-known beauty spots to prevent the risk of exposure to Covid-19 and help protect the NHS. Please also remember that the RNLI lifeguards are not patrolling beaches in Bridgend county borough at the moment so please take extra care and don’t put your life in danger or anyone else’s in these challenging times.
Increased fines for repeated breaches of lockdown rules
Earlier this week, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the maximum fine for repeated breaches of the coronavirus lockdown rules in Wales would rise from £120 to £1,920. The increased fines have been introduced ahead of the bank holiday weekend and they follow a request from the four police forces in Wales and the Police and Crime Commissioners for
increased penalties to help deter people from repeatedly breaching the stay-at-home regulations. The new structure which comes into force today (Friday) sees the fines double for every offence – increasing from £60 to £120 for a first offence and rising up to £1,920 for the sixth offence.
Recycling and waste collections
There won’t be any recycling and waste collections on Monday, May 25 due to the Bank Holiday, so collections will be one day later than usual for the rest of next week up until Saturday, May 30.
Recycling centres to reopen next week
Community recycling centres at Tythegston, Maesteg and Brynmenyn will reopen for essential visits only on Tuesday 26 May 2020. A short video is available at the council’s Facebook page to help explain the temporary measures that will be in place at the recycling centres.
The sites, which had to close as part of all-Wales efforts to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, will be open between 8.30am-7pm during the week, and 8.30am-5pm at weekends. They will be available only to deal with urgent waste which cannot wait until lockdown is over.
Number plate system in place at recycling centres
To help cut down on waiting times and manage the number of vehicles using the recycling centres, an odds-and-even car number plate system is being put in place following successful trials in other parts of the UK. If the last number of a vehicle number plate is even – i.e. 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8 – that vehicle will be granted access on Wednesday 27, Friday 29 and Sunday 31 May, and Tuesday 2, Thursday 4 and Saturday 6 June. This will apply to plates reading e.g. VH92 GHD or RECYL8 where the last numbers - ‘2’ and ‘8’ – are both even.
If the last number of the vehicle number plate is odd – i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 – then that vehicle will be allowed to enter a site on Tuesday 26, Thursday 28 and Saturday 30 May, and Monday 1 June, Wednesday 3 June, Friday 5 June and Sunday 7 June.
Traffic management in place at recycling centres
Traffic management will be in place at community recycling centres once they are open to ensure people can access the sites safely. At Tythegston, access will only be available to vehicles travelling in from the A48 – there will be no site access from the A4106 Bridgend Road.
At Brynmenyn, a diversion will direct vehicles to approach the site on George Thomas Avenue by driving and queuing along St Theodore’s Way and Chilcott Avenue. Access to the site at Maesteg will be normal with no further changes necessary.
At each site, only cars will be allowed access. Until further notice, vans, trailers and 4x4 crew cab vehicles will not be allowed in, and the permit scheme will not be available.
New timetable and maximum capacity on First Cymru buses
First Cymru has announced its new timetable from Monday, June 1, increasing the frequency of journeys, as well as reinstating some services such as the Cefn Glas Circular (Service No. 68/69). As part of the new timetable, the No. 70 service from Cymmer to Bridgend will be running every half an hour.
From Monday, June 1, First Cymru will also be introducing a maximum capacity of 25 percent on their vehicles in order to maintain social distancing guidelines. It means a First Cymru bus which has a seating capacity of 39 will only carry a maximum of 10 passengers. When the service is 25 percent full, the destination blind on the front of the vehicle will show ‘full’ or ‘out of service’ until a passenger disembarks.
Testing for Covid-19
Wales has now joined the UK-wide home testing scheme which allows anyone over the age of five to be tested if they are experiencing symptoms. This decision coincides with Wales joining a UK government-run testing website. Under these changes, members of the public can request a home testing kit. You can ask for a home test kit here. Home testing kits involve a combined throat and nose swab. To be tested you must have symptoms of Covid-19 which include: Fever (37.8 degrees or higher); A new or continuous cough; Loss of sense of taste or smell.
It is important that symptomatic staff members within the council, and their household members, still request a test via the existing arrangements in place.
Over £27.2m business support
Over £27.2m has now been issued in business grants processed by Bridgend County Borough Council. With 2,187 successful applications to date, the support is available for businesses that are eligible for small business rates relief in Wales and who occupy premises with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
It also includes those who fall under small business rates relief but who do not currently pay business rates, and retail, leisure or hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £12,001 to £51,000. Applications can be made by completing the online form.
Contacting the council
The Customer Service Centre at the Civic Offices in Angel Street, Bridgend remains closed to the public. Residents are asked to use the online My Account and Oggie webchat facilities, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01656 643643.