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The not for profit,
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from Dorchester, covering central-southern Dorset

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Latest coronavirus (COVID-19) news and information 20/03

Dorset Council has published the following coronavirus information

We want to reassure you that council officers are working hard to ensure we keep on top of the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation.

As well as signing up to our e-newsletters, please keep an eye on the Coronavirus page on our website. You can also sign up for alerts to get updates from the government on coronavirus.

Don't forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

School closures

Following the announcement from the Prime Minister all schools in the UK are now shut from today, Friday 20 March, until further notice.

The government is asking parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. This is vital to our efforts to protect our vulnerable people.

This means there will be school provision for children:

  • of key workers
  • who have a social worker
  • who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Many parents classified as key workers may be able to ensure their child is kept at home, and every child who can be safely cared for at home should be

Our schools and families web page will be updated to contain working-from-home materials, approved by our educational psychology service

Free school meals

We're working to make sure we're able to provide a meal for all children who would normally receive a free school meal. We'll give details on how this will be provided as soon as we can, please keep checking our web pages.
School transport

We are working closely with our school transport providers to have transport in place for Monday 23 March when we'll have a better idea of the potential demand. Again, we'll share details as soon as we have them.

Leisure centres and cafes to close

In line with the latest government advice, we are closing all cafes and leisure centres operated by Dorset Council from tomorrow, Saturday 21 March, and we are asking all organisations which operate leisure centres in Dorset to do so too.

Helping local communities

We want to say a huge thank you to residents, volunteer groups and other organisations for a brilliant response to this unprecedented situation.We know many people in our communities want to help and we want to harness that goodwill. We have put together information and advice for individuals and groups who want to help others in their community.

If you want to help but are not sure where to start, complete this form and someone will be in touch.

Thank you again for everyone's support!

Waste and recycling

Bin collections are one of our most important services, but with current health measures, there may be challenges in maintaining waste service levels as some of our collection crew start to self-isolate and follow social-distancing advice.

We have a robust business continuity plan in place to cope with reduced staffing levels and ensure every household still gets their waste collected.

See full details of the measures (as at Friday 20 March), and information about garden waste, business waste and household recycling centres.

Keep up to date with the latest information on waste collection services.

Bus pass restrictions lifted

We are suspending the 9.30am restriction on older person's and disabled person's bus passes to enable older and vulnerable residents to take advantage of dedicated shopping times offered by some supermarkets.

However, wherever possible older people and vulnerable adults should be observing social distancing.

Libraries

After careful consideration, we have decided to temporarily close all Dorset Council libraries from the end of Friday 20 March, until further notice.

This is based on the current advice from government as libraries are public places which have increased social contact.

Don't worry about returning items late during this closure period as any charges will be cleared when the items are returned.

You can continue to access our digital resources, e-books, audiobooks and magazines online.

Support for businesses and employers

We are communicating directly with businesses through our e-newsletters and have produced a suite of information about business rate relief for business owners.

Be assured, we are also lobbying our MPs to make sure we get information and guidance more quickly for Dorset.

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