COVID-19 – Please bear with us during these challenging times

We are truly living in unprecedented and challenging times. Our everyday lives have been turned upside down as we stay indoors and only venture out when completely necessary.
When we do, we’re often queueing for food and keeping our distance from each other - two metres in fact, or just over six feet. These are actions that none of us, or at least the vast majority, are used too but which must be taken on board.

Covid-19 is also having a major impact on the services we provide, and which are quite rightly taken for granted, by our residents and businesses. 

Our waste and recycling service

We realise we’re behind with collections. But following Government guidance, a large number of our staff are self-isolating while others have been advised to work from home. 
In Cityclean alone, we’re down around 100 staff – about half – but are in the process of recruiting more drivers and operatives to get the waste and recycling service back to as normal as possible.
We’re prioritising rubbish collections over recycling as there is a more urgent need to collect this type of waste. We’re also introducing 122 extra bins throughout the city, at 44 of our recycling points.
I realise the situation isn’t as we’d like it to be, but we’re asking our residents to be as patient as possible under the circumstances. 

Our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS)

People have been asking why we closed these sites, but there are very good reasons for this. 
We had initially hoped to keep them open for people to take their extra rubbish and recycling, but as many people are now working from home, much of the waste was from DIY, builders or people clearing out their lofts or garages. The sites soon became overwhelmed.
We're not alone in this decision. Both East and West Sussex County Councils have also closed their site for the same reasons.

For instance at the Hove site, the queues were backed up onto the Old Shoreham Road and this made it impossible to turn right into the site from the west. The whole entrance to the site had become unmanageable and dangerous. 

Once inside the sites, it was virtually impossible to take proper measures to self-distance from other users, so the danger of the virus spreading had to be stopped.
We are looking at ways of reopening them, including limiting the number of people on site at any one time, and further ensuring public safety and proper self-distancing.

Our City’s parks and open spaces

I give my whole-hearted support to the Prime Minister's decision on Monday to close all playgrounds and skate parks. And whilst it’s a shame to have to do this, it’s critical we do what we can, stay at home and practice social distancing.

As a grandmother, I know and understand the challenges families face in keeping their young ones occupied during the current lockdown. But we have to do this, for their safety and the safety of everyone.

We’ve already put up signs reminding people the facilities are closed, but some have ignored the signs and also the advice. 

The police, who are regularly patrolling the areas, have reported to me that some of the signs are being torn down and I am shocked and disappointed at this terrible behaviour.

The actions of these people are putting lives at risk. The signs will be replaced as soon as possible, but please respect the government’s guidance and do not use these playgrounds and skate parks until further notice.     

We hope people will accept that these measures are in place to prevent the virus spreading and to save lives.

Again, I’m asking for patience and for people to do the right thing. The only way we, as a nation, will beat the virus is to stop its spread, and playgrounds and skate parks could easily be breeding grounds. 

Our parks and open spaces remain open, so we can still enjoy some fresh air and the good weather. This allows us to exercise once a day as advised by the government. This should be alone or with members of your household.

My Promise

I know how frustrating it is when bins aren’t emptied and collections are missed. I know too the hardship our residents are facing - emotionally, mentally and financially.
But I promise the council is doing all it can to keep our services running as well as possible, and we’re helping and advising in every area we can, from council tax to parking tickets, homelessness to food banks, health issues to helping and supporting the elderly and vulnerable.
These are unprecedented times for the whole country, and every local authority. 
We ask you, and all of our residents, to help us get through this crisis, to bear with us and be as patient and considerate as possible.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee