The new national lockdown means that many Ipswich Borough Council services are now closed.
Previous Tier 4 restrictions meant that most of our public buildings were already shut. This includes all sports centres and swimming pools, the Museum and Christchurch Mansion and the Town Hall.
The new national restrictions have added outdoor gyms, tennis courts and outdoor table tennis tables.
Key services such as car parks, the Cemeteries and Crematorium, parks and play areas and the public toilets at Major’s Corner remain open.
I am particularly glad that we can keep our amazing parks open, including toilets and the café at Christchurch Mansion for takeaways. We are blessed with an outstanding range of parks in Ipswich and I know that they have been an absolute lifeline for many people during the various lockdowns, especially those without gardens.
Parks are probably the council service that I have had most feedback on during the pandemic and it has been almost universally positive. Our thanks must go to the Council’s parks team who have kept them so well maintained and safe for us to enjoy.
As during the first lockdown, our top priority is to keep essential services going such as rubbish collections, benefits payments, the HEARS community alarm and responder service and temporary accommodation for homeless families.
With infection rates continuing to rise it is still possible that Council services could be affected due to staff having to self-isolate, such as when brown bin collections were paused in the first lockdown. However, we have taken every precaution to make our working practices “Covid-Secure” to avoid transmission within the workplace and have contingency plans in place to redeploy staff between departments if necessary.
At the time of writing there is no threat to the delivery of Council services due to Corona-related staff shortages.
I will end with the usual plea for us all to follow the new lockdown rules.
The vaccine has started to be rolled out in Suffolk which should gradually lead to infections falling and enable us to get out of the current situation.
Until then, we all need to play our part to stop infections, keep our loved ones safe and protect the NHS.