VALE council leader Neil Moore has outlined what the council is now doing in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Cllr Neil Moore acknowledged that it is a testing time for everyone and the pandemic has presented the authority with exceptional challenges as it bids to deliver key services in extremely difficult circumstances.

Cllr Moore said: “In the face of that adversity, our dedicated staff are doing their utmost to maintain the most vital services on which residents rely.

“These efforts are concentrating on our responsibility to the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“We have taken significant steps to protect these people.”

Cllr Moore said the authority had today (March 20) provided guidance to all Vale schools on how to operate from Monday, March 23.

He said: “In the absence of any information from Welsh Government on how they define key workers, we have advised schools to follow the UK Government advice.

“All schools in the Vale are today working hard to put arrangements in place to allow the children of key workers, those that are vulnerable and those that currently qualify for free school meals to attend on Monday.

“Our schools will be under significant pressure to provide a safe place for the children of key workers so that their parents can work to keep us all safe.

“Please do not send your children to school unless you really need to.

“Any child eligible for free school meals that is not attending school will be able to collect a free meal during the course of the day, by arrangement with the school.”

He said letters had been sent to residential care service users, their families and a host of others for which we have a social care responsibility reassuring them that their service needs are being prioritised.

“The council’s corporate management team is working around the clock with our staff to take actions which will ensure provision in such crucial areas continues despite other pressures,” he said.

“Further services that have also been deemed critical and will receive similar prioritisation include: sheltered housing, complex needs assessments, child protection and work to tackle homelessness.

“We are in the process of allocating additional resources to high priority services by training and redeploying staff from other areas of the organisation and have been heartened by the offers of help from business and our community.

“Elsewhere, in order to continue collecting recycling, food and black bag waste as normal, we are temporarily suspending the collection of green waste.

“We encourage residents to continue to recycle as much as possible, but will allow up to four black bags per household each fortnight.

“We are also suspending any action in relation to the non-payment of council tax and waving the normal £60 charge for the installation of telecare, a 24-hour alarm and monitoring service for the elderly and vulnerable.

“Work is under way to offer up to date advice and support for businesses, while we are providing regular updates on matters relating to coronavirus on our website and through social media channels.”

He added: “I would ask for your understanding at this difficult time and to please access services online wherever possible.

“Our staff are doing all they can to keep services running in as normal a way as possible during this unprecedented situation.

“I know they will do their very best to provide the support Vale of Glamorgan residents require.”