Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council
For all of us who live and work in the borough, it has been a massively challenging couple of months. And as the government moves out of strict national rules, with more local responsibility for keeping safe, we know there will be a need for clear information.
To help ensure we share consistent local public health information with as many residents as possible, we will be keeping you informed each week through our COVID-19 e-newsletter.
We will use it to explain public health advice for staying safe at our parks and getting around the borough, as well as the preparations taking place in our schools and early years settings ahead of any phased reopening.
The government has set an earliest possible return date of 1 June for children in an early years setting, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 and will announce on 28 May whether this can go ahead. However, we must be confident that this can be done in a safe way, because the health and safety of children and staff remains our first priority during this period.
Whether or not schools and early years providers open more widely from 1 June onwards, they will continue to offer places for vulnerable children and those of key workers.
To illustrate some of the changes that are taking place, last week we partially re-opened Garth Road recycling centre for essential use – with a new booking slot system and strict social distancing rules in place to keep everyone safe. If you visit the Garth Road recycling centre webpage you’ll be aware of what to expect, and how to stay safe when you arrive.
I also want to give you a longer-term view of how we will all have to adapt to the new normal, and some insight into what will need to happen in the borough over the coming weeks.
Our aim is to re-open services and businesses as quickly as possible, but without any compromise to peoples’ safety. That means it will take time, and we will all have to work together to adapt. As and when those decisions are made, we’ll add them to the newsletter.
The council has received hundreds of pages of guidance from the government and its medical experts on public spaces, returning to work, and managing infection control – all this needs to be worked through, with plans put in place.
And, as we start to think about planning for a new normal, things are going to be different – from getting around the borough to how we work and socialise. Some things you do might initially take longer to get done due to social distancing, others will remain almost the same but with new rules to ensure safety, but Merton is a great place and I know we can all adapt and be patient.
So please do keep in touch with us via the newsletter – if you haven’t already received the COVID-19 e-newsletter subscribe now – and I will keep you as informed as possible.
Thanks, and stay safe,
Councillor Stephen Alambritis,
Leader of Merton Council