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Cllr. Peter Fox Urges Everyone to Do All They Can to Stay Safe this Christmas

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Monmouthshire County Council has reassured residents that vital services will continue now Wales is in Alert Level 4. This alert level has been declared as a result of a rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission across Wales.

Tougher restrictions are in place to try and slow down the number of people having to be admitted into hospital. The message is that to save lives we all need to stay home.

Abergavenny Market will be open for essential food traders on 22nd and 23rd December and until midday on Christmas Eve. Caldicot Outdoor Market will be open for essential food traders on 22nd December. Monmouth Market is closed. The Contact Centre is open to respond to customer queries and recycling and waste collections will continue as planned.

Monmouthshire’s Community Hubs will remain open for essential access to council services, as will the county’s recycling centres (via pre-booked appointments only). All MonLife leisure centres and museums will remain closed. For a full list of service changes visit: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/services/planning-for-emergencies/coronavirus/

People can still leave their homes for exercise, provided they do so alone or with members of their household or support bubble (and/or carer). Children’s play parks will continue to be open.

Councillor Peter Fox, Leader of Monmouthshire County Council said:

I know that this is difficult, and Christmas will be very different with the move to Alert Level 4. But, please don’t put yourself or your family at risk for the sake of tradition. Don’t invite coronavirus into your home.

At this time, Public Health Wales is reporting around 2,500 new cases every day and we are not at the peak of this pandemic yet. We need to keep rigorously following the protective measures – hand washing, wearing a mask, keeping at least two metres away from other people, and maintaining good ventilation in interior spaces – if we are to slow down the spread of the virus.

The move to Alert Level 4 has meant that the original bubble arrangements over Christmas have had to be cancelled. The only day you can meet as a Christmas bubble is now Christmas Day. The only exception is for those who have formed a bubble with a vulnerable person in their extended family. Once you form a bubble you cannot change it, so please consider the needs of the individual and the risks involved.

Commenting on the community spirit of Monmouthshire’s residents, Councillor Peter Fox said:

Since the start of the pandemic in March residents have surpassed themselves with their kindness and generosity, getting involved in community support groups and lending a helping hand. I am pleased that this spirit is continuing with many supporting others through this difficult time. If you find that you have more than you need this Christmas, be it food or gifts you have bought, please come forward to help others – especially families with young children who are worried. Equally, if you don’t have anyone who can support you to get essential shopping or prescriptions during lockdown we can help. Our team can be emailed on [email protected] or call them on 01633 644696.

Our teams and community groups are working hard to ensure nobody feels alone or isolated,

Cllr Fox continued,

Monmouthshire Meals and our homeless provision are continuing as usual, please contact [email protected] or phone 01873 882910.  We will link you up with someone who can help.

For mental health support visit: phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/how-are-you-doing/how-are-you-feeling/ . Samaritans Cymru is also available 24 hours a day on 116 123.

Welsh Government has issued guidance about what businesses can remain open, such as pharmacies, dentists, funeral directors, post offices, banks, vets, essential food retail, and what has had to be closed, such as close contact services, visitor attractions and non-essential retail. However, non-essential retail businesses can arrange a ‘click and collect’ service for customers. Cafés, restaurants and pubs can arrange a takeaway service. Full details of the restrictions and rules under Alert Level 4 can be found at gov.wales/alert-level-4

The council is currently working through all applications for business support under the various grant schemes as a priority, and encourages any business that has had to close under the latest restrictions to visit its business advice page and apply for any schemes that they may be eligible for as soon as possible: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/business-advice

For the latest updates from Monmouthshire County Council please visit the website, or follow @Monmouthshire on Facebook or Twitter. For information about council services you can access the MyMonmouthshire app on their website, or call the Contact Centre on 01633 644664 during office hours.

For information about forming a bubble visit: gov.wales/making-christmas-bubble-friends-and-family