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DORSET Council waste services initially suspended all Garden Waste kerbside collections so as to prioritise waste and recycling collections, and are looking at ways of compensating those who have paid for collections not made.

But it was announced that they would resume as of April 27, employee absence having stabilised across the workforce and waste services reprioritised, with workers in other Dorset Council teams trained to support kerbside collections. Most customers only missed two fortnightly collections.

Lower priority services such as bin deliveries were also suspended, and the public were advised that they would no longer return to empty any missed bins until the next regular collection day. Missed bins should be taken back in, waste store safely and put out on the next appropriate collection day, and people were asked to visit their service disruption pages online to check if they were in an affected area before reporting missed collections.

Extra black bin rubbish would only be collected if a previous rubbish collection was missed. Food waste would continue to be picked up weekly, and extra recycling would be collected provided it was correctly separated. Crushing and flattening items (not glass) before throwing away helped create space in bins and in collection vehicles.

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus was asked to double bag their waste and store for 72 hours before placing it in their bin or blue sack, and to wash their hands both before putting their bins out and after taking them back in.

Rising dirty rubbish and recycling items before placing them in bins reduced unpleasant odours.

As employees were deployed to higher-priority services, street-cleansing, household recycling centres and recycling banks in car parks were also suspended, and people were advised when going out to exercise to take their litter home with them, especially dog waste, since street and dog bins were not being emptied on a regular basis and any items left at a household recycling centre (HRC, or ‘the tip’) or any recycling bank in a car park as would be considered as fly-tipping.

People were asked not to light bonfires, which could upset neighbours and cause breathing problems for those with underlying medical conditions or suffering from the virus, and could quickly get out of control, causing Dorset Fire and Rescue to receive calls to fires that were bonfires when they needed to concentrate on sending their resources to where they were needed most

Eight pre-school and childcare facilities in the area were listed as open to the children of key workers

Dorset schools worked hard to stay open and provide additional free school meal vouchers over Easter to help support families during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department for Education (DfE) asked schools across to stay open over Easter to help make sure key workers could still do their jobs, and Dorset Council worked with schools working together in clusters to make sure they could do so.

Dorset Council has taken the decision to suspend parking charges in its car parks across the county during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Following calls from the general public and Dorset’s elected members, the Council will no longer require payment for the use of any of its car parks that remain open at this time while public health measures are in place to help residents to park for free while residential roads are full of vehicles during the current “lockdown”. And provide provide better access for NHS workers, social carers and volunteers supporting the vulnerable in their communities and improve access for emergency and bin collection vehicles and provide options for residents who need to travel to buy essential food and groceries.

However, on-street parking charges and restrictions will remain in place in order to keep roads clear and traffic moving.

Visits to all inpatient units at community hospitals managed by Dorset Healthcare NHS, including Blandford Community Hospital, were suspended, and full details of how local health services are being provided can be found at www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/

NHS Dorset’s Weymouth Urgent Treatment Centre and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) at Blandford, Bridport, Portland, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Swanage and Wimborne hospitals initially remained open, but by appointment only.

But at the beginning of April further temporary changes were made to make best use of NHS resources.

They said the vast majority of people could be supported remotely without the need for on-site appointments, and to ensure robust and reliable services, the MIUs in Blandford, Portland and Sherborne would no longer be able to see people on site.

Staff from those units helped support the MIUs at Shaftesbury and Wimborne hospitals where there were extended opening hours, as well as the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) based at Weymouth Hospital.

Anyone with an ailment or injury requiring urgent care was asked to call NHS 111 or 01305 762541 to be given advice or – if necessary – booked in for a face-to-face appointment at the appropriate site.

For GP services people should refer to their practice website for information or phone their GP so that clinical staff could assess their medical need and how to manage it, keeping both public and staff safe.

Emergency departments remained open 24/7 for serious conditions and injuries, and people could still call 999 for anything life threatening as normal.

But hospitals have also suspended all non-urgent elective operations for at least three months and there were new restrictions on visiting patients. The latest information can be found on the following hospital websites:

Dorset County Hospital: www.dchft.nhs.uk

Dorset HealthCare: www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/

Poole Hospital: www.poole.nhs.uk/

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals: www.rbch.nhs.uk/