SWANSEA Council is working on proposals to re-open some of its face-to-face reception areas as lockdown measures introduced to fight the pandemic continue to ease.
Services like registrars, libraries and recycling centres have been re-opening but under strictly controlled conditions to protect customers and staff from the virus.
Now the council is considering how it can re-open some face-to-face reception areas safely in a phased return for some services like the Civic Centre contact centre and district housing offices.
Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said:
“We want to thank residents for their unstinting support during the pandemic. These have been unprecedented times for our communities and for council services.
“Hundreds of our staff were reassigned from frontline face-to-face activities to provide critical services to support our communities as the first wave of the virus arrived.
“It’s important to remember that while lockdown has eased, the virus is still very much with us and that will be at the forefront of our minds when we look at how we can continue to reintroduce more of our face-to-face services.
“The changes we’ve brought in to support services at our recycling centres, for example, have been going very well and we are learning from these as we plan our next steps.
“We’d ask residents to bear with us as we plan the next phases of re-opening and continue to use our online services as much as possible as well as our phone services where necessary.”
And he added: “We are monitoring the recent rises in infection rates closely and will not hesitate to act to protect people’s health. We urge everyone to continue to guidance on social distancing to ensure we continue to fight the spread of the virus.”
Over the last five months council staff have been at the sharp end of providing community services like cooking and delivering meals to the vulnerable, supporting volunteers in communities to look out for their neighbours and running critical service call centres. Now they are starting to return to their normal roles.
That’s enabled, for example, a phased restoration of some library services and carefully-managed visits to the registrars’ service for parents to register new births.
Re-opening other face-to-face reception areas to manage issues that can’t be dealt with online or over the phone will take place in a phased way with the safety of staff and visitors the paramount concern.
Cllr Stewart said:
“We want to get reception areas re-opened as soon as it’s safe and practical to do. But we won’t compromise on safety. That means that when we do re-open these areas people will see measures put in place to ensure social distancing, for example.
“We are working on how we can keep people safe when they visit, but it is likely to that people will have to book appointments rather than simply turn up like they used to. In the meantime, we’d urge people to use our online and call centre services as much as possible.”
For full information about the council’s online services please go to https://www.swansea.gov.uk/covid19councilservices where there is a list of how to access the council’s key services.
To visit a recycling centre, please check out the advice here before you set out: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/recyclingcentres
To report issues such as potholes and other environment or street scene issues please go here: www.swansea.gov.uk/reportit