Covid-19 Communities update - Wednesday, 1 July 2020

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Wednesday, 1 July 2020

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Schools step up plans to welcome back all year groups in September

Education Leads across Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils are continuing their work with primary and secondary schools and academy trusts, following the government’s announcement that all year groups should be set to return in September.

The region’s schools, the majority of which are currently open to selected year groups having successfully implemented their social ‘bubbles’, will need to adapt their plans to cater for more children, now that social distancing has been downgraded from a safe distance of two metres to a minimum of one. 

Guidance from the Department of Education is expected with the next few weeks, but schools are already making plans and working through detailed risk assessments, ensuring pupils can return to environments where every aspect of their safety and wellbeing has been fully considered.

Cambridgeshire County Council prepares to welcome back visitors

The highways team at Cambridgeshire County Council has been working closely with its partners to ensure towns, cities and villages have enough pedestrian and cycle space to allow social distancing and to protect people’s safety.  

The team has been working with city and district councils across Cambridgeshire to make temporary changes to the highway to make areas Covid-19 secure – including putting down floor stencils, removing planters and other street furniture to create more space, widening footpaths and installing temporary barriers. These will guide visitors and ensure enough space to keep a 2m gap (or 1m plus, where this is not possible) from each other when pubs, bars and restaurants start to re-open from Saturday (4 July).

Cafe style culture coming to Peterborough City Centre

Early indications are that around 50 per cent of pubs, bars and restaurants will be re-opening in Peterborough city centre on Saturday, 4 July, thanks to a relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions. 

To help businesses ensure there is enough space to keep everyone safe this summer, Peterborough City Council is encouraging a café style culture to allow pubs, bars and restaurants to extend out onto the streets, such as Cathedral Square, Bridge Street and the Guild Hall where possible. 

This is expected to take place later in the summer once businesses have got used to being open and the city council is currently working with individual businesses to allow outdoor seating wherever possible.

Advice for visitors can be viewed here.

All measures are being coordinated by the Peterborough Economic Recovery Programme (PERP), a partnership comprising of Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and local businesses.  

Together, the PERP has reached out to help city businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19, giving support and guidance on how to get their businesses started again. In the future, it will look to help these businesses build back stronger and to support independents in moving towards an additional e-commence model to future proof their business. 

The measures, which aim to protect both shoppers and businesses from Covid-19, have been made possible thanks to the Government’s Re-Opening High Streets Safely Fund, from which it will be possible for the city council to claim back £181,500.  

City/Town re-openings in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details. 

Wedding ceremonies update

Last week, the government announced that wedding ceremonies can take place from July 4 onwards in England.

We understand that many people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough want to get married or have a civil partnership and are working to contact couples who had previously arranged ceremonies.

In Cambridgeshire, our registration services team is prioritising couples who were due to have their ceremony during lockdown, between 24 March and July 3. These couples have already been contacted by our team via email.

Bookings for ceremonies in Cambridgeshire in 2022 can be made online here.

In Peterborough, the team is contacting, in ceremony date order, those couples that need to give their notice of intention. They are also contacting couples with booked ceremonies to let them know what format their ceremony will take. Please bear with us at this exceptionally busy time.

Both teams are awaiting further clarification of exact details on ceremonies from the government. We will be updating our websites with more information as we get it. 

For more details, visit the Cambridgeshire County Council registration services webpage here and Peterborough City Council registration services here.

Library services to re-open in Cambridgeshire

Book lovers can now order titles and collect them from libraries in Cambridgeshire from next week.

Following government guidance, Cambridgeshire County Council is starting a phased re-opening of library services from Monday 6 July, in line with the latest health and safety guidelines.

The council’s nine major libraries (Cambridge Central, Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots, Bar Hill, Cambourne, Ely, March, Wisbech) will be re-opening from next week - opening times can be viewed here.

In order to maintain a safe environment, a number of service changes have been made. Customers will be required to maintain social distancing outside library entrances and once inside the buildings, will not be able to browse titles.

To help people access the books they want, the council is introducing a new service called ‘Select and Collect’. Customers can choose titles according to their preferences (e.g. genre, fiction, non-fiction, talking books, children’s books etc.) and then collect them from libraries. 

To order a book using Select and Collect, visit here or call the Customer Service Centre on 0345 045 5225. Customers will be notified when their books are ready to collect. Reservations will be reintroduced from June 29 to allow customers to request individual titles.

The council plans opening all remaining libraries from 3 August for two days per week and will continue to review the situation.

Library meeting rooms will remain closed and events and activities will not resume until it is safe to do so. Mobile library services will also remain closed until further notice.

Public access IT facilities will be available by appointment only, with a limit of one 45 minute appointment per day per customers.

More information about library services can be viewed here; more details about the council's archives service can be viewed here.

Peterborough City Council is working closely with Vivacity to plan for the re-opening of libraries in Peterborough following Covid-19 and will be updating members of the public as soon as possible. Online services will continue as normal. 

Re-opening of Peterborough outdoor play areas

Following the latest government advice, Peterborough City Council has begun working with Aragon to reopen parks and playground from the 4 July.

On the 23 June, the Prime Minister announced the further easing of lockdown, identifying a number of services which may re-open as of the 4 July, including playgrounds and outdoor play areas.

Peterborough City Council and Aragon are working together to create a reopening plan in line with the Government guidance released on Friday. This will see a gradual re- opening of outdoor play areas around to ensure that all play areas can be inspected and the appropriate signage installed.

Outdoor play areas in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details. 

Sharing Communities Updates

You are welcome to share this Communities Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Communities Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.