Covid Update for Town and Parish Councils

Important Update

View web version

26 June 2020

Stay Alert > Control The Virus > Save Lives

Play Parks Update

Play areas

Further to the government’s announcement that play parks can reopen on Saturday 4 July and our email on Wednesday, please see below further detail about the Council’s proposed approach to reopening our play parks.

Firstly, our proposed approach is based on how play areas are used – e.g. young children who will not understand, or keep to, social distancing.  Secondly, the manner in which play equipment is used – e.g. regular touching of a vast range of surfaces by many children.

What the Council is proposing in the week leading up to Saturday 4 July:

  • A grass cut will be carried out at any Council owned site where grass has been left uncut during the closure
  • A safety inspection by our Mobile Locality Officers (MLO) of equipment and surfaces to check further safety after the extended closure – both at Council owned sites and those we inspect on behalf of Town and Parish Councils. As per usual, any defects to be made safe (if required) and reported to the Council Repairs Team (or Town/Parish Council if inspected on their behalf).
  • During the MLO visit, the ‘Play Park closed’ signs will be removed, along with any hazard tape, and zip ties/locks from gates. In a couple of cases, swing/zip wire seats which were removed will be reinstalled (by Council Maintenance Team).
  • If ready, then a sign will be erected at Council owned sites advising users to; maintain social distancing (although children will not do so when playing), wash hands before and after using equipment, and to stay away if they have Covid symptoms. If the sign is not ready for the initial visit and reopening, a follow up visit will be carried out as soon as reasonably possible.
  • The Council will use social media to convey the message that users should take responsibility for washing their own and their children’s hands before and after using equipment.

What the Council is not proposing:

  • The Council is not proposing a sanitising of play equipment prior to reopening. Play parks have been closed, and science indicates that the virus does not survive beyond a couple of days on surfaces, with any contamination significantly decreasing after 24 hours.
  • The Council is not proposing a daily clean of play equipment. Due to the nature of use of the play equipment, it would need constant re-sanitising, and accordingly would be a futile exercise.
  • The Council is not proposing to install an automated/hand pumped sanitiser at entrances to fenced play parks. In the Council’s experience to date, any provision of such a sanitiser is quickly stolen or vandalised, and it could not be a facility that the public could rely upon as their means of keeping their hands clean.

The attached sign is a template which Town and Parish Councils may like to erect at their sites – this is the same as what we will use at our play parks, but without the SHDC logo.

Please note, while the approach above is what we will do at our own sites, Town and Parish Councils may carry out their own assessments and form different conclusions about measures they may wish to put in place. This is perfectly acceptable and indeed the right approach as site owners. Regardless of the approach Town and Parish Councils take, if the play area falls under a Play Area Agreement that the Town or Parish Council has with SHDC (i.e. the Town or Parish Council pay SHDC to inspect and insure the play area) they can be assured that the Council will be carrying out the MLO inspection before Saturday 4 July (albeit we cannot confirm which date next week this will be undertaken).

Rob Sekula

Supporting Village Halls to Reopen

Village Hall

Independent charity Devon Communities Together has been supporting village halls and other community buildings throughout Devon during the past few months and is now working with these vital rural hubs to help them safely navigate their way out of lockdown as Government guidance begins to make reopening possible.

Village Halls have been closed since the lockdown was imposed and were due to be considered for reopening when the government’s plan reaches stage three. However, on Monday 15 June the government changed the rules to permit holding indoor markets in community buildings, and it is expected that wider reopening of these important assets will be allowed from Monday 6 July. 

Devon Communities Together is circulating guidance on how to prepare for re-opening, based on the national guidance provided by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the national charity which champions and supports community-led projects and assets in the countryside.

To access specialist support in reopening your village hall or other community building, please contact: 01392 248919 or email:

Heat Alert - How to Stay Safe

Ice lolly

Weather like this is something many people look forward to and go out and enjoy. But it’s worth remembering that sunny spells can pose health risks for some people. It’s important to protect yourself and others from too much sun or heat, to carry water when travelling and to think of those, such as young children or older people, who may feel the heat more acutely than others. 

Find out the top ways for staying safe here

Make sure you follow the COVID-19 social distancing guidance while looking out for others. Keep two metres apart from people outside your household and make sure you wash your hands regularly.

Guidance for those shielding and for more vulnerable groups can be found here.

Hospitality Sector Opens For Business

If you've been sporting a rapidly growing fringe or two-tone hair over recent months, then you'll be delighted to hear that hairdressers can reopen from Saturday 4 July, providing they've followed government safety measures to reopen safely.

Pubs and Restaurants

Also set to open, are pubs and restaurants with new guidance setting out a range of measures for pubs and restaurants to become Covid-19 secure, including:

  • table service, where possible, and one staff member per table
  • encouraging contactless ordering from tables where available
  • customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities on entry
  • clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene as people arrive on the premises, with signage and visual aids

Find out more here.

Online Home Education Resources

Young child

It's not easy educating your children at home, especially if you're trying to work at the same time. 

So these free resources could help make your life a bit easier. They are not designed to be used in place of work set by your child(ren)'s teacher, but could be used to support it.

Special Educational Needs and Disability

The resources have been assessed by subject experts to make sure they are high quality and appropriate for the students they are aimed at.

We hope they are useful for you.

Older school children