COVID-19 Update - Monday, March 23

News on accommodation for the homeless, playground closures, school childcare arrangements for key workers, County Hall closure and HWRCs 

Cardiff Council hires hotel to help rough sleepers self isolate during COVID-19 outbreak

The Council is taking over accommodation in the city to help the most vulnerable in our society.

The OYO Hotelin Clare Street,Riverside- previously known as the Wynford Hotel - has been taken over by the Council to ensure that self-contained accommodation is available for rough sleepers living in Cardiff.

The shipping containers in both Ely and Butetown,whichwerefitted out foruse byhomeless families,are also now being used for those homeless people whoare showing symptoms of the virusand need to self-isolate.

The Council's current emergency accommodation for the homeless has a numberschemes where individuals are housed in shared spaces. Thisposes issuesas we seek toprevent the spread ofCOVID-19and therefore the Council is proactively seeking alternatives tothisprovision.

The Council has been in discussions witha number of hotel owners to identify possible accommodationoptions. TheOYO Hotel is the first such provision to be brought on line toensurethere is sufficient suitable accommodationduring the pandemic.Conversations are still underway with other hotel owners in the city.

The OYO is a 41-bed hotel,which has en-suite bathroom facilities in every room.Thismakes self-isolation possible. Support staff will be on site,24-hours a day to ensure theaccommodation is safe,and appropriate advice and help is available.

The Council's outreach team have been workingwith rough sleepers to advise them about the virus and toencourage them to come into accommodation. The needs of all homeless people are being assessed to ensure that they can be moved into the most appropriate accommodation for their needs.

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said: "I'm pleased that we've been able to secure this extra accommodation to help rough sleepers in Cardiff at this difficult time"

"By providing fully-contained emergency accommodation, we are ensuring that rough sleepers who are showing symptoms of the virus are able to self-isolate like everybody else that needs to.

"We are still continuing to look at other buildings which we can temporarily take over to help the most vulnerable people in our society.Our new emergency accommodation at the Parade, in the city centre is also nearly complete, and will be used to help those in need at this time of crisis.

"Our Outreach Team continues to do an excellent job in very challenging conditions and we are asking all those who are sleeping on the streets of Cardiff to come intotheaccommodation which is available for them."

COVID-19: Cardiff closes play areas in its parks to the public

Play areas in Cardiff Council's parks are to close with immediate effect.

The risk of transmission from child to child on play equipment is thought to represent too great a risk to the public as we seek to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

Cardiff's parks will remain open at this time. We understand the role they can play in aiding well being through the outbreak.

However, we are urging everyone who visits our parks to practice social distancing. This is vital if we are to slow or halt the person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.

If social distancing rules are not followed in our parks then we may have to review this position and they could then be closed to the public.

We therefore strongly urge people to avoid any large gatherings, and observe social distancing, so that parks can remain open.

School childcare arrangements for key workers

The new school arrangements started today, offering provision for pupils aged 3-14. Cardiff schools are focussing on delivering child-care arrangements for NHS staff, care workers and the emergency services only, in the first instance.

The Council asks again that parents keep their children at home if they can. To slow or halt transmission of the virus, it is important that as many children as possible stay at home

The local authority will continue to review the provision as demand for places becomes clearer through the week.

Pre-school childcare provision continues, with the Council recommending that providers care only for the children of critical keyworkers or those who are classified as vulnerable.

Schools are putting in place appropriate ways of keeping in touch and offering support based on need with all vulnerable children.

Approximately 13,000 grab bags were delivered to schools this morning, which pupils eligible for free school meals collected at midday.

The announcement that was made last night on Childcare provision for key workers in schools and free school meals can be viewed here:

COVID-19: Cardiff County Hall closes to public until further notice

Cardiff's County Hall will close to all members of the public with immediate effect until further notice.

The closure is to ensure the safety of the public and council staff as we look to slow or halt the transmission of COVID-19.

Enquiries can still be made online or by telephone. In exceptional circumstances pre-arranged appointments may be agreed, but only in those circumstances will access be granted.

COVID-19: Household Waste Recycling Centres

The Household Waste Recycling Centres have experienced huge demand and queuing traffic caused significant issues and tailbacks for the public and for council waste vehicles which have been unable to access the sites.

Messaging was sent out on social media to inform the public to ONLY visit the HWRC's if they absolutely need to, and not to bring bulky items as they will be turned away. Moving bulky items often requires assistance from Council operatives and this makes social distancing hard to effect. Some of our workers have also experienced abuse at the hands of the public exasperated by the queues.

It has been made clear to the public on social media that there are no plans to stop waste collections from residents' homes. However, if the Council's waste vehicles cannot access the HWRC sites and social distancing is difficult to maintain on the sites, our HWRC facilities may have to close.