Thurrock Council is working hard to maintain essential council services across the borough to make sure:
- it is safe for vulnerable residents
- its roads are clear for critical users and emergency service vehicles
- parks are a pleasant place for people observing social distancing rules to take their daily exercise
Teams hard at work include:
- refuse collectors
- enforcement officers
- street maintenance
- highways maintenance
- parks and cemetery teams
Measures are in place to enable them to follow social distancing rules and be protected while working.
The borough's parks will remain open for exercise only. Park users must obey social distancing rules, ensuring people are alone or only out with other people they live with and stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others. Play areas and outdoor exercise areas have been closed in line with government advice on social distancing.
It's vital that residents respect rules and closures and do not access play areas where effective social distancing cannot be maintained. Failure to do so could result in police action or the council being forced to take more stringent measures.
Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: "It's critical that people follow the government advice to stay at home to help protect the NHS and save lives and only go out for essentials such as food or medicine, work which absolutely cannot be done from home or to exercise.
"At the same time it's important that we maintain our borough to ensure that it is safe for those that do have to travel to work or go out for essential supplies. We need to ensure that inconsiderate drivers do not block roads or pavements, which could be needed by emergency teams or vehicles, and we need to maintain grass verges to enable clear lines of sight for traffic. We also need to pick up litter, which disappointingly includes discarded tissues.
"In addition, it is only right that we maintain access to usable green open space where people may walk, run or cycle but we need people using these facilities to behave responsibly and follow the government social distancing advice of not meeting family or friends they don’t live with and keeping two metres apart from others. It is dangerous and selfish not to – failure to follow this advice only helps the virus spread and will end up needlessly costing lives.
"You will still see our officers out working hard keeping the streets, parks and cemeteries clean and tidy, collecting our bins and making sure the roads and pavements are safe and open to. No matter what people might think this is vitally important work and I would hope those council officers doing it have support from the community.
"I'd like to applaud these workers who are going out every day to make sure that our borough remains clean, clear and safe throughout the coronavirus situation and to all council officers providing critical care for those residents most in need or working tirelessly behind the scenes."