Maintaining key services and supporting vulnerable residents are among Wigan Council’s priorities as it responds to rising infection rates.
In similar fashion to earlier this year, the council will adapt its way of working from this week to reflect a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. It will see community library facilities close until the new year to allow staff to shore up services critical to the immediate health concerns of residents.
Leader of the council, Coun David Molyneux, has urged everyone to rally round their communities once again.
He said: “Earlier this year we saw an overwhelming response, highlighting the fantastic community spirit we have in our borough. We are again at a critical point in our efforts to combat the effects of this virus and the steps we are taking will help us prioritise key services.
“I hope everyone understands our reasoning behind taking these steps. We can all play our part to help drive down our infection rates.”
Earlier this year, Wigan Council set out its five-point plan in response to Covid-19. The priorities were: the health of all our people; support our strong communities; support our businesses; continue to work with you as a council; communicate to you. They will remain the focus of council efforts during this second wave.
In the months since, infections rates have risen and local authorities have taken on extra responsibilities, such as administering self-isolation payments and supporting local Covid-19 regulation compliance.
The Wigan and Leigh central libraries will remain open Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm, offering access to network computers and council services. Community libraries will close from next week to allow staff to help support the test and trace programme and other critical services until the new year.
Since reopening in September, visitor numbers to the borough’s community libraries have reduced on a week-to-week basis, a trend seen both regionally and nationally.
Coun Molyneux added: “During the first wave our teams established community hubs, providing vital support to those that needed it, and hundreds of staff were redeployed to bolster our humanitarian response.
“It simply isn’t possible to offer business as usual now we are in this second wave – this move will help us focus our resources to essential services. These are decisions that have not been taken lightly. Please continue to Be Kind as we all work together to keep our borough safe.”
For further information about Wigan Council’s Covid-19 response, please visit www.wigan.gov.uk/coronavirus
Wigan Borough’s community libraries will close from October 26 until 2021. These include:
- Lamberhead Green
- Marsh Green
- Platt Bridge
- *The volunteer run library in Aspull will also close
- *Ashton library is currently closed due to refurbishment work, it will not open until the new year