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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

County urges businesses to comply with closure orders

Denbighshire County Council is reminding businesses to comply with clear advice to close unless they are an essential business.

This appeal comes after the UK Government and Welsh Government's announcements that all non-essential businesses and premises must close from March 23 unless they fall under specific exceptions. This measure is part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Businesses are being reminded that it is their responsibility to check whether they must close or whether any of the limited exceptions may apply and advised to check the government’s website for guidance and information changes.

The council says it recognises that the majority of businesses in Denbighshire are following the order to the letter and the business community is to be commended for its timely response. 

However, it says that this appeal is aimed at any businesses that continue to open whilst not having an exception. This would be an offence and could potentially place the health of the public at risk. 

Officers from the council’s Public Protection service, with police support if appropriate, will be actively monitoring compliance, and any business that breaches the closure  will be provided with advice.  

If the business continues to not comply, then they may be subject to prohibition notices, fixed penalty notice or potential court action.   

Licensed premises that fail to comply could also face the loss of their alcohol licence.

Councillor Mark Young, Cabinet Lead Member for Planning, Public Protection and Safer Communities, said: “At this unprecedented time of change we all need to work together to protect the NHS as well as the health and well-being of ourselves and each other. 

“We recognise this is a very difficult time for businesses and the majority of firms in Denbighshire are complying with the order and we thank them for their public-spirited and responsible actions.

“If they have been told to close, then they should follow guidance from the UK Government and Welsh Government to protect their workers and the community. 

“We want to also remind business owners that where they are permitted to open they should take all reasonable measures to ensure that individuals – customers as well as staff - stay that safe distance of 2 metres apart.  Consider limiting the number of people in store and implementing a card payment only process are just two simple ways of helping your staff and customers.”

Whilst also giving advice to businesses the Council are also asking the public to abide by the restrictions on individuals by not leaving home unless absolutely necessary.

Councillor Young added: “We recognise that people will want to go to the shop for basic necessities and that is allowed by the Government.  However, to reduce the risk we would ask people only to make those essential trips as infrequent as possible. Most retail outlets also have shopping facilities online and contactless service which could be used by the public as an alternative if they do need to visit a shop.

* If anyone has any concerns regarding their business or a business operating when it should be closed, please contact the Council on 01824 706000 or e-mail:

Changes to highways and public realm operation in Denbighshire

* Castle Street before the lockdown. 

Denbighshire County Council is making changes to the way it operates its highways and public realm functions to continue to provide critical services to residents.

Due to reductions in staffing levels arising from the spread of coronavirus and the need to reduce the frequency and duration staff work together, changes have been made to a number of functions from Monday, March 30, to prioritise essential highways and street cleansing work.

Highways Works: All reactive works will be limited to key routes throughout the county. The type of roads that we will prioritise include main classified routes (A & B roads); principal bus routes; access routes to hospitals, schools and cemeteries; access to police, fire, ambulance and rescue services; primary routes serving substantial villages/communities; main industrial routes that are important to the local economy and main access routes to shopping areas. The main focus will involve dealing with potholes and addressing other associated highways safety issues.

Grounds Maintenance: All works are to cease as soon as possible, and the existing workforce will be redeployed to focus on highways reactive works and street cleansing.

Street Cleansing: All scheduled cleansing and sweeping works are to cease in order for priority to be given to the cleansing of town centre areas and main routes. Normal functions in these areas will continue such as the emptying of litter bins and general litter picking. Fly tipping requests will be assessed individually and work carried out only if resources are available and it is deemed necessary. All priority areas will be regularly inspected and any necessary work will be carried out on a daily basis.

Gully Cleansing: Scheduled works will continue on the A road network and emergency response cover will be maintained at all times. On the forecast of any heavy or prolonged periods of rain we will check locations that are prone to flooding - this work will be prioritised when weather conditions require.

Street Lighting:  We will be providing a reduced service in order to be able respond to issues such as defective lighting and emergency situations requiring an urgent response such as road traffic accidents and damaged equipment, during the working day and during out of hours.

Cllr Brian Jones, the Council’s lead member Waste, Transport and the Environment, said: “The situation regarding coronavirus is developing rapidly in Wales and the UK and the Council is adapting to ensure staff safety, to adhere to Government measures to stop the spread of the virus and to ensure we continue to provide critical services to the public. To allow us to do this in the most effective way, we have made a number of changes to the way our highways and public realm teams operate.

“We accept that some of these changes will affect the day to day lives of our residents, but they are essential to maintain core services.

“In adopting these measures we will provide our workforce with reassurance as they continue to carry out their roles as well as planning works in a measured and responsible way which will help maintain our essential functions.

“We would like to thank members of the pubic for their understanding during this time.”

Tuesday update from Public Health Wales

Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

This statement will be updated daily at 2pm
Updated: 2:00pm Tuesday 31 March
Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:
“112 new cases have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,563, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher. 
“It should be noted that while today’s number of cases is lower than numbers previously reported, this should not automatically be considered a trend as case numbers can be subject to daily fluctuation.
“7 further deaths have been reported to us of people who had tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), taking the number of deaths in Wales to 69.
“We offer our condolences to families and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now circulating in every part of Wales.  The single most important action we can all take in fighting Coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS, and save lives.
“We know that staying at home can be hard, and we want to thank each and every person across Wales for doing their bit to help slow the spread of the virus.”
“Members of the public must adhere to social distancing rules about staying at home, and away from others, introduced by the UK and Welsh Government.  These rules are available on the Public Health Wales website.
“People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Information about the symptoms to look out for is available on the Public Health Wales website, or members of the public can use the NHS Wales symptom checker.
“Anyone with a suspected coronavirus illness should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.  They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.
“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on hold to 111.  We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.
“The public play a very important role in slowing the spread of infection. By strictly following the latest measures, you will protect yourself, protect the most vulnerable and help to reduce the pressure on NHS Wales and minimise the impact of the virus.”
Numbers of confirmed cases by local health board
Health Board
New cases
Cumulative cases
Aneurin Bevan
Betsi Cadwaladr
Cardiff and Vale
Cwm Taf
Hywel Dda
Swansea Bay
Resident outside Wales
To be confirmed
Wales Total

Tune in live to watch tomorrow's lockdown music hall show

* The Collen Players are streaming their latest show live on Facebook tomorrow at 7pm. 

Unable to perform in front of an audience because of coronavirus crowd restrictions, a group of old time music hall fans in Llangollen have come up with a high-tech way of letting people see their next show.

Llangollen Players was formed late last year by the town’s vicar Father Lee Taylor, who himself is a big music hall enthusiast, to revive the Victorian-style of entertainment.

So far they’ve donned their period costumes to present three sell-out shows in the Community Hall which is always dressed for the occasion to recreate the atmosphere of a turn-of-the-century theatre.

The Players’ fourth production was supposed to be on May 1 but when they realised there was no way they would be able to perform to a live audience because of government advice on the infection risk of large crowds they decided to do it online instead.

And so tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7pm seven of them will perform live from their own homes with the complete show being streamed  live on their own Facebook page, The Collen Players

Father Taylor, who acts as on-stage chairman for the shows and also performs comedy songs in them, said: “When it became clear we wouldn’t be able to get ahead with our May 1 show in front of our usual audience we got together and decided the best way was to stream something live instead.

“We’re going to do it a month earlier than planned because I expect quite a number of our regular audience will by that time be self-isolating and we’re aiming to cheer them up best we can with our show.

“We were originally planning to do the show by coming into the Community Hall and performing while we observed the strictest social distancing rules.

“But then came the lockdown and we had to think of something different. So, instead, we’ll each be doing our acts from home on Facebook in real time.

“It’s been a bit of a technical challenge putting it all together but we think we’ve cracked it and it should be a fantastic show.

“It will be a shorter performance than usual, with songs and monologues and things like that, and we hope that the show will bring a little happiness in all this gloom surrounding coronavirus and that as many people as possible will tune in to see it.”

Latest on local roadworks

The latest local roadworks notified by one-network is:

02 April — 03 April

Delays unlikely - No carriageway incursion

Works location: Near Chapel

Works description: CSO Cover Repairs

Responsibility for works: WELSH WATER

Current status: Planned work about to start

Works reference: PE13774001400

How a resourceful care home is coping with the lockdown

llanblogger special report

* Above and below: residents enjoy a lockdown garden party.

* Time to be pampered.

* Resident Enas has her first face mask applied at the age of 99.

* Care assistant Afona does a resident's hair. 

* Reminiscence time with Fiona Collins (left).

* (Above and below) members of the gardening club at work. 

* Residents enjoy an afternoon movie. 

All pictures supplied by Bethan Mascarenhas to llanblogger

The owner of a Llangollen care home has revealed the novel ways staff and residents have been coping with the coronavirus lockdown.

Bethan Mascarenhas, who runs The Old Vicarage, says she and her team had been preparing for the Covid-19 crisis since last month.

And she highlighted some of the inventive ways they have been beating the stay-at-home boredom.

Bethan, who took over the home with her brother Richard in 2018, is a firm believer in offering an ambitious package of initiatives to help keep elderly residents active and feel part of the daily life of the town.

So when the coronavirus scare struck The Old Vicarage was ready to meet the challenge of enforced isolation.

Bethan said: “We’ve been very well prepared for this, we started planning in early February getting supplies in like alcohol hand gels, hand soaps and extra personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies.

“We’ve tried to be as proactive as we can to safeguard the residents, so that we don’t have stress or worry about staffing or supplies.

“I did a Facebook call-out for staff and volunteers which received an overwhelming amount of replies.

“We’ve even got two student nurses working alongside us, as well as Fiona Collins, the Welsh Learner of the Year in 2019, who had been doing regular story-telling sessions for us before all this started.

“She has come on board full time to help with activities and a local chef is helping us in the kitchen.”

Bethan added: “As a home we practice good infection control and we put firm measures in place for visiting. But to counteract that we got an iPad to set up a Facebook page and Skype on it, so that everyone can talk and see what we’re all up to.

“The main thing in all of this is to keep a business-as-usual approach. I held a meeting with all of the residents to explain the situation and they seemed very accepting of the circumstances but were very keen to continue with our activities where we could.

“And they still wanted to continue to have a good quality of life and that comes from being together doing fun things - so we’ve been doing lots to take everyone’s minds off things, to keep morale high.

Revealing some of the ways The Old Vicarage team has been keeping spirits up, Bethan said: “There are pamper days with face masks and cocktails, garden parties, a gardening club to prepare the garden for summer, we’ve made our own in house cinema for movie afternoons, as well as reminiscence projects with Fiona Collins.

“We’re really lucky to have such a wonderful care team who are so dedicated, some have decided not to take holidays so they can stay and support us at this time.

“People have stayed longer at work so they can chat to residents as they aren’t having as many family visits and one member of staff is coming in specially to do everyone’s hair as our hairdresser has had to stop coming and it’s important for everyone to continue to look their best.

“At this time for us it is about balance, ensuring that people are safe but also knowing that they can continue to have a good quality of life.

“We understand that it can be distressing for people not to see their families at this time, so we’ve put a policy in place, as recommended by the Care Inspectorate, that a family member is able to visit that person in their room with the right safety measures in place.

“All of our family members are staying away at this time but it’s nice to know that the option is there if they find it too distressing.

“However, we’ve been doing lots of Skype sessions with family members and letter writing to keep in touch.

“The residents have commented on how well the community has been working together in this difficult time, likening it to wartime when they saw huge community efforts.

“They’d like to thank all of the people working so hard to keep our supplies coming in and also those in the health and social sectors working tirelessly to make sure everyone is safe and well at this time.

“We took part in the Clap for Carers, it was so nice to hear the appreciation for those who are putting their all into this. We are very proud of our care team, local community and of all the key workers working so hard for us all.”

ON PPE supplies provided by the Welsh Government Bethan explained: “They will only give it out if someone is symptomatic but they are very limited with supplies at present.”

She added: “I’m really keen on getting the word out there that it should be a normal time within a care home.

“I think people are going to ground and encouraging isolation, which isn’t right. When asked, my residents have said they’d rather take the risk than be miserable for the next few months.

“They are aware they need to make the most of their time moving forward, so complete isolation wouldn’t make sense - unless someone has symptoms of course.

“I’d like to show other homes that it’s fine to be having fun, in fact it’s really needed at this time.”

Coronavirus - Tuesday local update

* All staff are being withdrawn from the Pavilion site due to the virus threat.

In her latest Facebook update yesterday, the co-ordinator of Llangollen Coronavirus Support Group spoke of the amazing progress made by its band of dedicated volunteers to ease the plight of the area’s vulnerable people in the short time since it was set up.

Cat Meade posted: “11 days ago we set up the Llangollen Coronavirus Support Group, in that space of time, volunteers have flocked to assist, local businesses have been supporting one another, donating food supplies, offering services to your door, residents shopping local, the whole community coming together to look out for one another.
“Volunteers have offered support to over 300 residents with prescription deliveries, food shops, food share parcels, dog walking and anything else that has been required. In this time two leaflet drops with info has hit every house in town.

“This has all happened in 11 DAYS! I would like to thank every single volunteer, helper, shop worker, post man, delivery driver, care worker, police and Llangollen town council for their continued support.

“To every single resident in Town, I want you to know we are working hard to assist your every need, planning ahead, reviewing the process etc to ensure we can get to you.

“As I keep saying all this is in just 11 DAYS, therefore we are now planning for weeks ahead, the GO FUND page has received amazing donations, thank you all very much. 
PLEASE keep supporting. Local council is also looking at funding options available.”
She added: “FUNDING - PPE has been ordered for all volunteers.

“Bulk food purchased along with veg donation from Aldi, all sent to Chef Steve The Swan Inn, Pontfadog to work his magic along with 200 containers, (no pressure).

“Food parcels with our friends Zero Food Waste and Food Share Llangollen

“PRESCRIPTIONS - If you can, please email to Docrors:

“When calling for a prescription collection & delivery, please check with the pharmacy to ensure it is ready for collection.

“An updated Newsletter will be formed this week for distribution as shops details change etc, if any business would like to update their details please email or PM me direct.

“All documents of information are saved in the "docs" section of this page.

“Please continue to stay home, only pop out for essentials, daily exercise only once per day and only with members of the same household. It is NOT OK to pop to your friends, enter anyone’s house other than your own or meet in the park.

“We are all in this together, stay safe. #llangollenfamily”

Meanwhile Llangollen Railway (pictured) was on Facebook yesterday to promote its emergency appeal for funds to help it survive the coronavirus crisis, which currently stands at £4,124.

Llangollen Health Centre posted a link to its website where a comprehensive message can be seen giving clarification for very high risk patients and those in vulnerable groups. The link is:

The team at Llangollen Pavilion posted yesterday: “Since closing the Centre, our team has continued to work behind the scenes. In doing so, we have taken measures to ensure our staff are safe, through social distancing and other measures. However, given the escalating Covid-19 situation, we are making the decision to withdraw our staff from site, which means we will no longer be able to deal with telephone enquiries.

“It is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we have to put the health and wellbeing of our staff first and foremost. We will be posting regular updates on our website and social media.

“If you have any urgent enquiries, you can contact us via the email address:

* The Llangollen Community Garden team pictured well before the lockdown.

Llangollen Community Garden posted: “Current government advice is that allotments should remain open. As such the garden is open, but only to individuals or those visiting as a group from the same household. Visitors must be existing members, and use our WhatsApp group to avoid visiting at the same time as others. We are providing additional safety advice for members who do plan to visit.

@llangollencommunity #llangollen #community #gardening”

County Trading Standards sent out the message: “The Public Protection team is calling on any food business in the premises organising take away services or provisions online, as a result of coronavirus to get in touch for the latest advice and information.

“It is essential that businesses assess the risk associated with this type of food service, to ensure they keep customers safe in relation to allergens, food safety and social distancing.   Please contact the Food Team on 01824 706405

A temporary hospital may be built in North Wales to do with the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Denbighshire Free Press story.
It says: “Darren Millar, AM for Clwyd West, is calling on Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to reassure patients that extra beds will be made available in the area to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With provisions being made in England and South Wales to manage the increased demand for hospital beds, Mr Millar contacted Mark Polin, chairman of the health board, to ask what is being done in North Wales.
“He was told action is being taken to establish a temporary hospital for Covid-19 patients, but Mr Millar continues to be concerned stating that people are 'worried and need reassurances now.”