The Leader to present the report to Cabinet.
This Cabinet Report was an update on the Council’s and its partner’s response to the Covid-19 crisis supporting the City (residents and businesses) to comply with the current restrictions and progress in the Council’s Strategic Recovery Aims and Corporate Plan.
For Newport Council this was an unprecedented period of time where we had faced many difficult decisions, seeing residents and businesses impacted by Covid and the restrictions to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. There was not one person who had not been impacted by this pandemic.
We have seen Councillors across all political parties, officers and our strategic partners in health, Newport Live, Shared Resource Service, Newport Norse and other service providers coming together to solve emerging issues; finding innovative and new ways of delivering our services, and supporting those who need our help.
The Council also knew that there was more we could and would do to support people and businesses out of this crisis.
Council’s Covid-19 Response and Progress to date:
Since the previous report in April, further restrictions were eased enabling residents and businesses to slowly return back to normal routines.
With outdoor hospitality and activities reopening (indoor hospitality reopening in May) and other businesses being open since April, it was important that we support our local businesses and economy across Newport to provide a sustainable and successful economy for the future.
The vaccination programme continued to progress across the age groups in Wales with over 1.7 million people that have now received their first vaccination. There was still some way to go and it was just as important for people between 18 and 39 to get vaccinated including our ethnic minority communities in Newport.
This however did not mean that the brakes were off and we could return back to how it was before Covid. As we have seen in countries such as Brazil and India who had significantly suffered it was important that we remained vigilant in keeping to social distancing that those who had symptoms, or their friends or family should get tested, self-isolate and follow the guidelines from Public Health Wales.
Despite the challenges we faced, officers and our partners continued to deliver services across communities in Newport in the last 12 months.
The Council had seen how resilient and resourceful officers were in working from home, looking after their children, family members and home schooling, as well as those officers, teachers, social service staff who had continued to be out across Newport collecting waste, cleaning our streets, visiting and looking after the most vulnerable in the city.
The Council was also looking forward, by shaping how our services were sustainably delivered in the future. This included looking at new ways of working, developing models that would enable staff and service users to use technology and our buildings differently.
In the last month the following key areas were delivered:
· All schools fully reopened in April.
· Libraries and Community Hubs reopened to enable people to access library and other community services.
Comments of Cabinet Members:
Councillor Truman commented that the report covered everything and observed how well communities came together during the pandemic. Businesses and partners had also come a long way. Vaccinations had gone really well but Newport needed to proceed with caution. Councillor Truman thanked all citizens and workers of Newport for their continued support.
Councillor Cockeram gave big thank you to foster carers looking after children under the care of Newport City Council during this period.
Councillor Jeavons expressed thanks to Waste Savers and thanked Newport citizens for their patience and understanding.
Councillor Rahman thanked partners, residents and business within Newport tackling the pandemic and Newport Live. Councillor Rahman was glad to see gyms reopening and from 17 May it was hoped to see opening of hospitality such as theatres. Councillor Rahman also thanked Rodney Parade for giving up their grounds for the testing centres and thanked council staff for their hard work and contribution. It was also important that there were restrictions still in place, such as social distancing and washing of hands. We needed to do our part to ensure we were heading in the right direction. Councillor Rahman thanked the Leader for supporting businesses with grants, adding that Newport City Council was one of the, it not the first authority to provide these grants.
Finally, the Leader thanked residents, partners, stakeholders for their support and thanked her Cabinet colleagues for acknowledging this.
Cabinet considered the contents of the report and noted the progress being made to date and the risks that were still faced by the Council.