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Glastonbury off, school closed, councils work from home

The Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns.

The organisers of the festival say: "We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June. But even if it has, we are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm," 

The full statement can be read below.

Today a Somerset school remained closed for deep cleaning after a pupil was told by The NHS they had an 80 per cent chance of having Covid-19.

The pupil from Maiden Beech Academy on Lyme Road in Crewkerne and their family have been told to self isolate for 14 days. 

Shaftesbury Town Council says each day they will post the latest Government advice on a  poster outside the town hall, along with social media updates. The council is also suspending meetings and closing toilets.

Tomorrow's Mendip Climate Action Drop-In Event at Wells Town Hall has also been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

Mendip Council in Somerset has also followed Sedgemoor's example and cancelled all meetings until further notice.

Steart Marshes wetland centre in Bridgwater is remaining open, but with non-essential staff working from home and planned events cancelled.

Travel Dorset say Weymouth Half Marathon which was due to take place this Sunday has been postponed 'so no temporary road closures or traffic management measures in and around the town centre will take effect'.

The Taunton Toneway Creech Castle junction community drop-in events taking place today and next week in West Monkton have been cancelled.

The Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare has cancelled the 'Fireworks at Sea' on Saturday, 4 April.

Somerset County Council will be closing public buildings from tomorrow with staff working from home.  Libraries will be closing and other areas, like registration services, will be by appointment only.

English Heritage, which oversees Stonehenge, is closing all staffed venues from tomorrow. Free to enter sites will remain open.

National Trust sites - across the country - are remaining open. Although, they're closing things like their shops and cafes and just keeping the grounds open.

Yesterday The Royal Bath & West Show was delayed and rescheduled for the end of July/early August.

The South West currently has 95 active cases of coronavirus. The total includes eight in Bristol, five in Somerset, three in North Somerset, seven in Wiltshire, two in Swindon, two in Dorset with six across Bournemouth and Poole and six in South Gloucestershire.

Michael and Emily Eavis have released a statement saying: "We are so sorry to announce this, but Glastonbury 2020 will have to be cancelled, and this will be an enforced fallow year for the Festival. Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event, but following the new government measures announced this week – and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty – this is now our only viable option. We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June. But even if it has, we are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm, helping us with the enormous job of building the infrastructure and attractions needed to welcome more than 200,000 people to a temporary city in these fields. We would like to send our sincere apologies to the 135,000 people who have already paid a deposit for a Glastonbury 2020 ticket. The balance payments on those tickets were due at the beginning of April and we wanted to make a firm decision before then. We understand that it is not always easy to secure a Glastonbury ticket, which is why we would like to offer all those people the chance to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the opportunity to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2021. Those who would prefer a refund of that £50 will be able to contact See Tickets in the coming days in order to secure that. This option will remain available until September this year. For those who are happy to roll their deposit over, that will happen automatically. Further information – including details on rolling over coach packages, official accommodation bookings and local Sunday tickets – will be added to our website in the coming days."

English Heritage/Stonehenge
English Heritage has taken the decision to close all its staffed historic sites from the end of Wednesday 18th March until 1st May 2020. Public events due to be held during this period will be cancelled. Free-to-enter sites in our care will remain open to visitors. These sites often have large open spaces in which visitors can maintain social distancing and many are located in quieter spots away from crowds. English Heritage Chief Executive, Kate Mavor said: “Our first priority is the health and wellbeing of all our Members, visitors, volunteers and staff.  As a charity, we could not survive without their support but we also have a responsibility to them - hence this decision. “Our stone circles and castles, abbeys and historic houses are found in the centre of towns, on the brows of hills and in the heart of the countryside and I hope that over the coming months, the sight of these long-standing landmarks will provide a sense of continuity. It may also be of some comfort to remember that England’s past is full of stories of hope in the face of adversity and of people coming together to overcome challenges. Today we face new challenges of our own - English Heritage wishes everyone well and we look forward to welcoming you back to our sites as soon as possible.” People with pre-booked tickets for events which are cancelled will be automatically refunded.

Climate drop in event
Following the Prime Minister’s latest statement on COVID-19, we have taken the decision to postpone the Mendip Climate Action Drop-In Event at Wells Town Hall, which was due to take place on Thursday 19th March, 6pm-9pm. We plan to rearrange the event later in the year. Mendip residents can still view the Council’s climate emergency plans, and submit feedback, by completing our survey here: www.mendip.gov.uk/climatechange Any feedback provided will be crucial to steering our future climate emergency work.

Mendip Council
Following updated government guidance with regards to the Covid-19 virus, Mendip District Council will now be cancelling meetings until further notice.   However, everyday/routine business at the Council will continue, but by virtual and technological means and we would encourage people to contact us via our website www.mendip.gov.uk All visitors to Reception at Cannards Grave will be asked to follow hand sanitising procedures. Alternative arrangements for democratic processes are being actively considered across the sector and we will publicise these once we have more information.

Crewkerne, Maiden Beech Academy 
Headteacher Carl Winch said in a letter to parents yesterday: "We have been made aware that a child attending Maiden Beech Academy has potentially contracted the COVID-19 virus. Whilst the child nor his family have been tested, based on symptoms, the NHS believe that there is an ‘80% chance’ that they have the virus; the family have been told to self-isolate for 14 days. I have spoken to Public Health England (PHE), following government guidance to educational settings, and they have advised that the school is deep cleaned to prevent further contamination. I have also liaised with Peter Elliott, CEO, and colleagues at BTCT, and we feel that the best way to manage the clean is to close the school to all pupils and staff tomorrow (wednesday 18) so this can be facilitated. We plan to reopen on Thursday 19th March unless advised otherwise.

Steart Marshes wetland centre in Bridgwater
As you know, we are already facing an unparalleled climate crisis, and WWT has been at the forefront of showing how wetlands can address this. But, now, as our country and indeed the whole world faces a global pandemic never experienced in our lifetimes, I want to explain why, more than ever, we need to keep your support. We know that the coming weeks and months are going to be extremely difficult for all of us. Our main priority is keeping our staff, volunteers and visitors safe, and our wildlife well-tended for. That is why, today, together with my senior team, we have made a number of important and immediate changes to our wetland centres to enable them to remain open for the time being. In doing this, we have taken account of latest Government health advice, and we would ask everyone who is in one of the high-risk categories to stay safe at home. We do, however, understand that with the current restrictions, having open access to nature and wetlands can be hugely beneficial in helping our wellbeing in these unprecedented times. In order for our centres to remain open, a number of services will be reduced; this includes the cancellation of all events, talks and displays, at this time. Our on-site restaurants will remain open if you make the choice to visit them. However we will be increasing the spacing between tables and taking other safety precautions, depending on the layout of each facility. We will also be minimising risks to staff and visitors alike by providing contactless payment methods and asking you to read out your membership number, rather than handing it over. Hand sanitisers will be available throughout the grounds. We have also asked all non-essential staff to work from home wherever possible, so we may take longer than usual to respond to your enquiries – please bear with us.
Bath & West show
The Board of Directors of three major agricultural events in the South West - Devon County Show, The Royal Bath & West Show and The Royal Cornwall Show, have today announced the postponement of their events due to the increased threat of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Following the Government’s guidance press conference on 12th March, it is clear that COVID-19 will still be very active within our communities during May and June so the three Shows feel it is the most responsible action to reschedule to protect their visitors, traders and exhibitors from the spread of the virus.  Whilst the Boards of each show admit this is an extremely difficult decision to make and appreciate the disruption and disappointment the postponement may cause, it has been unanimously agreed that the Shows’ absolute priorities must lie, at this time of uncertainty, with the protection of public health.  The three shows all of which were scheduled to take place in Spring, will be postponed until:

  • 31st July, 1st & 2nd August – The Royal Bath & West Show
  • 28th, 29th & 30th August – Devon County Show
  • 10th, 11th & 12th September – The Royal Cornwall Show

Grand Pier fireworks
The Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare has reluctantly cancelled the Fireworks at Sea spectacular scheduled for Saturday, 4 April, in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis. The management team at the seafront attraction took the decision in the wake of the Prime Minister’s request for people to avoid any unnecessary social contact. The dazzling displays regularly draw huge crowds to the Pier and the surrounding seafront area. Tim Moyle, director at the Pier, said: “We understand that this decision will come as a disappointment to ticket holders and other people who were planning to go to the seafront and see the display. “But we have a responsibility to our community to follow the government’s advice; health and safety has to be everyone’s top priority during these difficult times. All ticket holders have been contacted, and full refunds will be issued for all ticket purchased. We really hope to be able to put on a show-stopping display towards the end of this year but, for now, we would like to thank all our customers for their understanding at this time.” Further updates regarding all events at the Grand Pier can be found on their social media channels and their website, www.grandpier.co.uk

Somerset County Council 
From tomorrow (19 March), most council buildings will be closed, public meetings and events will be postponed or moved online, and office-based staff will be working from home. Libraries will be closing and other areas, like registration services, will be by appointment only. Other frontline services, like adults and children’s social care, highways maintenance and our Somerset Direct Contact Centre, will support the public as normal. Pat Flaherty, Chief Executive of Somerset County Council, said: “This is a fast-moving situation but we have well rehearsed plans and are fully prepared to continue delivering vital services – albeit sometimes in a different way. We will, of course, continue to look after the vulnerable and this will be our priority as the situation develops.” For further information about Somerset County Council services and the latest updates, please visit www.somerset.gov.uk. The Somerset Direct Contact Centre remains open and can be contacted on 0300 123 2224. 

Shaftesbury Town Council
In line with the Government advice the following decisions have been made. Please note this may be subsequent to change and is based on information available as of today.
Council staff: The team are reviewing their individual workload and reprioritising tasks to offer the following additional services: The staff will provide a daily brief following government advice via poster (outside the Town Hall), website and social media updates – an enhanced communication role. The staff will signpost services that the community will find useful (coordination role). The staff will provide reassurance to our community that will offer support where we can (support role)Support the community groups to reach out to those vulnerable people in our community (support role)
Council services: We have taken the difficult decision to close the public toilets due to the lack of availability of toilet roll. Normal service will resumed when the supplies are back in the supply chain. We have informed the Mitre, Grosvenor and Ship Inn that their facilities may be more in demand. The WI Thursday market is going ahead however there will be no non-food items available to buy (plants and books etc…) The Thursday Street Market is going ahead. We have not heard from traders so the expectation is that if they have stock then they will want to sell it. Our Services Manager will be reviewing the set-up on Thursday morning to ensure that the traders are following the government guidelines in terms of managing their customers. Council meetings are suspended until further notice. We are awaiting Government guidance on being able to conduct council business remotely via an online meeting facility.

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