Statement from the Leader of the Council

First of all I want to say thank you to all of our front line workers, especially those in the health service, for their response to this unprecedented crisis.

Cllr Kingsbury

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise, with Hertfordshire amongst the most affected areas, and we are entering a period which will test us all in different and unexpected ways.

During this challenging time it is vital that we all pull together and look out for each other - family, friends and neighbours - and follow the advice from the NHS, Public Health England and the government.

In particular, I urge everyone to listen to the guidance about staying safe, limiting our social contact, and helping to minimise the spread of infection.

Our response to COVID-19 is our top priority and we are doing everything in our power to keep our critical services running for people in Welwyn Hatfield, including local businesses.

The delivery of some of those services involves contact with people in their homes and out and about in the community, and we are closely following the latest government guidance to protect our customers and staff. Urgent housing repairs will continue and, where non-urgent ones may be delayed, tenants will be kept informed.

In some cases we will need to change the way we work. For example, we are looking at how we can redeploy staff to help support those critical services which people rely on the most, while others are being asked to limit their face-to-face contact where possible.

For some of you, the changes could mean going online or phoning rather than visiting the council offices in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, or not using facilities such as Campus West which we have had to temporarily close. Others may be affected by the suspension of services such as the community buses which some of you rely on because of the guidance we have received.

Whatever happens, we will continue to work closely with the police, NHS, county council and other partners as the situation evolves. All of us, whether they are on the front line or supporting those who are, are working together for the good of everyone in Welwyn Hatfield.

Please keep an eye on our website (www.welhat.gov.uk/coronavirus) and social media channels (www.facebook.com/welwynhatfield and www.twitter.com/WelHatCouncil) for updates.

Once again, I have seen the response across the community to this crisis and I'd like to thank you all for the kindness, understanding and support you have already shown. Please continue to look after each other, and remember to take care of yourselves.