The waste team’s well-tested service disruption plan is now in place.
Our waste contractor, Biffa, has suffered some staff shortages due to illness and self-isolation but is managing this by redeploying staff and using agency drivers.
However, with new crew members unfamiliar with the routes and in some cases fewer staff, it’s likely that on occasions, crews might not be able to complete all of their daily rounds and so some bins might not be emptied on their usual collection day. We empty 200,000 bins every week and so even a moderate level of disruption to our usual staffing can cause delays.
The advice for residents is as follows: if the bins in your street are not emptied, please leave them out for up to three days (including weekends) and we’ll try to catch up. If still not emptied, bring them back in and we will empty them on the next planned collection day.
We are working with Biffa to prioritise critical waste services. To help us with this plan we have suspended some non-essential services, including new bulky waste bookings, new garden waste subscriptions and investigating abandoned vehicles.
We will prioritise food, rubbish and clinical waste collections and some elements of street cleansing, including emptying litter bins.
We urge people to sort their waste carefully – food in food waste bins, rubbish in black bins and clean, dry, loose recycling in their green recycling bins. We’re also recommending residents wash their hands before and after taking the bins out to practice good hygiene for themselves and our bin crews.
We may have to suspend garden waste services so we can focus on essential waste collections, as other councils have, if this is the case, we will let everyone know through our social media sites and council websites.
Thames Valley Police is urging people to be vigilant against criminals attempting to use the publicity around COVID-19 as a chance to target them with fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages or door to door services.
To stay safe residents should follow this advice on Covid-19 related scams. Residents can also receive regular updates about potential scams in their area by signing up to Thames Valley Alert Community Messaging.
Please could we ask you to be extra-vigilant as you’re likely to hear about scams during your work with community groups. If you do hear of anything suspicious, contact the police on 111.
Supporting the vulnerable
This afternoon we have issued a public message with the other Oxfordshire councils to reassure people that they can continue to shop for and deliver food supplies to people who are vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating. This was in response to mixed messages circulating about this, following last night’s government announcement. The full text is here:
If you have been shopping for neighbours or family members who are vulnerable, elderly or self-isolating, please continue to do so. The government says you are allowed to leave your home to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. Just be careful to follow the usual guidance about washing your hands and keeping a safe distance from others. Where possible, it is sensible to leave the shopping on the doorstep for them rather than handing it to them directly.
Support for shops and businesses that have now closed
Many of our shops and other businesses have either closed or will be closing following the announcement last night that all but essential businesses need to do this.
If you know of or are contacted by anyone whose business or shop has been forced to shut, please remember to direct them to our South & Vale Business Support website. We already have lots of helpful information on there and our staff are working hard to ensure it is up to date each time the government provides more detail about the help available.’