This update includes information on:
- Staying safe while lockdown eases
- New visitor campaign launches – Stoke-cation
- Car parking
- Public toilets reopening
- Shopmobility Service reopening
- Registration and bereavement services updates
- Library services update
- Guidance for taxi passengers and using face coverings
- The NHS’ 72nd birthday – Hanley Town Hall turning blue
- 72nd anniversary of adult social care services in the UK
Staying safe while lockdown eases
Although this weekend, pubs, bars and restaurants are starting to open across the city, things will be very different to what we are used to. Licensed premises are required to re-open in line with current COVID-19 guidance and therefore, if you’re going out, it’s important to think about the following things to stay safe:
- Think about how you’re getting there and back – There will be taxis but there may be limited numbers available, and train and bus times may be different. Plan in advance and try to arrange for someone to pick you up if you can.
- Plan ahead – Check whether the pubs you want to go to are open. Not all of them will be – we know some are not opening this weekend. Those that are will probably be taking pre-bookings only. Have a think about where you want to go and have a plan beforehand.
- Payments – The majority of places will be taking contactless payments.
- Take your face covering and hand sanitiser – Some places may not let you in if you don’t have a face covering and you’ll need one if you’re using public transport or a taxi.
- Keep your distance and wash your hands regularly – These are still the most important ways you can stay safe. Two meters is still the safest distance to maintain.
As part of reopening plans, people are also being asked to give their details to venues. This is to allow for the Government’s test and trace system. This is to allow for test and trace and must be adhered to or you may not be allowed in.
There will be more police patrols across the city and our public protection team has been working with businesses to prepare them to comply with the guidance and to ensure they are all putting safe systems into place.To stay safe, you must follow the instructions from the businesses.
A number of measures are already in place and have been used in the city centre and other locations such as hand sanitising stations, queuing barriers and street markings to help while you’re out.
We want everybody to have a good time, but please be sensible and act responsibly while we all adjust to the new normal.
If you do see any businesses open that shouldn’t be – such as nail bars and gyms, please email email@example.com.
New visitor campaign launches – Stoke-cation
Stoke-cation is an integral part of Stoke-on-Trent’s City Council’s Covid19 recovery plan. Its aim is to encourage people to have ‘Stoke-cations’, stay local this summer and enjoy the many attractions in and around the city. It also highlights more attractions as they start to reopen, including our parks and green spaces, museums and the towns and city centre.
Developed to support the recovery of the tourism sector, Stoke-cation will form part of wider tourism marketing recovery activity across the city. It goes hand-in-hand with our messaging about planning ahead and following guidance to stay safe but intends to promote the best of Stoke-on-Trent and what’s right on your doorstep.
The Stoke-cation campaign will be led by Visit Stoke, the council’s Visitor Economy Team and will deliver an impactful and engaging marketing campaign to remind residents of the city’s rich cultural tourism offer encourage visitors and residents to re-explore the city’s free and paid for attractions.
Working with tourism attractions to communicate their re-opening messages to support the wider destination. The campaign will provide visitors with the reassurance they require to confidently begin to revisit the city.
We are also encouraging Stoke-on-Trent’s tourism and hospitality businesses to sign up to VisitEngland’s new ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and consumer mark. In partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales it will provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening, giving visitors the confidence that all guidelines are being adhered to.
The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses across the sector can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place.
The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the sector. To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the on-line platform found at https://goodtogo.visitbritain.com/ including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark for display in their premises and online.
We also want residents and visitors to share their experiences when they visit using tagging hashtags #Stokecation and #MyStokeStory on social media. Get involved now and check out the offers available as part of the campaign.
As part of Stoke-cation from Saturday (July 4), we can confirm people will be able to park on the following car parks for free for the next fortnight:
- Burslem – Queen Street, Market Place and St John Square;
- Hanley – Lower Huntbach Street;
- Stoke – South Wolfe Street.
The 30-minute free parking offer introduced by the council in February also continues to be available. This applies to the following car parks:
Chapel Lane and Navigation Road car parks
City Road car park
Longton Exchange car park
Weston Road car park
South Wolfe Street car park
Butterfield Place Car Park.
Public toilets reopening
On Monday, July 6 the public toilets at the following locations will be reopening within their usual opening hours.
- Hanley Indoor Market
- Stoke Indoor Market
- Longton Indoor Market
- Hanley Park
- Central Forest Park
- Longton Park
- Burslem Park
- Tunstall Park
- Longton public toilets
- Tunstall public toilets
- Fenton public toilets
These public toilets are being reopened in line with Government guidance. The following safety measures have been put into place at the facilities:
- Busier facilities will have attendants working to keep them clean.
- Less frequently used facilities will not have attendants, but will be cleaned on a more frequent basis.
- Some facilities may be operated as unisex facilities.
- Disabled facilities will be open.
Anybody using the facilities is asked to maintain personal hygiene and follow social distancing guidance within any facilities or when in a queue. They are also asked to follow the onsite advice and advice given by any attendant.
All of these measures will be kept under review.
Shopmobility Service reopening
The Shopmobility Service will be reopening to customers on Monday, July 6. In line with Government guidance, some aspects of the service will be changing to keep customers and staff safe.
Making a booking:
- The service will be opening on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 10am and 4pm, and by appointment only.
- To make an appointment, please call 01782 233333 after 9:30am on the day you wish to visit.
Using the service:
- Customers won’t be allowed to come into the office, or leave things there.
- There will be clear queue markers for collecting and returning equipment. If customers do have to queue and are behind another customer, they are asked to wait in the designated queue.
- Only card payments will be accepted.
- Only one customer and another person accompanying them will be able to come into the service area at any one time. Both people must observe the social distancing guidelines from council staff.
- Customers are reminded not to use the service if they are experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus.
Other safety measures:
- If they are able to, customers are asked to use hand sanitiser available at the entrance.
- Customers’ equipment will have already been deep cleaned ready for them, and will be wiped off again with an anti-bacterial wipe before being handed over.
- Customers are asked not to sit on any equipment that they have not booked as it may not have been cleaned yet.
- Customers are welcome to use their own PPE when using the equipment as this will not be provided.
More information about the Shopmobility Service can be found here.
Registration and bereavement services updates
There are a number of changes in the bereavement care and registration services that will start from this weekend.
Following birth registrations being suspended in England and Wales at the end of March, the Government have announced that birth registrations could recommence.
Safety measures have now been put into place at Hanley Town Hall to allow new parents to register births and to enable customers and staff to remain two meters apart throughout the building. Measures include:
- Clear signage and a one-way system.
- Hand-sanitisers being available.
- Clear screens placed on the registrar’s office desks as a barrier between the customer and the registrar.
- Nobody is permitted to enter Hanley Town Hall unless they already have an appointment.
We fully appreciate that parents are keen to register their baby’s birth for many different reasons. However, in order to manage the backlog and to accommodate those who have been waiting the longest – many of whom had an appointment that had to be cancelled – initially we are providing appointments for babies born on or before 30th April. We ask parents to keep checking the council website which will be updated once we are able to offer appointments for births that occurred in May.
Extra birth appointments are being offered and staff are working extremely hard to register as many births as possible. The situation is being monitored on a daily basis so that we can reduce the waiting time as soon as possible. However, it may take some months to complete all birth registrations and we thank all parents for their continued patience.
Appointments can be made by calling 01782 235260. An online booking system will be made available shortly.
On June 23, the Government updated its position and said from Saturday, July 4, weddings and civil partnerships are allowed to take place but with only 30 people including the couple, staff such as a photographer, and witnesses.
The Stoke-on-Trent Registration Service has one ceremony booked tomorrow at Tunstall Floral Hall. It is able to go ahead safely with the correct infection control and social distancing measures in place. Further ceremonies will recommence from July 11.
The latest Government advice on weddings and civil partnerships is as follows:
- Ceremonies should be kept “as short as reasonably possible” and limited as much as possible to just the parts that are legally binding.
- No more than 30 people should attend.
- Everyone should follow the two metre rule if possible, or one metre with extra safety measures.
- No food and drink should be consumed as part of the event.
- Hands should be washed before and after the exchanging of rings, and the rings should be handled by as few people as possible.
- Singing, shouting or playing music at a volume that means people have to raise their voice should all be avoided. Instead of singing, recordings are suggested.
- Speaking during the ceremony – for example saying the responses to the vows – should not be in a raised voice.
- Playing instruments that are blown into should be avoided.
- When singing or chanting is required, only one person is allowed to and the couple or venue should consider installing a clear screen.
- Venues frequently used for weddings should mark the floor with tape or paint to help people maintain social distance.
From Monday, July 6 the numbers of mourners who can attend funerals will be increased to 30, with all other existing social distancing measures and guidance remaining in place. From July 6, the £35 fee for live video streaming will also be reintroduced for funerals arranged after this date. From the same date the cemetery at Carmountside Crematorium will return to its normal summertime opening hours which are 8am to 8pm.
Library services update
Library services will begin to return next week when our Longton and Tunstall sites start a Click, Call and Collect service from Monday, 6 July. This is part of plans for a phased reopening of all six Stoke-on-Trent libraries.
To reserve books online for collection at Longton or Tunstall Library, you must have a library card and visit Libraries Online here.
If you don’t have a card, please email or phone the libraries using the details below and tell staff which books you would like to reserve or ask them to choose some for you based on your preferences.
Initially Longton and Tunstall libraries will be open for reduced hours of Monday to Wednesday, 10am-4pm; Friday, 10am-4pm; Saturday, 10am-2pm. The libraries will be closed on Thursdays and Sundays.
To begin with, you will not be able to browse the shelves as you normally would. You will only be able to collect books that you have ordered via Click, Call and Collect during your allotted day and time.
Customers will be asked to wait outside the library door and to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines. A member of staff will then open the door and invite customers in during their time slot.
The customer will then be allowed into the collection area only to pick up their books, put them in their own bag and then leave the library.
The books that you borrow through Click, Call and Collect will be issued for six weeks.
You can return books to Longton, Tunstall and City Central Library and you do not need an appointment to do this. Books returned to Longton and City Central Library can be placed in the returns box outside the building. Books returned to Tunstall Library can be placed in the returns area in the foyer during opening hours.
Throughout the period that libraries are closed we have suspended all overdue fines. We have now extended this to cover the reopening phase of libraries. So you will not receive any overdue fines during this time.
Our priority is the safety of staff and customers. The libraries will be cleaned each morning, including the collection area. Staff will also follow government guidelines for hygiene by washing their hands regularly and using hand sanitiser when selecting and issuing books to customers. This follows guidance prepared in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
Collection will be ‘contact-free’ and the only thing customers will need to touch inside the library is the books.
Books that are returned by customers will be quarantined for 72 hours before being handled by staff and re-shelved.
Customers will also be asked to bring their own bags for Click, Call and Collect.
For the time being, Click, Call and Collect for books and talking books will be the only service available from Longton and Tunstall libraries. We will provide more details on plans for the further phased reopening of libraries in due course.
Despite Stoke-on-Trent libraries being temporarily closed, they have been offering a huge range of online services. Residents can sign up for provisional membership online to access all of the service’s e-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines. For details, click here.
Library users with a standard membership card number (28080xxxxxxxxx) can access a full suite of online services – including e-audiobooks, e-books and e-magazines – which can be found here.
The service is also running a number of activities and challenges on social media. For more information, visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries or go to https://www.facebook.com/stokeontrentlibraries/ or https://twitter.com/SoTLibraries
For more information on Click Call and Collect, including frequently asked questions, please click here.
This is a free service for adults living in Stoke-on-Trent who are housebound, or who struggle to get to the library due to mobility issues. We paused deliveries during the pandemic to protect our most vulnerable residents. The service has now restarted for our regular customers, where it is safe to do so. We are looking to expand this service to more residents, so if you would like details please call 01782 238407.
Guidance for taxi passengers and using face coverings
The government have released the following advice with regards to wearing a face covering in a taxi:
‘You should wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator may be entitled to refuse to accept passengers who are not wearing a face covering.”
Please keep a two meter distance from others during your taxi journey, for example at taxi ranks. If you need to be near other people you should:
- avoid physical contact.
- try to face away from other people.
- keep the time you spend near other people as short as possible.
Please also keep the following advice in mind:
- Follow the advice of the driver. For example, you may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if you are travelling alone. You may want to check with your taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.
- You should use contactless payments if possible, or find out if you can pay online in advance.
- Be aware of the surfaces you touch.
- Be careful not to touch your face.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- When finishing your journey wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands as soon as possible.
Click here for the full Government guidance.
The NHS’ 72nd birthday – Hanley Town Hall turning blue
Saturday, July 4, will be a moment of remembrance and reflection for those we have lost during the pandemic. This is a chance for the nation to come together and pay our respects. We will be turning Hanley Town Hall blue in the evening in honour of this, and to show our support for our fantastic NHS and keyworkers. Together Coalition is also asking people to place a light in their window or on their doorstep.
2020 has been the most challenging year in the NHS’ history, and teams – from clinical staff to administrative staff – have worked around the clock to tackle the coronavirus. We would like to offer our thanks for their tireless efforts and wish them a very happy birthday.
Find out more about the NHS’ birthday celebrations here.
72nd anniversary of adult social care services in the UK
This year also marks the 72nd anniversary of adult social care services starting in the UK. We know our adult social care teams do a fantastic job supporting vulnerable people across our city and want to thank them for their vital work, especially during these challenging times.
If you’re interested in caring for your city, click here to find out more about carer roles available.