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Coronavirus: Islington Council leader says critical services like street sweeping and refuse collection will continue during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 14:22 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:32 25 March 2020

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, speaking at a Fair Futures Commission meeting at Arts and Media School Islington. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, speaking at a Fair Futures Commission meeting at Arts and Media School Islington. Photo by Em Fitzgerald

Em Fitzgerald

The leader of Islington Council says street sweeping and refuse collection will continue despite other services being closed due to the ongoing pandemic.

Cllr Richard Watts has reiterated his call for people to follow the government advise on social distancing, warning parks will be closed if people don’t abide by the rules.

Cllr Watts has also urged shoppers not to panic buy and asked businesses not to profiteer during the coronavirus pandemic. He says it’s critical people take their health and the wellbeing of those around them seriously, adding: “We are not asking people to take all these measures in anything other than the most extreme circumstances any of us can remember since the Second World War.”

He added: “We have had to close a range of services, primarily because of the public health advice. Normal services like street cleaning sweeping, refuse collection and other core services are carrying on. But we are only one or two weeks in to a crisis that the Prime Minister optimistically says may last 12 weeks, but people with more serious academic credentials say longer than that.” The council has closed Alsen Day Centre, Highbury New Park Day Centre, Islington Outlook and Daylight Islington on Friday, all of which provide services for older and disabled people. All adventure playgrounds and youth hubs have closed and Islington register office is only logging deaths, meaning pre-booked civil ceremonies are cancelled. Islington Museum and all libraries are now closed, but fines for overdue books have been suspended.

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Cllr Watts added: “I want to pay tribute to Islington Council’s staff who are still working so hard, critical workers still turning up to work in numbers. [...] Increasingly people are being redeployed into jobs other than their main day job and people are responding incredibly well to that.”

All playgrounds, outdoor games areas and gyms, tennis courts, football pitches and leisure centres are closed. Schools remain open to children of key workers, and will also continue to provide lunch for children who receive free school meals.

The council has closed its St John’s Housing Office and Holland Walk Housing Office, and people should only visit 222 Upper Street in an emergency.

Islington Council has launched a borough-wide helpline to assist residents who are vulnerable or self-isolating as a result of the coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19).

The phone line is 020 7527 8222, and is open every day from 9am-5pm.

The Minicom line to assist people with hearing or speech difficulties is 020 7527 1900.

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