Council introduces further measures in response to COVID-19 

6th April 2020

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has implemented additional measures in the fight to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to enable it to continue to deliver its critical services. A new package of community initiatives to support the community-led response has also been unveiled.

Due to the current government guidelines, the Council in unable to meet under normal conditions and is awaiting guidance from the Department for Communities regarding alternative meeting arrangements during this time.  Consequently, the Council meeting scheduled to take place tomorrow night, Tuesday 7 April 2020, will not be taking place.

In its most recent response to Covid-19 the Council has:

  • Launched a package of community support including Covid-19 Community Funding and Covid-19 Coordination hub
  • Continues to deliver its household bin collection service to 46,000 households across the district each week with minimum disruption
  • Closed Council cemeteries to the public except for funerals and burials, following introduction of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 by the Northern Ireland Executive. Council staff will maintain plots to an acceptable standard during this time.
  • Suspended car-parking charges at off-street Council operated car parks until further notice.
  • Closed a number of angling waters and facilities for fishing in line with DAERA guidance. The angling waters closed are Drumacritten Lough, Killyfole Lough, Lough Acrussel, Lough Barry, Lough Eschleagh, Lough Inver, Lough Lea, Lough Nayre, Lough Unshinagh and Lyons Lough.

On Friday 3 April 2020, the Council launched a substantial funding package to support the community led response to assist those most vulnerable as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect local communities in the district.

Covid-19 Community Funding will be made available in each of the District Electoral Areas for groups who wish to provide community and social support to vulnerable and isolated people across the district.

Applications are now being received and the streamlined funding process will ensure a quick turnaround of applications and advance payments to ensure prompt delivery of support in local communities.

Speaking about Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s response, the Council Chair, Councillor Siobhán Currie, said:

“The safety of the general public and Council staff remains of paramount importance and the latest raft of measures put in place by the Council have been taken with this objective in mind. I welcome the Council’s move to make substantial funding available to support the tremendous community effort in the fight against the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Council Chair also commended the actions of Fermanagh and Omagh residents and Council staff in their response to the current situation.

“I am reassured to see residents implementing social distancing and stay at home advice over the past week. I understand that it is not easy but by following this advice, we are all playing our part in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19. It is vital that people only go out when it is essential for them to do so to protect both themselves and others.

I would like to thank the residents of the district who are taking additional measures to decrease the potential for exposure of our staff to the Covid-19 virus by adopting simple practices such as wiping down the handles of the wheelie bins and by keeping their physical distance from Council staff. This is a relatively simple thing, but which can make such a huge difference. I am also aware of positive messages and expressions of gratitude and support to the staff on our social media channels and affixed to wheelie bins for example, for the work which they are currently undertaking. It is greatly appreciated by the staff.

Council staff have continued to adapt quickly to the changes in their work circumstances, a number of whom have been retrained and redeployed to support the delivery of critical services in waste and recycling and registration services. I would like to pay tribute to the members of our staff who are instrumental in the continued delivery of our frontline services and who have shown great commitment to ensuring that disruption of these services is kept to a minimum during this very challenging period.”

Over the past week the Council has recorded incidents of fly-tipping and general littering. Speaking about the issue the Council Chair said:

“Reports of fly-tipping and general littering are disappointing and I would urge the public to think carefully before disposing of rubbish in such an irresponsible manner. This is not only bad for the environment and public health, but it also puts an additional strain on Council resources. I was particularly dismayed to learn of reports of disposable gloves being discarded around the streets and I would appeal to those responsible to cease this practice immediately and instead take the gloves home and dispose of them appropriately for the safety of all.”

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council continues to support the other statutory agencies in the fight to stem the spread of this disease.

Due to the fast-changing nature of the Covid-19 situation, the Council advises there may be further changes to its scheduled services, as and when operational demands require. While some of these changes may be at short notice, the Council will endeavour to keep people up to date of any changes as quickly as possible.

Up to date information will be posted on the Council’s website www.fermanaghomagh.com and Facebook and Twitter social media channels, @fermanaghomagh.

Council offices remain closed to the public during this time. To contact Fermanagh and Omagh District Council please telephone 0300 303 1777 (calls charged at local rate) Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm or email info@fermanaghomagh.com.

For up to date information and advice on COVID-19  please visit www.publichealthhcsni.net or www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

Measures implemented by the Council up until 6 April 2020 and that remain current are as follows:

  • Gortin Glens Forest Park and the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark together with associated sites at Ely Lodge, Lough Navar, Castle Archdale, Castle Caldwell, Killykeegan and Cuilcagh Boardwalk are closed.
  • All Council play areas, Multi Use Games Areas and outdoor gyms ​are closed.
  • Bookings for the bulky waste collection service have been suspended.
  • Registration of deaths are now being undertaken without the need to attend the local Registration office. Registration of births at Council locations has been suspended for three weeks. The situation will be reviewed again on 16 April 2020. Births may be registered at a GP practice during this time.
  • Civil ceremonies and partnerships have been postponed until after 31 May 2020
  • Civic Amenity sites and Recycling centres across the district are temporarily closed.
  • All Council owned public conveniences are closed
  • Planning – The Planning offices are closed and the service is unable to process any new planning applications. Agents and applicants are advised not to submit applications until normal business resumes.