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LIVE BLOG: How is Coronavirus affecting Swindon?

Hello and welcome to our live blog as we bring you all the latest news about how Coronavirus is affecting Swindon. We'll be bringing you updates on businesses in Swindon, information on schools, helpful tips, and more about the impact the virus is having on Swindon. Comment below to give your opinion!

9:56AM

Good morning Swindon and welcome to our live blog focusing on Coronavirus in Swindon as the UK enters its seventh day of lockdown

11:03AM

PM Boris Johnson is writing to every UK household to urge them to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

11:01AM

Swindon Borough Council are giving all NHS and social care heroes free parking in council-owned car parks.

Find out how to apply for a permit and our other #HereForSwindon measures to help residents and businesses at: www.swindon.gov.uk/hereforswindon

10:58AM

We want to help you cope with isolation as best as possible. So we've put together our activity-filled guide to 'Coping with life under lockdown'


It's full of great information on food delivery services, stay at home fitness tips, support group information and so much more!


Check it out here for yourself!

10:48AM

Wiltshire Police have been overwhelmed by the community response to its appeal for hand sanitiser and protective gloves.


The police hadn't run out of stocks but supplies were low.


Dauntsey's School in West Lavington answered the appeal by donating 32 litres of gel in dispensing bags. 


Headteacher Mark Lascelle said: "We saw the appeal and just wanted to help. 


"We think the work that the police and all emergencies services do is just amazing and wish every single officer and member of staff all the very best over the next few weeks."

10:45AM

Three new cases of covid-19 were confirmed in Swindon last night taking the towns total to 11.

10:43AM

Good morning and welcome to today's Live blog focusing on Coronavirus in Swindon

1:56PM

The number of cases in Swindon for Coronavirus has now risen to 8 cases after new numbers were declared by the NHS.

1:55PM

NHS Staff at Great Western Hospital will now get free parking as well after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced free parking at hospitals for all NHS venues.

1:54PM

Some positive news out of Wiltshire today is that Wiltshire-based business Dyson have unveiled a new ventilator system that the UK government have pledged to buy 10,000 of.

10:19AM

All Wiltshire Police enquiry offices have been temporarily closed in a move to protect both the public and our officers and staff.

The decision has been made following the latest Government advice on social distancing and staying at home as part of the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

However, Wiltshire Police want people to be reassured that they will still be able to contact them through a variety of means, including the 999 emergency and 101 non-emergency numbers, our website, and using the yellow phones positioned outside enquiry offices.

10:14AM

Announced this morning, NHS workers will now get free parking during this pandemic.

This has came into action after 400,000 people signed a petition, in a bid to say thanks and support the workers.

10:13AM

People around the nation are planning to give a round of applause this evening to show appreciation to our NHS workers for their hard work during this pandemic.


The Clap for our Carers campaign has had a huge response online, tonight at 8pm people will be clapping outside their windows or their front door.

5:02PM

If you're looking to get a food/takeaway delivery in Swindon, click here for some restaurants who are offering it.

5:00PM

Update on your waste and recycling service from SBC:

  • Our crews are working hard to deliver your waste and recycling collections as normal, however we are aware that their are some current disruptions to our service. Over the coming weeks we will be prioritising black wheelie bin/blue bag collections and clinical waste collections.
  • All waste and recycling must be outside your property by 6.30am on your collection day and left out until it is collected. Please note in some instances your waste may be collected after your normal collection day, for updates visit: www.swindon.gov.uk/householdwaste
  • We will not be collecting missed recycling. If we have missed your recycling collection please store it until your next collection unless advised otherwise on our missed collections webpage: www.swindon.gov.uk/householdwaste
  • If you have, or suspect you have coronavirus, please double bag your tissues, wipes etc and store for at least 72 hours in your house before putting this waste out in your wheelie bin/blue bag for collection.
  • The HWRC (the tip) is closed for the foreseeable future. Please store any waste until the HWRC reopens and avoid creating DIY or large quantities of garden waste.
  • Fly tipping is illegal. We will continue to investigate fly tipping, if you see anybody disposing of their waste illegally please take a photo and report it to: www.swindon.gov.uk/flytipping

Check the status update webpage for the latest information on your waste and recycling collections: www.swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus

4:58PM

Statement from Swindon Borough Council following news of two confirmed COVID-19 deaths.


We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of two of our residents, who we understand had tested positive for COVID-19 [and also had underlying health conditions].


Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “This is an incredibly sad day for the whole of Swindon and is the news we have all been fearful of since the start of this outbreak.


“I would like to extend my own heartfelt sympathies, and those of the whole Council, to the families of both the patients concerned. I am sure the news will be met with sorrow in the wider community, especially as they are the first Swindon residents to die of COVID-19. These deaths are a stark reminder of the danger this virus poses to all of us, but especially those vulnerable people in our community.


“It is important that people remain calm at this time and I would like to reassure people that we are working closely with our care providers and NHS partners to support all those who are most at risk.


“I urge everyone to continue to heed the Government’s advice so we minimise the spread of infection.”


Please stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.


More information on coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here: gov.uk/coronavirus

4:13PM

Swindon's Bus Company are posting regular updates on our website in regards to Coronavirus, and their services - https://www.swindonbus.co.uk/coronavirus

4:11PM

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, the Household Waste Recycling Centre is closed until further notice.

4:10PM

Swindon Borough Council: "From today (24 March) our parking officers will not be issuing parking tickets to those who are not usually allowed to use on-street residential, shared use, permit parking bays and limited waiting bays. This is to help key workers care for the most vulnerable. Parking officers will only be issuing parking tickets to cars who have parked dangerously, those who are parked on yellow lines and those parked in disabled bays that shouldn’t be.

Car parks will be opened up to residents with parking permits to use. We will be keeping a close eye on numbers to ensure demand doesn’t exceed capacity. If that does happen, we may have to resume normal enforcement"

4:08PM

Supermarkets have new and improved opening times in light to allow the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers to be able to grab their necessities while the shelves are freshly stocked. Its also to allow the workers time to restock shelves for the next day so that the people who need it can get it.


View the new opening times here: https://www.totalswindon.com/shopping/supermarkets-new-opening-times/

4:49PM

If the thought of having to keep your children entertained for days—or weeks—on end within the walls of your home sends you into a panic spiral, fear not! We've just published our Top Ten Activities for Kids During Quarantine, read more here.

2:35PM


2:32PM

Swindon Borough Council on the Household Waste Recycling Centre:


"We’re sad to report that some of our staff working at the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) were spat and sworn at over the weekend.

This behaviour isn’t acceptable at anytime, not least in the current circumstances.

The HWRC currently is open for ESSENTIAL visits only, but we are keeping this under close review.

Essential waste IS NOT items like fences, mattresses, construction waste, furniture, DIY, plasterboard, green waste.

Please check the tipcam before you visit us, it's currently extremely busy: bit.ly/2J8Q3xh"

2:30PM

MBROS Superstore are giving away FREE masks & antibacterial soap to the elderly and those who are prone to the virus.


They are proud to announce they have so far given away 1,300 masks, 829 soaps, cleaning materials and other good for their customers and elderly homes for free.


"Be safe, be kind and help everyone who needs it."


11:23AM

What the council is doing to support rough sleepers in Swindon:


  •  Obtained accommodation for any rough sleeper who needs to self-isolate, and they will provide them with emergency packets of food and other essentials
  • Contacted every relevant voluntary group and charity in Swindon and given appropriate advice on health and safety precautions
  • Asked the voluntary groups to contact them immediately if they come across anybody who is homeless or rough sleeping and showing symptoms of coronavirus


For rough sleepers who aren’t showing coronavirus symptoms, they will continue to work closely with them - as they do on a daily basis - to encourage them to engage with the many available services, though some people aren’t always in a position to do so.


This unprecedented situation is unfolding rapidly and SBC are concerned to keep up to date with the latest advice and information, and to act as necessary.


If you are in any way concerned about the welfare of a rough sleeper, please contact the council immediately on 01793 445503 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

11:20AM

Swindon Borough Council have removed time restrictions on concessionary bus passes. Older and disabled residents can now use their bus pass before 9:30am.

9:57AM

An update from McDonald’s UK:

9:37AM

Caprinos Pizza Swindon: "During this time of distress and panic, our NHS workers don't have a choice to hide away, self isolate or quarantine..

They are working with those infected, vulnerable and at high risk on a daily basis.

As a thank you and to show our own appreciation for the amazing work they do, those working for the NHS will now receive a 30% off on total bill.

Please don't forget to look out for each other at this crazy time of panic, thank you."

9:34AM

Swindon Borough Council have launched a new voluntary initiative aimed at helping our most vulnerable residents who have been forced to self-isolate.


They've teamed up with Voluntary Action Swindon (VAS) and the Volunteer Centre Swindon to match volunteers with those who have no one else to help them.


This could involve speaking to someone over the phone to offer some companionship or collecting shopping.

Could you help an isolated or vulnerable resident in Swindon? Get in touch here: https://bit.ly/2vAjdlF

9:30AM

With the recent government instruction, Chiseldon House Hotel's restaurant is now closed.


They are serving fresh home cooked meals and afternoon tea for collection.


Please click here for details of the Collection Menu


They would like to send their thanks to all those working on the front line and their thoughts to anyone who has been personally impacted. They hope that you and your families are safe and well.


9:26AM

Minety Music Festival due to take place 3rd - 5th July 2020 have sadly made the decision to postpone the festival for 12 months.


The 4th Minety Music Festival will defer for one year until 2nd - 4th July 2021.


All tickets will remain valid for the new dates, if you wish to receive a refund please contact the festival organisers. You can read their full statement here.

4:33PM

We have just had some breaking news come through to us confirming the first Coronavirus related death in Swindon.


A statement from the Great Western Hospitals NHS Trust said:


“Sadly, we can confirm that a man who was being cared for at Great Western Hospital, and had tested positive for COVID-19, has died.


“The patient, who died on 19 March, was in his 80s, had underlying health conditions.

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“His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”

4:17PM

The Hall & Woodhouse pub at Wichelstowe have announced today it will be closed from Sunday 22nd March until further notice in response to government guidelines as well.

3:46PM

Some sad news reaching us from Royal Wootton Basset business Imagine Cruising as they announce that they have had to make 25 redundancies due to the Coronavirus having recently taken on 50 new employees.

1:23PM

Breaking news from the Royal International Air Tattoo is that they have cancelled this year's event.


More information on this can be read on our website here.



11:27AM

The first bit of news to bring you is that GWR are shortening their train devices meaning less trains will be stopping in Wiltshire.


You can find out more at the GWR website

11:25AM

Good morning and welcome to another day of our live Coronavirus blog

4:34PM

Great Western Hospital has also announced today that they will be introducing visiting restrictions at the hospital to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.


Face-to-face outpatient appointments have changed to telephone appointments, some planned operations have been cancelled, and relatives have been asked to take patients home at the earliest opportunity. 


4:31PM

Swindon Dance have also announced that they will be shutting its doors due to the Coronavirus. In a statement, the dance school said:


“ It is with a heavy heart that I write to confirm that in order to safeguard our staff, artists and users whilst the country combats the coronavirus, that Swindon Dance has now had to close.


“We will be following the UK Government advice and guidelines and will work hard to keep everyone up to date with the impact on Swindon Dance and our activities as they unfold. We hope it won’t be too long until we are able to reopen.

4:29PM

The English Football League has today ruled that English Football will not return to action until at least April 30th.


This means Swindon Town will be unable to play football for over a month at the earliest. Currently the team are self-isolating at home however manager Richie Wellens revealed each player has there own personal fitness plan to keep them busy.

4:28PM

Today has been a bit of a quieter day for Swindon however we have had some updates from Swindon businesses this afternoon

11:41AM

The wetherspoons restaurant The Savoy in Swindon town centre also remain open for business. However they have urged punters to pay by card or order through the app instead of using cash.

11:06AM

If like many of us the Coronavirus is sending your anxiety levels through the roof, then you know how important it is to practice positive mental exercises.


Read our top tips to help combat Coronavirus anxiety here.




10:49AM

The Live at Lydiard festival have announced it is still going ahead in August. This will be the debut year for the festival.


In a statement the festival organisers said:


"We understand these are difficult and uncertain times for everyone and therefore would like to take the time to update you all on our current situation.


"As the situation currently stands, based on expert projections it is looking highly likely that the virus will have stabilised in the UK by August. With this in mind, we are fully confident to deliver Live at Lydiard 2020.


"We also want to provide further reassurance that in the unlikely scenario we have to cancel the event, full refunds will be offered to all ticket holders."

10:46AM

The Cross Keys pub in Royal Wootton Bassett have also just announced they will be starting a foodbank at their venue to help assist the elderly and the vulnerable throughout this difficult time.


A spokesperson for the venue said:


"As a community pub we are dedicated to giving back to the community that has looked after us so well.


"We have decided to open a daily food bank service as of next week. Please donate any spare tins, ambient food, toiletries and more if you can spare it.


We will make sure these go to the vulnerable and needy. Once we have built up enough stock we can decide daily times to hand the items out to people."

10:23AM

Asda have just released this statement as well urging shoppers to not begin shopping until 9am in order to allow the elderly and vulnerable to get their shopping done first! A great initiative!

10:16AM

The Cricklade Club have also now launched their takeaway menu with a great selection of delicious meals that can be delivered straight to your door.


Order your food from The Cricklade Club here.



10:12AM

Award-winning hair salon Karoliina Saunders have also announced they remain open for business as usual and have put extra hygiene measures in place to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.



10:10AM

Waterstones and Game stores in Swindon town centre are also keeping their doors open to the public for the time being.

10:09AM

There have also been plenty of updates from local Swindon businesses as well.


Tree Nightclub have announced that they remain open for the time being. However the venue have told any staff showing flu-like symptoms to stay home and urged any guests to stay away if they are ill.


Tree have also installed hand sanitisers around their venue.

10:05AM

As always, the most important piece of advice is to make sure you are washing your hands on a frequent basis fro 20 seconds with warm water and soap.

10:05AM

Yesterday, another confirmed case of Coronavirus was recorded in Swindon. That brings the total in WIltshire to nine.

10:04AM

Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all UK schools will shut for an indefinite period of time once school gates shut on Friday afternoon.

10:03AM

Good morning and welcome back to day three of our Coronavirus live blog, focusing on how the virus is impacting Swindon.

6:01PM

That concludes today's live blog, we'll be bringing you more updates throughout tomorrow from 9.30am.

5:20PM

BREAKING: All schools in the UK will shut down as of Friday with no set return date being announced.

4:58PM

In the last hour it has been confirmed by the UK Government that the UK death toll has now risen to 104. That's an increase of 32 in the past 24 hours.

3:58PM

Throughout the week we have been catching up with business leaders in and around Swindon to find out how they are having to adapt their business to cope with the social impact of Coronavirus.


The first post comes from the HR Dept Swindon.


Read how their business has had to adapt to the Coronavirus situation here.

3:44PM

HONDA have just announced that they will be suspending all production at their Swindon plant until April.

The plant will shut at the end of today and not re-open until April 6th.

3:43PM

Abbey Park school have just announced that they will only be opening for Years 7 to 11 from Thursday.

2:51PM

We understand that self-isolating can be hard - especially if your elderly. That's why our expert has given her best tips to help make self-isolating that little bit easier for the older generation.


You can read her top tips here.

2:44PM

The STEAM Museum have also just announced that they will be shutting it's doors until May 1st.


In a statement, the museum said:


"Following Government advice, STEAM will be closed to the public from today (18 March) until Friday 1 May. This also includes Platform One Cafe and our schools and public events programmes.


"This action is in keeping with our commitment to maintain a safe and healthy environment, while also following recommendations of public health experts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.


"During the closure, we will be highlighting the work of team members and posting more of our incredible collection online."

2:37PM

Lydiard Park Academy have just announced they will be closed to most of its Year 8s and 9s from Thursday and Friday along with all of Year 12.

2:29PM

BMW and MINI workers will stop working as of Monday with a return date set as April 17th, however this is subject to change.


The company said a number of factors played a part in them making this decision.

2:27PM

We have also received news that the BMW plant is set to shut down for four weeks starting from Monday.

2:24PM

In the last hour it has also been announced that schools in Wales and Scotland will shut from Friday due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The English government will be giving an update on this issue at 5pm today.

12:19PM

Digital organisation Tech Swindon have also announced that they will be postponing person-to-person meet ups, however they still want to hear from local SME's in all fields to build up their online community.


You can get in contact with Tech Swindon here.

12:10PM

Restaurant news from Swindon is that Spanish Tapas restaurant Los Gatos has temporarily closed its doors to protect its staff and help stop the spread of the virus.


Situated in Old Town, the restaurant said:


“Reluctantly, in the interests of our staff and customers, we’ve closed from today until further notice.


“We are healthy business with great customers, and we want it to stay that way. We are looking at options, so watch this space.

12:07PM

Despite no government guidelines being issued to close schools during the Coronavirus epidemic, a number of schools in Swindon and Wiltshire have decided to partially close. See below what schools have taken action already.


Royal Wootton Bassett Academy - Closed to Years 8, 9 and 10.

Kingsdown School - Closed to Years 8 and 9.

Lainesmead Primary School and Nursery - Nursery closed, pupils and staff with health conditions told to stay home.

 

11:20AM

Sainsbury's and Asda have also announced today that they will be introducing strict limits on the amount of goods people can buy in their stores. This is as pressure mounts on retailers to stop consumers stockpiling.


There are two Asda stores, and four Sainsbury's in Swindon. Both stores will be limiting sales of items to no more than 3 per customer.



11:12AM

If you want any more information on the previous story regarding the National Trust opening their parks for free, you can read our article on it by clicking here.

10:59AM

Sporting news from Swindon is that The Swindon Wildcats have now cancelled their remaining fixtures this season due to the Coronavirus outbreak.


We understand that their remaining matches have been cancelled and the new season will begin without these games having been played.

10:48AM

Some good news to bring to you all during this period of negativity is that the National Trust has opened their parks and gardens to the public for free to help encourage more people to get out into open spaces as the Coronavirus continues to spread.


They have however shut all of their shops, cafes, and houses, to help stop the disease spreading further.

10:39AM

The National Self-Build and Renovation Centre have also this morning announced that they remain open for business as usual and have implemented several practical measures (including additional cleaning and sanitisation) and have put contingencies in place to remain so for the duration. 


They have however changed the dates of their upcoming shows.


The National Self Build & Renovation Show’ has been moved from 16th 7 17th May to the 25th & 26th July.

Their next ‘Passivhaus Workshop’ has been moved from 3rd & 4th April to 15th &16th May.


Find out more about the NSBRC here.

 

10:13AM

Nanogreen Cleaning will now be offering a deep cleaning service that is available to businesses and individuals.


Correct Careers Coaching have tailored their training and will now be offering their social media and sales training through video service Zoom.


Food buffet service Hospitality Services will soon be starting home deliveries for their meals.



10:01AM

In Swindon, local businesses have had a hectic few days and have had to adjust to the challenges that the Coronavirus is facing their business with.

10:01AM

He also announced plans to have mortgage lenders freeze mortgages for a period of 3 months along with other measures.

10:00AM

Focusing on yesterday's government press conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged £330 billion that will be available from next week to help businesses pay for supplies, rent and salaries.

9:55AM

Good morning and welcome to day two of our Live Blog focusing on the impact of Coronavirus in Swindon

5:35PM

That's it for today's live blog covering the impact of Coronavirus in Swindon. We'll be back live at 9.30am tomorrow.

3:52PM

We have also just received notice from the Lechlade Festival that they will be postponing this year's festival until 2021.



3:09PM

Swindon aquatic and reptile centre Aqualush has today announced that it will also be closing it's doors to the public, however the firm have announced they will be starting a delivery service to help you make sure your pets are getting what they need.


Read the full press release from Aqualush here.

2:55PM

If you know someone who is self-isolating then this is a great idea to help them get the help they need. Simply print off or make your own postcard and pop it through their door.

2:50PM

There has also been communication from Swindon's Great Western Hospital, advising people with symptoms to stay at home and self-isolate.


In a statement, the hospital said:


"If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.


You do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation.


If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.


For a medical emergency dial 999."

2:48PM

This doesn't mean you have to lock yourself in your house all day though. Check out some of Swindon's best walks below and get out in the fresh air whilst also avoiding contact with others.


Check out the walks here.

2:46PM

At this present time, there have been two recorded cases of the coronavirus in Swindon with an official government message telling people to practice social distancing and work from home where possible.

2:44PM

There has also been new advice issued to individuals to help stop the spread of the virus. Read our piece with our local TGT blogger Fiona Scott here.



2:40PM

We'll start with information from some of the areas local restaurants.


The Cricklade Club have announced they will be temporarily shutting down their cafe however will be offering a takeaway service.


Robins Farm have stopped serving their lunchtime carvery.


1:52PM

We will also be providing you with helpful tips on how to keep busy, things to do during self-isolation, and loads of great advice for families and individuals.

1:51PM

We'll be focusing on the impact the virus is having on local businesses, schools, families, the elderly and much more throughout this difficult and testing time.

1:51PM

Hello and welcome to Tuesday's live blog as we bring you the important updates from around Swindon and Wiltshire on how the coronavirus is affecting the area.

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