PLAY areas, visitor facilities and car parks have been closed at key leisure destinations including Pennington Flash Country Park in Leigh in the fight to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

The council is working with partners and volunteers to continue to deliver vital services – from emptying the bins to supporting vulnerable people.

All essential services currently remain fully operational – with staff being redeployed from other roles within the council to increase capacity and cover for those needing to self-isolate.

Examples of this include the parks and street scene team who are now working in waste and recycling following the government’s suspension of all sporting fixtures.

A hotline has been set up to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents and volunteers are being recruited to support seven community hubs located across the borough to deliver vital support to those in need.

Last week the council published its five-point plan to reduce the spread of the virus, which includes mobilising its assets in preparation, for example, temporarily closing leisure centres and libraries to the public.

But now, in an unprecedented move, the local authority has declared a "major incident" to step up its response to COVID-19.

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Wigan Council leader, Cllr David Molyneux (pictured above), said: “Our main priority now is to keep our most vulnerable residents safe and alive.

"To win this fight it’s critical that we all step up and do our bit to stop the spread of the virus.”

Residents are being urged to be kind and stay at home to prevent the virus spreading.

As well as measures at parks, visitor numbers to crematoriums will also be restricted and Wigan Town Hall will close to the public from tomorrow, Tuesday.

All care homes are closed to members of the public, with the exception of essential visitors, such as GPs.

Council chief executive Alison Mckenzie-Folan said: “Research shows that it only takes one person to spread the virus to more than 400 people in just 30 days.

"That person may not be unwell themselves and could make a full recovery, but their loved ones may not be so lucky.

“Over the weekend we saw lots of residents gathering at the borough’s parks and greenspaces, and while we want residents to get outdoors and stay active, going to the same park makes it very difficult to follow the social distancing measures which is why we’ve decided to close parks and limit access to our greenspaces."

To reduce the likelihood of catching Covid-19, all residents are asked to follow social distancing guidelines, which include:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.

• Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible.

• Work from home, where possible.

• Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

• Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature and/or new and continuous cough), self-isolate at home for 7 days.

If you live with others, everyone in the household must self-isolate for 14 days. Do not ring 111 unless your symptoms deteriorate.

More information for residents on looking after themselves and other during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the council’s new Be Kind webpage;