North Devon Council has warned its services are reaching ‘tipping point’, as measures to stop the spread of coronavirus are having more impact.
The announcements regarding school closures and an increase in staff at the council having to self-isolate has had a knock-on effect on some council services, with waste and recycling collections most affected.
Friday (March 20) saw eight collection vehicles unable to go out due to staff not being available.
Council chief executive Ken Miles said some collection services may have to be withdrawn or merged should the coronavirus crisis develop further, and said it was ‘with regret’ that this would happen.
Mr Miles said: “All of the staff employed at the council are doing their utmost to maintain those services in one form or another but some services, where it is not possible to work from home for instance, are now being affected.
“This is being felt most in the waste and recycling service where, as of this morning, more significant disruption is now starting to happen. If the crisis develops then we may see elements of this service being withdrawn.
“I would like to stress to the public that I personally very much regret this happening but hope that you will understand the reasons for it.”
Other services affected include the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, which has closed.
With higher-risk individuals being advised to self-isolate, the museum had been left with a shortage of volunteers.
The council’s front desk in Lynton House in Barnstaple is still open, as is its presence at the Amory Centre in South Molton.
Members of the public are asked to only access these receptions in person if contact through other means is impossible.
Mr Miles added: “We are also asking that no-one exhibiting symptoms or self-isolating attend for the safety of our staff and other customers.
“This position is likely to change daily as the staffing issues become more acute so please keep an eye on our website for updates.”
To keep up to date with which council services are available, visit its website, www.northdevon.gov.uk