Harwich Town Council

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Changes to council services as covid roadmap continues

As the country prepares to take the next step on the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions, some services at Tendring District Council (TDC) will be changing too.

From Monday, 17 May, council-run leisure centres can resume indoor activity classes – such as spin and fitness classes – along with indoor seating at Clacton Leisure Centre’s café; and the flume at Walton-on-the-Naze Lifestyles can also run once more.

Some restrictions on class sizes and bubbles apply, and leisure centre users are reminded that sessions must be booked in advance to ensure that numbers are managed. Users should also check in upon arrival, wear a mask unless they are doing an activity or exempt, wash their hands regularly and follow one-way systems and social distancing markers.

The Princes Theatre will also be re-opening its doors to the public, beginning with a Princes Youth Theatre production of DNA from 19-21 May, with a further packed programme of shows available for the public to book. Capacity is reduced to comply with Covid-19 restrictions and ensure social distancing.

Theatre-goers can continue to book online at www.princestheatre.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 01255 686633.

The reception area at TDC’s offices in Pier Avenue will also re-open to the public from 17 May, as will the reception at Clacton Town Hall – which includes the Visitor Information Centre and Princes Theatre Box Office – under the same opening hours as before: 10am-1pm Monday-Wednesday.

As many TDC staff are still working remotely, in line with government guidance, residents should make an appointment before visiting. Many services can be accessed by residents from home using My Tendring, available at https://tendring-self.achieveservice.com/.

At both Pier Avenue and Clacton Town Hall members of the public must wear a face mask when in the building, unless exempt from doing so, and check in using the NHS Covid-19 App – or provide alternative track and trace details.

Council meetings will also resume meeting physically, after emergency legislation allowing virtual meetings expired.

Although members of the public will be able to attend, TDC is encouraging people to continue following meetings via the live stream provided on its Facebook page, to reduce the number of people in the building.

Most meetings will be held in the Princes Theatre at Clacton Town Hall, where those who do attend will be able to observe proceedings from the balcony unless they cannot access the gallery or are due to speak on an item.

Neil Stock OBE, TDC Leader, said the changes reflected the positive direction the country was taking in the journey out of the pandemic.

“There has been lots of good news lately about the threat posed by Covid-19, and while some risks are still there – and we must remain vigilant and continue to follow the restrictions that are in place – it is gladdening that we are able to open up more of our leisure centres and the Princes Theatre,” Cllr Stock said.

“Similarly though TDC business has continued right through the pandemic, much of it virtually, I am sure elected members from across the council chamber are looking forward to getting things done face-to-face again. Likewise we are pleased to be opening our receptions again.

“I am keen that we also grasp some of the opportunities this change in circumstances has brought about. For example, while our receptions will be open again let us not forget that we can do much of our business virtually, such as using our excellent My Tendring system, which can be more efficient and environmentally friendly.

“Of course, nothing beats seeing live theatre from the auditorium, not on a screen, or getting fit with a spin class with your friends alongside to motivate you, and we welcome people back to do those activities.”