Council suspends bin collections after third of staff affected by coronavirus
North Kesteven District Council has suspended its refuse and recycling services from today (Friday) and throughout the coming week (February 15 to 19).
The council says this is an unprecedented break in service, but has been necessary due to a third of the team having to self-isolate following transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
NKDC says it is hoped that following this break in service, all waste and street scene operations will resume on Monday, February 22.
A reasonable amount of side waste will be accepted on the first recycling bin collection across the network, plus on household collections for Friday customers whose collection is missed this week.
The impact means that there will be:
- No residual household (black bin) or garden waste (brown bin) collection on Friday, February 12.
- No recycling collections (green-lidded bin), paper and card (purple bin) or garden waste (brown bin) throughout the week of February 15 to 19.
- No other waste collections, including bulky waste collections and emptying of litter bins.
The council has asked people to minimise waste where possible, compact what they have into the correct bins to maximise capacity and store any excess in a manner that keeps it dry and intact whilst waiting for subsequent collections.
Council leader Councillor Richard Wright said: “It is so very disappointing for the crew, the wider team and of course customers that we have had to take this step after all the efforts and measures they have taken over the past year to keep the service going. I pay tribute to them for all they do and on behalf of our appreciative communities, thank them sincerely.
“Our paramount concern is for the welfare of our colleagues, their families and our customers and it is critical that we protect them and prevent any possible transmission of the virus. We hope that by pausing collections we will be in a stronger, more resilient position to resume services with confidence and in safety as soon as we are able.
“By taking a responsible step of having the entire Waste & Street Scene workforce tested regularly, even though they were asymptomatic, to ensure they were fit and well to continue operating safely, we were able to identify a couple of positive cases at an early stage and respond swiftly and effectively to protect others.
“With around a third of the workforce currently unable to work because of the need to isolate, this illustrates painfully how ever-present the virus is, that Covid-19 is very real and impacting those around us and the need to be vigilant against it.
“I implore any key worker – within retail, services, trades or public-facing roles – whose work requires them to work away from home and in the company of others, to take up the expanded opportunities for regular, free, fast-response asymptomatic testing at locations in Sleaford, Lincoln or Boston.
“It is a startling fact that one in three people carry the virus without showing symptoms or knowing about it. These lateral flow tests which brought to light unknown and unseen positive cases within the depot workforce have been so critical in ensuring those people aren’t spreading it unwittingly by doing nothing more than carrying out their essential work.”