“PLEASE bear with us” – that’s the message from Tameside Council as it works to maintain frontline services in the face of increasing numbers of employees being forced to self-isolate because of covid.
Recycling has been hit particularly hard and some collection rounds are having to be stood down or delayed as the authority struggles to maintain its schedule.
It is looking at how best to marshal its resources as the so-called “pingdemic” intensifies. Various options are being considered, such as emptying brown bins on a fortnightly basis rather than every week.
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “Our covid infection rate is at an all-time high and like our partner authorities in Greater Manchester and across the country, we’re facing unprecedented rates of absence among frontline staff. This is creating a very challenging situation operationally.
“There will inevitably be some delays to collections, so if your bin has been missed please leave it out and we’ll empty it the following day. Our staff are working as hard as they can and we’re looking closely at our refuse collections to see how best we can best manage them as we cope with these new pressures.
“Hopefully, we will soon be seeing signs of improvement. We certainly expect things to be much better after August 16 when people who have received two vaccinations will no longer be forced to self-isolate if they test negative after being identified as a contact.”
Cllr Brenda Warrington, Tameside Council’s executive leader, added: “I can assure residents that we are doing everything we can to keep things going. We’re reorganising and diverting staff to prioritise frontline services such as refuse-collection, customer services and bereavement services.
“Our employees are doing everything they can and are grateful for the patience and understanding being shown to them. Please bear with us. Normal service will be restored as soon as possible.”