Worcester City Council has put in place a contingency plan to deal with disruptions to waste collection services in the coming weeks and months.
The Coronavirus outbreak means that there will be periods over the coming weeks and months when the Council's waste and recycling team does not have its full roster of staff available, as some will be self-isolating. Staff have also been advised to practice social distancing while doing their work.
This is already having some impact, with collections of green recycling bins running behind schedule in parts of the city over the last week.
Now the Council is asking residents and businesses to be patient and supportive, as it puts in place a system to prioritise services, so that staff can be redeployed to make sure the top priorities can still be delivered.
The services will be run in the following priority order:
If any black or green bins are not emptied, residents are asked to leave them out until the Council can return to collect them. Residents should store any recycling that cannot fit in their green bin until the next collection, and not put it in their black bins.
Business customers will be contacted to confirm collection arrangements.
At this stage, the Council has temporarily suspended new bin deliveries, bin repairs, and Garden Waste collections, so that the service can focus on collecting black bins and green bins.
To compensate customers of the paid-for Garden Waste service the Council will extend their contract date for the number of weeks that collections are suspended for.
Garden Waste customers are being asked to keep their garden waste outside in their home gardens if possible. Guidance on composting at home is available at on Let's Waste Less website.
The City Council has also temporarily suspended the bulky waste service, with no new bookings being taken. The Household Recycling Centres in Bilton Road and Hallow Road, operated by Worcestershire County Council, have also been closed.
Cllr Joy Squires, Chair of the City Council's Environment Committee, said: "In these challenging times one of our top priorities is collecting your waste and we have put plans in place to ensure that we can continue to do that while also protecting our staff as they go about their jobs.
"The impact of Coronavirus over the coming weeks may cause disruption to bin collections, which is obviously frustrating to our customers but it's essential that we prioritise our services in this unprecedented situation. We would like to thank all residents and businesses for their support and understanding."
The Government has advised that anyone who is self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms should ensure that all personal waste, such as tissues, is double-bagged and kept separate from other waste for 72 hours, before being placed in the black bin.
The Government's full advice is available on their website.