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Area committee meetings to be cancelled in January and February to help SSDC prioritise community support and vaccinations during national COVID-19 lockdown

| District

During this latest period of national restrictions, staff at South Somerset District Council will continue to do everything they can to support our communities and businesses through this crisis.

COVID-19, however, will also have an impact on the way the council operates as we prioritise providing support to those most in need, get vital grants to businesses as soon as possible and supporting the roll out of the vital vaccination programme, that will help end the crisis and restrictions.

A number of actions are being proposed to ensure the council can direct resources where they are most needed  over the next few weeks.

This includes cancelling Area Committee meetings and the Audit Committee in January and February. It is envisaged at this stage that Full Council, District Executive and Scrutiny committees will continue as planned. Further actions may be put into place in the coming weeks.

Council Leader Cllr Val Keitch said: “We have pledged to do all we can to support our communities and businesses throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. The new lockdown will place additional demands on all of us in terms of supporting vulnerable members of our community and significant additional business grants to distribute which we will aim to get to businesses as rapidly as possible.

"Details of these will be made available as soon as we have received confirmation from the Government. We also have to anticipate that the new variant of COVID-19 is likely to have an impact on our staff and their families over the coming weeks.

“On top of this, it is clear that colleagues in the NHS are under a great strain with the demands now placed upon them and need our support in deploying the vaccine in Somerset.

“Supporting the vaccination programme has to be a priority for us as an organisation. The vaccine will ensure that over the coming months we can start to move to some form of normality and get large aspects of our lives back that we have missed for the past nine months. It will help protect our vulnerable residents and ensure our communities and economy can start to recover.”

Before Christmas, a number of council staff were redeployed to help set up and run vaccination centres. It is envisaged that additional staff will be required to support this work in the coming weeks to ensure NHS clinical staff can focus on ensuring as many people are vaccinated as soon as possible.

Please continue to visit www.southsomerset.gov.uk/coronavirus for details of local support which is available and www.gov.uk/coronavirus for details of national support as well as full details of the current national restrictions.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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