A council leader says "very difficult decisions" are being made around key public meetings and events amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hertsmere Borough Council says it is continuing to review its programme of events and services as it responds to challenges presented by the outbreak.

Leader, Cllr Morris Bright, said: "We are having to make some very difficult decisions around our key public meetings and events, drawing on guidance from central government, and also focus on what's critical at this very challenging time.

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"This means that some of our popular events and services, which often mean so much to our local communities across the borough, are having to be suspended for the time being."

For example, the council has suspended some of its "We Moves She Moves' classes - a programme that aims to get women and girls more active.

Other changes as a result of the pandemic include:

  • Events at the Civic Offices in Borehamwood have been postponed. These include the Welwyn Hatfield, Hertsmere and St Albans Domestic Abuse Forum event that was due to take place March 23.
  • All training sessions programmed in at the Civic Offices, due to be attended by external visitors, such as food safety training, have also been postponed.
  • The Police and Crime Commissioner election, which was due to take place on May 7, has been postponed by the government until next year. No local elections were scheduled in Hertsmere this year.
  • Hertsmere's Civic Dinner and Awards Ceremony, due to take place on April 5 at Elstree Studios, has been postponed. This is an annual event recognising the outstanding community work undertaken by individuals across the borough.
  • The council has closed area offices in Bushey and Potters Bar
  • The newly-launched Healthy Hubs scheme has also been temporarily suspended. The one-stop shops provide information, advice, and support to improve the health and wellbeing of the community and were recently established at 96 Shenley Road, the Community Hub, both in Borehamwood and the Wyllyotts Centre in Potters Bar. Visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/healthyhubs for online advice and support.
  • the Chatter Tables initiatives, which provide an opportunity for older people to gather for a coffee and chat, have temporarily been suspended.
  • The council has had to temporarily suspend its pest control service.
  • The museums at Bushey and Borehamwood (96 Shenley Road) are closed for the time being.
  • The council is awaiting legal advice on key decision-making meetings - planning committee; licensing committee and full council. At this time, these meetings are due to go ahead, although the council is looking at adjustments that can be made to limit the number of attendees. Forthcoming meetings are planning committee today and full council on April 22.

The council says its priority is is to protect the health and safety of its residents, customers and staff, whilst doing everything possible to remain operational across core services.

Waste collection, for example, remains as normal for now except bulky waste collections which have have been cancelled. 

Existing bookings for the week commencing March 23 will go ahead as planned but all other bookings will be refunded.

Members of the public are advised against visiting the Civic Centre in Borehamwood and urged to call the council instead.

Managing director at the council, Sajida Bijle, said: "We are continuing to deliver our core, operational services and will do our very best to keep our residents and customers informed of the adjustments that we are making.

"There is also a whole host of ways that people can stay in contact with us during this challenging time. We are focusing on crucial, key decision-making meetings and also looking at how we conduct them so that all remote access options are considered.

"Where possible, our staff are working remotely so that we do as much as we can to limit numbers at our Civic Offices."

The council's customer services team can be contacted on 02082072277 or by emailing customer.services@hertsmere.gov.uk