LYME Regis Town Council has suspended all meetings to fit guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
The council held its final meeting last night (Wednesday) where a strategy for dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak was discussed.
It was agreed to suspend all meetings effective immediately. This includes the annual meeting of electors scheduled to take place on April 17. This will now be held on or before June 1 if possible.
The council’s office will be closed to the public and staff will start working from home in the coming few days, after a new mobile phone and computer system is in place.
Staff will be able to answer calls made to the council’s main switchboard number and it is hoped they will still be able to complete all their usual tasks remotely.
The town clerk has been given delegated authority to make decisions on behalf of the council where such a decision cannot be reasonably deferred and must be made in order to comply with a commercial or statutory deadline.
Financial regulations which currently allow the clerk to make expenditure up to £10,000 on behalf of the council will be increased to £150,000.
This will be carried out in consultation with councillors by email or phone. Councillors will also receive daily email updates from office staff on how council business is progressing.
Council amenities such as the mini golf in Lister Gardens will be closed down. The outside work force, including gardeners, will continue to work for the time being but will be carrying out more tasks in isolation.
The park and ride service at Charmouth Road will be cancelled until the beginning of the school summer holidays, unless the current situation improves.
All the council’s capital projects that aren’t contractually committed will be deferred, with the exception of the office refurbishment project which will be progressed to the design stages.
This does not effect the council’s current contract to repair the flat roof above the Amusement Arcade, Antiques & Craft Centre and SWIM on Marine Parade, which is already underway.
The virus is expected to effect the council’s finances. Approximately 50% of the authority’s annual income of £1.6million is considered reasonably secure as it comes from tenancies and the precept.
However, the other half comes largely from car parking, with 75% of it coming in between April and September, which could be affected if the public are reluctant to travel.