TEMPORARY OFFICE ARRANGEMENTS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Due to the increasingly serious situation with the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, my constituency office will be operating differently from 23rd March 2020 until further notice.
In line with advice from the UK and Welsh Governments, and for the safety of both constituents and my office staff, my constituency office will be closed to visitors from Friday 20th March, and I will not be holding any face-to-face meetings or appointments, including drop-in advice surgeries, in the coming weeks.
However, please rest assured that I and my office staff will continue to support constituents via email and telephone, and my office will continue to maintain normal working hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).
You can still contact my office using the normal telephone number and email address, which are included below:
Telephone: 01685 383 739
I and my office staff are continuing to follow advice from both the UK Government and the Welsh Government, and these working arrangements will be kept under regular review in the days and weeks ahead.
I want to assure constituents that my office team will continue to support constituents with casework as usual.
However, due to the significant pressure on our local authorities, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Caerphilly County Borough Council, as they deal with the impact of Covid19 on local residents, some staff are being redeployed to ensure essential services can continue with minimal disruption, and the most vulnerable in our communities continue to receive the care they need.
Therefore, although our local authorities are doing everything they can to support all residents with any issues or queries they may have, please note that while they work to support the most vulnerable among us as the Coronavirus outbreak continues, it may take longer than normal for them to attend to other issues.
To support those in our area most in need in these difficult times, Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil (VAMT) are directing potential volunteers via the Volunteering Wales website here: https://volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/index.htm
VAMT are also looking to help in advising on issues around local community and street groups. Should you wish to get involved, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Upper Rhymney Valley, Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO) have a similar sign-up system for those who may wish to volunteer, which you can access here: https://www.gavo.org.uk/volunteering
Welsh Government Q&A on volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic: https://www.geraldjones.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/256/2020/04/Coronavirus-volunteering-QA.pdf
Government advice on Coronavirus
Listed below are links to the UK Government, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales’ main websites and social media pages with the latest advice available to people on the Coronavirus outbreak.
Due to the quickly changing nature of the virus situation, and the advice which is being provided, I would encourage constituents to check the below pages regularly during the coming days and weeks:
UK Government guidance on staying at home: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
Public Health Wales Coronavirus website: https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/
Public Health Wales Twitter: https://twitter.com/PublicHealthW
Public Health Wales Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PublicHealthWales/
Welsh Government Twitter: https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment
Welsh Government Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/welshgovernment/
UK Government coronavirus website: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
Welsh Government coronavirus regulations Q&A – 11th May: https://www.geraldjones.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/256/2020/05/Welsh-Government-Coronavirus-Regulations-QA-11th-May.pdf
Welsh Government coronavirus testing Q&A – 14th May: https://www.geraldjones.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/256/2020/05/Welsh-Government-Coronavirus-Testing-QA.pdf
Welsh Government lifting lockdown roadmap – 15th May: https://www.geraldjones.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/256/2020/05/Welsh-Government-Exiting-Lockdown-Roadmap.pdf
Advice for local businesses and employees
I know that these are difficult and worrying times for local businesses and employees, and I have included below some links and contact numbers that may address some of the most urgent questions some people may have:
Business Wales has a page on Coronavirus and support packages available: www.businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirusadvice, and can also be contacted by calling 0300 060 3000.
UK Government Business Advice: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses -about-covid19
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a dedicated helpline for businesses concerned about being able to pay tax due to Covid19: 0800 0159 559.
Acas provides workplace advice for employers and employees. It has a page on Coronavirus that is being updated daily: www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus and provides a helpline: 0300 123 1100.
Work and Benefits Advice
Department for Work and Pensions: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions
Citizens Advice Cymru provides a wide range of advice about benefit rights and debt management: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/benefits/
Trade Unions offer a wealth of advice and support for their members. Find your trades union or join by visiting: www.tuc.org.uk/about-unions/find-union-you
Other useful contacts and websites
Caerphilly County Borough Council: www.caerphilly.gov.uk/coronavirus or 01443 815588
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council: www.merthyr.gov.uk/coronavirus or 01685 725000
UK Government Universal Credit advice: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus
Coronavirus financial advice service: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you
Transport for Wales Coronavirus travel advice https://tfwrail.wales/covid-19
Foreign Office travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Advice for people who have booked tickets to travel abroad: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Welsh Government schools and education advice: https://gov.wales/education-coronavirus
Play Wales advice for children to play actively in and around the home: https://issuu.com/playwales/docs/playing_actively_in_and_around_the_home?fr=sNjIwOTI3MTYwNw
Welsh Government advice and campaign on looking out for fellow residents in isolation: https://gov.wales/first-minister-launches-looking-out-each-other-campaign-wales
Welsh Government advice on social distancing: https://gov.wales/how-reduce-risk-catching-or-spreading-coronavirus
Welsh Government social and community care advice: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings
Welsh Government Q&A for the extremely vulnerable and shielding: https://www.geraldjones.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/256/2020/04/Coronavirus-shielding-QA.pdf
BBC tips on looking after your mental health: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
Mental healthy charity Mind’s advice on protecting your mental health: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/
Useful mental health helpline contact numbers:
- Mind – 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans Cymru – 116 123
- CALL Helpline Wales – 0800 132 737
- Hafal – 01792 816 600
- Bipolar UK – 0333 3233 880