Following the recent announcements on the current COVID-19 pandemic, the leader of Richmond Council has issued a statement following the borough's stance on social disancing.

Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “The entire organisation of the Council is focussed on putting plans in place to enable the borough to manage life through the next few weeks.

"Our top priority must be to focus Council resources on maintaining essential core services to vulnerable children and adults.

"This means closing some services which are non-essential at this time.

“We have taken the difficult decision to close all Council run sport and leisure centres, libraries and children’s centres, as well as stopping all events and community bookings on our property.

“Postponing events and suspending services is not something we would ever wish to do, but the crisis situation we face calls for drastic measures.

“In the days and weeks ahead we may have to make other difficult decisions about suspending services.

"If that situation arises we will absolutely explore all possible alternative ways to continue to deliver those services safely.

“As a father myself, I understand this is an incredibly difficult time for all schools, early years and childcare providers, parents, carers and families.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have been communicating and working with all education settings to keep them updated and help them prepare as best as they can.

“The Council will work through the detail of the government’s announcement immediately.

"Making sure support is in place for children and families in the coming days in our priority and this includes exploring how we support the provision of free meals too.

“I would like to thank our schools for all their hard work over the past few weeks.

"We are aware that there are significant challenges ahead for school staff, particularly as they have to reorganise themselves to support the education for those children of key workers.

“Please be reassured that we will continue to look further at how we can continue to support schools to provide children and young people with learning and development opportunities throughout this difficult time.”