Visitors asked to think twice before coming to Dorset
 
We are continuing to ask people thinking of visiting Dorset’s seaside or beauty spots over the bank holiday weekend and half term to be considerate and think about the potential impact of any visit on Dorset’s communities.

Dorset currently has one of the lowest COVID19 infection rates in the country and we want to minimise the risk of infection spreading.
 
However, with the good weather over recent days, we have seen a steady increase in visitors to our beaches. We have therefore had to make the really difficult decision to re-open some car parks and public toilets in particularly busy areas to manage the demand. Over the past week, there have been issues with irresponsible parking, blocking emergency access and residents’ drives. We need to put arrangements in place to manage this.
 
In line with government guidance, we are also reminding any potential visitors that they must not stay overnight – whether in cars, tents, motorhomes, camper vans, second homes or holiday accommodation.
  
The usual charges will apply at car parks, and, in response to public requests, we are accepting cash payments from people who do not have a mobile phone.
    Find out more

      Schools opening for more pupils
We hope to welcome more pupils back into school across Dorset in June. 

Plans are also being made to welcome more of Dorset’s youngest children back into childcare. We are working with schools as they plan to open for more children from Reception, Year One and Year Six. The earliest possible start date for these pupils will be 1 June. This will depend on government advice and arrangements at individual schools. Classes will most likely be very different, as measures will need to be put in place to help keep children and staff as safe as possible. Dorset schools currently remain open for the children of key workers, those with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) and vulnerable children, which includes children who have a social worker.  Schools will update parents and carers again, as soon as plans are finalised and the date from which schools can admit more pupils is confirmed. Each school will keep parents and carers informed.   Find out more

      Virtual democracy for local people
Since the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic started, We’ve been working to hold all public meetings virtually.

Five weeks ago, the national Government passed legislation that this meant it is possible to carry out democratic decision making in this way.

A number of meetings have already been held including Cabinet, area planning committees and Audit and Governance.

A new web page details all the meetings being held in this way. There is a link to the agenda and how you can access the meeting live. Also, you can find information about how to submit questions to these meetings. The recorded meeting will also be available on this page shortly after the meeting has ended.   Find out more

      Restrictions for dogs on beaches to be enforced
Following the Government’s recent Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidelines to lift some of the restrictions, we will again be enforcing the restrictions for dogs that had previously been relaxed.

Dog owners can still exercise their dogs in the designated areas taking account of the social distancing requirements. Find details of these areas

The restrictions have been put in place so that local families can enjoy the beach safely at  two metres distance from people who are not part of their household.   Find out more

        Libraries stepping up during lockdown
The doors may be closed but readers in Dorset are enjoying e-books and e-audio items that are available for downloads from Dorset Libraries.  Our virtual library service has gone from strength to strength, with thousands of eBooks, eNewspapers and eMagazines loaned and downloaded by people staying at home, up by nearly 50 per cent since lockdown began. As a result, we’ve invested in the service to increase the number of available titles – more than 800 new e books & 1400 new audio books so there’s now even more choice, with more being added each week!

If you’re not already a member you can join online,
www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries-history-culture/libraries/libraries.aspx

We will send you your membership number and then you can get started straight away.    Find out more

      Bags left next to recycling banks in car parks treated as rubbish  
If you are looking to donate items such as clothing using a recycling bank in a car park, we are kindly asking you to keep hold of them until the current pandemic has passed. Dorset is a county of keen recyclers, amongst the best in the country for dealing with their waste responsibly by reducing, reusing and recycling.

If you have items that you would usually take to a recycling bank in a car-park, please wait until the banks are being emptied again.     Find out more          
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