ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Council has acted decisively to stem the march of COVID-19 by ordering a lockdown across the organisation.
Last Monday evening (March 16) they insisted that it would be business as usual, though they stressed they would continue to ‘follow expert advice’.
But with the situation rapidly deteriorating, by Wednesday the decision was made to pull down the shutters forthwith.
All leisure, sports and cultural facilities were shut with immediate effect, and all events, exhibitions and courses were also cancelled.
That includes the Antrim Forum, Allen Park, Crumlin Leisure Centre, The Old Courthouse and Pogue’s Entry Craft Studio.
Clotworthy House is also closed, though the Castle Gardens remain open.
Antrim Civic Centre and Mossley Mill remain open to the public as do all Community Centres and Pavilions. However, all classes, courses and bookings are cancelled at these venues.
The decision came following the latest expert advice from the Government, Public Health Agency and Department for Health regarding increasing efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
Statutory Services including Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Environmental Health, Planning, Building Control, Parks and Cemeteries and Waste Collection Services will continue, however.
A spokesperson confirmed that Council will monitor this ongoing situation and will make changes ‘as deemed necessary’ by the relevant authorities to help with these measures.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman John Smyth, reiterated his call for local people to remain calm in the anxious days ahead.
“This is a challenging and fast-moving state of affairs that requires careful decision making to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our residents, colleagues and families are protected at all times,” he said.
“The public must heed the advice of the experts and ensure they take all the essential measures to guard their safety and that of others, especially those more vulnerable during these difficult times.
“Both Civic Centres remain open, Council’s statutory services will continue, our staff will be reporting for work and our parks and recycling centres remain open.
“I would like to thank the Council staff working to maintain essential services, and those at the frontline of our Health Service or caring for others.
“I would urge residents across the Borough to remain calm, and to pull together so we can meet these challenges as a united and resilient community.”
The council has released contact details for Statutory Services if local people need to get in touch.
Registration – Births, Deaths and Marriages T. 028 9034 0179.
Environmental Health T. 028 9034 0160.
Planning T. 030 0123 6677.
Building Control T. 028 9034 0140.
Cemeteries T. 028 9446 3113 or 028 9034 0080.
Waste Collection services T. 028 9034 0056.
For all other queries call Antrim Civic Centre on 9446 3113 or Mossley Mill on 9034 0000.