OLDHAM Council has responded to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest measures to restrict the public movement during the coronavirus pandemic by widespread closures of facilities across the borough.

All council-owned playgrounds, play area, tennis courts, multi-use games areas and skate parks have closed with immediate effect.

Weddings, baptisms and social events have been cancelled and people should only be out in public places with members of the same household.

All shops selling non essential goods must close.

For the full list of measures and the latest Government news and advice visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

In line with Mr Johnson's move, the council urging residents to stay at home and limit all but essential travel in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Locally, Recycle For Greater Manchester has also closed all household waste recycling centres with immediate effect. Residents are being told to put their bins out as usual on their collection day and if they are not emptied take them back into their properties. Side waste will not be collected.

Bulky Bob’s will be suspending all collection services until further notice.

In line with government guidance on social distancing Oldham Council will be restricting the number of mourners at services in Hollinwood Crematorium Chapel to a maximum of 10 with immediate effect.

The authority says it is working closely with funeral directors, ministers and clergy and we will ensure that these changes are dealt with in the most respectful way.

Services prior to interment and extended services will also be suspended during this period and families are being asked to observe the national social distancing guidelines (two metres) at all burials.

Mourners are asked when they enter the chapel to sit at a safe distance from others.

In-between services at the chapel, additional cleaning processes are in place to ensure all public areas are disinfected.

Service books have also been removed from the chapel to prevent any cross contamination and hand shaking is also being discouraged with ministers, celebrants and funeral directors until further notice. Hand sanitiser is available to all mourners, at the entrance to the chapel.

No-one is now being permitted in the operational areas of the crematorium or beyond the reception at the office.

Burial and scattering of cremated remains has now been suspended, and it is discourage from families gathering to carry out private scatterings.

Similarly, people attending burials will be requested to maintain social distancing of two metres and limit the numbers attending.

Mourners are also being encouraged to wait in their cars or outside the chapel ahead of services, rather than congregating in the waiting room to reduce the risk of infection.

The staff at the crematorium and cemeteries will be focused on arranging funerals and supporting funeral directors throughout this pandemic.

Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement last night, people will realise that this is a fast moving situation that we are having to react to and we will constantly be reviewing where we are.

“It is vital that everyone follows the advice announced last night.

“These restrictions have been introduced to protect people nationally and locally, including residents and our workforce.

“Please stay at home and avoid non-essential travel. It will lead to greater pressure on our NHS and cause many more people than otherwise to become infected with coronavirus, it's that simple.

“Sadly, locally we’ve also had to make some tough decisions. We understand burials are emotional and traumatic and we are doing all to support bereaved families.

“We will be open to arranging memorial services at a later date when health guidelines allow.

“At this time it is vital we all work together.

“Our staff, and those of partner organisations, are working hard and doing a brilliant job – they are supporting our communities and are working in very difficult circumstances.

“Some people have been critical as some of our staff have to work close together. Unfortunately, this is the nature of their jobs, but we are doing all we can to ensure they follow government advice, stay safe and continue to carry out vital work.

“If you see our staff about please give them your support, help where you can, and together we’ll get through this.”