The Committee received a report, presented by the Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Leisure Services highlighting the changes and challenges faced whilst providing an update on the status of each service area, reflecting on pre-covid actions before highlighting future challenges facing this customer facing and income generating service
Section 2 within the report highlighted the impact of Covid on Leisure services and detailing those that had:-
· Continued to operate throughout the pandemic;
· Closed during the initial lock-down;
· Remained closed
The following issues were raised on the report:-
· In response to a question on the library ‘click and collect’ service it was confirmed that statistics on the participation rates could be conveyed to the committee members
· In response to a question on the impact of the pandemic on the touring caravan site within the Pembrey Country Park it was confirmed that whilst income streams had been impacted, the subsequent relaxation of lock down rules and the ‘staycation’ phenomenon within the tourism industry the park, and other coastal areas within the County, had never been busier. That was evident with income figures in August being higher than in previous years.
With specific regard to the operation of the Pembrey Caravan Site, the Committee was apprised of the measures introduced to facilitate its re-opening together with the continual need for re-assessment of those measures to ensure its safe operation and compliance with new rules introduced as part of the pandemic. It was hoped the park’s financial operation would bounce back during the 2021/22 season.
· In response to questions on the three site visits undertaken by the Committee in 2019, the Committee was advised that with regard to Y Gât in St Clears, it was anticipated that an agreement would shortly be reached with the Town Council over its future operation. A scheme had been devised for the refurbishment of the St Clears Leisure Centre. However, the financing thereof would have to assessed against other competing schemes within the Council’s capital programme. A report on the Pendine Outdoor Education Centre was scheduled for the Committee’s December meeting.
· Reference was made to the current position with theatres throughout the county remaining closed and information sought on the provision of live theatre events via the digital medium. It was confirmed the Council had facilitated/provided a number of performances digitally and work was progressing on further developing and promoting that provision over the coming months.
· In response to a question on the future protection of theatres, the Head of Leisure advised that the position in Carmarthenshire was different to other local authority areas in that the principal theatres were owned and operated by the Council. Whilst the theatres had remained closed and staff furloughed, the council was able to claim for loss of income as a result of their enforced closure. It was hoped that a relaxation of the Covid rules coupled with the possibility of a vaccine being rolled out in the near future could see some resumption of services in the new year. It was further hoped to provide a near normal service by the end of the 2021/22 financial year, however that would prove challenging.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report be received.