Town councils have cancelled meetings, closed play areas and are urging residents not to ‘put the vulnerable at risk’ by bulk buying.

Bridport Town Council praised the efforts of the community so far in supporting the vulnerable and elderly, with Cllr Dave Rickard, leader of the council, saying councillors were ‘dedicated to supporting them where possible.’

The council has compiled a list of the help and support available as well as provide practical and financial help to community groups involved in helping vulnerable people. It will also be talking to supermarkets and other businesses that are crucial to people in isolation about how they can best meet the needs of the community as well as maintaining their own services by scaling back.

Cllr Rickard added: “Wider community help in all this is vital. We have just 21 members of staff, nearly half of these part-time. Their work will be made more effective by the excellent volunteer support that is springing up across the town, and by everyone adhering to the advice about staying safe - hygiene, social distancing, self-isolating etc. We all also have a responsibility not to put the vulnerable at increased risk by bulk buying.

“People can help us develop our support and information by telling us what they need, what they need to know, and how they want to access information. We can’t do everything, but we can make sure people know where they can get help. Email us your thoughts and ideas please to Will Austin, town clerk at, or call Will on 01308456722.

“For most of us, this is the biggest societal challenge we will have faced but I see this as our opportunity to shine as a community. I know that we will achieve most if we all focus on being the best we can be - by staying strong, safe and supportive. We are Bridport, and we will prevail.”

In Lyme Regis, the town council has announced major changes to its services.

A spokesman said: “The council’s external workers have been stood down, play parks closed and weddings cancelled.

“The decision has been made following the introduction of strict new rules by the prime minister to help tackle the spread of coronavirus.

“The external works team have been told to stay at home. Essential services such as cemetery management and litter collections will be maintained but only where absolutely essential.

“The Anning Road and Henry’s Way play parks and the skatepark at Charmouth Road have been closed.

“Weddings scheduled to take place in April have been cancelled and any bookings beyond this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

“The council office has been closed to the public since Monday 23 March but staff and councillors can still be contacted by phone or email.”

Beaminster Town Council has closed the children’s play area and its community resilience team is working hard to help residents.

Cllr Chris Turner, chairman of the council, said: “The town council’s community resilience team is working very hard to ensure that we have resources and systems in place to tackle the present crisis. The people of Beaminster can feel reassured that councillors and staff are following recommended guidance to support those who are self-isolating or vulnerable or just needing advice.

“We are very grateful for all the extra work the staff are having to take on and who have pulled the stops out to protect those who work in and visit the town offices.

“In order to take into account current Government guidance on public gatherings, the council has taken the decision to cancel all council and committee meetings until further notice. The Annual Parish Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, April 23, will be postponed. We are legally obliged to hold the Annual Parish Meeting and we are awaiting advice on how long we can postpone it. As far as possible, we will administer the town through email contact and digital resources where appropriate.

“Planning meetings will be managed online with the clerk collating councillors’ comments to create a corporate response and decisions.

“Day-to-day council administration has been delegated to our town clerk during this period of restricted activity. The council office will be closed to the public until further notice and staff members are working hard to keep the website up-to-date and passing on appropriate advice from Dorset Council.

“The CB3 community bus will continue to operate as normal until and unless we get further advice to the contrary. Please consider the health and well-being of our volunteers who run the bus and if you are feeling unwell, please don’t use the service.

“There is hand-gel available on-board and the interior has been cleaned as far as possible to protect the health of all who use and work on it.”