The authority is calling this situation a "unprecedented", after the staff has made great efforts to maintain a seamless service throughout the pandemic, but this week the situation has escalated to the point that around one-third of the waste collection team working out of the Metheringham depot is unable to work because of positive tests or the need to self-isolate.
Council Leader Coun Richard Wright said: “It is so very disappointing for the crew, the wider team and of course customers that we have had to take this step after all the efforts and measures they have taken over the past year to keep the service going.
"I pay tribute to them for all they do and on behalf of our appreciative communities, thank them sincerely.
“Our paramount concern is for the welfare of our colleagues, their families and our customers and it is critical that we protect them and prevent any possible transmission of the virus. We hope that by pausing collections we will be in a stronger, more resilient position to resume services with confidence and in safety as soon as we are able."
The break is also affecting litter bins too.
It is hoped that after the enforced break, all waste ad street scene operations will resume on Monday, February 22.
As a result, "reasonable" amount of side waste will be accepted on the first recycling bin collection across the network, plus on household collections for Friday customers whose collection is missed this week, says the authority.
The impact means that there will be:
No residual household (black bin) or garden waste (brown bin) collection on Friday February 12.
No recycling collections (green-lidded bin), paper and card (purple bin) or garden waste (brown bin) throughout the week of February 15 to 19.
No other waste collections, including bulky waste collections and emptying of litter bins.
Recently, bin crews operating in the Boston and East Lindsey districts were also asked to self-isolate and collections were suspended for 10 days after a Covid outbreak among their crews.
Coun Wright added: “By taking a responsible step of having the entire Waste and Street Scene workforce tested regularly, even though they were asymptomatic, to ensure they were fit and well to continue operating safely, we were able to identify a couple of positive cases at an early stage and respond swiftly and effectively to protect others.
“With around a third of the workforce currently unable to work because of the need to isolate, this illustrates painfully how ever-present the virus is, that Covid-19 is very real and impacting those around us and the need to be vigilant against it.
“I implore any key worker – within retail, services, trades or public-facing roles – whose work requires them to work away from home and in the company of others, to take up the expanded opportunities for regular, free, fast-response asymptomatic testing at locations in Sleaford, Lincoln or Boston.
“It is a startling fact that one in three people carry the virus without showing symptoms or knowing about it. These lateral flow tests which brought to light unknown and unseen positive cases within the depot workforce have been so critical in ensuring those people aren’t spreading it unwittingly by doing nothing more than carrying out their essential work.”
In all cases residents' are asked to assist by minimising waste where possible, crushing down what you have into the correct bins to maximise capacity and storing any excess in a manner that keeps it dry and intact while waiting for subsequent collections. Where you can, spread any excess over subsequent weeks’ collections.
To check on next scheduled collection days – see www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/findmybinday.
To check on what should go into which bin – see www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/recycle
Testing for key workers and those whose work requires them to work away from home – such as in factories, essential retail and people’s homes – can be accessed without an appointment, 8am to 8pm, seven days a week at these walk-in sites:
Lincoln, Croft Street Community Centre, LN2 5AX
Boston, Haven High Tollfield Campus, PE21 9PN
Boston, Peter Paine Performance Centre, PE21 7QR
Sleaford, Better Gym, NG34 7EH
Lincoln, Lincoln City Football Club, LN5 8LD
Most sites have ample onsite parking, but for Lincoln’s Croft Street use Lincoln College';s car park (LN2 5HQ).
Importantly, anyone who develops coronavirus symptoms, should get a test in the usual way: call on 119 or www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test