Following the announcement from government moved to Step 4 of the road map out of lockdown from Monday 19 July. While many restrictions will be lifted some remain in place and the government guidance is clear that we all need to continue to act carefully and to remain cautious.
We understand residents may have lots of questions on a variety of different topics and you can find answers to some of those most frequently asked below. We will update this page if other changes are announced.
- Business and work
- Benefits and support
- Libraries and Museums
- Registration and Bereavement Services
- Social distancing and self-isolation
- Support and childcare bubbles
Can my business reopen?
From Monday 19 July all businesses in England can reopen. The government are advising that businesses proceed with caution and consider whether they need to put in safety measures in place. You can find the latest government guidance here.
Is there any help or advice available for businesses?
There is a range of advice and help available for businesses. You can find full details on our Covid-19 business support information page.
Can I still get help to pay my staff if my business is affected by coronavirus?
The government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (known as furlough) has been extended until 30 September 2021 to help businesses pay their employee’s salaries if their businesses are affected by coronavirus. You can find out more here.
Should I go back to work?
The government have withdrawn their work from home if you can guidance, but they are not expecting everyone to return to work immediately. They are recommending a gradual return to work. You should speak to your employer to find out if you are required to return to work following the changes.
Please note: You must not go to work if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.
Can my employer force me to return to work?
The government have withdrawn their work from home if you can guidance and employers can now ask you to return to work. The government have produced guidance on working safely during coronavirus which workplaces are still advised to follow. You can find out more here.
What can I do if I don’t think my workplace is safe?
If you are concerned that your workplace is not safe for any reason, including due to COVID-19, you can report this to your local authority or to the Health and Safety Executive who can take a range of action. You can find more information here.
Is there any support for residents who need help because of COVID?
CityLife Line is a service that helps residents link up with services across Newcastle that can provide them with support and advice. The services is supported by our Welfare and Wellbeing Team who are available Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 3pm. Find out more on our CityLife Line page.
I can’t go to work because of Coronavirus can I claim any benefits?
You can find information on benefits that may be available here.
I've been told to self-isolate but can't afford to take time off work. Can I get any help?
If you have been told you have to self-isolate or you are looking after a child who has been told they need to self-isolate you may be entitled to a Test and Trace payment of £500. You can find out if you meet the criteria and how to apply here.
Are all the libraries now open?
All libraries except Blakelaw are now open but with slightly amended opening hours. Social distancing measures and limits on numbers remain in place and visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings, unless exempt, in all our library buildings.
We are facing staff shortages as a result of self-isolation so have put contingency plans in place which includes the following planned closures:
- Week beginning 19 July 2021 – West End and Denton Burn
- Week beginning 26 July 2021 – East End and Newburn
- Week beginning 2 August 2021 – Kenton and Cruddas Park
- Week beginning 9 August 2021 – Gosforth and High Heaton
- Week beginning 16 August 2021 – Outer West
Full details of opening times and days can be found on our Your libraries page.
How do I register a death?
All deaths and still births are currently being registered by telephone. To make an appointment to register a death please call 0191 2787878 and ask for Registration Service. We will explain the process when making the appointment.
Are there any changes to funerals?
There are no longer any restrictions on the number of people who can attend a funeral at one of our chapels or a graveside service.
An intensive cleaning regime is in place at the West Road Crematorium with the chapels being cleaned between every service. To facilitate this, we kindly ask that mourners exit the chapel as soon as the service is concluded and move away from the entrance.
Funeral directors are requested to scan and e-mail documents where possible and drop off statutory documentation to a central point for collection. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How do I register the birth of my baby?
Registrations are strictly by appointment only with some COVID precautions remaining in place. Parents can contact the Register Office to make an appointment by calling 0191 2787878 and asking for registrars or by emailing email@example.com. You can find out more about the precautions you will need to adhere to when registering a birth here.
Are there any restrictions on weddings and civil partnerships?
Social distancing measures remain in place in public areas of the Civic Centre and guests are requested to check in using the Test and Trace app. Guests are asked to wear face coverings, unless exempt, in public areas but these can be removed in the ceremony rooms.
If you are having your ceremony in Newcastle Register Office the number of attendees allowed is four – the couple and two witnesses. If you are having your ceremony in the Leazes Room the number of attendees allowed is 50. This includes the couple, witnesses, children, other guests, and anyone working at the ceremony such as photographers.
If you are having your ceremony at an approved premise you should contact them directly if you have any queries about numbers.
All restrictions on ceremony content has been removed.
Can I meet friends and family from outside my household?
Yes. There are no longer any restrictions on the number of people you can meet but the government are encouraging people to meet outdoors where possible and to consider minimising social contact. You can find out more about staying safe here,
Can I be fined if I don't self-isolate?
If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace you will be issued with a £1,000 fine for a first offence and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches. There is also a legal obligation on employers to not knowingly enable or encourage their employees to break the law on self-isolation.
What support is available to me if I have been instructed to self-isolate?
If you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and are on a low income you may be entitled to £500 financial support. The government have asked local authorities to administer these payments. To be eligible for the £500 lump-sum test and trace support payment, you must:
- have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you’ve tested positive, are a close contact of someone who is positive or have been identified as a close contact by the NHS COVID-19 App;
- be employed or self-employed;
- be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; and
- currently receive Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and or Pension Credit
You can find more information here.
Do I need to wear a face mask if I leave my house?
It is no longer compulsory to wear a face covering in most places in England. You are still required to wear a face covering in hospitals, on some transport networks and if you visit Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
The government have said they encourage and expect people to continue to wear face coverings in crowded public places and on public transport to protect others. You can find more information here.
Can I travel outside of my local area?
There are no travel restrictions in England but the government are encouraging people to plan ahead and travel safely. There are different rules for travelling in the rest of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and devolved nations. You can find more information on travelling in England here. You can find out more about travelling in the rest of the UK and other places in the Common Travel Area here.
Can I travel to other places in the UK?
Yes but there are different restrictions in place in some parts of the UK. For information on restrictions in the devolved nations please visit:
Northern Ireland - https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
Scotland - https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
Wales - https://gov.wales/coronavirus
Can I travel abroad?
The government have introduced a traffic light system for international travel which can change at short notice. You can find the most up to date information here.
Can I travel to England from abroad?
All visitors to the England are subject to restrictions which could include being required to provide proof of negative tests, self-isolate for 10 days or quarantining in a managed quarantine hotel for up to 10 days. You can find more information here.
A full Q&A on vaccinations is available on this page, the below explains what to expect when you are contacted about making your vaccination appointment.
How will I know when to go for a vaccine?
If you are registered with a GP in Newcastle, you will be called by a member of staff from a number that starts 0191 or directly by your GP Practice who will arrange an appointment when for you to get your vaccine. If you live in Newcastle but are registered with a practice outside the city, you will be contacted by representatives from that local authority area. Remember if your GP practice call you it may be from their usual number or from a number that shows as no caller ID. If you are not sure who is calling, end the call and contact your surgery directly.
What will happen when I receive a call about the vaccine?
The person who calls will tell you who they are, say they are calling on behalf of your GP and that they are calling to arrange an appointment for a Coronavirus (covid-19) vaccine. The caller may ask you, the patient, to confirm your name, date of birth and the first line of your address or postcode. They will offer you dates and times, book your appointment and tell you where the clinic will be held - it may not be your usual surgery. If you're not sure who is calling, end the call and ring your GP surgery to confirm the identity of the caller.
What do I need to know about the appointment?
You must wear a face covering when you attend the appointment unless you are exempt. If you believe you are exempt you should let the clinic know when you make the appointment.
Please wash your hands and use hand sanitizer if you are asked to when you arrive. Keep your distance from other people at the clinic and make sure you follow any social distancing measures that have been put in place.
Once you have received the vaccination there will be a short period of observation. This will usually be about 15 minutes and you will need to stay at the clinic until the time has elapsed.
Remember: Hands - Face - Space
Will I need a second vaccination?
Yes, the vaccine requires two doses. You will be contacted by your GP Practice or surgery to arrange the second vaccination. You should receive your second dose eight to 12 weeks after your first dose.
Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
The vaccine is free. You will not be asked for money or your bank details. Sadly, we have already been alerted to possible scams with callers asking for payments to access the vaccinations. If someone asks you for money or for your bank details for a vaccine it could be a scam and you should report this.
How will I know if someone is a scam caller?
A scam caller might offer you a fast track vaccination or ask you for money or your bank details so you can get the vaccine sooner. The caller may even tell you that the NHS will refund the money they ask for. If you suspect that the call is not genuine ask the caller for contact details such as a telephone number and email address.
What should I do if I think a call is a scam?
Try to get contact details for the person who calls if you can. You should then end the call and contact your GP's surgery to check if they call was from them. If the call was not genuine you should report the call by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report the call. Action Fraud are the National Fraud and Cyber Crime reporting centre and they work with the police.
Is there anyone I can talk to if I've been scammed
We know that being scammed can make you feel vulnerable and impact on your mental health. You can get support and speak to someone who will understand by calling MIND on 0300 123 3393
If I had a vaccine in another country do I still need to quarantine in the UK?
You would need to provide evidence that you have had both vaccines to get a COVID passport. Your medical records will need to be passed to your GP who would confirm on your file whether your vaccine from another company meets UK standards. Please contact your GP for more information
If I visit a vaccine drop in session how will I know if they have the vaccine I need for the second does?
You can find out what jab is available at each drop in centre here. The majority have both Pfizer and Astra Zenica.
How long do I need to wait between my first and second vaccine?
The recommended minimum time is eight weeks between jabs.
Be Considerate, Be Cautious, Be Kind
Did you know?
Remember COVID-19 hasn't gone away. While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious and the government has said some key protections remain in place:
- Get a test when you have symptoms
- Isolate if you test positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace
- Wearing face coverings in crowded areas will help reduce the risk
- Meet outside or letting fresh air in to reduce the spread
- Minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts
- Check in using Test and Trace or with your NHS COVID Pass
Find out more about staying safe during Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown here.