We understand this is a worrying time for many residents in our city and that you may have lots of questions on a variety of different topics. You'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below. Information on this page will be updated as changes are introduced.
Is there still help and advice available for businesses now some are able to reopen?
There have been some changes to support for businesses but there is still a range of advice and help available for businesses including grants, loans and business rate holidays. The support you are eligible for will depend on the size and type of your business. You can find more details here.
Where can I get my business rate account number and unique property reference number if I don’t have access to my bill or other correspondence?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will provide this as quickly as possible.
Can I reopen my business now the lockdown measures have been relaxed?
Recent changes to the lockdown measures included more business being able to open if it is safe to do so. Other business must remain closed. You can find the latest information on which businesses and premises can open here.
What do I need to do before I reopen my business?
To help businesses, employers, employees and self-employed people understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic the government have published guidance to cover different types of workplaces such as factories, offices and construction sites. You can find more information here.
Is there any help available for self-employed people?
You can find more information about the governments Self-employment Income Support Scheme here.
What is Citylife Line?
CityLife Line is a new service that will match the volunteers who want to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak with those who need help and support. You can find out about Citylife Line including how to be a volunteer or register for support here.
How do I request a food package?
If you have an urgent support need which requires a same day response, please contact our telephone helpline on 0191 277 8000 otherwise please complete the online form here Please be considerate to others when considering the urgency of your situation.
I’ve received a letter from NHS England saying I’m extremely vulnerable, how do I get help?
If you have received a letter from NHS England stating that you have a medical condition which means you are clinically extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus please register for the national support programme at here. You do not need to also request support from Citylife Line unless your situation needs an urgent response
Employment and benefits
I can’t go to work because of Coronavirus can I claim any benefits?
You can find information on the benefits that may be available here.
Should I be returning to work?
Government guidance states that some employees can return to work if your workplace is Covid secure but your employer should still support you to work from home if this is possible. If working from home is not possible your employer should carry out a risk assessment and put measures in place so your workplace is Covid secure before you return. You can find more information and check whether you should return to work here.
Can my employer force me to return to work?
If it is not possible to do your job from home, for example if you operate machinery or work in the construction industry, you should return to work if it is safe to do so unless you work in one of the industries that must remain closed. The government have set out five steps to working safely that all employers must take before asking employees to return to work. This includes completing risk assessments. They have also published sector specific guidance for some industries including construction and manufacturing.
What can I do if I don’t think my workplace is safe?
If you are concerned that your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing or make your workplace safe then you can report this to your local authority or the Health and Safety Executive who can take a range of action, including where appropriate requiring your employer to take additional steps. You can find more information here.
You should not return to work if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus or is self-isolating.
Libraries, parks and leisure
Are libraries staying open?
The City Library reopened on Wednesday 22 July with social distancing, reduced hours and other measures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. Plans to open Newcastle Libraries sites are still being developed. You can find the most up to date information here.
Will I be charged if my library books are late?
No one will be charged for library books that are overdue because of coronavirus. If you want to you can renew them online.
Will the council waive parking charges for key workers during the pandemic?
To support key workers in the city we provided free parking in all our pay and display spaces for seven weeks from March 24 until Monday 18 May when charging resumed for most motorists. Healthcare workers can still park free of charge in pay and display bays. If you think this applies to you please email email@example.com from your Hospital Trust email address. Please use the subject line "NHS Parking" and include details of your vehicle in the email before using these bays.
Are there any car parks that NHS staff can park in free of charge?
The council is providing free parking in three car parks for critical care workers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary until at least June 23. These car parking spaces are at Claremont Road (183 spaces), Morden Street (84 spaces) and Leazes Park Road (50 spaces) and will be available on a first come, first served basis. You can find more information here.
Registration and Bereavement Services
How do I register a death?
From Monday 30 March 2020 all deaths and still births will need to be registered by telephone. To make an appointment to register a death or still birth please call 0191 2787878 and ask for the Registration Services. We will explain the process when you call to make the appointment.
Are there any changes to funerals?
Only immediate family will be able to attend a funeral and with no more than 20 mourners allowed.
How do I register the birth of my baby?
Birth registrations resumed on Monday June 8 with a new system to enable outstanding birth to be registered as quickly as possible while strictly adhering to social distancing. Registrations will be strictly by appointment only. Parents the Register Office to make an appointment by calling 0191 2787878 and asking for registrars or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information here.
When will weddings and civil partnerships be able to take place?
The government has now issued guidance to assist people planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England and under the guideline’s ceremonies will resume in Newcastle on 4 July 2020. Couples with a ceremony booking should read the guidance carefully and in full as it may help them decide if they want to proceed or to make alternative arrangements. You can find our more here.
Can I give notice of a wedding or civil partnership?
We are currently offering notice appointments to couples whose ceremonies were booked prior to lockdown and which are taking place in August. If your ceremony will take place in Newcastle a Registrar will be contacting you to arrange an appointment. If your ceremony is taking place outside of Newcastle please email your contact details to email@example.com and we will get back to you.
Notice appointments are not yet available for couples having their ceremony later in the year.
Can I book a wedding or civil partnership in the Civic Centre or other council building?
We are not currently taking new ceremony booking. If you are interested in booking a ceremony please email your preferred date and time, the name of your venue and your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch. If you have already contacted us about booking a ceremony, we have your details on file.
Will all wedding and civil partnership fees including statutory fees be refunded?
You will receive a full refund for any ceremonies that are booked. If you have a question about your own wedding or civil partnership that has been cancelled as a result of Coronavirus, including queries about statutory fees, please email email@example.com
Can a marriage or civil partnership licence be transferred to a later date?
If you have a question about your own wedding or civil partnership that has been cancelled as a result of Coronavirus, including queries about licences please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am due to get married soon, will the ceremony go ahead?
Marriage and civil partnerships resumed in Newcastle on 4 July 2020 with some restrictions in place. You can find out more about what this means for you here.
Will my citizenship ceremony go ahead?
Due to Government measures we are not currently carrying out citizenship ceremonies. Due to the current pandemic the period for booking a citizenship ceremony after receiving your invitation from the Home Office has been increased from three months to six months.
Can I get documents verified for my EU Settlement Scheme application?
The EU Settlement Scheme ID Verification Service has been suspended until further notice.
Are the cemeteries still open?
All cemeteries in the city remain open subject to visitors following strict government guidance on social distancing.
Rent and Council Tax
Is there any help to pay my rent if I lose my job as a result of coronavirus?
The government has introduced legislation to suspend evictions from social or private rented accommodation. If you are struggling to pay your rent because your financial circumstances have changed due to coronavirus you should speak to your landlord about your situation or contact the Private Rented Service for advice.
What if I can’t afford the rent on my council home due to coronavirus?
Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) and the council understand that this is a difficult time and that some tenants may be suffering financially. We are following Government guidance on what actions need to be taken around coronavirus and the potential financial impact that the outbreak may have on our customers. You can find out more here.
Can council tax payments be moved from April to January to June to March to make the first two months free instead of the last two?
We can spread instalments over 12 months or amend instalment plans for people struggling to pay. If your income has changed due to Coronavirus please contact us using our online enquiry form or by emailing email@example.com.
Will the council cancel or suspend council tax payments to help hard up families who need to self-isolate?
It’s important to remember that council tax pays for essential services that are delivered to all residents in the city. If your circumstance have not changed due to the impact of coronavirus it is especially important that you continue to pay your council tax.
We understand that this is a difficult time and some of our residents many be struggling financially. If you’re finding difficult to pay your Council Tax because of coronavirus you can find out about the support available here.
Retail, leisure and hospitality industry
Is the Grainger Market open?
The market is now fully open between 9 am and 4 pm from Monday to Saturday. There is a one way system in place with three gates open as entrances and another two are open for exit. You can enter on Clayton Street, Nelson Street or Grainger Street. Over 50 traders are currently open covering with more planning to open in the coming weeks. Some traders are also operating a home delivery service with support from volunteers and taxi drivers. You can find our more on the home delivery service page.
Are Ice Cream vans allowed to operate?
Making a visit to an ice cream is a not an essential visit and may cause people to congregate breaking social distancing requirements and put public health at risk. Technically an ice cream van is the same as a takeaway and the vendor will need to take steps to control queues and proactively manage social distancing.
What should I do if a business is open when it shouldn’t be?
If you see or know of a businesses or premises that is open that you believe shouldn’t be please report this in confidence be emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I go on holiday in another country?
There are some restrictions on where you can travel to and from 8 June anyone entering the UK from abroad will need to self-isolate for 14 days. You can find guidance on what that will mean for you here.
Can I stay in my caravan or at a B and B or hotel in the UK
Hotels and other guest accommodation in England will be able to reopen providing all guests are in self-contained accommodation and are Covid secure. More information can be found here. The rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are different so please check before travelling.
When can I get my hair cut?
The government have announced that hairdressers and barbers can reopen for services related to cutting or treating hair on the head only. All other close contact services such as nail bars and tattooists must remain closed. You can find more information here?
Are the Welford Day Centre and Resource Centres open or closed?
Welford Day Centre is still open as normal (Mon - Friday 9am till 4pm). All of the Resource Centres (Connie Lewcock, Byker Lodge, Scrogg Road and Castledene) are open. There is no respite care available at Castledene. All Resource Centres are closed to visitors.
What provisions are being made for homeless people in the city during the pandemic?
You can find information on the support we are offering to homeless people during the pandemic here.
Where can I get help for someone who is sleeping rough?
If you know someone who is sleeping rough in Newcastle you can find out what support we are offering here
When will my child have to go back to school?
On 23 June the government announced that all children will be expected to return to school from September. We are waiting for government guidance to be published and will work with schools once this is available. Schools will contact parents and carers with information for children returning to school.
Will I be fined if I don’t send my child back to school in September?
We are still waiting for confirmation from the government on whether parents will be fined if their children don't return to school in September.
Can I meet friends and family from outside my household?
Guidance on social distancing is changing as lockdown measures are eased. You can find information on the latest rules for meeting people from outside your household here.
What should I do if someone breaks social distancing rules?
If you believe someone is breaking social distancing rules you can report this to the police using their online form.
Do I still have to stay at home?
The government have said you can now spend more time outside as long as you follow social distancing rules. You can find more information here.
Can I visit family members at their home?
From 4 July any two households of any size will be able to meet inside or outside as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. You can meet with up to six people from more than one other household outdoors. Gatherings of over 30 people will be against the law except in exceptional circumstance. More guidance on these changes can be found here.
Do I need to wear a face mask if I leave my house?
From July 24, wearing a face covering will be compulsory in shops and supermarkets. Failure to comply could result in a £100 fine, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.
Enforcement will only be carried out by the police, though shops and businesses should encourage customers with comply with the new legislation.
Exemptions will be made for children under the age of 11, as well as those with certain disabilities and medical conditions.
A face covering does not have to be to a medical standard such as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. The priority for face coverings worn by members of the public is that they cover both the mouth and nose, and that you continue following best hygiene practices and maintaining social distancing.
You must also continue to wear a face covering at all times on public transport and when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient unless you are exempt on medical grounds.
If you are exempt from wearing a face covering on medical grounds you may find it useful to download a Journey Assistance Card from https://www.nexus.org.uk/journey-assistance-cards to show to staff when you are travelling on public transport in Tyne and Wear. You can find guidance on face coverings and what else you can do to stay safe outside here.
A face covering is not the same as surgical masks used by healthcare and other workers. These need to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers.
Are the rules changing for people who are shielding or vulnerable?
If you are in the shielding category you will be able to meet up to six people from different households outside from 6 July as long as you maintain strict social distancing. You will no longer need to socially distance from other members of your own household and if you live in a single adult household you will be able to form a support bubble with one other household.
People in the shielding category and those who are clinically vulnerable should be especially careful and extra diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene. Details of people classed as clinically vulnerable can be found here.
Can I move home?
The government has amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations to make clear that people who wish to move home can do so but you must stick to social distancing rules. You can find more information here.
What does '1m plus' mean?
One metre plus or '1m plus' does means that people should still stay 2 metres apart wherever possible. If this is not possible then you should stay at least 1 metre from other people and take mitigating action to reduce the spread of the virus. The mitigation action you will need to take will depend on the setting. Examples of mitigating actions that you need to take if you can't stay 2 metres apart include:
- Wearing an face covering, mask or protective visor;
- Installing protective screens;
- Not sitting or standing face to face with people from outside your household or support bubble;
- Improving fresh air ventilation;
- Minimising the amount of time you spend with people from outside your household or support bubble;
- Strictly adhering to hand washing guidelines and using sanitiser when you are out;
- Staying outdoors when meeting people from outside your household or support bubble;
- Changing shift patterns so staff work in set teams;
- Changing room layouts so people sit back to back or side by side;
- Avoiding social interactions in workplaces;
- Reduced hours in the workplace;
- No touch technology;
- Avoid 'hot desking' and sharing equipment;
- Increased frequency of surface cleaning;
- Improved drain and sanitation maintenance;
- Replacing jet dryers with paper towels;
- One way system for moving thorough spaces;
- Improved waste management;
- Improved hygiene behaviour in bathrooms, for example put the toilet seat down;
- Protective clothing in health care and close contact settings;
- Avoid loud talking and activities such as singing and dancing;
- Keep interactions with other people brief.
Without mitigation the risk of transmission increases by up to 10 times at one metre compared to two metres. If you cannot stay two metres apart you should take mitigating actions.
What is the council’s social distancing policy for bin collections?
We are minimising contact between refuse collection staff and full social distancing measures are in place in the depots. Staff wear gloves at all times when carrying out their duties. Residents are asked to ensure they follow government advice on disposing of their waste and on social distancing which includes not approaching our refuse collection staff. You can find more advice on cleaning and waste disposal here.
Are the recycling centres open?
Our 'tips' reopened on Monday May 11, with strict social distancing measures in place. Please remember that most visits to a HWRC are not considered essential travel under the Government's lockdown guidance. Until it can be disposed of correctly please continue to store your rubbish appropriately. You can find more information here.
Are bin collections being stopped?
There are no plans to stop bin collections. Priority is being given to General Waste Collection. Recycling and Garden Waste is planned as normal and any service disruption will be minimised as far as possible.
Will bin collection days be changing?
There are no plans to change bin collections as a result of coronavirus. You can find more information on bin collection days here.
You can find out more about disruption to council services here.
Did you know?
If you can't stay 2 metres apart you must take mitigating actions to prevent the spread of the virus
A face covering is not the same as a mask. You can make a face covering using an old T-shirt. Find out how here.
Coronavirus can exist on surfaces for up to 72 hours so frequent cleaning is important.
The government have set up a frequently asked questions page where you can find out more about what you can and can't do during the pandemic.