Coronavirus

We have set up a dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage. Click here or go to www.newcastle.gov.uk/coronavirus

Coronavirus: Council service disruption

UPDATED 6 July 11:02

How Newcastle City Council services are affected

To fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we have had to make some changes to our services.  Regular updates will be published on this page to ensure residents are kept up to date.

Please be aware there are social distancing measures are in place across the Civic Centre and most offices and services are closed to the public during this time.  Anyone attending the Civic Centre must strictly adhere to the two metres apart distance to stop the spread of the disease and to keep our staff safe.  

- Buildings
- Car Parking
- Cemeteries and crematoria
- Construction
- Electoral Services
- Environmental Services (including rubbish and recycling)
- Highways
- Housing
- Libraries
- Licensing
- Registration and Bereavement Services
- Parks and Leisure
- Shopmobility
- Social Care

Buildings

Civic Centre

The Arches reception will operate on reduced hours, from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.  Please note that only those with an appointment or accessing emergency services should visit the Civic Centre. 

Grainger Market 

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.

Libraries and community hubs

Libraries and some community hubs are currently closed to the public. Find out more here.

Museums

The following museums are closed until further notice:  Discovery Museum; Laing Art Gallery; Hatton Gallery and Great North Museum.

Car parking

To support key workers in the city we provided free parking in all our pay and display spaces for a seven week period from March 24. 

Parking charges resumed for the majority of motorists on Monday May 18 however Government guidance still allows for healthcare staff to park free of charge in our pay and display bays.  Please email parking@newcastle.gov.uk from your NHS trust email address with the subject line "NHS Parking" and your vehicle details before using these bays.

The council is also currently providing free parking specifically for critical care workers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary with four car parks dedicated for their use.  The parking spaces specifically given over to the NHS are at:

  • Claremont Road

  • Morden Street

  • Leazes Park Road

  • St James' Park

The spaces will be available on a first come, first served basis, with extra patrols by parking enforcement staff to ensure they are not being misused by non-healthcare workers.

For more information see our news pages..

Cemeteries and crematoria

All cemeteries in the city remain open but visitors must adhere to social distancing measures and stay 2 metres apart from people outside their household or support bubble.

The council offices at West Road Cemetery are closed and additional cleaning is taking place between funerals.  There will be no public access to the book of condolences at the Crematorium.  Cremation and grave memorial applications are not currently being processed. 

Construction

Work on construction sites was suspended after the Government announced lockdown measures on March 23.  However, following risk assessments, work has resumed on some sites where social distancing measures have been put in place.

Electoral services

Local elections and elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner will not go ahead this May and have been postponed for one year.

Environmental services

Bin collections

Families should “clean, clean, clean” and store used cloths and tissues separately for 72 hours prior to placing them in their general waste bins to help fight coronavirus (COVID-19).

Bin collections are continuing, with green general waste, blue recycling and brown garden waste pick-ups scheduled to take place on their usual days. Please place your bins out as normal.  There are no changes to existing bin collection days in 2020/21.  To check which day your bin is collected use our online My Neighbourhood system or to find out more about what to do with your rubbish during the outbreak on our Waste Disposal Advice page.

Household Waste and Recycling Centres

Our Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRC) reopened on Monday May 11, with strict social distancing measures in place - Please see our Coronavirus: Household Waste & Recycling Centres page for more details.

Please remember that most visits to a HWRC are not considered essential - Government guidelines say you should continue to limit your contact with others and staying at home is the easiest way to do that.  Until it can be disposed of correctly please continue to store your rubbish appropriately. 

As an alternative to visiting a HWRC, please consider using our paid for bulky waste collection service - which currently has a 25% discount. Find out more on our Bulky Waste Collections page.

Pest control

From June 3 2020 our pest control team is once again taking bookings to treat all pests that they usually deal with.  Find out more about the service on our Pest Control page.

Other environmental services

Most grass cutting and shrub bed maintenance has stopped until further notice but we are carrying out work that is essential to maintain Newcastle’s open spaces and to ensure safety and public wellbeing.   This includes keeping sight lines clear around roads, paths and junctions and allowing as much space as possible in areas that people are using for exercise.  Our staff are adhering to social distancing guidelines.   For more information see our news pages.

Highways 

Some major highways improvement schemes restarted on Tuesday 28 April after being reviewed by Newcastle City Council to ensure that safe social distancing could remain in place for our workforce and members of the public.  

Housing

Housing Advice Centre 

Newcastle City Council’s Housing Advice Centre will not be open for face-to-face advice until further notice.   Staff continue to provide advice which can be accessed by calling 0191 277 1712 or 0191 277 1716or emailing housingadvicecentre@newcastle.gov.uk.   If it is out of hours - after 5.30pm or any time at a weekend - and you have nowhere to sleep tonight please call 0191 278 7878 and ask for the emergency homeless service.  For more information visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/homeless

Your Homes Newcastle 

YHN housing and customer service staff are delivering services as usual and they can be contacted directly by phone or email.   Only emergency repairs are being carried out at this time. They can be reported by calling the enquiry centre or visiting the website www.yhn.org.uk 

Libraries

Although the government have said libraries can reopen from 4 July we will not reopen until measures are in place to ensure the safety of staff and service users.  City Library will be the first library to reopen in Newcastle towards the end of July.  We will provide updates on this page as soon as they are available. You can find out more here

Many library services can be accessed online,  For details of how to do this please visit our page on accessing library services during the pandemic. 

You can find information on researching family history, including instructions on accessing the Ancestry website

Licensing

Taxi licensing service

The licensing office and test station facility at Newington Road East re-opened on Monday June 1, with social distancing measures in place.  Existing licensees who's licenses were due for renewal during the lockdown closure have temporary exemption certificates have allowed them to continue to work in the absence of renewed permissions, identification and vehicle markings.  Drivers whose licences require action will be contacted to make an appointment to visit the licensing office.

You can find out more, including information on fitting a temporary plastic screen to a taxi, on our Coronavirus: Advice for taxi drivers page.  For taxi licensing enquiries, please email licensingnewingtonroad@newcastle.gov.uk.

Registration and bereavement services

Births

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 and availability will be staggered based on the date of birth of the child.  This will allow earlier births to be registered first.

Parents of babies born on or before 30 April 2020 can now contact the Register Office to make an appointment by calling 0191 2787878 and asking for registrars or  emailing registrars@newcastle.gov.uk.  

Please keep an eye on the Registration Services pages of the council’s website for new dates appearing and only make an appointment at the appropriate time.  

Parents attending to register must adhere to strict social distancing guidelines:

  • If parents are a married couple or in a civil partnership only one parent should attend to register the birth.
  • If parents are not married or in a civil partnership both parents should attend.
  • For the safety of your family and Register Office staff you should not bring your baby, other children or family members to the appointment with you.
  • If you are displaying any symptoms of Covid 19 you should not attend.
  • If you are showing symptoms when you attend your appointment you will be asked to leave.

More detailed information will be provided by a Registrar when you make your booking.  Please note that any parent turning up at the Civic Centre without an appointment will not be seen.

Marriages and civil partnerships

Ceremonies held under COVID 19 guidelines

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.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

The implications for ceremonies to be held in Newcastle Register Office or in The Leazes Room at Newcastle Civic Centre are as follows:

  • The number of people attending a Register Office ceremony will be limited to 4 – this is to include the couple plus two witnesses.
  • The number of people attending a Leazes Room ceremony will be limited to 10 – this is to include the couple, 2 witnesses plus up to 6 others.
  • In order to keep the ceremony as short as possible it will be limited to the statutory declarations that are required in order for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding.
  • In order to reduce the length of the ceremony the following will not be allowed:
    • Readings
    • Music
    • The exchanging of rings
    • Photographs inside the Civic Centre

Couples who are having their ceremony at an approved premise should contact their venue to confirm that their ceremony is going ahead.

Couples who do not want to proceed under the circumstances should contact the Register Office to discuss their options.  Please phone 0191 2787878 and ask for Registrars or email registrars@newcastle.gov.uk.

Notice of marriage or civil partnership appointments

Notice appointments are now available to couples who have ceremonies booked for July or August 2020. If your ceremony will take place in Newcastle a Registrar will be contacting, you to arrange an appointment. If your ceremony is at a venue outside Newcastle please email your contact details to registrars@newcastle.gov.uk and we will get back to you.

Notice appointments are not yet available for couples having their ceremony later in the year.  Please check the website for updates.

New ceremony bookings

New ceremony bookings are still on hold but 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 registrars@newcastle.gov.uk and we will be in touch.  If you have already contacted us about booking a ceremony, we have your details on file. 

Deaths

All death and still-birth registrations are being carried out 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.   To make an  appointment you should phone 0191 2787878  and ask for Registrars.  

GPs who are issuing medical cause of death certificates should scan and email them to registrars@newcastle.gov.uk as provided for in the Coronavirus (Emergency) Act 2020.  Certificates should not be handed to the informant as they will not have any face to face contact with a registrar.

Funerals

Only immediate family are allowed to attend funerals, with no more than 20 mourners allowed.  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 bereavementservices@newcastle.gov.uk for more information.

Citizenship ceremonies

Customers would normally be expected to book their citizenship ceremony within three months of being sent an invitation from the Home Office.  Due to the current pandemic circumstances UKVI have extended this period to six months and will keep this under constant review. Customers should be advised that no adverse decisions will be made on applications because of delays caused by Coronavirus.

EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme ID Verification Service has been suspended until further notice.

Certificates

Please note: We will only be accepting online applications for copy certificates until further notice. Order via our online order service page.

If you have a request for the priority service, please enter the reason for your urgent need for the certificate into the request form. We will contact you to let you know if we can accommodate your request – if not, a full refund will be provided.  If you would like to use the standard service you may do so but we cannot guarantee delivery within 15 working days.  All certificates will be posted out until further notice to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to.  Collection will not be permitted.

Parks and leisure

Parks remain open for exercise but play areas currently remain closed.  

Social events, sports and gatherings

On 20 March the Government ordered certain businesses to close, this was extended to include more on 23 March.  Businesses and venues that currently must remain closed include:  

● hair, beauty and nail salons; 

libraries, community centres, and youth centres;

● pubs, restaurants and clubs

● indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades, swimming pools and soft play facilities;

● communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and outdoor gyms;

● places of worship except for funerals and individual prayer;

● hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial or leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

On 23 June the government announced that some of these businesses will be able to open from 4 July providing they are Covid secure.  More information can be found here.

Schools

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.

Shopmobility

Shopmobility is closed until further notice.  We are currently looking at how we can provide the service in a way that is safe and complies with government guidance.

Social care 

Home visits continue following Public Health England guidelines.  All adult care centres are open and are following Public Health England guidelines, however some are closed to visitors.

Did you know?

Staff are providing updates and answering questions on social media platforms seven days a week.  If you don’t follow the council already you can do so on Twitter - @NewcastleCC, and Facebook - @NewcastleCityCouncil

If you bookmark www.newcastle.gov.uk/coronavirus on your browser it will be easier come back and check for updates.

You can find the latest government guidance on social distancing hereadvice on how to stay safe outside your home here and information for on staying safe at work is available here.

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