Coronavirus: Council service disruption

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
- Electoral Services
- Environmental Services (including rubbish and recycling)
- Housing
- Libraries and Museums
- 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.

Car parking

Government guidance allows for healthcare staff to park free of charge in our pay and display bays upon display of the official Government NHS COVID parking permit or the NHS Hospitals parking permit for Hospital based staff.  Please contact your NHS Trust or for NHS Hospitals Trust please contact The Travel and Transport Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary

The council is also currently providing free parking specifically for critical care workers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Monday to Friday with three car parks dedicated for their use, as well as spaces at Stadium car park.  The parking spaces specifically given over to the NHS are at:

  • Claremont Road
  • Morden Street
  • Leazes Park Road
  • Stadium

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.  At weekends the car parks revert to general parking arrangements, apart from Stadium car park if there is an event or match at St James’ Park.

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 bereavement offices at the West Road Cemetery  and the Civic Centre are closed to members of the public and additional cleaning is taking place between funerals.  

The Hall of Remembrance has re-opened and there are restrictions in place to two visitors at a time and there is sanitising available.  Memorial applications can now be sent to the Bereavement Services office at the Civic Centre for processing.

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.

From August 3, to help cut queues we introduced a number plate system with odd and even numbered cars being able to access the sites on different days.  If your car has number plate has an odd number, for example 11 or 12 you can use the sites on odd dates, for example 15 August.  If your car has an even number, for example 14 or 20, you can access on an even date, for example the 8 August.  You can find more information here

As an alternative to visiting a HWRC, please consider using our paid for bulky waste collection service. 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.

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 

Following the latest Government advice on repairs YHN now have plans in place to operate and deliver their repairs service as normal.   The health, safety and wellbeing of all of our customers and staff is our top priority so we’re taking some extra precautions when we visit your home to carry out our repairs and maintenance service. This short film explains the steps we are taking and what we expect from you to help keep us all safe. If you have a repair booked, please watch this before our visit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9S9Wk-noY0&feature=youtu.be
 

You can report new repairs through the Contact Centre or online here

We anticipate a high demand now that we have started carrying out non-essential repairs and with the new safety measures in place it might take us longer to book in and complete your repair. We would like to thank customers for their patience while we work to fully reinstate the service.

For more service information, please click here.

Libraries and Museums

Libraries

City Library was the first to reopen in Newcastle on Wednesday 22 July with social distancing, reduced opening hours and other measures in place to help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Open Monday to Friday from 11am to 5pm
  • Only levels one and two will be open to the public
  • Social distancing measures include protective screens, signage and floor markings
  • Sanitiser stations will be in place to help people maintain best hygiene practices
  • Returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being available for reissue
  • PC use will be limited to one hour per person per day and you must wear a face covering while using them
  • More details can be found here

Plans for reopening the City Library cafe, additional floors of the City Library and other Newcastle Libraries sites are still being developed.  We will provide updates on this page as soon as they are available. 

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

Museums

Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums have announced reopening dates for some of the venues they manage in Newcastle:

Social distancing and other safety measures will be in place to help reduce the spread of coronavirus including increased cleaning regimes, one way routes and fewer people admitted at any one time.  Some venues are also introducing ticketed time slots.  More information can be found on individual venue websites.

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

Local Restrictions announced on September 17 2020 do not effect weddings and funeral arrangements, however services and ceremonies are still subject to the national guidance and restrictions as outlined below.

Births

Birth registrations resumed on Monday June 8 with a new system to enable outstanding births to be registered as quickly as possible while strictly adhering to social distancing.  

Registrations are strictly by appointment only and parents can contact the Register Office to make an appointment by calling 0191 2787878 and asking for registrars or by emailing registrars@newcastle.gov.uk.  

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.
  • Parents are politely requested to wear a face covering when attending their appointment

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.

Read the Government guidance here.

In addition the government announced on 31 July 2020 that all guests attending a ceremony at an approved venue or Register Office are required to wear a face covering.  The bride and groom or civil partners do not need to wear a face covering.

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

Read the full guidance for ceremonies in The Register Office and The Leazes Room here.

Ceremonies taking place at Approved Premises

Couples who are having their ceremony at an approved premise should contact their venue to confirm that their ceremony is going ahead and any queries about wedding or civil partnership receptions should be directed to the venue in question.  The restrictions below are also applied to ceremonies taking place at an approved premise:

In order to reduce the length of the ceremony the following will not be allowed while the Registrars are in attendance:

    • Readings
    • Music
    • The exchanging of rings
    • Photographs

Read the full guidance for ceremonies at approved premises here.

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.

New ceremony bookings

We are now taking new ceremony bookings which can be made up to two years in advance.

Couples booking ceremonies for 2021 and 2022 will be advised of the restrictions currently in place.  We do not know if or when restrictions will be relaxed so couples booking a new ceremony should proceed on the basis that they will still be in place at the time of their ceremony.

If you are interested in booking a ceremony to take place from 1 September 2020 onwards please contact the Register Office by phone at 0191 2787878 and ask for Registrars or email registrars@newcastle.gov.uk stating your preferred date and time, the name of your venue and your contact details and someone will get back to you.

We are currently working our way through the requests we have on file so if you have already contacted us about booking a ceremony we will be in touch in due course.

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

On 14 July UK Visas and Immigration advised local authorities that they could reintroduce citizenship ceremonies where they can do so safely in accordance with health and safety guidance.

Ceremonies will be limited to the legalities and the number of attendees allowed will be restricted  in order to reduce the risk of infection.

The Home Office will send out a ceremony invite to each applicant.  Please do not contact the Register Office until you receive your invitation as we can’t book you onto a ceremony until you have it.

We are not currently offering virtual citizenship ceremonies or private citizenship ceremonies.

Read the full guidance for citizenship ceremonies here.

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 and play areas

Parks are open but play areas currently remain closed.  We are currently carrying out risk assessments to ensure we can open playgrounds safely and in line with government guidance.  We will post details about reopening on this page as soon as it is available.

Social events, sports and gatherings

On 20 March the Government ordered certain businesses to close, this was extended to include more on 23 March.  Most businesses are now able to reopen but some including nightclubs and sports arenas still remain closed.  You can find 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.  You can find more information on children returning here.

Shopmobility

Shopmobility service at Eldon Square will re-open from 1 September.  For the service to be COVID-secure, a number of changes are being made to keep staff and shoppers safe. This includes a pre-booked service only for nine scooters a day, changes to the reception area to avoid people gathering, dedicated parking area for scooters to be collected on Level 4 of Eldon Garden car park and additional cleaning of equipment.

Being COVID-secure means that staff will no longer be able to carry shopping bags or assist people on to their mobility scooters. Toilet facilities next to the Shopmobility office will no longer be available. More information is available at www.newcastle.gov.uk/shopmobility

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.

 

Newcastle has been placed on the government's coronavirus watch list as an area of Enhanced Concern.  We must all play our part by following the Hands, Face, Space guidance, knowing what the symptoms are and when to get tested to avoid more restrictions being introduced in the city.

Did you know?

Newcastle has been placed on the government's coronavirus watch list as an area of Enhanced Concern.  We must all play our part by following the Hands, Face, Space guidance, knowing what the symptoms are and when to get tested to avoid more restrictions being introduced in the city.

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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