Coronavirus FAQs and Service Updates
From Tuesday 5th January there is a new nationwide lockdown in place. You should stay at home and only leave for essential reasons.
Primary and secondary school are closed, apart from for vulnerable and keyworker children. More information on schools is available on the Hertfordshire County Council website.
Reasons to leave home include:
- Work or volunteering where it is "unreasonable" to work from home.
- Education, training, childcare and medical appointments and emergencies
- Exercise outdoors (limited to once a day). This includes meeting one other person from another household in an open public space to exercise. You should not travel outside your local area.
- Shopping for essentials such as food and medicine
- Communal religious worship
- Meeting your support or childcare bubble. Children can also move between separated parents
- Activities related to moving house
International travel, or travel around the UK is only permitted for essential reasons.
Hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants and non-essential shops must close, as must indoor and outdoor sports facilities including gyms and tennis courts.
Essential businesses and services can stay open to the public.
I have been told to self-isolate, is there any support available?
If you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period.
More information is available on our Test and Trace Support payment page.
I am shielding, what support is available for me?
If you’re shielding and have recently received a letter from the government, please complete the shielding support form on the GOV.UK website to:
- access priority supermarket deliveries
- ask for someone to contact you about any local support that’s available
- update your contact details.
What can I do to help support vulnerable people?
#TeamHerts Volunteering is working in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to collect the names and details of all those who are interested in volunteering to assist those affected by coronavirus.
Self-isolation can be a difficult and lonely time for many. Volunteering your time to offer some basic support can make this period a lot easier.
Volunteers can help by dropping off some groceries and picking up some essential supplies. Other roles include offering a friendly voice over the phone or even giving basic support in a care setting.
To register your interest please complete the online volunteering form the #TeamHerts Volunteering website.
What is the council doing to support businesses
The government has announced a number of measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
To help businesses with their cash flows, we have suspended our normal payment terms of 30 days and are now paying invoices as soon as they have been approved for payment.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as to how this could impact upon businesses in East Herts.
More information is available on our coronavirus help for businesses page.
For further guidance to support employers and businesses please visit the Gov.uk website.
Someone in my workplace has tested positive for Coronavirus, what do I do?
A coronavirus outbreak is more than one confirmed case of COVID-19 among workers or visitors to a workplace within 14 days. Depending on the type of organisation, this may also include 'possible' cases of coronavirus.
If someone in your workplace has tested positive for coronavirus, please let us know by completing our online coronavirus outbreak form You must also contact the East of England Health Protection Team on 0300 303 8537.
Does my business need to close?
For information and advice please read our Coronavirus and Opening Safely page.
How do I raise concerns about the way a business is operating?
If you're worried about the way a business is operating please complete our online form to report your concerns.
What is happening with licences, registrations etc.?
All licensing applications continue to be processed through our website. Current licence holders who are renewing their existing licences are advised to allow extra time for their application to be processed.
Can I still access Launchpad?
Launchpad is back open for new and existing members.
If you are interested in becoming a member of Launchpad, visit the website for more information.
You can find advice and guidance on business support by visiting our Coronavirus help for businesses page
Will there be any disruptions to bin collections?
Your waste collections are currently continuing as normal.
Please continue to ensure that your bin is at the property boundary by 7am on your normal collection date.
If you think that your bin has been missed please report it and leave the bin at your property boundary.
Our bulky waste collection service is still available and you can book a collection now.
What is happening with street cleansing and litter bin collections?
Currently street cleansing services are operating as normal. However, should a high reduction in workforce occur – other services may have to be prioritised. If you have any concerns please email email@example.com or call 01279 655261.
If I become ill, what should I do with my used tissues etc.?
Personal waste (e.g. used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.
Further guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection is available on the Gov.uk website.
Are your leisure centres open?
As per the latest Government announcement that we will enter a national lockdown from 5th January our leisure centres will remain closed.
Everyone Active will be contacting members as soon as possible to confirm arrangements for memberships whilst they are closed.
As part of your membership, you will have access to thousands of fantastic online workouts for free. Find out more by visiting the Everyone Active website.
Are parks and play areas open?
Currently guidelines allow us to keep play areas and parks open. However, please ensure that you are following government guidelines and self-isolating should you or anyone in your household have symptoms of coronavirus
Please check our guidance for maximum capacities for each play area and how to stay safe whilst using the equipment.
Are skate parks open?
Due to a rise in cases in the area we have taken the decision to close our skate parks at Hartham and Vantorts. We are monitoring the situation and will keep our social media and website updated regularly. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
Is Hertford Theatre open?
In line with recent government directive, Hertford Theatre will be closing their doors.
If you have tickets booked, you will be contacted.
If you wish to support the theatre then head to the website were you can watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Show which was filmed during one of the early performances. More details of the show and how you can support can be found on the Hertford Theatre website.
How can I pay my Council Tax if the council's offices are closed?
There are several different ways that you can pay your Council Tax. If you would like to check your balance, the easiest way would be to register for our online account.
I've had a change in employment because of Coronavirus, and I'm struggling with Council Tax payments - what can I do?
If you're struggling to make Council Tax payments, please get in touch as soon as possible.
Information on the support available and our contact details is available on our Council Tax and Coronavirus page.
What should I do if I need help with my housing benefit and/or council tax support?
For information and advice on your housing benefit and/or council tax support, or what financial support you may be eligible for please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01279 655261.
What is happening with the Housing Options/Homelessness Service?
We are now providing the service for our Housing Options and Homelessness in a different way.
Full details of the service are available on our Housing Options Service and Coronavirus page.
Are you still processing planning applications?
Yes, we are continuing to process planning applications and are making appropriate adjustments.
There may be some delay and disruption to service delivery and timescales but we are working to keep this to a minimum.
Duty planning is being provided on the telephone on 01279 655261 and by email email@example.com.
Is the local land charges service still running?
Following the Government announcement about the lockdown, the East Herts Council Land Charges team are all now working from home.
This means that we are currently unable to process cheque payments, but we can now take payment by credit or debit card over the phone. Please email your search requests in as normal, with the addition of a contact telephone number for the card holder on your email. We will then check that the plan and address match our records, and once we are happy that the search is ready to be logged, we'll call you for payment. There are only two members of the Land Charges team with authorised access to the payment system, so please bear with us!
Alternatively, you can submit your searches electronically via NLIS or TM SearchChoice, as our process for these search requests remains unaffected. Thank you for your patience during this time.
Will council meetings be taking place as normal and will public and press access be maintained?
The government has amended legislation to hold meetings virtually. In summary, the Coronavirus Act 2020 legislation provides that local authority meetings can be held without the participants being together in the same place.
We have put measures in place and council meetings are now being held virtually. Please consult the forward plan and calendar of meetings for further information and keep an eye on our social media channels for the links to view the meetings live.