Coronavirus FAQs and Service Updates

Frequently asked questions about what is happening to the services we provide during the Coronavirus pandemic.

There are several ways you that you can get in touch with us.

The best way to get in touch is by completing our General Enquiry form.

Before completing the form you may want to take a look at our list of common queries, on our Contact us page.

You can also email customer.services@eastherts.gov.uk or phone 01279 655261.

Our reception areas at the council offices in Hertford and Bishop's Stortford are temporarily closed to the public for all face-to-face services. 

Customers who have urgent documents they need us to verify can leave them in the post box in either receptions. We will scan and verify as soon as possible and any original documents will be sent back via recorded delivery although this may take some time. Customers can also post documents to us.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during busy periods as response times might be longer than normal.

 

To prioritise the essential collections of your refuse and recycling bins, we have taken the difficult decision from Monday 30 March to suspend the collection of your brown garden waste bin. For the foreseeable future, please can you now place all food waste in your black bin for collection.

Your other waste collections (black bin and recycling) will be continuing as normal.

Please continue to ensure that your bin is at the property boundary by 7am on your normal collection date.

To ensure we can prioritise kerbside refuse collections we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend all household bulky waste collections. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. All bulky waste collections already booked will still take place.

Our grounds maintenance contractor will continue to keep the district green, if affected by reduced workforce they will prioritise work. 

Any changes to services will be published on our website or via our social media channels.

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.

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 customer.services@eastherts.gov.uk or call 01279 655261.

Following government instruction our leisure centres are now closed. 

We would like to reassure customers that we are working closely with Everyone Active and will keep you updated regularly.

Following government instruction we have now closed all of our play areas until further notice. 

Our parks remain open and we urge people to follow social distancing guidance and stay 2 metres away from others. 

We are closely monitoring the situation and will keep you updated regularly. 
 

Hertford Theatre will be closed to the public until 31 May 2020.

For up to date information about the theatre follow @Hertfordtheatre on Twitter or  Hertford Theatre on Facebook

Due to the disruption caused by coronavirus, in the short term we have cancelled meetings wherever possible and will deal with all scheduled business either by postponing items for decision to a future meeting or using existing powers delegated to executive members or officers to prevent delay.

Going forward, 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 are currently putting measures and training into place to implement this and will re-commence meetings as soon as possible. Please consult the forward plan and calendar of meetings for further information. 

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.

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

For information and advice on your housing benefit and/or council tax support, or what financial support you may be eligible for please email benefits@hertspartnership-ala.gov.uk or call 01279 655261.

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.

Our car parks are still open.

For the latest information please visit our Coronavirus and parking page.

The Government has postponed all elections that were due to take place on 7 May 2020. This means that the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire will not now be held on that date but will be delayed by a year. The Police and Crime Commissioner election will now take place at the same time as the scheduled County Council elections on Thursday 6 May 2021.

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.

Following government advice, unfortunately Launchpad will be closed until further notice.

You can find advice and guidance on business support by visiting our Coronavirus help for businesses page.

Our Farmers Markets are currently suspended due to Coronavirus, we'll update you as soon as we can.

#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.

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.

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 planning@eastherts.gov.uk

The government has made clear that all pubs, restaurants and cafes should no longer be open for on-site consumption but provide a takeaway service.

To enable pubs, restaurants and cafes to operate temporarily as hot food takeaways (A5 use class), a new permitted development right (PDR) has been introduced for 12 months. This also covers cold and pre-prepared food and will allow for takeaway and delivery.

The pub, restaurant or café will remain in its current use class during this period. Beyond the 12 months, a planning application would be required for continued use as a takeaway.

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.

For details on which businesses should close please visit our Coronavirus and which businesses need to close page.

At the current time we'd ask for residents not to light bonfires.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause serious respiratory problems, which could be made worse if the sufferer is exposed to smoke from bonfires. This is also made worse because people are confined to their home and unable to escape unpleasant fumes.

Bonfires can also become out of control or cause accidents, particularly in small gardens, creating extra pressure on the already busy emergency services.

Changes to collection services and the closure of the refuse and recycling centres may create a storage issue for some residents. We would encourage residents to compost garden waste where possible or to place food or garden waste in your black bin for collection.

The Council will continue to investigate nuisance issues relating to any persistent offenders where bonfires cause an impact on neighbours.

If you think a business is operating which shouldn't be, please complete the online form on our Coronavirus and which businesses need to close page.