Coronavirus: Council service disruption

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
- 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 

Non-essential shops reopen on April 12 and opening hours will revert back to 9am to 5.30pm. 

We’ll be doing all we can to keep you safe. All entrances and doors will be open when the market is trading for maximum ventilation, and there will be hand sanitizer stations at all the entrances and at every stall. You will need to wear a face covering when you visit (unless you’re exempt) and please keep to the left when walking around. 

 Please visit the Grainger Market Facebook page for more information, including opening times.  

Car parking

There are no changes to our car parking services. You can find the latest advice on car parking in the city here. 

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  and the Civic Centre are closed to members of the public and additional cleaning is taking place between funerals.    

Electoral services

The postponed Local elections and elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner will take place in May 2021.

Environmental services

Bin collections 

All bin collections are continuing as normal. Please put out your general waste, recycling and garden waste bins as normal on their usual collection day.  

Household Waste and Recycling Centres  

Our recycling centres at Brunswick, Byker and Walbottle are open, operating their summer opening hours, with strict social distancing measures in place and a number of rules to keep staff and the public safe. 

In order to ensure that visitors can access the sites in a timely fashion an “odds and evens” system, based on the last number of car licence plates and the date, is in effect.  

For more information about visiting our sites visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/hwrc  

 

Sandhills shop 

The shop at our Sandhills garden waste recycling centre in Newburn reopened on 12 April, in line with other non-essential retailers.  

Measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus are in place and visitors will be able to buy logs, soil conditioner and wood chip, on a self-service basis, from a fully open-air area, and pay by contactless methods.  

The shop opens five days a week, Monday to Friday (10am to 2pm) – For more information visit https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/environment-and-waste/recycling-rubbish-and-waste/household-waste-recycling-centres 

Pest control  

Our pest control team is 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 1716, or 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 

Private Rented Service Newcastle 

Private Rented Service Newcastle is are not currently offering a face-to-face service.  Landlords and tenants who rent their home from a private landlord can access advice and support by calling the enquiry line on 0191 277 1438 from 9am to 12 noon Monday to Friday or by emailing privaterentedservice@newcastle.gov.uk.  You can also find information and guidance on a range of issues including advice on Covid-19 at https://www.privaterentedservice.co.uk/  

Your Homes Newcastle  

Following the easing of national restrictions, Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) will begin to reintroduce their full repairs service starting w/c 12 April and will be prioritising repairs that were booked in and cancelled due to Covid-19, along with new non-essential repairs that have been reported during lockdown.  

For these repairs, customers will get a telephone call from a member of YHN staff to book an appointment. We appreciate that some customers might still be anxious about letting people into your home. If this is the case and your repair isn’t urgent then please let YHN know when they contact you to discuss alternative arrangements. 

YHN customers can report any new repairs by calling 0191 278 7878 or if it’s a non-urgent repair than you can also report it via the YHN website at www.yhn.org.uk.  

Any postponed non-urgent planned maintenance inside properties, such as kitchen replacements, will resume from May 2021. Customers will be contacted in advance of any work taking place. If you have any concerns, please let the YHN team know when they contact you. 

 

For the time being YHN Housing Services Offices (hubs) will remain closed to the public, however Housing Services Officers are resuming estate visits from 12 April 2021 and you can contact your Housing Services Officer by using the email address or telephone number of your local housing office. Click here for contact details: https://www.yhn.org.uk/contact-us/key-contacts/yhn-housing-services/   

  • All non-emergency services and cyclical replacement programme works for the Newcastle Furniture Service (NFS) will resume on 12 April. If you have any queries, you can contact the NFS team via email FurnitureService@yhn.org.uk  or give us a call on 0191 278 1888 

  • If you are having any concerns about paying your rent, please speak to your local YHN Income Collection team as soon as possible so they can discuss how they can help you. 

  • Support and advice on Universal Credit and benefits issues is available over the phone from YHN’s Financial Inclusion team. 

  • YHN can still help with anti-social behaviour issues. For any issues with ASB or noise nuisance, please contact the YHN Safe Living team for advice and support. 

  • You can contact YHN for support us by calling 0191 278 8600. Lines may be busy so if you can contact by email then please get in touch at yhn@yhn.org.uk 

For full information on our current services please visit: www.yhn.org.uk/coronavirus 

 

Libraries and Museums

Libraries 

Libraries in Newcastle have a phased reopening from 12 April. Details below 

  • City Library and Community Hub- Monday 12 April 

  • Gosforth Library and Community Hub- 13 April 

  • West End Library and Community Hub- 14 April 

  • East End Library and Community Hub- 15 April 

  • Outer West Library and Community Hub- 16 April 

  • Kenton Library and Community Hub- 16 April 

The week beginning the 19 April the following sites will open: 

  • Newburn Library and Community Hub- 19 April 

  • High Heaton Library and Community Hub- 20 April 

  • Fenham Library and Community Hub- 20 April 

  • Denton Burn Library and Community Hub- 22 April 

  • Cruddas Park Library and Community Hub- 23 April 

We are in the process of agreeing the opening of Walker and Blakelaw Libraires. 

All sites will be open for our Select and Collect service, limited browsing, enquiries, and time limited computer access. Social distancing measures will remain in place including, test & trace, floor markings, 2m distancing and limits on the number of people allowed in the building. Face coverings will still be required unless individuals are exempt. 

We will continue to offer access our eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines and comics.  You can join online, resources are free and we are constantly updating the titles available.  Keep an eye on the Newcastle Libraries social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok) for craft ideas, information, quizzes, local history content and story times to keep you entertained and amused over the festive period.  

We are also working in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) to offer a Home Delivery Service.  To find our more or to sign up for the service please email information@newcastle.gov.uk or phone 0191 2787878. 

The City Library will also continue to offer Visa application services.  To find out more about applying for a visa or to book an appointment please visit  https://www.ukvcas.co.uk/home-internal

Museums 

Museums will remain closed until May 17 at the earliest. While they are closed you can enjoy exhibition and collections content and activities on our website and social media or by joining our mailing list at mustseemuseums.org.uk 

Registration and bereavement services

Register Office services and ceremonies are subject to national lockdown restrictions from 4 January.  As an essential public service, register offices will remain open and death and birth registrations and appointments to give notice of intent to marry or to form a civil partnership will continue to be offered. Travelling for these purposes is allowed to fulfill a legal obligation 

Births   

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   

Current national restrictions remain in place.  

Then, in line with the Government's step-by-step plan to ease restrictions:   

From March 29 – Ceremonies will have a legal limit of six attendees, but will no longer be limited to exceptional circumstances.  

No earlier than 12 April - Legal limit of 15 attendees.  

No earlier than 17 May – Legal limit of 30 attendees  

No earlier than 21 June – No legal limit on attendees  

The number of attendees outlined above is dependent upon the premise where the ceremony is to be held being able to can accommodate this number in a Covid-19 secure manner following social distancing guidelines, and are permitted to open. 

If you are having your ceremony at an approved premise please contact them to confirm the number of attendees that can be accommodated.   

If you are having your ceremony in Newcastle Register Office the number of attendees allowed is 4.  This includes the couple plus two witnesses and applies to all dates. 

If you are having your ceremony in The Leazes Room on a date between 12 April and 20 June the number of attendees allowed is 10. This includes the couple, two witnesses plus up to 6 other guests. 

As is currently the case, the number allowed to attend includes the couple, witnesses and guests, but those working, such as registration officials and venue managers are not included.  

The final step is subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme, which from April will see the government run pilots for events such as large weddings to help determine how measures such as enhanced testing might allow large groups to attend without social distancing. 

New ceremony bookings   

We are now taking new ceremony bookings for ceremonies taking place from 29 March 2021 onwards.  Bookings can be made up to two years in advance. 

Couples booking ceremonies up to 20 June 2021 will be advised of potential lockdown restrictions that could be in place.    

If you are interested in booking a  ceremony please contact the Register Office by phone (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm) on 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.  

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.     

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   

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people depending on the size of the venue.  Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.   Anyone working is not counted within these limits.   

Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.   

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  

Citizenship ceremonies will resume in March. 

The Home Office will send out a ceremony invite to each applicant via post or email and The Register Office will be notified.  

If you have received a ceremony invite please do not contact us - We will be in touch to invite you to a ceremony. 

Usually you must attend a citizenship ceremony within 3 months of receiving your invitation from the Home Office. Because of coronavirus, this has been extended to 6 months. 

Private ceremonies are not available until further notice. 

We are not currently offering virtual citizenship ceremonies. 

EU Settlement Scheme  

The EU Settlement Scheme ID Verification Service has been suspended until further notice.  You can find out more about applying to the EU Settlement Scheme here

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.  

We currently have a backlog of certificate enquiries which we are working our way through. 

Priority requests will be processed and dispatched within 24 hours however we cannot guarantee that customers using the standard service will receive their certificates within 15 working days and they should take this into account when deciding when placing their order. 

Please do not contact us to chase progress of a standard request as we do not have the resources to do this however we are happy to provide a refund to those customers who feel they have waited too long to receive their order. 

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 and play areas are open in line with government advice.  You should only visit these with people from your household or support bubble or one other person if you are on your own.

Schools

Schools, colleges and universities reopened for all ages in March 2021. 

Shopmobility

Shopmobility service will resume from Tuesday 13 April. For more info on the service go here 

Social care 

Home care visits continue following Public Health England guidelines.   

 All adult care homes are open and are following Public Health England guidelines, however visiting restrictions apply – contact your care home to find out more about their visitor policy. 

Some Day Services are closed in line with Public Health England guidelines – contact your Day Service to find out what services they are currently offering. 

Did you know?

We must all play our part by following the Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air 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.  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 on social distancing and advice on how to stay safe outside your home here and information for on staying safe at work is available here.

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