As the coronavirus situation develops it is understandable that you will have a lot of questions. Our contact centre is currently receiving a high number of enquiries, so we have pulled together the common questions we are being asked .

We will update this page regularly with further questions we receive to help you at this time.

People who are vulnerable

You can read the full information on our people who are vulnerable page.

Why have I been asked to shield?

If you have an underlying medical condition that means you are particularly at risk if infected by COVID-19, you have been identified as needing to be shielded. The NHS will keep you informed for how long this will be necessary. By shielding at home you are minimising all interaction with others who may unknowingly spread the virus.

For the latest updates about shielding, you can read the government guidance on the GOV.UK website: Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

What if I am ill or need medical help while I am shielding at home?

You should still take care of your existing health conditions and contact your GP if you have concerns about your health. The NHS is still providing treatment for those in need of care not related to coronavirus.

What will happen if the care agency I have does not have capacity to send in staff to support me and I have no other support e.g. family or friends who can help out? 

If you find yourself in this situation contact your allocated Social Worker or Occupational Therapist. If you do not have an allocated practitioner contact our Adult Care team on 01454 868007. 

What happens if my main carer, who is a relative becomes ill?

Consider what plans you would have had in place if this happened before the coronavirus situation, and if these plans could still be put into place now. You can call our Adult Care team on 01454 868007 to talk to someone about your care needs.

There are also local support groups in the community that may be able to help, check the directory of the community support groups on our get help and support page.

SEND information for families

You can read the full information on our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) information for families page.

Our Find information for adults, children and families website, is also a source of information, advice and guidance for people living in South Gloucestershire.

Can a place at school and support be guaranteed for my child?

The government advice is that every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. A place at school is an offer to parents and carers and there is no requirement to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so. Visit our SEND information for families page for more information.

What additional support can I get to support my child’s learning?

We have produced a range of resources and support for SEND families by working closely with our partners, including South Glos Parents and Carers and Integra Schools. Details can be found on our SEND information for families page.

My child is entitled to free school meals but has specific dietary requirements so can not eat packed lunches provided by the school. What other options are available to me?

Schools are operating in a range of ways at a local level and approaches taken to this include: sandwiches and meals available for collection at a local hub alongside parents being provided with e-vouchers from a national supermarket.

Contact your school to find out how they are arranging school meals.

More information on the national voucher scheme can be found on the GOV.UK guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): free school meals guidance for schools

Check our education and support for children and young people page for the latest updates.

My child or young person does not have an EHCP but is in receipt of high needs funding, will we be able to access any additional support during the COVID-19 outbreak?

We will consider the needs of all children and young people who are defined as vulnerable and will consider how best to carry on giving a reasonable level of support during the emergency period.

If you need further advice from our SEND team, contact:

I work as a Personal Assistant (PA) and have been furloughed by the family I work for. What financial support is available?

You should be paid your contracted hours during this period if your employer has asked you to not come to work.  If you do not have set contracted hours (sometimes called ‘zero hours’ contracts), then your employer does not need to pay you during times you are not working. However, ask your employer to check this with their employment liability insurer, as they may need to base this on what your working pattern looks like in practice. If the result is that you will not receive payment, you can apply for universal credit. You can read more information in our financial support section on our information for residents page.

Support for carers

You can read the full information on our support for carers page.

I am a carer, who can I talk to about my own needs? 

Many carers will be anxious about the coronavirus and the effect it might have on you or the person you care for. Visit our support for carers page for further information and advice.

If you are unable to find the information you require then contact our Adult Care team on 01454 868007. 

Information for residents – financial support

You can read the full information on our information for residents page.

Can I get financial support and assistance with council tax?

You can find out what financial support is available on our information for residents page.

Council tax is a crucial funding stream that helps fund the delivery of valued council services such as bin collections, children and adults social care and the council has a legal duty to collect.  However, we want to support people who struggle to pay through no fault of their own during this crisis.  For information on the options available check our information for residents page, under the ‘Council tax support’ section.

How do I apply for single person discount to reduce my council tax?

The full council tax bill assumes that there are two adults (over the age of 18) resident in a property. If you are the only adult living in your property you can apply for single persons discount so your bill can be reduced by 25%. Complete the ‘Apply for single persons discount’ online form available on our council tax discounts page.

Are there any changes to paying parking fines at the moment?
There are no changes to paying parking fines, however you can appeal if there are mitigating circumstances. Visit our Penalty Charge Notices (Parking fines) page for further information.
The Bus lanes and the camera car are still in operation, to ensure safety for everyone.

Information for residents – general advice, staying at home and social distancing rules

You can read the full information on our information for residents page.

How do I find out if I am a critical/key worker?

Visit the GOV.UK website for the full list of critical workers: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers

I am concerned that we are not going to be able to manage. What shall I do if it gets too much?

If you find that you are struggling to cope, then please seek help. This could be from a family member, friend or there are a variety of support lines which might be able to help.

We have launched a new Freephone number for queries about our Covid-19 response, including where to get help. The number will be answered by our trained contact centre staff, who will be able to provide information and direct you to the right place for the right help. Call 0800 953 7778, alternatively you can email our contact centre corporatecontactcentre@southglos.gov.uk or visit our website www.southglos.gov.uk/coronavirus for information and advice.

What can I do that I could not do before?

The government has published guidance on staying safe outside your home and guidance on social distancing rules. They have also put together an FAQ on what you can and can not do as an individual.

What is happening to abandoned vehicles at the moment?

We have temporarily changed how we are investigating abandoned vehicles.  This is due to scrap yards being closed so we need to restrict how many vehicles we remove.  Any vehicles which pose a danger to the public (e.g. burnt out, smashed windows) will continue to be investigated and removed as a priority.

We will refer any vehicles which do not have valid road tax to the DVLA as untaxed.

If vehicles remain untaxed with no MOT once lockdown restrictions are lifted, we will then investigate these vehicles as potentially abandoned vehicles.

What is happening to building control inspections at the moment?

Our building control page has information on changes to site inspections during the coronavirus emergency.

Who do I inform if I know someone is not following the guidance? 

New public health regulations have granted police additional powers to enforce the Government’s guidance around COVID-19. If you have concerns that an individual has breached the restrictions, visit the Avon and Somerset Police website for information on how to report it.

I work in a school, but I have two adults in my home that I care for and are in the ‘vulnerable’ category. I can’t go to work due to the risks of bringing COVID-19 home to them. Will I receive full pay and will my absence be authorised?

You should discuss this with your school directly, however staff should not be penalised either through loss of pay or the way in which absence is recorded during the emergency period.

Where do I find guidance on moving house during this stay at home period?

Visit the GOV.UK website for Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Information for businesses and employers

You can read the full information on our information for businesses and employers page.

Can I open my food business as a takeaway?

Our information for businesses and employers page has advice for businesses offering food delivery.

What financial support is available for businesses?

Our information for businesses and employers page has advice on both existing support and government support available, including help with business rates and for those facing difficulties paying their rent.

Can I apply for a business tax break?

You can find guidance on the GOV.UK website on the deferral of VAT payment due to coronavirus (COVID-19).  Self assessment tax payments due in June have been deferred until January 2021. Visit the GOV.UK page on Pay your self assessment tax bill for further details.

How do I report a business still operating that should not be?

During the coronavirus outbreak, the UK Government has not asked for all businesses to shut. Only some non-essential shops and public venues have been asked to close. GOV.UK has information on the businesses and venues that must close, and those that are exempt.

If you have concerns that a business has breached the restrictions you should report it by email our Environmental Health team.

Are the council still making site visits to checking against building regulations?

Our building control page has information on changes to site inspections during the coronavirus emergency.

Get help and support

How do I find out what support is available where I live?

To find out what support is available in your area, you can check the directory of the community support groups on our get help and support page.

If I am shielding how do I get help with essential food shopping?

If you can not get support from friends, family, neighbours or local community groups to help with essential food shopping, the government will arrange free weekly food parcels to be delivered to your door. To receive these parcels, you need to register using the government website or automated telephone line in your letter from the NHS (before 17 July). You can change your status to stop or start these deliveries if your circumstances change. If you receive a food parcel that is not suitable, due to dietary, medical or religious needs, contact our Community Shielding team on 01454 864040, or send an email to community.shielding@southglos.gov.uk and we will be able to arrange suitable food for your needs. If you have registered for this support before 17 July you will continue to receive weekly food box deliveries until the end of July and continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots.

If I am shielding, how can I get a supermarket food delivery or click and collect slot?

The government is providing supermarkets access to data so they can prioritise those in the shielded group for click and collect and home delivery services. They are not providing information about everyone who is shielding, only those who have requested food parcels.

If you are shielding and you want to receive a priority supermarket slot, you must first register on the government website (before 17 July) or use the automated telephone line in your letter from the NHS. When signing up, you must request essential food supplies for your data to be passed onto supermarkets. Even if you later change your status to say that you no longer need food parcels delivered, you will still be able to access the priority supermarket delivery and click and collect slots.

The last boxes of basic supplies will be sent out by 31 July 2020. You will continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots if you have registered before 17 July..

Im feeling isolated and lonely is there anywhere I can get help? 

There are a range of resources available on our One You website. 

Follow the advice that works for you in the guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If you have been unable to get the support you require call our COVID-19 freephone number 0800 953 7778 open 08.45 to 17.00 Mon-Thurs and 08.45 to 16.30 Fridays. You can also contact Southern Brooks on 01454 865337 or email wellbeing@southernbrooks.org.uk 

I have not been able to go out and buy any food and I have no family, friends or social network, who can help?  

If you are unable to get out of the house because you are shielding or self isolating, you can check the directory of the community support groups on our get help and support page.

If you have been unable to get the support you require call our COVID-19 freephone number 0800 953 7778 open 08.45 to 17.00 Mon-Thurs and 08.45 to 16.30 Fridays. You can also contact Southern Brooks for support with food deliveries, prescriptions, mental health support on 0333 5774666 Mon-Fri 17:00-19:00 and Saturdays 12:00-19:00 or email communitysupport@southernbrooks.org.uk 

How can I get help with shopping if I can pay for it, but have no cash at home? 

Many of the larger national supermarkets are now offering pre-paid cards’ which can be bought online and emailed to a volunteer or carer.  See individual supermarkets for further information.

To connect to volunteers in your area, you can check the directory of the community support groups on our get help and support page.

If you have been unable to get the support you require call our COVID-19 freephone number 0800 953 7778 open 08.45 to 17.00 Mon-Thurs and 08.45 to 16.30 Fridays. You can also contact Southern Brooks for support with food deliveries, prescriptions, mental health support on 0333 5774666 Mon-Fri 17:00-19:00 and Saturdays 12:00-19:00 or email communitysupport@southernbrooks.org.uk 

How can I get help with shopping if I have no money to pay for food?

The following support is available for those experiencing difficulties paying for food:

Southern Brooks are working with FareShare South West to help communities get the food they need at this difficult time, you can contact Southern Brooks on 0333 5774666 or email communitysupport@southernbrooks.org.uk

Foodbanks can also provide support, visit the One You South Gloucestershire website food support page for more information.

Crisis care package is a free food delivery service where you can request a ‘Plough Veg Box’ by filling in this online form or by calling Bristol Food Service Helpline on 0117 3250450.

The National Food Service offer free frozen meals, delivered seven days a week to most BS postcodes. You can fill in the online form to refer yourself or someone else to receive pre-prepared food cooked by volunteers.

The Welfare Grant Scheme helps those in financial hardship. Our Welfare Grant Team can process applications for food, utilities and some other essentials (such as nappies and formula). Visit our Welfare Grant Scheme page for further information or call 01454 868899, 8:45 am – 2.00 pm.

For information on free school meals, visit our education and support for children and young people page.

Education and support for children and young people

You can read the full information on our education and support for children and young people page.

I am a key worker but my school will not provide a place for my child, what do I do?

Visit our contact us by phone page and call the children and young people phone number to discuss your specific circumstances with our customer services team.

Is there any help for people at home who have children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)?

You can read about the support available our SEND information for families page.

What can I do if my children miss their friends and are feeling isolated?

Information for children and young people is available on our Mind You website.

Can I look after my grandchild whose parents are both key workers?

This is a matter to be discussed and agreed by the parents of the child and their family, giving due regard to government guidance, particularly around those people who are in the category of ‘vulnerable’ because of age and/or underlying health condition. You can read more information on our people who are vulnerable page.

Disruption to council services

You can read the full information on our disruption to council services page.

How to help

How can I volunteer to help?

Check our how to help page, which includes a range of options and opportunities.
The government have issued advice on how to help safely, which includes volunteering. Visit the GOV.UK website to read the Coronavirus: How to help safely guidance.

Changes to waste and recycling

You can read the full information on the changes to waste and recycling due to coronavirus (COVID-19) on our changes to waste and recycling page.

Will I get a refund or extension for my missed garden waste collections?

We have added a five week extension to all active subscriptions on or after 23 March 2020 to make up for the collections missed during the suspension of the service.

Can I put out extra side waste from my garden, now the garden waste collection service has started again?

Unless you have previously bought a single use garden waste sack, we cannot collect extra garden waste left next to the bin. The sacks are not currently available to buy. It is not safe for us to pick up extra bags. You may still need to compost and reduce garden waste where you can until the backlog is cleared.

Why are the waste and recycling collection crews behind and what do I do if my collection was missed?

We have fewer members of staff due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Your collections may take place later in the day than normal as we will be working in the evenings as well as during the day. If your bin or recycling collection is missed report it to us the day after your collection, visit our report a missed waste or recycling collection page.

Making public places safer

Why are you implementing these measures?

These measures are designed to help maintain social distancing to control the spread of coronavirus and save lives. We also want to help people return to work and school and use their local High Street safely.

Are you required to implement these changes?

The Government has issued statutory guidance which “expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts” and states that “measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks, given the urgent need to change travel habits before the restart takes full effect”.

Why do you need to act now?

During lockdown we have seen traffic drop to levels not seen since the 1940s and 1950s. These levels however are increasing every week. We want to implement changes to road layouts now, so people have an opportunity to get used to them before traffic increases to normal levels.

How are they being funded?

Some measures are minimal cost. Larger projects are being funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) as the transport authority.

How long are these measures going to be in place and will they be reviewed?

Most of these measures will be temporary and will be kept under review until it is safe to remove them. Some schemes which are designed to help encourage sustainable travel such as cycling and walking may remain in place longer. Schemes will vary and we will publicise those which have an impact on road space further.

I want to see improvements in my area, how do I suggest a scheme?

We have adapted our Local Transport Priority List (Assess and Decide) process for considering requests from residents. We always welcome any useful suggestions and if there are any interim measures we can introduce that help people maintain social distancing, we will put these in place as soon as possible.

How many more schemes will there be and where?

This scheme is one of many we are delivering to support businesses and allow people to get to work safely, as well as improving safety for those who walk and cycle and helping schools to reopen. Further details of other schemes will be announced once they are confirmed.

Have you consulted with the public on the changes?

Some measures which have little impact such as signs and social distancing reminders have been introduced immediately.

The Government has issued statutory guidance which expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians as swiftly as possible. Given the urgency of these measures, we are not able to carry out a full consultation for some of our larger schemes but we are liaising as closely as possible with local councillors, traders and partners. We will publicise these schemes widely and will continue to listen to feedback.

If your question has not been answered

If you have not found the information you are looking for, you can find the specific contact details for our services and teams in our directory. Check our contact us page.

Beta This is our beta website, your feedback can help us improve it.