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26 March 2020

COVID-19 Multi Agency Update - Thursday 26 March

Cumbria County Council

Introduction of earlier travel times for concessionary passes

From tomorrow morning (Friday 27 March), older and disabled people will be able to use their bus passes before 9.30am on weekdays for free travel in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council is changing the current rules on concessionary passes in the county to help older and vulnerable people access the early priority shopping hours provided by supermarkets. The change will initially apply until the end of July 2020.

We hope this gesture will enable pensioners and disabled people who have no other option but to go shopping, to do so at quieter times, reducing their risk of catching the coronavirus from larger groups.

People travelling on public transport are asked to follow Government guidance on social distancing to protect themselves.

The current rules, which have been waived, prevent concessionary passes being used before 9.30am on week days, so that older people don’t travel during the rush hour.

Closure of all Household Waste and Recycling Centres

Following the latest government guidance on COVID-19 and in light of the rapidly moving situation the Council has taken the difficult decision to close all 14 of the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) from 5pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020 until further notice.

The Government has been clear under which very limited circumstances individuals are permitted to leave their home.  The HWRC sites do not fall within these categories, and keeping the sites open is encouraging residents to continue to leave their homes and visit the sites.

Please continue to use existing District Council local kerbside waste collection services.  Some of our District Council partners have taken the decision to temporarily withdraw their garden waste collections, therefore please keep your garden waste for now.  In the meantime, you can: 

•           Home compost

•           Leave grass cuttings on the lawn where they will mulch down to provide nutrients

•           Leave areas of grass uncut (the wildlife will love this!)          

In addition, please keep additional waste to a minimum - avoid any home projects that will generate waste, such as clearing out your garage or shed, and store all your waste at home until the Government restrictions are lifted.


Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service

Reminder to make sure emergency vehicles can access all streets and roads

With more people working from home, there are a lot more cars parked up in the streets and housing estates in our towns and villages. Please remember to park safely, considerately, and always leave enough room for your emergency service vehicles to get through.

Fire safety warning as many work from home

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is issuing urgent #StayHomeStaySafe advice as many people enter their first full week of working from home amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Government wants people to stay at home in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, protect the NHS and save lives.

With the increased numbers of people at home during the day, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) are warning of the potential for more fires as people adapt their daily routines and others are in isolation, and calling for people to think, take action and avoid becoming a further casualty for the NHS.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is warning that common causes of fires in the home such as cooking, smoking, electrical items and heating sources could become even more prevalent as people are spending more time indoors than usual.

More information, including statements from CFRS available here - http://www.yourcumbria.org/News/2018/covid-19firesafetywarning.aspx


Local Resilience Forum

The Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) of the Local Resilience Forum is inviting all of Cumbria’s business with spare Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make this available to health and care workers to keep them safe during the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic.

BERGG’s Chair and Cumbria LEP’s Chief Executive, Jo Lappin, said:

“In these unprecedented times, it is vital that we pull together as a community to support our health and care services.

“We are aware that many Cumbrian businesses will have PPE that is not currently being used and we have already had several offers of support from those who have surplus stock that they are willing to donate.

This equipment provides a first line of defence for workers against the virus, keeping them safe and allowing them to continue in their vital roles in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and treating those that are affected.

We welcome donations of any personal protective equipment but would particularly welcome moisture repellent facemasks, which are desperately needed.

If you have stock which is not being used, we would encourage you to please donate this, in order to help in the battle against COVID-19. Your donation really can help to protect our most vulnerable citizens and our most precious assets - our health and social care workers.”

The spare equipment provided will be issued to key medical and social care facilities across Cumbria, with collection available, if needed. Businesses who can help are invited to complete the following form: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V9L9DT2


Copeland Borough Council

Business rates relief and small business grants

Copeland Borough Council has updated the guidance for businesses in relation to rate relief and small business grants. Updates include which businesses are eligible for rate relief and that the Council aims to start making grant payments to eligible verified businesses from Monday 6 April 2020.

For more information and how to apply go to https://www.copeland.gov.uk/coronavirus-resources-business

Customer Services

Due to a technical problem, the council’s Customer Services phone line is currently unavailable. We are working to rectify this as soon as possible.

Therefore we are asking that you contact all departments directly by email only at this time, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible. A full list of council email addresses is available here.

Council teams are working under extreme pressure currently, so we politely ask that you contact us on urgent matters only. Alternatively, a wealth of information is available at www.copeland.gov.uk, and the dedicated COVID-19 information page above.

Please note that our emergency phone line (01946 598300) for homelessness, flooding and dangerous structures is unaffected by this issue and is available as normal.

Council Tax

Copeland Council recognises that people may be facing financial difficulties because of the impact of the coronavirus. Many people will be getting help from the Government if their work is having to close.

Everyone who can pay their council tax should continue to do so, as this helps pay for many of the services currently in demand such as health and social care.

However, if you are struggling to afford to pay, then please contact our team by emailing us at ctax@copeland.gov.uk.

There are ways we can help you. We can reduce the monthly payment by spreading the costs over 12 months, rather than 10, and you may also be entitled to help under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Additionally, the Government has announced that some residents who are in receipt of support under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme will receive a further £150 off their bill for 2020/21. We are currently awaiting further instructions on how this discount will be implemented in Copeland.

This is a fast-moving situation, and our team is working hard to support our community, and we'll be providing updates as and when things develop.

Waste collection

During the coronavirus crisis, it’s important that you leave your bins and recycling bags/boxes out for collection at the edge of your property. To help keep you and our crews safe by maintaining social distancing, please don’t approach staff to hand over your bin or box.


The council’s Planning department has published some guidance on its operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the guidance here


Barrow Borough Council

All charging in car parks operated by Barrow Borough Council has been suspended from today.

This is to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 via the surfaces of pay and display machines.

This will remain in place until further notice.

This removal of car parking charges is in addition to changes announced earlier in the week which include the closure of playgrounds, skateparks, MUGAs and public toilets in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus.

Public parks in the borough remain open.  

Barrow Market is closed. However, some traders are now providing a home delivery service. Residents are asked to visit Barrow Market Facebook page for more information and contact details.


South Lakeland District Council

Business rates

To support businesses, SLDC have agreed not to collect direct debit payments for non-domestic rates that are due on 1 April 2020.

This will allow staff to process the government relief that has been announced in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, so that businesses with no rates due for the year have no payments taken.

For those that will still be paying non-domestic rates, a new bill and a new instalment plan will be calculated over the remaining months of the year and the new bills will be issued in due course.

Lots more information about business support and advice on the SLDC website at: www.southlakeland.gov.uk/your-environment/coronavirus-covid-19-support-and-advice/

Garden waste collections

Green bin garden waste collections will be suspended by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) from next Monday 30 March. The move has been announced to ensure that the council can target its resources on maintaining grey bin and recycling collections during the Coronavirus outbreak.

An SLDC spokesperson said SLDC's priority would always be to collect non-recyclable (grey bin) waste, but that meant other collections may need to be temporarily suspended. Crews are reporting big increases in grey bin waste being left out and are asking residents to recognise that leaving out lots of excess waste means wagons fill up very quickly and rounds can sometimes not be completed.

SLDC reminds people not to be tempted to fly-tip their general or garden waste. It is a criminal offence for which you could be prosecuted.


North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Link to new video message from Dr Craig Melrose, GP Clinical Lead Urgent & Emergency Care, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Craig Melrose says our NHS teams are working hard to keep us safe, and reinforces the ‘We stay in work for you, please stay at home for us’ message: https://youtu.be/p8HnZfyA-Sc 

Cumbria County Council MultiAgency Updtae 26 March 2020