COVID-19: For all the latest information on Coronavirus, please click here
To contact the Coronavirus Business Support Helpline call 01642 662777 or email open 24/7.


The Government has placed all of England into a new National Lockdown, with restrictions set to be eased from March 8 and then at four phases following this. See below for an overview of the phases or, for more information, click here.

March 8th

  • The current “stay at home order” will remain in place.
  • All schools and further education colleges will reopen, alongside breakfast and after-school clubs and children’s after school activities where necessary.
  • Students at university courses requiring practical teaching in specialist facilities will also return. Other courses will remain online, with a target of a return to face-to-face learning after the Easter holidays.
  • Recreational social interaction between two people – i.e. not purely for exercise – will be permitted outside.
  • Care home residents will be able to nominate a single visitor.

March 29th

  • The end of the current “stay at home” order
  • Outdoor gatherings of two households or under the previous “rule of six” will be permitted, including in private gardens.
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport will be permitted.

April 12th

  • Non-essential retail reopens, including personal care services such as hairdressers.
  • Outdoor hospitality will be permitted – including pubs and restaurants.
  • Public buildings such as libraries and museums will reopen, as will zoos and theme parks.
  • Indoor leisure – swimming pools and gyms – will reopen.
  • Self-catering holiday accommodation and campsites will reopen. Domestic overnight stays will be permitted for households only.
  • Weddings will be permitted with up to 15 people. Funerals will be permitted with up to 30 people.

May 17th

  • “Rule of six” abolished for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people.
  • Two households will be permitted to mix indoors – with the rule of six applied in hospitality settings.
  • Organised indoor sport can resume.
  • Cinemas and hotels will reopen with social distancing measures in place.
  • Performances and sporting events resume – larger performances of up to 1000 or half venue capacity will be allowed indoors and 4,000 capacity or half full  outdoors (whichever lowest). Up to 10,000 spectators will be permitted in larger outdoor seated venues.
  • International travel recommences subject to review

June 21st

  • All limits on social contact removed.
  • Nightclubs to reopen.

Current restrictions:

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until March 8. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

For full information on the latest guidance, please click here.

Test & Trace

Government has launched a Test & Trace service to help stop the spread of the virus. It provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to find out if they have the virus.

It gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had. It alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate from 14 days since their last contact with the infected person

For more information, click here.

A new NHS Test and Trace app has been rolled out which will let people check in to venues and alert them if they have been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus. Find out more and download the app here.

For guidance for individuals who have been contacted by Test & Trace as they have been in contact with an infected person, click here.

You can ask for a test via the NHS website here. You can also be tested if you are a frontline health or social care worker whether exhibiting symptoms or not. For more information, click here.

Getting Out and About

Action to suppress the virus is vital to protect each other. To do so, we must:

  • Keep washing out hands regularly
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Stay at least 2 metres apart, or one metre or more with a face covering or other precautions

For details on what you can and can’t do, click here.

More guidance on social distancing can be found here.

What do to if you are ill

If you have symptoms:

  1. Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
  2. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days

To apply for a test, visit the NHS website by clicking here. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. This can be found by clicking here.

There are general principles you can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including wash your hands more often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home.

Frequently Asked Questions 

My employer wants me to come to work even though I feel ill, what should I do?

  • Employees should take time off work if they are ill. Government is clear that employers should support their staff’s welfare, especially during an extended response

Will my employer be obliged to pay me while I stay at home?

  • Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by coronavirus.

How can I prove to my employer that I need to be off work and self-isolated for more than seven days?

  • Government has launched an online isolation notes service to provide employees with evidence for sickness absence should their self-isolation last for more than seven days. It can be accessed via the online 111 service or

What about if I have a zero hours contract?

What if the whole family has to stay at home and there’s no income coming in?

  • If no one is getting Statutory Sick Pay, the family can apply for Universal Credit. Click here.

Can I still go to the pub/cinema/theatre/parties?

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

For full guidance, click here

What do I do if I can’t pay my electricity bill or top up my prepayment?

  • Government has introduced measures to support energy customers in financial distress, with immediate effect. Please contact your energy supplier to discuss options of support.

Do I need to send my child to school?

  • Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open. Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

Useful Contact Numbers:

Business Support & Ventilators: 0300 456 3565
HMRC: 0800 015 9559
Universal Credit: 0800 328 5644
School Closures: 0800 046 8687
NHS: 111 (in an emergency call 999)
Darlington (general) 01325 406111        
Children social care: 01325 406222
Benefits: 01325 405444
Council Tax: 01325 405555
Business Rates: 01325 405666
Transport: 01325 405222
Hartlepool (general): 01429 266522
Business Support: 01429 867677
Welfare Support: 01429 284284
Children’s Hub: 01429 284284
Free School Meals: 01429 284188
Council Tax: 01429 284277
Middlesbrough (general): 01642 726001 
Business Enterprise: 01642 528384
Council Tax: 01642 726006
Business Rates: 01642 528384
South Tees Multi-Agency Children’s Hub: 01642 130700 or 01642 726319
Universal Credit: 0800 328 5644
Adult Social Care: 01642 065070
Redcar & Cleveland (general): 01642 774774
Council Tax and Housing Benefit: 01642 774774
Free School Meals: 01642 771106
Housing Advice & Information/Housing Standards: 01287 612455
Adult Social Care: 07796 394602
Children’s Access Team (MACH): 01642 130700
Stockton on Tees (general):                  01642 393939  
Business & Enterprise team: 01642 528384
Business Rates: 01642 397108
Benefit service helpine: 01642 393829
Universal Credit Support: 0800 1448444
Community Transport: 01642 527117
Children’s Hub: 01642 130080
Children, Education and Adult Social Care: 01642 527764 or 01642 065070

To support you it may be necessary to request some personal information from you, any information you choose to share with us will be dealt with under our data protection policy which can be found here.