COVID-19: For all the latest information on Coronavirus, please click here

Residents

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.

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

Government has outlined new rules in leaving your home during the coronavirus outbreak. People can now spend time outdoors subject to:

    • Continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household
    • Good hand hygiene and
    • Those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow COVID-19 Secure guidance

Up to six people from different households can now meet outside, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces.

Adults living alone or single parent households with children under 18 are allowed to form a “support bubble” with one other household. They will be able to act as if they live in the same household, meaning they can spend time together in each other’s’ homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart. You cannot switch households or connect with multiple households and if any member of the bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow normal advice on isolation. It is not advisable for those who are shielding to form a support bubble. For more information, click here.

People may exercise outside as many times a day as they wish, including angling or using outdoor sports court facilities or golf courses but cannot use playgrounds or outdoor gyms.

People can sit in parks, and drive to other destinations irrespective of distance. However you should not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration

People who are shielding remain vulnerable and should continue to take precautions but can now leave their home if they wish, as long as they are able to maintain strict social distancing. If they choose to spend time outdoors, this can be with members of their own household. If they live alone, they can spend time outdoors with one person from another household, ideally the same person each time. If you do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart.

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

More guidance on spending time outdoors can be found by clicking here.

More guidance on social distancing can be found here.

What do to if you are ill

Stay at home if you have either a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or if your senses of smell and taste have been lost or changed. If you have symptoms, stay at home for seven days. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. 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

Do not go to a GP, surgery or pharmacy and there is no need to call 111. 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.

A new Coronavirus Status Checker is asking members of the public with potential symptoms to answer a short series of questions to help the NHS coordinate its response and build up data on the outbreak

The survey can be accessed on the NHS website at nhs.uk/coronavirus-status-checker

Government Support

Government is offering a three-month “mortgage holiday” to those who need financial help due to the coronavirus. For more information, please contact your mortgage provider.

For more information on what to do if you are self-employed, believe you are entitled to SSP or experiencing difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments or loans or credit card bills, click here.

Government Support for the Self-Employed

Government has announced a scheme to allow the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.

Self-employed individuals or members of a partnership can claim if they submitted a self-assessment in 2018/19, traded in 19/20, are currently trading (or would be but for coronavirus), intend to continue trading in 20/21 and have lost profits due to coronavirus. Profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half their income.

This has been extended so that those eligible will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70 percent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570

If the self-employed in question has not been operating for three years, as long as they have been operating for one year, HMRC will assess them based on this. The three-year assessment is to give a fairer outcome for those operating for that length

Grants will be available from the beginning of June. Applications have been open from May 13, with HMRC telling people the date they can claim from in the communication. If approved, they will receive their payment in six working days For more information, click here.

To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay and how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants. Changes to support self-employed people can be found by clicking here.

If you are self employed, you may be eligible for Universal Credit. For more information on eligibility and how to claim, please click here.

  • For Government’s general information to the public on social distancing, click here. For NHS advice, click here.

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 nhs.uk/coronavirus

What about if I have a zero hours contract?

What about if I’m self-employed?

  • Government has announced a scheme to allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.
  • This has been extended so that those eligible will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70 percent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570
  • Applications are now open online with HMRC telling you the date you can claim from in the communication. If approved, you will receive your payment in six working days
  • For more information, click here.
  • More changes made to support self-employed people can be found by clicking here.
  • You may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit. Click here to find out.

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?

  • Pubs, restaurants and many non-essential shops and public spaces have closed.
  • People are now being encouraged to take more, even unlimited, amounts of outdoor exercise
  • People can sit in parks, drive to other destinations and play sports with members of their own household
  • Up to six people from different households can now meet outside, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces

Can I still walk my dog or do exercise?

  • Government has outlined new rules in leaving your home during the coronavirus outbreak. People can now spend time outdoors subject to:
      • Continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household
      • Good hand hygiene and
      • Those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow COVID-19 Secure guidance

    People may exercise outside as many times a day as they wish, including angling or using outdoor sports court facilities or golf courses but cannot use playgrounds or outdoor gyms. You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household and only play team sports with members of your household

    People can sit in parks, and drive to other destinations irrespective of distance. However you should not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration

    If you were previously shielding, you may now leave your home as long as you are able to socially distance. If you live alone you can spend time with a person from one other household, following social distancing rules

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

More guidance on spending time outdoors can be found by clicking here.

More guidance on social distancing can be found 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.

How do I access free school meal vouchers?

  • If your children are currently eligible for free school meals, your school will offer you vouchers, food or meals for them even if they are no longer attending school due to the coronavirus outbreak. Government is providing further details to schools shortly.

Do I need to send my child to school?

  • All independent and state schools, including nurseries, registered childminders, sixth form and further education colleges are closed to the vast majority of pupils from Monday, March 23. They will remain open to vulnerable children and those with one or more key worker parents, although there is no requirement for key worker parents to send their children to school.

I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child – what if the only school open is not nearby?

  • Government is working closely with local authorities to ensure children can attend the best setting for them, and will provide transport arrangements to support them.

Useful Contact Numbers:

National
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
Email: Business.support@darlington.gov.uk
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.