Latest update on Coronavirus from Brighton & Hove City Council

The latest information on Coronavirus (Covid-19) from Brighton & Hove City Council

Today the government announced all schools in England will close on Friday afternoon until further notice.

We have also updated our website with information on service changes due to coronavirus.

Schools in the city

Major changes have been announced for schools from the end of the school day on Friday 20 March and for the foreseeable future.

The government has confirmed that schools will close to all pupils except the children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and also vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans).

Staff from the council’s Families, Children and Learning (FCL) team will now prioritise how to support schools to make these government decisions happen on time.

This requirement will also apply to early years, sixth and further education provision.

The Director of Families, Children and Learning is contacting all headteachers this evening and will be following up tomorrow.

This is a critical point in the coronavirus situation and we are ready to respond.

This information is also online

Food poverty

Our vulnerable people cell (working group) is linking together partners including the Food Partnership and the Volunteer Centre to look at how to tackle food poverty (not being able to afford food) and food insecurity (lack of access to food). The aim is to mobilise as soon as possible.

Our Families, Children and Learning cell is working on how to provide families who receive free school meals or are entering food poverty with the food they need in the weeks and months ahead.

More information to follow soon.

Services for homeless people and people who are rough sleeping

We’re aware that rough sleepers and single homeless are a vulnerable group who might be particularly affected by Covid 19 and have moved quickly to put emergency support services in place. We will be keeping the position under review and will be redirecting resources as required. We’re keen to avoid panic or community tensions arising.

We’ve identified a number of self-contained units in the city that can be used for homeless people needing to self-isolate. We currently have 10 units ready and are keeping all suitable properties that become available clear for this client group. We are working through a triaged referral route for rough sleepers who need to self-isolate so services aren’t overwhelmed. Currently, we’ve had no-one referred who has needed to self-isolate.

This means placing everyone else into spot purchase or shared facility accommodation.

We are working across a number of areas to create further capacity and facilitate moving people through to keep the emergency facilities as clear as we can. This is includes re-purposing accommodation for people who need to self-isolate, sourcing additional spot-purchase accommodation, increasing focus on moving people on from current long term accommodation and supported accommodation and exploring where we can bring forward new temporary accommodation schemes in development.

We are also working across the council to identify gaps in provision and having discussions with community and voluntary groups who would best placed to meet those gaps, such as delivery of food and other essentials.

We’re refocusing our Housing Options Service, including our Welfare Officers, to reduce face-to-face contact with clients. Where possible, we will contact people by phone and email to avoid people having to come into the Customer Service Centre and reduce the chances of spreading infection.

We have no plans to close any of the various emergency rough sleeping accommodation services in the city, although we are looking at how we can move on people from those projects as quickly as possible.

Some of this involves re-connection for people do not have a local connection to the city where they are not at risk if re-connected. There is a high flow of people coming to the city to replace anyone re-connected, and so Housing, St Mungo’s and Adult Social Care commissioning, in conjunction with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, are working together to prioritise engaging re-connecting people as quickly as possible.

How residents can help

Information about how to help during the current pandemic has been published on our website, this includes advice about how to prevent scams.

More details will be added as plans evolve.

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

Support for business

We have written to businesses across the city identified by our finance team as potentially eligible for retail rate relief with more information about how to contact us if they need to.

The government has also published support for businesses, including details of a Business Support Helpline for free advice

What to do if you have symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

Cityclean

 

Our priority is to collect your rubbish and recycling. If we can’t collect your bin or box, we will collect it on the next scheduled day.

Environment contact centre


Refuse and recycling


Street cleansing

 

Garden waste


Environmental Enforcement Service

Bin and box collections

Commercial/trade


Graffiti and jet washing

Public toilets

Community clean ups

This information will be updated on our website

Events and venues

Government guidance advises people to avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs.

Venues and events across the city have responded by postponing or cancelling activities in response to the government announcement.

The Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums are closed. Work continues on the move to the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust which is due to come into effect on 1 April.

We will update online as more information is available.

Health advice

At present the government advice has not changed since Monday 16 March. The latest information is on the government website and this link can shared with anyone asking for more information.