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Coronavirus - Information for residents icon

Coronavirus: information for residents

We know that these are confusing and uncertain times for our residents. Our staff have a never-ending commitment to the public, and in this particularly difficult period we're working even harder for you, so we can get through this together in the best way possible.

We've put together a list of important information for you from Council Tax queries, council services (including bin collections, which are currently running as normal), financial help and support services, education queries, and much more. There is also a list of FAQs which will hopefully answer the most common questions you have.

For any questions which aren't answered here, you can send a direct message to the Coronavirus information for Middlesbrough Facebook page.

Do you need this page in another language? Click here to get this page (information for residents) translated.

Use the grey 'ReciteMe' toolbar at the top of the page to change the language. Click the button with 6 flags on (the 11th button) and choose the language you need.

Please do not click on the photographs at the top of the page. They will take you away from the page. Scroll down the page to find the information you need.

We also have advice about temperature checks available in 17 different languages.

If reading English is hard for you, call 111. The 111 phone service can get an interpreter to help you.

The charity SignHealth has coronavirus information and advice in British Sign Language (BSL).


Please follow NHS guidance on health in relation to coronavirus.

The advice for people who are shielding has changed. Read the current advice for people who are shielding.

Help control the virus

To protect yourself and others, when you leave home you must:

  • wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly
  • cover face - wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • make space - stay at least a metre away from people not in your household

If you are feeling unwell, get a test and do not leave home for at least 10 days.

You must self isolate for 10 days if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. This means do not leave your home.

If you're unwell

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service which can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, health facility (like The Live Well Centre), or hospital.

Stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone but check their website for information first.

If reading English is hard for you, call 111. The 111 phone service can get an interpreter to help you.

Staying safe

Information about how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus and how to self-isolate are also available on the NHS website.

Support for older people and people living with dementia during coronavirus.

MAIN's Keeping People Connected Service is free and open to people with Learning Disabilities and/or autism who need support.

Face coverings

It's a legal requirement to wear a face covering in the following places:

  • public transport
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)

Not wearing a face covering is against the law and you could be fined. Get a list of all the places you must wear a face covering (including new places).

Caring for others

Information is available for parents about how to take care of your child if they are unwell or injured during the coronavirus outbreak.

Get advice if you're an informal carer, or you're caring for or supporting someone over 70 with Dual Sensory Impairment.

Find out how to keep your pets and animals safe.

The community service directory includes advice and contact details for organisations which support carers.

Information for professionals about MAIN's Keeping People Connected Service for people with Learning Disabilities and/or autism who need support.

Coronavirus Act 2020 – Care Act easements

Read how Middlesbrough Council has used the emergency legislation titled Coronavirus Act 2020 - Care Act Easements, which are measures put in place by the government to help the care system manage its pressures.

Health services

You can still access the services you need below:

  • The Live Well Centre website has a full list of all support services which are still running, including sexual health services, substance misuse and alcohol services, and harm minimisation (needle exchange)
  • Your local sexual health service is still open and offering support in different ways to keep you safe. The service is open for phone consultations with doctors/nurses, and face to face appointments when needed. For appointments and support please call 0300 330 1122. If you don't have symptoms you can order an STI testing kit by post. If you have any concerns about your contraception, contact the sexual health service by calling 0300 330 1122. To find out more about the services offered, and get advice and support, visit the Sexual Health Hub website.
  • Stop smoking services can be accessed online via the Stop Smoking South Tees website
  • All group-based health visiting and school nursing services have been suspended (including breastfeeding groups, baby clinics, school nurse drop-ins, antenatal groups, and vision/hearing/weight screening)
  • New birth visits will be available as home visits, and all other routine development checks will be offered via phone - call 0300 303 1603 for phone advice and support

Help ​Boro​

We've put together a range of support to help our residents and communities stay safe and well through these difficult times.

If you're affected by coronavirus and need help, let us know and we'll match you with a volunteer in your area.

Here are some of the things we can help you with:

  • food
  • medicine
  • someone to listen and support you
  • health advice and taking care of yourself

We can help with other concerns you have too, please do get in touch, call us on 01642 729777, we're all here to help.

We've heard that some residents are getting phone calls from people offering to collect their pensions for them. Help Boro does not collect pensions. If you get a phone call like this, it's a scam. Please do not make arrangements on the phone for anyone you don't know to collect your pension.

Due to an overwhelming response from amazing Middlesbrough people, we currently have lots of caring volunteers. If you'd like to help, we'll let you know about our volunteer recruitment programme through the Coronavirus information for Middlesbrough Facebook page.

Council Tax

If you normally pay your annual Council Tax over a 10 month period (April to January), you can apply to put back your payments for April and May 2020 to February and March 2021, helping to reduce your monthly outgoings over this difficult period.

Call us on 01642 726005 if you need help.

You may be eligible to apply for the Hardship Fund for Council Tax relief during this time. More information is available below.

Find out how to complete common tasks relating to benefits, Business Rates, and Council Tax, while the Customer Centre is closed and you're unable to do those things in person.

Help for renters

The government has announced measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. No renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this time. 

This protection includes:

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented housing while this national emergency is taking place
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
  • Protection for landlords as the 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
  • You can get support with rent payments to your social housing provider, as well as support if you're renting with a private landlord. Call us on 01642 726005 to find out more.

For more information go to:

Hardship Fund - what is it and how can I apply?

If you're of working age and have been awarded Council Tax Reduction in the 2020/21 tax year, you'll get up to £155 extra off your Council Tax bill through the Hardship Fund. This is using grant funding provided by the government. In some cases, this will mean you will not need to pay anything for the current year.

Council Tax bills issued from 27 May will show this extra help. There is no need to apply for the reduction, it should automatically be applied if you're entitled to Council Tax Reduction.

Please note, if your Council Tax charge is already less than £155 after your normal entitlement to Council Tax Reduction has been applied, then the Hardship Fund reduction will also be less.

We've extended our crisis payment scheme to help you if you've been directly impacted by, or impacted as a result of, coronavirus and you're waiting for entitlement for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is still the main benefit system for people who are out of work. But we know that waiting to be approved for Universal Credit can leave people in financial need. So we're stepping in to give support to people who are waiting for Universal Credit payments. We'll be aiming to make a payment of £20 per adult, plus £10 for every child, to families in financial need.

For help, call the Community Support Team on 08081 789 278.

On Sunday 10 May, the Prime Minister announced that schools can start to admit nursery, reception, year 1, and year 6 children from June 1. The council's Director of Children’s Services and Director of Education, Prevention, and Partnerships have written to parents of primary-age children to explain the approach schools in Middlesbrough are taking to this announcement. Read the schools update letter.

Last updated: 22/05/2020

Schools - free school meals / education support / am I a key worker? / SEND

Free school meals

All Middlesbrough schools have their own plans for free school meals. Please contact your child's school for information about their arrangements for children who are unable to attend school and get free school meals.

Home schooling resources

These are extraordinary times. Children across the country are not able to attend school and are being home schooled, which can be challenging for many parents and carers as they find themselves needing to become teachers. Our schools are working with families to ensure that children can continue with their education and keep some form of routine in their lives.

If you'd like to keep your children busy and challenged, or you're a teacher looking at more ways to support your students, there are lots of resources and support available to you.

Our MAP team have lots of practical support, advice, and learning resources - many of which are free - available to teachers, parents, and students to support them with their education. Take a look on the MAP Middlesbrough website.

A set of home schooling work packs has also been created, covering both mainstream and SEND education, from Early Years to Key Stage 4. Topics include maths, English, science, drawing, and other fun activities.

Vulnerable children / Key Workers

The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to stay open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. These are the children of Key Workers, or children who are classed as vulnerable or who have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP).

These places are limited, so if you're a key worker, or your child is vulnerable or has an EHCP, please make sure you follow government advice on how to stay safe. Don't forget children must observe the same social distancing rules as adults.

If your work is critical to the coronavirus response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed on the government's website, and you cannot keep your child safe at home, they will be prioritised for education provision. ​Further information is available in the government guidance, including a list of which jobs are classed as key workers.

Parents needing information can speak to the Single Point of Contact by calling 01642 201831 (Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm, and Friday: 9am to 4:30pm).

You can also get more information on our school closures page.

Special educational needs and disability (SEND)

If you have a question about a child with SEND, please speak to the SEND Assessment team by calling 01642 201831.

Other changes

In our response to guidance from the government, the following Children's Services have been affected:

  • children's centres are closed
  • council nurseries Bright Stars and Stainsby Nursery are closed and will reopen from Monday 15 June
  • Early Help services will support families via phone
  • South Tees Youth Offending Service is still running and is in contact with all service users

What if I am in financial crisis? - how to get help

We know these are worrying times. If you cannot afford to buy food, pay your gas and electric, or buy urgent clothing essentials due to coronavirus, you may be eligible for a Crisis Award as part of the Community Support Scheme.

You can make a crisis application by calling the Freephone number 08081 789 278 or you can apply online. Find out more about Crisis Awards and apply online.

Any awards will be delivered via email / text where possible, given the current guidance to avoid contact with people. Awards are usually made as vouchers or pre-paid cards. So if we can, we'll email the Award to you, or send you a text message telling you how to use your Award at a PayPoint outlet.

The financial support directory has information about how and where you can get support with your money, as well as contact details for banks, housing providers, and utility companies, so you can contact them quickly if you're struggling to pay your bills.

If you're struggling to buy food and basic essentials as you're self-isolating or caring for a vulnerable person and are unable to leave home, the #HelpBoro project may be able to help you. You can find out more above.

Wage support

Employment and financial support is available to you:

Council services

Council facilities and buildings

Our switchboard is open as normal, but our lines are very busy. Please try to do things online if you can.

The following buildings or services have resumed:

  • Birth registrations, weddings/civil partnerships, notice of marriage/civil partnership are now available to book
  • Middlesbrough Bus Station has reopened
  • Newham Grange Farm has reopened (you must book tickets in advance)
  • Parks and play areas have reopened
  • Dorman Museum has reopened (you must book tickets in advance)

The following buildings and venues are closed until further notice:

  • council buildings: Middlesbrough Town Hall and Civic Centre – all council meetings are taking place online until further notice
  • Middlesbrough House is closed to customers making cash payments (please pay online, by phone, or by post)
  • cultural venues: Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Middlesbrough Theatre, Middlesbrough Town Hall
  • community venues: libraries and Community Hubs (to reopen part-time from 4 August)
  • leisure centres and gyms: gyms will reopen from 1 August, swimming pools from 22 August
  • Teesside Archives

View a full list of changes and closures to council services

Benefits and Council Tax

  • Middlesbrough House is closed to the public for benefits and Council Tax enquiries
  • Our online systems for benefits and Council Tax are available as normal
  • Phone lines are busy but otherwise operating as normal

View a full list of changes and closures to council services

Environment services

We are working hard to continue delivering your services. The following are currently running as normal:

  • cremations and burials
  • building maintenance
  • school catering
  • waste and recycling collections
  • alley cleaning
  • emergency highways and streetlight repairs
  • emptying of litter and dog waste bins
  • fly-tipping (removed after 72 hours) and graffiti removal
  • pest control services
  • highways services including traffic signals, street lighting, and winter maintenance
  • bulky waste collections

We're adapting quickly to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable residents, so some of our services are being temporarily reduced or stopped:

  • grass cutting
  • town centre mechanical sweepers

View a full list of changes and closures to council services

We want to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible so we're asking you to take a couple of extra steps for the safety of our staff when you're disposing of your waste.

Please disinfect your bin handles before putting your bin out for collection. Our crews empty hundreds of bins a day and we all touch the same handles. Our crews wear gloves but we'd really appreciate your cooperation in keeping our staff safe.

Disposing of coronavirus waste

If you're self-isolating or 1 or more people in your household have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to:

  • put your waste into a plastic bag and tie securely
  • put this plastic bag inside a second plastic bag and tie securely
  • wait 72 hours before adding the bagged waste into your bin

Do not put any bagged waste into your blue lid bin for recycling.


  • Make sure your bins are ready for collection at 7am
  • Make more space in your blue lid recycling bin: squash plastic bottles, fold cardboard, crush cans and tins, and you’ll fit more in
  • Loads of household and food packaging can be recycled in your blue lid bin - find out what can be recycled
  • Wash your hands after putting out and bringing in your bins

How to report unscrupulous businesses and scams

Unfortunately coronavirus is being used as the basis for new scams. Cleveland Police have produced an information leaflet about coronavirus scams and useful information.

If you're worried about fraud or scams, or think you might be a victim, Action Fraud has helpful advice and an online fraud reporting tool.

We've heard that some residents are getting phone calls from people offering to collect their pensions for them. Help Boro does not collect pensions. If you get a phone call like this, it's a scam. Please do not make arrangements on the phone for anyone you don't know to collect your pension.

Some businesses are trying to illegally profit from the current situation. If you'd like more information on how to report a business, or think you have been a victim of a scam, contact Citizen's Advice online via the Citizens Advice website or call 0808 223 1133.

Domestic abuse

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, there is always help available.

You can call My Sisters Place for advice on 01642 241864, or speak to their counselling service on 01642 256063.

You can also get lots more information including tips on staying safe.

Rail to refuge scheme

Domestic abuse survivors can claim free travel to a refuge, as part of the Women's Aid Rail to Refuge scheme.

All train companies will now cover the cost of train tickets for anyone travelling to refuge accommodation while coronavirus lockdown measures are in force. If you are a survivor who would like to access the Rail to Refuge scheme, please contact the Women's Aid live chat service.

Any queries can be sent to The temporary industry-wide scheme is a donation from the Rail Delivery Group and follows the successful launch of similar initiatives by Southeastern and GWR prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

How to keep positive and busy

Mental health

When you're staying at home, it's important to take care of your mind as well as your body. You may feel bored, frustrated, or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health, or the health of those close to you.

It's okay to feel like this - everyone reacts in their own way to challenging events and uncertainty. It's important to remember that staying at home may be difficult, but you're helping to protect yourself and others by doing it.

The Every Life Matters charity has created a booklet to provide advice during coronavirus.

The following websites will give you tips and advice on things you can do to help you cope with how you're feeling, but make sure you get further support if you feel you need it:

The community service directory includes contact details for organisations which can help you with your emotional wellbeing.


You can use our Borrowbox service to download eBooks and audiobooks 24 hours a day.

South Tees Book Club

Love reading, or want to read more? Join our monthly online South Tees Book Club! 

With most of us spending a lot more time at home right now, there's never been a better time to benefit from the joy of reading. According to a 2009 study, reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68 percent, even more than listening to music or going for a walk. A 2016 study also showed that people who read books live longer!

Our book club is open for everyone to join, and is a great way to (virtually) meet people. Better still, you can join from the comfort of your own home – perfect if you would usually struggle to travel to a regular book club.

So how does it work?

  1. Register your interest by emailing
  2. Get yourself a copy of the book that month from your local library (find out about borrowing eBooks from the library using Borrowbox) or bookshop and read it
  3. Join the online discussion group a couple of weeks later – this will be on a platform like Cisco WebEx which allows up to 100 people to join via video or phone - we'll email you the link and phone number to join

East Cleveland Arts Movie Club

East Cleveland Arts Movie Club is a great way to watch a movie and talk about it with like-minded people from all around our area. Once a fortnight, all members get together online to enjoy a film and then discuss the good parts, bad parts, highs, lows, in fact everything about the film they all watched together.

Find out more, register and get your free trial on the East Cleveland Arts Movie Club website.

Exercise and yoga

We know that exercising can also help you feel better, so why not try a workout at home? It’s always a good idea to clear any exercises with your doctor before you begin a new regime, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.

Family and children

1. Cosmic Kids Yoga

Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specifically for kids aged 3+. Interactive adventures which build strength, balance and confidence - and get kids into yoga and mindfulness early!

2. Kids Beginners Workout | The Body Coach

Super fun kids workout that’s quick and easy. Loads of fun moves that can be done in your own home. Try it with your whole family!

3. Disney workouts | This Girl Can

This Girl Can is all about celebrating women getting active, no matter how they like to do it. Partnering with Disney and real families across England, they have captured some of the ways mums and kids get moving to the songs they love. You can learn their moves or put your own spin on their routines. At the end of the day, it’s about breaking a sweat while having a bit of fun.

Workout for the over 50s

Working from home

StretchWell is a quick and easy routine of desk exercises following an instructed video. The videos are a combination of stretches and mobility movements that encourages you to mobilise the body after long periods of time sitting at your desk. There are different videos for different sections of the body which can be done any time of the day. Developed by South Tees Public Health.

Keep learning

If you're keen to keep learning, visit the Middlesbrough Community Learning Service website or call 01642 811400 to find out about online courses.

FAQs for residents

I'm claiming Jobseekers Allowance, what should I do?

  • You do not have to attend the JobCentre
  • The government has guaranteed that all payments will be made automatically during this time - if you do not get your payment as usual, please call the DWP
  • If possible, please carry on with your job search activity online as usual
  • Please do not go out, unless it's essential (food shopping, getting medication, exercise)
  • If you have coronavirus, you do not have to submit a Fit Note

I'm claiming Universal Credit, what should I do?

  • You do not have to attend the JobCentre
  • The government has guaranteed that all payments will be made automatically during this time - if you do not get your payment as usual, please call the DWP
  • If possible, please continue with your job search activity online as usual
  • Please do not go out, unless it's essential (food shopping, getting medication, exercise)
  • If you have coronavirus, you do not have to submit a Fit Note
  • There is more information on your UC account online

I need to apply for benefits because I now have no income / I have been suspended from work / my temporary work has stopped / my zero hour job has no hours / my workplace has closed / I am self-employed and now have no income

  • Apply for Universal Credit online
  • Do not go to a JobCentre
  • You can apply for an advance online, if you need it
  • If you have coronavirus, you do not have to submit a Fit Note

Futures for Families supports young people in Middlesbrough to help them get their future back. Join our team