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Coronavirus - Information for residents icon

Coronavirus: information for residents

We've put together lots of important information to help you through these changing times. For any questions which aren't answered here, you can send a direct message to the Coronavirus information for Middlesbrough Facebook page. You can also get the very latest information on GOV.UK.

Middlesbrough is classed as a High alert level area under the government's new three-tier system. Find out what this means for you. We've also put together a list of FAQs to answer your questions.

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).

Staying safe

Staying safe

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

Information about how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus and how to self-isolate are also available on the NHS website. If you do not self-isolate, you could be fined.

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

The free NHS COVID-19 app is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace service. By letting you 'check in' to venues and logging people (who have the app) who you've been near to, it can alert you if you might have been in close contact with someone who's later tested positive for coronavirus. You can also find out about the coronavirus in your area by entering your postcode. If you have symptoms, you can report them and find out if you need a test. Play your part by downloading the NHS COVID-19 app to your smartphone today.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases in Middlesbrough is available on the Middlesbrough Local Outbreak Plan website. The site also has information about how we aim to reduce the number of local outbreaks.

If you're worried about a business not following social distancing rules, please email ehts@middlesbrough.gov.uk with details.

If someone is breaking coronavirus restrictions, you can report it to Cleveland Police online. Alternatively, you can call 101.

Meeting people

Because restrictions have been increased in Middlesbrough, the rules about meeting people have changed:

  • You must not meet people who are not in your household, in private homes
  • You must not meet people who are not in your household, anywhere indoors - for example, in pubs, restaurants, or bars
  • You must not arrange to go to another town to meet up with people from another household in Middlesbrough - for example, going to a restaurant in Stockton to meet up with friends from Middlesbrough
  • You must not meet up with people who live in another town, either in private homes, or anywhere indoors - for example, in pubs, restaurants, or bars

We use ‘household’ to mean either people you live with, or people you’ve formed a ‘support bubble’ with.

Although you'll be able to meet up outdoors with people who are not part of your household, we are still strongly advising that you do not. If you do, you're legally required to follow the ‘rule of 6’. This means you must meet in groups of 6 people or less, and children are included in the total of 6. You must follow social distancing rules and stay 2m apart. The more often you meet people, the higher your risk of catching coronavirus, so you should try to limit the number of different people you meet up with.

Face coverings

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

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, buses)
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, train stations, bus and coach stations)
  • shops, supermarkets, and indoor shopping centres
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services (post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • vets
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, funfairs, casinos, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries
  • places of worship and funeral providers (funeral homes, Teesside Crematorium, and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • in various other venues as listed on GOV.UK

Not wearing a face covering is against the law and you could be fined.

Caring for others

Guidance is available for:

Help Boro

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.

Money and housing

Money and housing

Test and Trace Support Payment

We've launched a payment to support people who may struggle with money if they need to self-isolate and cannot work.

Half-term food support payment

We're supporting families with children who are entitled to free school meals, who may struggle with the cost of food over the half term. Find out more about our free school meals support payments.

Council Tax

You can call us on 01642 726006 if you need help or you're struggling to pay your Council Tax because of coronavirus.

Budgeting

Are you struggling to pay your Council Tax or Housing Benefit Overpayment? Are you struggling to make payments as part of an arrangement we've put in place with you? Please complete the online budget sheet to help us understand your current financial situation.

A caseworker will review the information you give us, and get in touch with you. They'll help you put a plan in place for making payments which works for both you and us. They'll also help you to keep on top of your current payments, and tell you how to get in touch with charities or organisations who can help you, if you need it.

Hardship Fund (Council Tax)

If you're of working age and getting Council Tax Reduction in the 2020/21 tax year, you'll get up to an extra £155 off your Council Tax bill through the Hardship Fund. Bills issued from 27 May will show this extra help. There is no need to apply for the reduction - it will be automatically applied to your bill if you're getting 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.

Crisis Awards (food, clothing, utilities)

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.

If you need emergency food on a Saturday or Sunday, call or text 07764 413673 between 9am and 3pm, and the Fire Brigade will deliver a food parcel to you free of charge. As part of the service the Fire Brigade will also offer a free 'safer homes' visit to ensure homes are safe and warm.

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.

Crisis payments (Universal Credit delays)

Our crisis payment scheme could help if you've been directly impacted by, or as a result of, coronavirus, and you're waiting to be paid from a Universal Credit claim. We know that waiting to be approved for Universal Credit can leave people in financial need. So we're stepping in to help people who are waiting for Universal Credit payments. We aim 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.

Income

Lots of help and information is available from the government, including what to do if:

Pay your Self Assessment tax bill in instalments

If you're a tax Self Assessment customer, you can apply to spread the cost of your tax bill into monthly payments. You can do this online, without needing to call HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The online payment plan service can now be used to set up payment instalment arrangements for paying tax bills of up to £30,000 (it was previously £10,000).

Visit the pay your Self Assessment tax bill page on GOV.UK for more information.

Benefits, Business Rates, and Council Tax help

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.

It's always important to be on the lookout for scams. We keep a list of benefits, housing, Business Rates, and Council Tax scams that we're aware of.

Help for renters

The protection for renters which the government put in place earlier in the year has ended and landlords are now allowed to evict tenants again.

Citizens Advice has lots of helpful information for people who rent. This includes what to do if you cannot afford to pay your rent, and what to do if your landlord is trying to evict you.

Schooling

Schooling

Half-term food support payment

We're supporting families with children who are entitled to free school meals, who may struggle with the cost of food over the half term. Find out more about our free school meals support payments.

Contact

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

Ahead of children returning to school in September all parents and carers are asked to read the important letter from Rob Brown, Director of Education and Partnerships. Read the schools update letter.

Travelling to school and college

Getting students back to school this September is a priority. With social distancing guidelines still in place, how we get to school may be different. Seats on public transport are limited, which may be challenging for parents, students, and staff who rely on public transport to get to school. More information on getting to school and college safely is available on the Let's Go Tees Valley website.

Scams

Scams

Unfortunately we're aware of new scams relating to coronavirus. 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. 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.

We're also aware of scams relating to the NHS Test and Trace service, so it's important that you can recognise genuine contact from the Test and Trace service. Text messages will come from NHStracing. Calls will come from 0300 0135000. Sometimes scammers can hide their phone number and look like they're calling from the official NHS Test and Trace phone number. So there are things to watch out for, which can help you tell if you're being scammed. Genuine Test and Trace contacts will never ask you:

  • to call a premium rate number (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • to make any form of payment
  • for any details about your bank account
  • for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • to buy a product – including a coronavirus test
  • to download any software, or give them control of your PC/laptop, smartphone, or tablet
  • to visit any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

Staying healthy

Staying healthy

Mental health

We know this might be a scary or uncertain time for you. You may be feeling unhappy, anxious, or worried 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. 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:

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

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.

Things to do

Reading

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

Get together with others (virtually)

South Tees Book Club is a monthly online book club, which is open for everyone to join, and is a great way to (virtually) meet people.

So how does it work?

  1. Register your interest by emailing southteesbookclub@middlesbrough.gov.uk
  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 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 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.

Working from home

StretchWell is a quick and easy routine of desk exercises following an instructed video. The videos are a combination of stretches which encourage you to move your body after long periods of time sitting at your desk. The routines can be done any time of the day.

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.

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