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Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice in Torridge

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For Relevant updates for Residents and Businesses regarding the Coronavirus escalation see boxes below - also consult guidance from Central Government Government Guidance for the Public or view a summary on the Torridge website here Government Updates  

To receive ongoing updates automatically to your email inbox subscribe by clicking the "subscribe to this page" link at the foot of any web page on our site. If you have any comments to make on this page please contact communications@torridge.gov.uk 

The Government have introduced new restrictions across the whole Country. The new guidance says people should only leave their homes for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Shopping trips should be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. This includes moving children under the age of 18 between their parents' homes, where applicable. Key workers or those with children identified as vulnerable can continue to take their children to school
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home

In line with guidance on self isolation, staying at home and away from others the Council has as directed closed all communal enclosed spaces within parks such as playgrounds, football pitches skate parks etc, including access to Northam Burrows until further notice. Also in line with this directive all Council operated public toilets have been closed at the same time, the closure will also protect our staff and their families from potential infection.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies - but funerals attended by immediate family members are allowed.

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FURTHER GUIDANCE FOR RESIDENTS: (also read Government Updates )

Council Tax Reduction or Exceptional Hardship Schemes - Additional help for council tax reduction (CTR) customers

The government has announced a £500 million hardship fund to help working age people, who get Council Tax Reduction (CTR), pay their council tax bill.

A discount of up to £150 will be automatically awarded, to those working age customers who receive CTR and bills showing this will be issued as soon as possible in April. There's no need to contact us about this. Council tax payers who are not already receiving CTR, should check to see if they are eligible see Council Tax Support if their income has reduced.

Existing recipients need to tell us about a change in circumstances

An Exceptional Hardship Fund is available to ensure, where there is exceptional need, extra help towards council tax could be awarded. You must be in receipt of Council Tax Support in order to be considered for assistance from this fund.

Help with your council tax bill

If your income has been significantly affected by current circumstances, we want to help.

If you are on a low income, you may be able to apply for our Council Tax Reduction scheme. There are also a number of exemptions and discounts through which you can Reduce your Council Tax

Please visit our website to see if you are eligible for our Council Tax Support

You may also find that you qualify for Universal Credit from the Government.  You can visit the Government's website to go check if you are eligible and go through a step-by-step guide to claiming Universal Credit

Help for the most vulnerable - A Network of Shielding Hubs in Devon are starting to deliver urgent supplies to the most at risk from COVID-19 who are isolating at home. People who fall into this category can register online at the Government website or families can register on their behalf at Clinically Vulnerable Person

The Money Advice Service has a good page - Coronavirus - what it means for you and what you're entitled to - The spread of COVID-19, in the UK and across the world could have implications for your work, benefits and travel plans. This guide looks at rights to sick pay, benefits you can claim if you're self-employed or not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). see Money Advice Service

Also Encompass a free and confidential advice service is able to help if you have any concerns or questions about Welfare Benefits, Money, Housing or Mental Health Support - please call 01271 371499 and select option 1 to speak to a trained adviser - open Mon-Fri 9.30am - 3pm.

Information on School Closures can be found here https://www.devon.gov.uk/schools/closure/

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GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES & SELF-EMPLOYED: (also read Government Updates )

Information from @GovUK on the closure of non-essential businesses to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. All non-essential premises must now close. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance updated on Friday 27 Mar. Gov Business Closure Guidance

Financial Assistance

The government has announced a set of measures to provide support to businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cash flow as a result of COVID-19. Information on those measures can found here Business Rates Support Grants and Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80% pay if they can't work 

If you are self employed you can find information here Financial help if you're self-employed

Ongoing

Telephone 

CONTACTING THE COUNCIL BY TELEPHONE:

You can contact the switchboard on 01237 428700 to use the self service options as detailed below.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis we are experiencing a very high number of telephone calls and long wait times to get through to some services particularly Business Rates and Council Tax, which we very much regret. We are also operating with reduced staffing levels which means we are having to prioritise requests.

In the interim we are therefore asking customers to only contact the Council if their need is urgent and cannot wait. We would also request that they look for information on our website or government websites where appropriate. We apologise for the inconvenience this will inevitably cause.

ALL CALLS COMING IN ON THE MAIN SWITCHBOARD NUMBER 01237428700 WILL HEAR THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS:

  • FOR COUNCIL TAX OR HOUSING BENEFIT ENQUIRIES PLEASE PRESS 1
    • For Benefit enquiries please press 1
    • To make a payment using our automated payment service please press 2
    • For Council Tax enquiries please press 3
    • For Business Rates & Sundry Debtor enquiries please press 4
  • FOR PLANNING OR BUILDING REGULATIONS ENQUIRIES PLEASE PRESS 2
    • For Planning Support press 1
    • For Building Regulations press 2
  • FOR WASTE & RECYCLING ENQUIRIES PLEASE PRESS 3 
  • FOR HOUSING PLEASE PRESS 4
    • If you need to speak to an officer with a Devon Home Choice enquiry press 1
    • If you need to speak to an officer for advice regarding your current housing situation or are worried about becoming Homeless please press 2
    • If you are concerned about the condition of your property or believe your property should be adapted to meet the needs of a disabled person in your household please press 3
    • If you are repaying a loan to the Council for deposit or rent in advance and wish to discuss your case please press 4
    • If you are in temporary accommodation provided to you by the council please press 5
  • TO MAKE A PAYMENT USING OUR AUTOMATED PAYMENT SERVICE PLEASE PRESS 5
  • TO HOLD FOR AN OPERATOR PLEASE PRESS 6
  • OR TO GO THROUGH TO PARKING SERVICES, PRESS 7

If you are calling out of normal office hours and the nature of your call is an absolute emergency you will be given the option to Press 1 to speak to the Standby Officer.(01237 423200)

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