Durham County Council continues to update residents on the impact of services as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The council is reassuring people that they are working hard to ensure priority services are continuing during these unprecedented times.
Details of other services that have been impacted are as follows:
• The council has issued advice to anyone sleeping rough or staying in temporary accommodation or hostels today. Those who feel unwell in temporary accommodation should alert staff, avoid having visitors to their rooms and make sure any shared bathrooms or kitchens are cleaned after use to stop the spread of the virus. Rough sleepers with symptoms are being urged to let a day centre, outreach team or local support service aware of their situation without going to them in person.
• As a result of the Coronavirus, the council’s Housing Solutions will no longer be offering face to face housing advice but they will continue to operate a telephone and email service.
• The council is working tirelessly to implement the range of Business Rates reliefs and grants announced by the Government. Having only received the government guidance in the last few days we have prioritised applying all the rate reliefs to businesses who qualify. This has now been completed with revised bills showing the new discounts going out today. In total, rates liabilities have been reduced by £44m for next year under this scheme.
• We are now implementing the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund payments, which will see grants of £10,000 and £25,000 being paid to qualifying businesses. We are contacting qualifying businesses to make them aware of their eligibility for these awards and to collect the information we need to process the payments in line with government guidelines.
• Details of how qualifying businesses can provide us with the information we need in order to process the payments will be posted to our website and via Business Durham later today. In total the council expects to pay grants totalling around £77million under the Small Business Grant Fund and around £12million under the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund and is doing everything it can to make those payments as quickly as we can.
• One Point Family Centres and Hubs will only be able to offer advice, guidance and signposting over the phone on 03000 261 111. Further advice and guidance, including around mental health and wellbeing for families can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus If you have concerns about the safety of a child or young person please get in touch with our First Contact service on 03000 26 79 79. If you are worried about your child’s health please contact your GP or call 111. If you need to contact your 0-19 Growing Healthy Team County Durham (Health Visiting and School Nursing ) please ring our Single Point of Contact on 03000 263538.
• The council continues to urge residents to follow government guidelines around staying at home unless it is absolutely necessary and observing rules regarding social distancing.