Coronavirus

Updated- 3.30pm - 3 April

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Latest announcements

The UK government has issued a series of new measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

These include:

  • People must now stay at home. The only reasons you may leave home are:
    • To shop for groceries, medicine and other essentials
    • To exercise outside (once a day)
    • To provide care or help a vulnerable person
    • For any medical need
  • Gatherings of more than two people in public (excluding people you live with) must be avoided
  • All libraries, playgrounds, gyms, places of worship and shops selling non-essential goods must close
  • All schools will close from the afternoon of Friday 20 March until further notice 
  • People should work from home if they can
  • People should only use the NHS when necessary and reduce the burden on health staff by getting advice on the NHS website where possible
  • Those with the most serious health conditions must be largely “shielded” from social contact for around 12 weeks
  • If one person in a household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
  • Those people should, if possible, avoid leaving the house even to buy food or essentials, but can go out for exercise at a safe distance from others

The group of people who should take particular care to minimise their social contact are:

  • People over the age of 70
  • Other adults who would normally be advised to have the flu vaccine (such as those with chronic diseases)
  • Pregnant women

It is crucial that residents protect themselves against the spread of coronavirus.

Call 111 if you need to speak to someone. Only use this service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Smoking and Covid-19

Advice to smokers about coronavirus

Quitting smoking is an important way for individuals to reduce their risk from coronavirus (Covid-19).

Smoking increases the risk of lung infections. Smokers are twice as likely to get pneumonia and five times more likely to get flu than non-smokers.

Quitting smoking rapidly reduces your risk of other health problems such as heart attack and stroke. It is especially important to prevent these problems at a time like now, when health systems are going to come under strain. 

For help to quit smoking, visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/smokefree  

Corona Kindness

Blackpool Council is committed to maintaining essential services and protecting the most vulnerable members of our community.

We have established a community Corona Kindness helpline for those who want to help and for those that need help.

The services that we can help with include:

  • Food shopping
  • Medical supplies
  • Social isolation and loneliness

If you need to access any of those things or you feel you can help, please email helpneeded@blackpool.gov.uk or helpoffered@blackpool.gov.uk. I

f you need help call 0808 1963080.

Coronavirus scam alerts for residents

We have been alerted to a number of scams affecting the local area. Please read, take note and share. 

Business rates scam

Calls have been received by residents with callers claiming to be from Blackpool Council calling businesses to request bank details so they can process their rebates and / or grants. Blackpool Council will NOT telephone and request bank details over the telephone. If you experience such a call, please do not share personal information of any kind. 

Free school meals email scam

The Department of Education has been informed some parents have received an email stating 'As schools will be closing, it you're entitled to free school meals send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported'. This is a scam email, do not respond and delete immediately. 

NHS donations

The scam requests donations to the NHS. The email reads fine until the end, asking for a bank transfer. The bank account details looks genuine (sort code is Barclays in Didsbury, Manchester), so the account may be hacked or used. This is a scam email, do not respond to it

Council Tax

We know this is a difficult time for many of our residents and that the COVID-19 virus is having a significant impact on the economy.

The annual bills for council tax that are now being sent out were prepared and printed before any government announcements.

We would like to thank all residents who are able to continue paying, as your contribution is helping us to maintain essential services that are delivered to all in our town. It is important if your circumstances have not changed, you pay what you should, maintain your direct debit payments, or payment plan as detailed on your bill.

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, we want to make you aware of the support available and how we can help if you have been affected.

Council Tax reduction grants

The chancellor announced additional hardship support for council tax payers in the recent budget.

Local authorities have been asked to award a reduction to all Working Age Council Tax Reduction customers.

The award will be £150 off their Council Tax bill or if less than £150 is owed in Council Tax after the award of benefit, the bill will be reduced to nil.

Working age residents in receipt of Council Tax Reduction do not need to contact us as the awards will be made automatically and a new Council Tax bill will be issued in due course.

If your financial circumstances have changed and you now need to claim Council Tax Reduction, please complete your application form as soon as possible 

Blackpool Council service changes

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, a number of services are to be suspended.

Some of these changes are as a direct result of the Government’s guidance around social-distancing to limit the spread of the virus. The changes are outlined below.

Main receptions

  • Customer First's front desk on Corporation Street is closed until further notice. Customers can still telephone 01253 477477 or email customer.first@blackpool.gov.uk
  • The reception at Number One, Bickerstaffe Square, Talbot Road is now closed until further notice.
  • Note that the reception areas at Blackpool Coastal Housing (Coastal House and Grange Park) are closed until further notice along with community centres across their sites. The closures will be reviewed on a weekly basis. If you need to contact Blackpool Coastal Housing call 01253 477900.
  • Housing benefit will be paid as normal and services can still be accessed online. Enquiries can be emailed to benefits@blackpool.gov.uk or customers can telephone 01253 478847 between 9am – 5pm
  • The vast majority of our services will continue as we seek to protect the most vulnerable members of our community during this difficult period.
  • It is possible there will be a reduction in level of service in some areas due to an increasing number of staff absences. Please bear with us.
  • If you need to contact us, it will help us if you can phone, email or use other electronic means. Daily service updates will be posted on this page

Register office

Please read the following information if you have booked a ceremony or appointment at The Wedding Chapel or an approved venue or have an appointment to register a birth or death. If you wish to order copy certificates, please use our online service until further notice. Unfortunately we can no longer offer the Priority or Collect in Person Services.

Coming to the Town Hall

The Town Hall is now closed to all customers.

Registering births

  • Appointments for birth registrations, re-registrations and corrections will not now be offered.
  • There will be no penalty for missing the 42 day deadline for registering your child during the pandemic.
  • Customers are advised that they can now make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit prior to the birth being registered, where they have not been able to register because of the pandemic.

Registering deaths

We will be registering deaths from Friday 27 March by telephone.

To make a telephone appointment to register a death, you can either book a designated slot online or phone us on 01253 477177. Athough your online booking confirmation will tell you to attend an appointment at the Town Hall, this is no longer accurate.

  • Do not attend your appointment in person
  • Ensure your doctor has scanned the deceased's medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) to us at registrars.bdm@blackpool.gov.uk before you make your appointment
  • A registrar will phone you within an hour of your allocated appointment start time

Booking your telephone appointment

  • Please book your death registration appointment online if you can. We are now operating with limited staff and expect an increasing number of calls. Avoid calling between 12 – 2pm and if you still can’t get through to us to book an appointment, please email us at registrars.bdm@blackpool.gov.uk and leave a contact number for us to call you back
  • We are liaising with the Bereavement Office at Victoria Hospital, Trinity Hospice and all GP surgeries for the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) to be scanned to us so that relatives do not need to pick this up in person (we cannot register the death without this information)
  • If you are told to pick up the MCCD in person, refuse and ask the medical provider to scan it to us at the email address above. We can only accept scans from Victoria Hospital, Trinity Hospice or a GP surgery
  • The following people are qualified to register a death: - any relative residing within the district or elsewhere - someone who was present at the death (this doesn’t have to be a relative) - the occupier of a house where the person died there (and the occupier knew of the death) (Occupier includes anyone living in the house and who either owns or is liable for the rent of the whole house or that part of it in which the death occurred) - any inmate of the house where the person died if they knew of the death - the occupier of a communal establishment such as a Nursing or Rest home. This person should hold a senior administrative role. - any person who found the body - any person in charge of the body - the person making the decision on the burial or cremation of the body - a funeral director who is working on behalf of the family and has their agreement to do so

Preparing for your telephone appointment

  • Make sure you are available for an hour, beginning at the start of your appointment time
  • Make sure you have any documentary evidence to hand of the deceased that will help you spell their name correctly
  • You should fill in Information required by the Registrar when registering a death to prepare you for the other questions you will be asked during your  telephone appointment
  • If you would like to purchase copies of the death entry, the registrar can take payment for these over the phone with a debit or credit card so have this to hand also. Certificates cost £11 each.

What we will do after your appointment

  • We will scan and email the paperwork that will allow the funeral to take place directly to the funeral director, hospital mortuary or Trinity Hospice as required
  • We will post out any certificates to you that you purchased during your appointment

Coming to The Wedding Chapel (Festival House)

The Wedding Chapel is closed to the public from Tuesday 24th March until further notice. Contact can still be made via email ceremonies@blackpool.gov.uk and phone 01253 477 177.

Unfortunately, all forthcoming ceremonies will now have to be postponed, as will pre-booked notice appointments. If you have a ceremony booked, our team will be making contact with you shortly.

Forthcoming ceremonies

You will not lose your ceremony fee if you have to postpone due to the advice of the Government. If you have a ceremony booked with us in the next few weeks, our staff will be getting in touch with you. If you are trying to contact us, please be patient as we are experiencing an increased number of enquiries. If you can’t get through email mailto:ceremonies@blackpool.gov.uk and provide your phone number and someone will call you back.

Notice appointments and future ceremony bookings

We are taking no bookings for future notice appointments or ceremonies until further notice. Contact us if you need urgent advice.

Citizenship ceremonies

All Citizenship Ceremonies are cancelled until further notice.

Copy certificates

The Town Hall is now closed to all customers wanting to order certificates in person.

Please see our webpage 'Order Copy Certificates' for revised guidance on alternative was to apply. Unfortunately we can no longer offer the Priority or Collect in Person Services.

Children’s services

Worried about a child?

We are all currently experiencing difficult times and this may go on for some time yet.

Whilst things are different, we still want to hear from you if you have any concerns about a child that may be being harmed.

If you have any concerns at all about a child please get in touch on: 01253 477299

Children’s centres

  • All family hubs are closed until further notice with the exception of Grange Park and Talbot and Brunswick.

Adult services

  • Highfield Day Centres closed until further notice
  • All adult, community and family learning courses are suspended until further notice. 

Waste services

  • Green waste collections are suspended until further notice
  • The tip on Bristol Avenue is closed until further notice
  • The Bulky Matters waste service is suspended until further notice
  • The Rover mobile recycling service is suspended until further notice
  • Grey and blue lid bins will be collected at the same time, every two weeks on your grey lid bin collection day. Please do not leave cardboard/paper sacks out for collection and use your grey or blue lid bin to get rid of this waste if you can.
  • If you're self-isolating and feeling ill, put any potentially infected items like used tissues or cleaning cloths into separate plastic bags and double-bag them. These bags should be put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before you put them into your external bin.

Public toilets

  • All public toilets are closed until further notice

Sports, leisure and arts

  • The Solaris, including the café, is closed until further notice.
  • The Grundy Art Gallery is closed until further notice
  • All aduly, community and family learning courses are suspended until further notice

Libraries

All Blackpool Libraries are closed for the time being due to the coronavirus situation and following government guidance

At Home Library Service visits have also been temporarily suspended and we are contacting users of this service by phone

Blackpool Libraries do not have library overdue fines anymore, and your items will be automatically renewed, so there is no immediate need to return items

Please keep an eye on Blackpool Libraries’ social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) for any updates and more information.

Alternatively, if you have an enquiry please call 01253 478080 to speak to a member of staff or email: library.info@blackpool.gov.uk

Leisure centres

Blackpool Sports Centre, Palatine Leisure Centre and Moor Park Health and Leisure Centre will be closed to the public after Friday 20 March until further notice. This includes the swimming pools.

If you have a membership with Active Blackpool, this will be automatically suspended with no further payments taken until we re-open.

All council leisure services staff will be redeployed to critical services

In the meantime, we know that staying fit and active is the best way to build a strong immune system and stay healthy.

We are providing temporary free access to Les Mills at Home exercise classes. The platform offers 95 free workouts. Les Mills will not collect any data from you and this service will remain available as long as the disruption from Coronavirus continues. Visit Les Mills at home.

Also, our gym instructors will be updating the Active Blackpool Facebook with exercise videos.

If you have any queries, please contact our hotline on 01253 478474 or email active.blackpool@blackpool.gov.uk 

Membership fees – all leisure centre membership fees will be frozen and each member will be contacted directly with confirmation of this.

If you currently hold a leisure card or membership with us and we do not have your email address please complete our contact form and we can keep you updated by email.

Parks

All of our outdoor parks are open.

The gates to the main car park at Stanley Park are now closed at the request of police.

The park remains open to those visiting on foot, although people are being urged to follow social distancing rules.

Car parks

Talbot Road multi-storey is now closed each day at 7.30pm.

Foxhall and Seasider's Way car parks are closed until further notice

Receptions and buildings

Housing Options

As of Monday 23 March, the Housing Options public reception on Chapel Street will be closed in the mornings and open in the afternoons for emergencies only. The telephone lines are open 01253 477760.

Tourist Information Centre

The Tourist Information Centre is closed until further notice. 

FYCreatives, Church Street

The FYCreatives building will remain open but there will be a managed reception service from Monday 23 March.

The HealthWorks, Corporation Street

The HealthWorks building will be closed to clients and customers. Department for Work and Pensions services and other employment advice will be delivered via telephone interviews.

There will be a managed reception service from Monday 23 March.  

FY1 offices

The FY1 building will remain open but there will be a managed reception service from Monday 23 March.

Enterprise Centre, Lytham Road

The FY1 building will remain open but there will be a managed reception service from Monday 23 March.

Business support

COVID-19 business help desk

Blackpool Council has set up a dedicated helpdesk to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The helpdesk will help businesses to understand and access the £330 billion package of rescue measures announced by the chancellor – including temporary loans, rate relief, grants and other help to small businesses and self-employed.

The wide-ranging measures include:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme offering 80% wage subsidies up to a cap of £2,500 per month for ‘furloughed workers’. Applies to all UK employers.
  • Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
  • A business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in 2020-21, including business grants of £25,000 (for premises with a rateable value of £15k to £51k).
  • A one-off grant of £10,000 to all businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR)
  • Business rates holiday for nursery businesses for 2020-21
  • A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offering loans of up to £5m to companies with less than £41m turnover.
  • Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing facility – aimed at companies with short-term cashflow issues.
  • Support for business paying sick pay to employees (a rebate scheme)
  • Support for businesses with outstanding tax affairs though HMRC’s Time to Pay service
  • Support for businesses to defer VAT payments for three months (until 30 June 2020)
  • For self-employed income tax payments due on July 31 will be deferred until 31  January 2021

The council’s helpdesk will be manned by business support experts working closely with colleagues in the business rates department.

Businesses should complete an enquiry form. The team will then respond with bespoke help and guidance.

Regular updates on government support for business during the pandemic.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

Extended Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The government has extended the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals.

The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

Please find further details here

Grant support payments

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released the eligibility criteria to local authorities to administer their grant payments.

We understand that businesses will require these payments urgently so we are currently working on getting these payments to eligible ratepayers.

If you do not pay your business rates by Direct Debit then we will not hold any bank details for you and we will be unable to pay this direct to your bank account.

To allow for payment by bank transfer (BACS) then we will need you to confirm your business bank details online.

Before you complete this form you will need to find your account number which is shown on your annual bill which was issued at the beginning of March.

To safeguard the council finances against potential fraud we will not be able to confirm your account number over the telephone.

If you cannot find your account number then we can send you a copy of your bill to the postal address we hold on our Business Rate systems but, due to exceptional demand and limited resources this might take some time. If you require a copy of your bill posting then please email our Business Rates team at revenues@blackpool.gov.uk .

Beware of scams

We have been made aware that a few of our ratepayers are receiving telephone calls from individuals purporting to be from Blackpool Council or another government department asking for your bank details to enable payment of rebates and grants.

Note: Blackpool Council will not telephone you and ask for your bank details to be given over the phone.

Blackpool business and visitor economy

All of Blackpool’s key attractions, theatres and most hotels are temporarily closed along with all bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, gyms and cinemas.

Many events due to be staged over the coming months have been cancelled.

Our current advice to visitors is to follow government advice and stay at home.

As it stands, the temporary closures include:

  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach 
  • All Merlin attractions including The Blackpool Tower, Ballroom, Circus, Fifth Floor Landing, Blackpool Tower Dungeon, SEALIFE Centre and Madame Tussauds
  • Blackpool Zoo
  • Grand Theatre
  • Winter Gardens
  • VIVA Blackpool
  • Blackpool Football Club (fixtures in the English Football League are suspended)
  • Coral Island
  • North, Central and South Piers
  • Ascent Trampoline Park
  • Blackpool Transport Heritage Tram Tours
  • Sandcastle Waterpark

The Houndshill Shopping Centre is also closed until further notice.

As a result of the attraction closures, the VisitBlackpool Resort Pass scheme is suspended for the months of April, May and June. 

Known event postponements and cancellations include:

  • Pride Blackpool 2020 (due to be held over the weekend of June 5-7)
  • The European Dance Championships (original dates 10-12 April, rescheduled to October 15 - 17) at the Winter Gardens
  • The Blackpool Junior Dance Festival (original dates April 16 - 19. Ballroom, Latin and sequence events rescheduled to August 31 - September 4. Formation events rescheduled to September 19 - 20) 
  • Blackpool Dance Festival (original dates May 16 - 29, rescheduled to August 25 - September 6)
  • The annual USDAW conference in April has been cancelled along with the International Fitness Exhibition. The GMB union conference in June has also been cancelled. All were due to be held at the Winter Gardens

Blackpool Tower

The Blackpool Tower is being used as a hub for food donations to help feed vulnerable people.

Merlin Entertainments has partnered with Blackpool Food Bank after reports that panic buying and limits on shopping for certain items had hit donations.

Food donations such as pasta, rice, tins, cereal, coffee, tea, sugar, UHT milk, can be dropped off in the foyer of the promenade entrance to The Tower building between 9.00am and noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Vehicles can pull up in front of the building while food is being dropped off.

Barriers are in place to ensure safe distancing. Receptacles for food donations will be left in the foyer area behind the first set of doors.

Thirty staff who normally work at the attraction have volunteered to help out.

Donations will be passed directly on to the Blackpool Food Bank for distribution.

Note: The Tower is only operating as a drop-off point and not as a food distribution point.

Anyone seeking help should use the Corona Kindness helpline - 0808 1963080

The Tower remains temporarily closed as a visitor attraction

Public transport

Blackpool Transport

Tram services are currently suspended until further notice with the service 1 and other bus routes alternatives to the tramway.

From Sunday 5 April, the frequencies of  bus services will be further reduced.

This change will ensure that Blackpool Transport are still able to operate a reliable vital service for those who need to travel for essential reasons and comes in line with a large reduction in those travelling with us due to people following government rules.

More about these changes to services

Until further notice, all NHS staff can travel for free onboard the Blackpool Transport bus network. Simply show your NHS ID card to their drivers as you board. Get full information on the Blackpool Transport website.

£1.50 flat fare

Due to the reduction in services, from Sunday 5 April Blackpool Transport will be introducing a £1.50 flat fare until further notice.

This fare will be in place from the start of service and will be used regardless of where you are travelling from or to.

To travel with this fare, simply pay the driver as you would normally when you board the service. To minimise the handling of money and change, please wherever possible have the correct fare of £1.50 for your driver. All of our saver tickets can be used as normal throughout this time.

Rail travel

There is heavy disruption across the rail industry. As of March 24, temporary timetables will come into force across the Northern network. Avanti West Coast has also cancelled the direct service between Blackpool and London until further notice.  

National Express

Coach services in and out of Blackpool are suspended until further notice

Schools, colleges, nursery and childcare closures

All schools are closed until further notice except for vulnerable pupils or children of key workers.

We are working closely with schools to support the most vulnerable children, young people and families in our communities. We are working to:

  • Keep vulnerable children in school and childcare
  • Keep children of keyworkers in school and childcare
  • Continue providing free school meals

The full list of key workers which will include NHS workers, school staff and delivery drivers.

The government has advised that parents’ names not on the list will be “immediately aware” that their children are not being offered a place.

For childcare, if you fall into the above categories please discuss your requirements with your Early Years provider.

Schools supporting key workers' children will be expected to remain open during the Easter holidays.

GCSEs and A-levels in England and Wales have been cancelled as a result of the closures. Pupils will be awarded grades based on their 'mocks' an also 'prior attainment'.

Blackpool & The Fylde College has closed its premises and moved to online learning with effect from March 23.

Exams will be awarded based on mocks and prior attainments.

Nurseries, private schools and sixth forms are also being told to follow the guidance to close.

Help for key workers

School age pupils

We are co-ordinating the requests from key workers for school places when they have been unable to secure a provision from their local school.

Any parent or carer of school-aged pupils who is a key worker, please email Children's.University@blackpool.gov.uk outlining your situation and the names and ages of the pupils who require a school place during this difficult period and we will work to identify appropriate provision.

Early Years

Help is available for those that need childcare during this difficult period. You can view a list of providers and ask for help

Homelessness support and referral 

Blackpool Council and its partner agencies continue to support those at risk of, and those experiencing homelessness. 

Continued efforts ensure the following is in place:

  • Regular street outreach by our team and partner agencies
  • Additional accomodation for rough sleepers
  • Blackpool Food Bank is currently still in operation, as is the Discretionary Support Scheme
  • Advice and support for those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness via our Housing Options Team. In light of social distancing guidelines - it is requested contact is made via telephone where possible on 01253 477760. For emergency, out of hours support please call 01253 477600.
  • Blackpool Homeless Partnership (which consists of a wide range of statutory and thir sector partner working together to prevent homelessness) are in constant communication and working hard to review and increase the emergency provision; whilst following guidance on self isolation space

Energy supplies

The government has agreed measures with the energy industry to support vulnerable people through COVID-19.

These will help to ensure vulnerable customers who may fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self-isolation.

With immediate effect, customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied.

This will benefit over four million customers. This could include:

  • Nominating a third party for credit top ups
  • Having a discretionary fund added to their credit
  • Being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.

Any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

Please telephone the relevant company if you have a prepay meter tell them your self -isolating 

  • British Gas 0333 202 9802
  • EDF 0333 200 5100
  • EON 0345 052 000
  • N Power0800 073 3000
  • Scottish Power 0800 027 0072
  • SSE 0345 026 2658

More information

Links