Coronavirus information and support

This page will be updated as new information becomes available and changes are made to our services.

Bexley Coronavirus Helpline

020 3045 5398

Open from 8am to 8pm

Whether you need someone to get shopping, pick up other essentials or to give you information, guidance and advice, please call us. Alternatively:

Apply for help

Do you need help during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Here is some information that may help you during the coronavirus crisis, and especially when you are unable to leave your home

Help information

Information from the Government and the NHS

For up-to-date guidance please see NHS advice for everyone and the government's information on what you need to know.

Service status

Many of the services offered by the Council are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week on this website.

For the safety of our staff and our residents we are looking to reduce face-to-face contact as much as possible.

You will start to notice that some of our non-essential services are being closed and events cancelled. We need to do this to ensure that we can maintain essential services with the resources available to us and to reduce the spread of the virus.

Venue Details
Civic Offices Following Government advice Civic Offices is now closed to visitors without an urgent pre-arranged appointment. Please only call the Council if you cannot obtain the advice or service you require online or are unable to access the website.
Erith Town Hall benefit reception Now closed to the public. For queries please call the Housing Benefit and Council Tax contact centre on 0345 302 2317. Correspondence can still be put through the Erith Town hall letterbox. We will return any original documents as quickly as possible. Information and guidance is also available at Help with rent or Council Tax
Home Library Service Closed
All Council Libraries and Local Studies and Archives Centre To close 5.30pm Friday 20 March 
All schools across borough Schools have remained open over the past two months to support our key workers, vulnerable families and those with EHCPs 
All children's centres To close 5.30pm Friday 20 March 
Learning and Enterprise College Bexley To close 5.30pm Friday 20 March 
All youth centres To close 5.30pm Friday 20 March 
Danson Adventures and Danson Lake To close 5.30pm Friday 20 March 
Hall Place house To close 5.30pm Friday 20 March. The gardens and visitor centre will remain open at present. If you have a celebration or an event planned at Hall Place within the next few weeks you will shortly be contacted by the Hall Place events team
Following Government guidance, the Riverside Café at Hall Place will close from Saturday 21 March
Hall Place Only the gardens are open
Outdoor recreation sites

To close 5pm Friday 20 March until further notice

These sites include:

For any enquiries please contact OutdoorRecreation@bexley.gov.uk 

Leisure Centres Following Government guidance, the borough’s three leisure centres are now closed to the public. For more information see Leisure Centre.
Playgrounds and trim trails Following the current Public Health England advice on social distancing these will be closed across the borough until further notice.
Parks and open spaces Please follow the current government and Public Health England advice on social distancing while using our parks. Leave a distance of 2 metres or 6 feet from others while using the park. It is especially important for all our residents without access to gardens at home that we try to keep our parks open.
You can take as much exercise as you wish, but please observe social distancing rules at all times. You can meet up with one other person from outside your household when you are outdoors as long as you keep the 2 metre social distance rule. No group sports are allowed unless it is with members of the same household and one other. You can drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance. Do not travel to different parts of the UK.
Waste and Recycling Centres The Foots Cray site re-opened on 13 May. The Thames Road site re-opens on Monday 18 May. You should only travel to them if this is essential and you cannot store your rubbish safely. Opening hours may vary and access is limited with only certain materials accepted. Before you go please read the guidance on the rubbish and recycling page.
Bexley Register Office

Due to the current situation with coronavirus, it is not possible to book an appointment to register a death in person. Instead, death registrations will be carried out by telephone. Please continue to check the Kent County Council website for updates.

Birth registrations are currently on hold until further notice.

Ceremonies Following the government’s announcement, all ceremonies due to take place during the 3-week national lockdown period have been postponed or cancelled. All notice of marriage and civil partnership appointments have also been cancelled during the lockdown. The Bexley Register Office team will be working through all customer email enquiries as quickly as possible.
Children’s Centres All Children’s Centres in Bexley are now closed. Danson Children’s Centre remains open for planned health appointments only. Please continue to check Danson Children’s Centre for updates.

The annual Council meeting on 20 May will be a virtual meeting and can be viewed here.

If you are ill with Coronavirus, or think you may be, please double bag any waste that may carry the virus and leave it in a safe place for 72 hours before you place it out for collection.

Back to school 

We are now at the start of the Summer term. Schools in Bexley remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children. They continue to apply the government guidance on social distancing.

The Government have updated their guidance for parents and carers supporting their child’s education at this time.  

Staying connected 

Families unable to access their school’s online home learning offer due to limitations in technology in the home, should talk to their child’s school. They will be able to help work through any problems, provide alternative ways of accessing learning, or see if a laptop loan scheme is appropriate.  

Keeping children and teenagers safe online brings the same challenges as at other times. Net Aware has tips and advice on how to keep children safe when they are online. It also brings together advice from the NSPCC and tech content from O2 to help parents and carers keep up-to-date with the latest news about social networks, apps and the games their children are using. You can also find out about age restrictions for TikTok, learn about Snapchat's new mental health feature, how to have a Netflix party, and general information about video chat, video sharing and livestreaming. 

Maintaining a balance 

Keeping a routine gives children and young people an increased feeling of safety. Follow the advice from your children’s school. They will signpost and recommend those resources that are most relevant and helpful for your child.  

New content has been launched on BBC Bitesize and Oak National Academy, but it is important to follow the plan from your child’s school and only supplement them with extra resources where this is helpful. 

There are many valuable informal ways of enabling learning while staying at home. These are the top five tips from our Education Team - 

  • children and young people should ideally be active for 60 minutes a day, so build in time for activity each day. Create a family fitness challenge or walk to your local park
  • make mealtimes a chance to learn in the kitchen and to practice taking turns. Visit Change4Life for recipes and fitness activities
  • staying in touch with friends and family using video chats is really important for social and communication skills. Net Aware will provide guidance
  • create opportunities for reading. Switch on the TV subtitles, read together before bed, or use the many Bexley library online tools, including access to audio books
  • take time to talk and process questions and feelings. This is a worrying time for everybody, but especially children, who may worry more if they don’t understand what is happening. Turn worries into opportunities by creating an NHS rainbow together in your front window and make plans to join the next ‘clap for carers’ on a Thursday evening. Remember to send in your rainbow pictures to our Facebook, twitter or to communications@bexley.gov.uk 

Who is entitled to Free School Meals?

All children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 at state schools in England are entitled to a free school meal, regardless of their family’s financial circumstances. This is called universal free school meals.   Children in Years 3 and above aren't automatically entitled to free school meals; however, they are provided for children who come from low-income families. Children may be eligible for free school meals if their parents receive the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (conditions apply)

Did everyone who receives universal free school meals receive one of the supermarket vouchers?

No - the recent exercise to issue supermarket vouchers taken in light of COVID-19 was only for children who qualify for free school meals as they are from low-income families regardless of which year group they are in.

Did the Council issue all of these vouchers?

No - the Council only provided 600 vouchers for all of the pupils who qualify and attend one of the 18 primary schools which are either maintained or voluntary aided and this was based on the number of pupils in each of the schools. The individual names were not provided to the Council as it was the schools responsibility to ensure that these got to the appropriate families. For all Academy schools we have had no involvement in this matter as they have been administering this direct.

What are the 18 schools?

The 18 schools who received these vouchers from the Council were:

  • Bishop Ridley C of E Primary School
  • Birkbeck Primary School
  • Fosters Primary School
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School
  • St John Fisher Catholic Primary School
  • St Joseph's Catholic Primary School
  • St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School
  • St Stephen's Catholic Primary School
  • St Stephen's Catholic Primary School
  • St Thomas More Catholic Primary School
  • Crook Log Primary School
  • Danson Primary School
  • Dulverton Primary School
  • Longlands Primary School
  • Orchard Primary School
  • Parkway Primary School
  • Upton Primary School
  • Marlborough Special School

How long will families be receiving this assistance?

The assistance was for the two weeks leading up to the Easter break.

Will there be any further assistance after the Easter break?

The Department for Education announced last week that all qualifying families should continue to receive this weekly assistance including £15 a week e-vouchers after the Easter break. The Council has written to all schools informing them of this announcement and making it clear that all schools, including maintained and Voluntary Aided schools will need to administer these new arrangements directly to their qualifying families and carers.

Did the Government announce over the weekend that this help should also be available over the Easter holidays?

Yes – following the announcement on Saturday there has been no follow up guidance. However, the Council has written to all schools and advised them that should this be formalised we would expect them at this late stage to organise this via their own procedures.

What if I believe that I qualify for this assistance but I have never applied for it?

The Council realises that there may be a small amount of families who would fall into this category. We have worked with Capita on a streamlined process to deal with these requests. We have written to all schools explaining this and parents/carers should, in the first instance, contact their child’s school in all cases.

UK Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees

This website provides up-to-date guidance for businesses from the UK Government. This guidance will help employers and businesses provide advice to their staff on:

  • the novel Coronavirus
  • how to help prevent spread of Coronavirus
  • what to do if someone has symptoms of Coronavirus has been in business settings
  • eligibility for sick pay

This guidance also provides details of support available to businesses.

Bexley for Businesses Coronavirus support page

Bexley for Business is maintaining a focused support page for with everything businesses, employers, and employees need to know about Coronavirus. 

London Growth Hub Coronavirus support for businesses and employers

To support London-based businesses, the London Growth Hub has brought together essential resources to help your business manage and mitigate its exposure to the impact of Coronavirus. 

This webpage includes checklists to help prepare your business, contact details if you want one-to-one support, and links to useful external resources.

Recruitment Support - COVID-19

London Borough of Bexley are working hard with our partners and the local community and businesses to coordinate a job board for businesses looking to recruit and those who have been made redundant, due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. 
 
Current Vacancies with Local Employers
 

We're working closely with our NHS colleagues to ensure that you have up-to-date information and advice about Coronavirus.

You'll find information here about the virus, how to prevent its spread and what to do if you're concerned that you might be at risk.

The national guidance now states that you should stay at home for 14 days if you have either -

  • a high temperature (37.8C or higher)
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

If you think you have symptoms or you might have been exposed to the virus when travelling, visit the NHS 111 online assessment tool. The NHS 111 number is now being targeted at people who have more severe and urgent symptoms.

If you have symptoms, please do not visit your GP, pharmacist, Urgent Care Centre or A&E department, as you may spread the virus to others.

Useful health information and advice links

The £150 Hardship fund award is due to be applied to Council Tax accounts shortly. We will resume collection of Direct Debit payments from July 2020.

We will issue a revised bill to all accounts where payments have been put on hold.

When the award has been credited, we will send you a further bill detailing the adjusted instalment amounts you will need to pay.

Anyone who needs housing support during the Coronavirus Pandemic should make an enquiry using the housing support form.

You can now send us supporting documents for new or ongoing housing enquiries using the online housing support form. This includes proof of identity documents such as driving licenses and passports.

If you are struggling to make rent payments, are worried about being made homeless or need support with finding accommodation the Council’s housing support team may be able to help. Please use the housing support form. The government have announced some new measures to protect tenants and landlords during the current pandemic.

These include

  • Emergency legislation suspending new evictions will be passed as “an urgent priority”, meaning landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings against tenants for at least three months.
  • Private landlords whose tenants are struggling to pay the rent will be protected through a three-month buy-to-let mortgage payment holiday

If your query relates to concerns about the quality or safety of your housing please contact Environmental Health at environmentalhealth@bexley.gov.uk

If you have an urgent need for local information, guidance and advice, please call Bexley Coronavirus helpline 020 3045 5398

Rough sleeping

Anyone concerned about a rough sleeper or someone they fear may sleep rough can make a StreetLink referral. Please provide as much detail as possible.

We work closely with our lead worker from StreetLink. Once referred we will do our best to make contact with the person and during these unprecedented times we will work to accommodate them as quickly as possible.

Visit www.streetlink.london

Call 0300 500 0914

Or download StreetLink's Android app or iPhone app

All libraries are closed.

Loan periods on all books and audio-visual items have been automatically extended until 11 June 2020 to prevent any overdue charges. Many library services are still available the comfort of your own home. We have a wide range of books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers and online information services for leisure or learning. Visit the Bexley Libraries website for more information. 

Events in parks and open spaces have been cancelled until 30 June. Open space bookings will only be taken on a provisional basis from July onwards.

Staying at home for a long time can be a difficult, frustrating, and you may feel lonely and disconnected from friends and your wider family. It can be particularly challenging if you don’t have much space or access to a garden.

There are lots of things you and your family can try to keep your mind and body active. The charity Mind have some helpful ideas to help you manage.

Older people

Positive Ageing in London (PAiL) brings together London-wide and local groups from the voluntary and statutory sectors. Their website includes a range of information and advise on Coronavirus as well as information on volunteering, financial issues and keeping well http://pailondon.org.uk

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses and the country looks to recovery, we will be moving towards a service similar to that provided before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parking enforcement activity is needed to ensure public safety and the free flow of traffic and parking availability.

Over the next couple of weeks, the number of patrols in operation will therefore increase.  Although our focus will remain on main thoroughfares, town centres and high streets, we will begin to expand our service back into community shopping areas, railway station Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) and residential areas. All services will be conducted safely and in line with government guidance on social distancing and safe working practices.

As the service returns to pre COVID-19 levels, the grace period allowing motorists to return to their vehicle after expiry of their paid for parking time will revert to the required ten minutes.

Verbal or physical abuse against our parking enforcement officers will not be tolerated and any such incidents may be referred to the Police.

Bexley was one of the first councils in London during the current pandemic to establish a free parking scheme for the emergency services, NHS staff, carers and volunteers, to help manage the pandemic. So far nearly 3000 people have been given access to free parking across the borough through the scheme.

Residents can appeal parking ticket that they feel may have been issued inappropriately during the lockdown.

Planning service changes

As you will understand we have had to make changes to our planning service due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Planning team are now working from home. However, they are continuing to process applications and provide pre-application advice through video-conferencing and other means and have the technology to fully manage their caseloads. 

We are currently continuing to register and consult on planning applications, doing our best to provide our service to residents, businesses and developers.

Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot currently hold Planning Committee meetings as normal. The Council is currently considering how to hold a Planning Committee without a need for a physical meeting. More detail on applications requiring a determination by the Planning Committee is set out below. 

Requests for Planning Enforcement investigations continue to be actioned where possible. We will prioritise cases of the most serious harm, e.g. felling of a protected tree, or irreversible harm to a listed building.

To help the Planning Service provide as good a service as possible, please:

  • submit all new applications via the Planning Portal and provide photographs with the application
  • make any representation/comment on a planning application using our Public Access system (see more detail below)

Planning applications

You can still submit a planning application, but it may take a little longer than usual to process. 

Site visits

We are not currently carrying out site visits. We recommend that you provide photographs with your application to avoid a delay in the decision. The case officer may contact you for further photographs or, where the technology is available, to book a virtual site visit.

Photographs should show the development site within its wider context, to illustrate the relationship with adjacent sites.

Commenting on Planning applications

If you wish to make a representation on a planning application, please give your comments on View and comment on planning applications. There is currently no team member at the Civic Offices to deal with paper representations.

Committee cases

Most planning decisions are made by Council Officers in accordance with Bexley’s Development Plan. Occasionally decisions on the largest or most controversial applications are made by the Planning Committee, made up of elected Councillors. 

We are considering how best to deal with such applications given the limitations currently in place on gatherings of people. The options include holding a ‘virtual’ or ‘e-Committee’. When we have decided how best to proceed, we will update the website.

Duty planner advice 

The Civic Offices are currently closed to the public and the duty planner service is suspended. If you have a query on a planning application, please contact the case officer. For other enquiries please refer to the advice given on Do I need planning permission?

Pre-application advice

We continue to offer the full suite of pre-application advice. If you are considering making a planning application, we recommend that you make use of our pre-application service.

We currently use both Skype video-conferencing and Microsoft Teams for pre-application meetings and for virtual site visits. For cases that are simpler or require less people, a phone call may be enough. When we receive your pre-application request, we will allocate a case officer. We recommend that you discuss the appropriate form for the meeting with them.

The law requires employers and the self-employed to conduct their business in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. This includes measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases including Covid-19.

The enforcement of health and safety law is split between Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The lists below show examples of premises enforced by each authority. Please visit the HSE for the full list.

If you consider that your employer (or any business undertaking's) work activity is putting your safety at risk, with respect to COVID-19 then you should raise your concerns with that employer or person immediately. If no improvement is made at the earliest opportunity, it is important that the matter is reported promptly to the relevant enforcing authority.

Enforced by Bexley Council

  • Beauty parlours and hair dressers
  • Churches and places of worship
  • Cinemas and Leisure activities
  • Hotels
  • Nurseries and playgroups
  • Offices (except government offices)
  • Privately owned museums
  • Pubs and clubs
  • Residential homes and sheltered accommodation
  • Restaurants
  • Shops
  • Warehouses (Purely for storage of products)
  • Tyre and Exhaust Fitters

Enforced by the HSE

  • Building sites
  • Car repair and garages
  • Chemical plants
  • Council and government premises
  • Dentists and Doctors surgeries
  • Domestic Premises
  • Dry cleaners
  • Factories
  • Fairgrounds
  • Farms
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Mines and quarries
  • Printers
  • Railways
  • Schools and colleges
  • Workshops

Report a Covid -19 Safety Concern to the HSE

Report a Covid-19 Safety Concern at a workplace in Bexley

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues we all find ourselves in a difficult time and facing different types of challenges. It is still important that, if you have concerns about the safety of a potentially vulnerable adult, child or young person, you report them.  

Adults - For help and advice call 020 3045 5159 so that trained professionals can discuss your concerns or email bexleycare.spc@nhs.net

Children and young people  - Anyone who may have concerns about the safety of a child or young person should call 020 3045 5440, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, or 020 8303 7777 or 020 8303 7171 for out of hours (5pm to 9am Monday to Friday and 24 hour cover at weekends).

In an emergency always call 999. 

Residents are warned to be on their guard against scammers who are trying to take advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bexley Trading Standards have received information that scammers are using the situation to extort money or gain access to people’s homes.

Scams include

  • door-to-door fraudsters impersonating NHS staff and offering help with shopping in return for payment, or seeking donations to fund a vaccine
  • individuals offering to go shopping for the elderly as a means to get and keep their money
  • criminals calling at homes and selling people bogus tests to see if they're infected with the disease

Fraudsters are also sending out Coronavirus-themed phishing emails in an attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial details.

Examples include

  • a text message claiming to be from Gov.UK stating ‘Enter Your Post Code to Apply for COVID-19 Relieve (sic) - See example
  • a so-called urgent text to say the UKGOV has issued a payment to all residents as part of its promise to battle COVID 19 - with a scam link to tap - See example
  • emails from scammers claiming to be from research organisations affiliated with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisations (WHO), offering people a list of Coronavirus infected people in their area  via a link leading to a bogus website, or requesting payment in Bitcoin.

Residents are urged not to click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.

If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

Do not let strangers into your home, particularly at this time of self-isolation and social distancing.

The Council has teamed up with the Bexley Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) to co-ordinate volunteer work. Those wanting to volunteer and Bexley residents needing support should visit the BVSC website.

 

We are working closely with our schools and partners to ensure that we can keep our schools running for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children and young people. 

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Parents and carers who are in the list of government designated keyworkers who would like more information on the situation are asked to speak to their school. 

Government guidelines for schools
 

We have teamed up with the Bexley Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) to launch a way of volunteering to help others in ways that suit your own skills and interests.

We continue to do everything we can to deliver as close to a normal service as possible. In the current exceptional circumstances, collections are taking longer than usual due to social distancing, so it will not always be possible to make them on your scheduled day. If your bins are not collected on schedule, please leave them out and we will collect them as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Green lid refuse bin collections

Please continue to leave this bin out on your normal collection day every two weeks.

Recycling collections

Blue (paper and cardboard) and white (plastic packaging, glass, cans and cartons) – One bin will be collected every two weeks – blue lid bin one week, white lid bin the next.

  • if your green lid refuse bin is due to be collected this week please put your blue lid bin out
  • if you are unsure which of your recycling bins is due to be collected next, please leave them both out

Food waste collection service – weekly collection

  • please put your food waste in your brown food box, ensure the handle is pulled down and secure, and leave it out for collection

Garden waste service

Bexley’s fortnightly garden waste service is a paid for membership service.  Members’ garden waste bins are collected on the same day as their white lidded recycling bin.

Collections are taking longer than usual due to the need to ensure social distancing. If your bins are not collected on schedule, please leave them out and we will collect them as soon as possible.

The Council has put members’ direct debits back by 2 months and extended their memberships by 2 months.

Collections from flats where residents have white lid and blue lid recycling bins – fortnightly collection

  • collections on the same day as your surrounding roads

Residents with recycling boxes – no change to your weekly collection