Latest advice

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus and the latest position in the UK can be found here. 

This information will be updated as necessary as the situation changes.

Go to NHS.UK/coronavirus for information about the virus and how to protect yourself.

HALTON BOROUGH COUNCIL RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Halton Borough Council’s priority is on protecting the most vulnerable living in our community and those who are at most risk – all of our efforts are being focused on the priority services we provide to support these people.

We have already had to make significant changes to our day to day business, there may be more changes over the coming days and weeks. Please be assured that we have tried and tested business continuity plans in place to help us make these changes.

Please keep visiting this page for updated information

We will make the decision to reopen buildings based on the Government advice at the time.

We will be keeping our community up to date with any further changes to Council services via the local media, online at www.halton.gov.uk; on Twitter @haltonbc and on Facebook.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call us 0303 333 4300 – however, please note it may take longer than usual for your call to be answered.

Business support

You’ll be aware that in recent days the Chancellor has made a number of announcements about how government will support businesses of all sizes during the current coronavirus crisis.

 

That support is both evolving and fast moving and the Council and partners are currently working to translate the Chancellor’s announcements into practical schemes that will get the support to all the businesses that need it as quickly as possible. Other agencies, such as HMRC, are also working to get support out as soon as possible.

We can’t give you a definitive date when that practical support will be available but be assured it will be as soon as is practically possible.

In the meantime the main portal for information about business support during the coronavirus crisis is provided by the Liverpool City Region Growth Platform at :-

https://growthplatform.org/business-covid-19-advice/

or, alternatively, the UK Government business support web site at :-

www.businesssupport.gov.uk

Please refer to the above websites in the first instance for up to date information about support

Support will be provided via the Business Rates system, although this will be expanded in time to include businesses that don’t pay Business Rates. Again please check the following link for further information and guidance regarding eligibility for support   :-

https://www3.halton.gov.uk/Pages/business/businessrates.aspx

When you visit the Business Rates web page you will see a form to fill in regarding your bank account details. It is critical that the Council has your up to date bank details in order pay grant. I would, therefore, urge you to complete and return that form even if you don’t think your business is eligible for support at this moment in time. Government is announcing new support measures on an almost daily basis so it may be the case that you qualify for a different scheme in the future. If this is the case, and the Council has your bank details, then you will be paid promptly.

I appreciate that this is a very difficult time but we are assured by government that every business that needs support will receive it and to that end the Council and other public sector organisations are working hard to put in place the systems necessary to make that happen.

For further information please call 0151 511 7825 or email business@halton.gov.uk

Children’s Centres

Closed from 5pm 20 March to Sunday 26 April

  • Upton
  • Windmill Hill
  • Halton Brook
  • Ditton

We will take the decision to reopen the buildings based on the Government advice at the time.

Community Centres

Closed from 5pm 20th March to Sunday 26th April

  • Upton Community Centre, Bechers, Hough Green, Widnes
  • Ditton Community Centre, Dundalk Road, Widnes
  • Castlefields Community Centre, Village Square, Castlefields, Runcorn
  • Grangeway Community Centre, Grangeway, Runcorn
  • Murdishaw Community Centre, Barnfield Avenue, Runcorn

We will take the decision to reopen the buildings based on the Government advice at the time.

Council Tax Support & Welfare advice
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on our economy and services and we would like to reassure residents who are struggling to pay their Council Tax bill at this difficult time.

Your Council Tax bill pays for essential services that are delivered to all Halton residents. If your circumstances have not changed, you should continue to pay in accordance with the details shown on your bill so we can continue to provide essential services.

If your income has been affected as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak you should submit a claim for Universal Credit with the DWP on their website here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

You should also claim Council Tax Reduction direct from the Council on our website here: or https://www3.halton.gov.uk/Pages/CouncilandBenefits/Housing-Benefits.aspx

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax please contact us by email at council.tax@halton.gov.uk

Halton Direct Link

The Halton Direct Link offices in Runcorn and Widnes will be closed to the  public from 1pm on Thursday 19 March, until further notice.

The Council apologises for the inconvenience but we are sure that you will understand that we have taken this necessary measure to protect customers and staff.

The service will continue to operate with staff dealing with enquiries on the telephone, by e-mail and via the website.

There is so much you can do on our website, such as pay bills, report environmental issues, view planning applications, check bin collection dates, and use our Contact Us page to get in touch.

Check out the website – www.halton.gov.uk – or call us on 0303 330 4300.

Please also note that the Municipal Building, Runcorn Town Hall and Rutland House are not open to the public.

Homelessness

If you are homeless or likely to become homeless in the next 56 days,

Please contact the Housing Solutions Team:

Email: Housing.Solutionsteam@halton.gov.uk

Telephone: 0151 511 7979  (9am – 5pm Mon to Fri) or 0333 000 4300 outside these hours

Leisure Centres

Closed from Friday 20 March until Sunday 26 April

  • Kingsway Leisure Centre
  • Brookvale Recreation Centre
  • Runcorn Swimming Pool
  • Frank Myler Pavillion
  • Stadium Fitness

Membership fees due at leisure centres will not be deducted for this timeframe, refunds will be paid for any deductions already paid for this timeframe as soon as possible.

We will take the decision to reopen the buildings based on the Government advice at the time.

Libraries

Closed from Friday 20th March until Sunday 26th April

  • Halton Lea Library (Runcorn Shopping City)
  • Runcorn Library
  • Widnes Library (Kingsway Learning Centre)
  • Ditton Library

All events at libraries during this time have been cancelled or postponed.

If you have books due for return, please keep these until buildings have reopened. You will be able to continue to use our digital services including Pressreader and Borrowbox

More information can be found on our website www.halton.gov.uk/libraries

We will take the decision to reopen the buildings based on the Government advice at the time.

Mental health and wellbeing

There are lots of things you can try to do to help with your mental health and wellbeing during this difficult and stressful time whether you are self-isolating or distancing yourself socially

You can find more information on health and wellbeing.

Nurseries, Schools & Colleges

The government announced on 18 March 2020 that all schools in the UK will close to the vast majority of children after Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice.

It is urging nurseries and colleges to do the same.

It has also requested that schools remain open to children of key workers as well as to vulnerable children More details of this will follow.

Exams in May and June will not go ahead. The government will announce more information about this soon.

Parents are being reminded to please avoid asking elderly grandparents or other older family members, or those in vulnerable groups, to take care of their children.

Riverside College and Cronton Sixth Form College

The College would like to reassure all applicants who have been offered a place on a course starting September 2020 that your place at College is still secure.

The College will continue to work with you and your school over the coming months to ensure transition to College is as smooth as possible in these uncertain times.

As a College, it will do everything we can to ensure the right student is on the right course whatever happens regarding GCSE examinations.

The Admissions Team are working in College and are there to answer any questions on 0151 257 2022 or courses@riverside.ac.uk unless we are instructed differently by the Government.

Open Spaces

Parks

Parks remain open, however, play areas are now closed. The Government’s advice is to stay at home and stay away from others. If you are in a park to exercise or to walk to your essential work, you need to ensure you are 2metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Allotments

On 23 March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close. You can still visit your allotment however as long as ensure a social distancing of two meters and follow the Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance.

Scams relating to coronavirus

Halton’s Trading Standards are issuing advice having been made aware of a number of scams relating to coronavirus.

Scammers are already exploiting the coronavirus situation, cashing in on people’s concerns and fears.

These are current scams here and abroad: 

  • Doorstep callers ‘checking for coronavirus’.
  • Companies selling ‘fast COVID-19 tests’.
  • Companies selling products that they claim can treat, cure or prevent the virus, including face masks.
  • Companies selling fake cleaning products and hand sanitisers.
  • Fake charities asking for donations to help with the coronavirus.
  • Fake emails pretending to be from a government department.
  • Companies claiming to have or to be on the verge of producing a vaccine and requiring payment to reserve a batch.
  • Companies phoning to offer to clean and sanitise homes, pre-payment is required over the phone or with gift cards.
  • Scammers pretending to be from the UK government, advising that a new tax refund programme has been introduced to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and that you are due a refund.
  • Emails pretending to be from the World Health Organisation with attachments on how to stay safe – the attachments contain malware which will infect your computer, steal your information and result in a request for ransom.
  • Scammers have circulated fake maps via email which claim to show virus outbreaks but, again, they are malware.
  • Scammers offering fake investment opportunities in companies working to produce a vaccine

 

Don’t get caught out:

  • Scammers want to steal your money or your personal information. They do this by calling unannounced at your door, phoning, texting or emailing. They will also advertise online and via social media.
  • The only test available is through the NHS – you cannot buy a test kit or pay for a test from anybody else.
  • There is no vaccine or cure.
  • Only buy from companies that you have dealt with before and type in their online address if you want to order – don’t respond to a link in an email or find them by an internet search because scam websites could be imitating a genuine company.
  • Charities must be registered with the Charity Commission (https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/)  – check they are legitimate before you donate

If you or somebody you know has been caught out by a scam or fraud please contact one of our specialist officers, Linda or Sue on 0151 511 8785 or 0151 511 8775, who are already working with people in Halton who have lost thousands of pounds to scams.

If you need advice on anything else please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline  or 0808 223 1133.

The only reliable information on how to protect yourself, and measures to take if you think you have the virus, is available from the NHS and the UK government websites: 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Supplier Invoices

Halton Borough Council is committed to supporting all of its suppliers in order to help them to maintain cash flow and to protect jobs.  As such the Council has taken the decision to accelerate payments ahead of terms for all supplier invoices until further notice, at which point our normal invoice payment terms will resume.

From Monday 30 March all supplier invoices that have been approved on our Finance system will be settled on immediate payment terms, meaning funds will be credited to your bank account in three working days. To help us to pay you quickly, please submit your invoice to us electronically to avoid paper copies sitting in office buildings potentially unattended. Invoices can be submitted to hbcinvoice@halton.gov.uk.

The Brindley Theatre

Closed from Friday 20th March until Sunday 26th April

If you have purchased tickets for events taking place at The Brindley Theatre during this time, you will be offered an exchange of tickets, or a full refund. We kindly ask that customers do not contact the Box Office, as our teams will be contacting you soon with further details regarding cancelled and postponed events.

We will take the decision to reopen the buildings based on the Government advice at the time.

Volunteers

 

If you want to help the most vulnerable across Widnes and Runcorn there are a variety of opportunities you can register to help for with Halton and St Helens Voluntary and Community Action.

You may be able to deliver much needed supplies to the vulnerable and self-isolating; provide telephone support; share information and updates, and many other tasks .

You can register online or call them on 01744 457100, visit their website

Waste services

At present there are no changes to the waste collection timetable.

 

In line with national guidance, the Council recommends that households where waste that has been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, or is displaying symptoms and therefore self-isolating, should take extra precautions when securing waste for disposal.


Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths should be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Household Waste Recycling Centres

Closure of all Household Waste Recycling Centres in Halton ​with immediate effect until further notice​. The instructions from the Prime Minister are clear. Visits to Household Waste Recycling Centres are not one of the four reasons given for leaving your home.

 

 

Widnes Market

Closed – the last trading day being Saturday 28th March 2020

We will take the decision to reopen Widnes Market based on the Government advice at the time.