Coronavirus information

.

We are following the latest developments on Coronavirus extremely closely and will adhere to the latest advice from Public Health England and the government. 

We are following the latest developments on coronavirus extremely closely and will adhere to the latest advice from Public Health England and the government. Our sole aim is to make sure we deliver the vital services our residents rely on while protecting the welfare of our staff.

Our website has all the latest council service updates and information for residents and businesses. 

--------------------

Tuesday 7 April - 3pm

This news feed has now ended. All further coronavirus-related news articles will appear on our newsroom as standalone items and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

--------------------

Friday 3 April - 4.30pm

Car parking this weekend

A few people have been asking about whether we will close popular car parks in the coastal towns this weekend to try and deter visitors.

As you would expect, this issue has been on our radar for a while and we have given it very careful consideration.

At the moment, we are not planning to close them. There are some good reasons for this.

1. Closing car parks does not in itself stop people coming. There is a danger that people will still come, find them closed, and go and park on residential streets nearby. This raises the risk of people coming into closer contact with residents in these streets than they would in a car park.

2. Closed car parks could well result in more people taking a chance and parking on double yellow lines in the towns. This increases the risk of blocking access for ambulances and fire engines. It would be dreadful if an emergency vehicle was delayed on a vital call out because someone has parked on a double yellow line, while there's an empty, closed car park just down the road.

3. We are committed to providing free car parking for key workers in all our non-ANPR car parks. Closing car parks would make it far harder for these people to do their important work for the community.

All of this said, we are very conscious that residents are worried about the possible spread of infection.

We will be keeping a close eye on the situation this weekend. If we need to reconsider this approach because the car parks being open is causing problems, we will. We have the ability to close ANPR car parks very quickly, and to put car park closed signs out at other sites, if we really need to.

Finally, because someone's bound to think it, this decision has absolutely nothing to do with money and income. We've set out the reasons for the approach very clearly above.

We urge people to do the right thing this weekend and stick to the government advice - stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

--------------------

Friday 3 April - 1pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We have had an incredible response to our call for volunteers to come forward and help the most vulnerable people in our district during this pandemic.

Yesterday, we reached the 1,000 mark, which is simply fantastic. And while we never had an exact number in mind when we launched this, given the overwhelming response, we have decided to close this call for the time being.

We will, of course, reopen it in future if we need to.

To everyone who has got in touch to offer their time, we are eternally grateful.

And while we're doing an update, we would also like to thank the 195 people who have donated a total of £8,399 to the Canterbury coronavirus appeal.

Your money will help us to support the people in our district that need it the most at this critical time.

Donations remain open if you would still like to do this - go to the donations page on our website.

--------------------

Friday 3 April - 10am

Use your common sense plea, as the sun comes out

Kent residents are being reminded to avoid unnecessary travel to coastal areas and other popular open spaces this weekend as efforts continue to curb the spread of Covid-19.

With the weather set to be glorious, members of the Kent Resilience Forum including the five coastal authorities Canterbury City Council, Dover District Council, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, Swale Borough Council and Thanet District Council, along with Kent County Council, Kent Police and the train operator Southeastern, are reminding everyone to follow the Government’s advice by staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

A spokesman for the five district councils said: "It is ironic that just as we're being asked to stay in for almost the whole day, the sun comes out.

“But as we battle this virus, common sense remains our biggest weapon and most people are using theirs.

"Please don't travel to the coast or country parks to do your exercise and certainly don’t go to public places for picnics or social gatherings - stay close to home, only go out with members of your own household once a day for exercise and please avoid creating a crowd.

“We're in this together and it is working. Don't stop now #kenttogether."

Government scientists say not getting too close to other people who do not live with you, otherwise known as social distancing, is important to defeating the disease but is incredibly difficult when lots of people are in the same place at the same time.

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark added: "You need to stay two metres (6ft) away from other people – that’s either two very big steps or hold your arm out and then double that distance.

"Exercise is an important way to help your physical and mental health.

"If you can’t keep fit and healthy at home then the Government advice is for one trip out of your house each day for a walk or run.

“Stay close to your home and you should not drive unnecessarily or take public transport unless it is absolutely essential.

“We have to continue with a sensible approach to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and avoid the strain on the NHS."

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: “As part of their routine patrolling across the county, Kent Police officers are engaging with individuals and businesses to ensure they are adhering to the Government’s instructions around social distancing.

“Officers are engaging with those going against the instructions, explaining why they are necessary and encouraging them to comply, with enforcement being used only as a last resort.

“It is therefore pleasing that police enforcement has not yet been necessary since legislation under the Coronavirus Act was introduced last week.

“I would like to thank the people of Kent for continuing to play their part at this difficult time by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.”

Aaron Willcox, Margate station manager for Southeastern, said: “Southeastern’s reduced timetable is designed for vital key workers making essential journeys, with only half the usual number of trains.

“We know a trip to the beach might seem tempting as the weather gets warmer, but please follow the government advice and only travel if your journey is absolutely essential.”

--------------------

Thursday 2 April - 11am

We're pleased to be able to provide more information this morning about how the process of giving out grants to businesses will work.

The key point is - there is no application process to get one of these grants! We are aware some councils are doing it this way, but we have chosen a more simple method.

We are identifying the businesses that qualify for a cash grant and will write to them all on or shortly after 7 April. If you have not received an email or letter from us by 15 April and think you should qualify for a grant, you'll need to contact us.

Payment will work as follows:

  • If you currently pay your business rates by direct debit, we will pay the grant directly into the bank account from which you pay your direct debit on or shortly after Tuesday 7 April
  • If you don’t pay your business rates by direct debit, we will write to you on or shortly after Wednesday 8 April providing you with a link to an online form for you to give your bank details for payment

If you are in the latter category, there is a lot more information about how this process will work on our website.

--------------------

Wednesday 1 April - midday

We are absolutely BLOWN AWAY by how many of you have applied to volunteer and help the district’s vulnerable!

Almost 1,000 of you have signed up and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you haven’t heard from us already, we will be in touch very shortly to let you know how we think you can play your part in this fantastic community effort.

We delivered our first set of food parcels today to people desperately needing our help and this is really only just the start.

Some of that food was paid for by you after we launched our Canterbury Coronavirus Appeal yesterday. You donated £6,000 in one day and it is already being used on the frontline.

This is a fast-moving situation so we can’t always tell you in advance what your money will pay for - food, other supplies like cleaning products and nappies/babywipes or to help voluntary organisations who are struggling further along the line. Volunteers will need their expenses covering if at all possible too.

What we can promise is that we will always tell you how it was spent and every penny will make a real difference.

To donate, visit our donations page 

To get help, register here 

To volunteer, register here

Thank you all again!

--------------------

Wednesday 1 April - 10am

Grants and support for businesses

We know there are many businesses in the district that are struggling to stay afloat.

By now, all eligible firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors should have received their revised business rates bills showing that they will have no rates to pay for 2020/21. Companies in the childcare sector will receive their bills soon.

We realise this doesn’t help everyone and others are waiting for the grants that were also announced by the government. They are paying for them and we are administering them locally.

Our team of experts is now getting ready to distribute that money as soon as it lands in our bank account from the government.

In order to do so, we might need to collect your bank details. A form will be available for this in the next few days.

Please keep an eye on our social media accounts and on our pages dedicated to supporting businesses and offering advice.

Those pages are also home to lots of useful information for business owners and managers.

--------------------

Tuesday 31 March - 3pm

Our park and ride service is now fully suspended.

As key workers can now park closer to the city centre, and there has been a dramatic and not-unexpected fall in demand, we have closed the New Dover Road park and ride site today. Wincheap and Sturry were already closed.

We kept park and ride going so that key workers could still park cheaply and get into work. Now that parking for them is free in our non-ANPR car parks, we feel that we can close the service safely.

--------------------

Monday 30 March - 1pm

As you may have seen, last week we announced the use of hotel accommodation to try and care for rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our brilliant partners at Catching Lives are looking after their day-to-day care, and now they urgently need more volunteers to help with shifts.

Ideally, Catching Lives is looking for people with experience of working with vulnerable adults, including those with substance misuse and mental health issues, but all volunteers will receive training.

Each volunteer will be working alongside a paid staff member who works for Catching Lives, Porchlight or our rough sleeper team.

The shifts that need covering are:

* 7am to 4pm
* 3pm to 11pm
* 10pm to 8am

If you are interested please contact Terry Gore at Catching Lives for further details: [email protected]

--------------------

Friday 27 March - 4pm

Free parking for key workers

If the government considers you to be a key worker, you can now park in any of our non-ANPR car parks and at our on-street parking meters for FREE.

Just leave a note or letter on your dashboard. We will work on the basis of trusting everyone to do the right thing so will be relaxed about how you let us know.

The car parks included are:

Canterbury

* Holmans Meadow - 215 spaces
* North Lane - 41
* Northgate - 57
* Rosemary Lane - 90
* Maynard Road - 113

Whitstable

* Keams Yard - 66 spaces
* Shaftesbury Road - 47
* Victoria Street - 55
* Whitstable Harbour - 22
* Tankerton Road - 41

Herne Bay

* Beach Street - 67 spaces
* Market Street - 135
* School Lane, Herne - 45

Signs will go up at car parks next week to explain the situation.

Lots of people have asked us to stop charging at our car parks, while others have asked us to do all we can to reinforce social distancing. We are doing the latter.

We are worried that making our car parks free for all users will encourage people to break the rules, and we cannot close them so that we make sure life is as easy as possible for those trying to keep the district on its feet.

Now that key workers can park closer to the city centre, and there has been a dramatic and not-unexpected fall in demand, we will be closing the New Dover Road park and ride site at the close of play next Tuesday (31 March).

We kept park and ride going so that key workers could still park cheaply and get into work. Now that parking for them is free in non-ANPR car parks, we feel that we can close that service safely.

--------------------

Friday 27 March - 1pm

We have secured a deal with Travelodge to provide up to 57 rooms to protect homeless people and rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic.

We have also offered some of the rooms to Dover District Council to help them find a safe space for rough sleepers to self-isolate. Work to begin accommodating people will begin today. 

We're spending £163,000 on this initiative and will be coordinating support services with local partner organisations to look after the individuals placed in Travelodge rooms through daily contact.

This will include Catching Lives providing three meals a day and all agencies continuing the work that takes place all year round to help rough sleepers off the streets and into permanent accommodation, and to access any specialist support services that may be required.

Chairman of our Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: "We're very pleased to have reached this deal with Travelodge to accommodate the most vulnerable people in our community at this most difficult of times.

"There is no protection from coronavirus for people living on the streets, so by providing these safe spaces we are giving rough sleepers the very best chance of surviving this pandemic, while also carrying on working with them to resolve their homelessness once and for all."

In addition to the Travelodge rooms, rough sleeper services in Canterbury district are continuing to operate wherever possible. Catching Lives, although now unable to run their normal day centre, is operating a food service from a hatch at the front of their building next to Canterbury East railway station, serving breakfast between 9.30am and 10.30am and lunch from midday to 1pm.

Catching Lives is also offering a limited service for those who need to access their showers and laundry facilities.

Porchlight continues to run their local supported accommodation which includes a number of emergency bedspaces used by our rough sleeper initiative team.

And community outreach work goes on, with all agencies ensuring they are in regular contact with homeless people on the phone and providing assistance where needed. Phones and power banks are available from Catching Lives.

Donations of food, drink and other essentials are also coming in from local residents and businesses, including Waitrose, who provided a very generous supply of food.

Cllr Baker added: "This is our district in a nutshell - the community coming together to support people who really need our help. It's fantastic to see and we send our grateful thanks to everybody who is playing their part during this crisis."

--------------------

Thursday 26 March - 11am

In line with government advice, all play areas across the district are closed until further notice.

We will be adding signage and locking play areas where possible, but please follow the advice and do not use them.

-------------------

Thursday 26 March - 9am

Closure of our Military Road office

We have now closed our office in Military Road to the public for the foreseeable future, but are still here to help those who need us.

Our vital homelessness service is still continuing over the telephone. Anybody who needs to make a new application for homelessness assistance should register their details on our website and we will call them back.

Alternatively, call the homelessness team on 0808 196 8140. Any rough sleepers who do not have access to a telephone to contact us should go to Catching Lives (next to Canterbury East railway station), where phones and power banks are being handed out. People can also use public phones and as this is a freephone number you will not be charged for the call. Outreach services are also continuing.

Anyone who wants to enquire about an existing application, or needs to send us information about their application, should email us at [email protected].

For all our other services, we continue to be available on our website and on the phone - we're here and working and want to help you.

Yesterday saw us receive a high number of calls relating to council tax, benefits and business rates.

The information that many people are asking for is already available on our website, where we have dedicated pages for our service updates and information for residents and businesses. These are being regularly updated.

If you have a specific query that is not dealt with on the website, we'll be happy to try and answer it and will be doing our very best to get to you on the phone lines as quickly as we can. The number is 01227 862000.

Thank you for your ongoing patience in these difficult times.

--------------------

Wednesday 25 March - 10am

Public toilet closures

We have today closed half of our public toilets in the district for the foreseeable future. This leaves 14 still open.

See the full list.

This is to strike a balance between the safety of the staff who have to maintain them, and our desire to keep facilities open where we can.

However, as the situation develops, we may have to review this list.

--------------------

Tuesday 24 March - 1pm

Park and ride update

From tomorrow (Wednesday 25 March), we will only operate park and ride services from New Dover Road.

There will be no services at all from Wincheap and Sturry Road.

The New Dover Road route will run as normal, but the terminal building will remain closed.

Motorhome facilities at New Dover Road will be closed to prevent customers self-isolating in the parking bays.

--------------------

Tuesday 24 March - 11am

Kent County Council has announced they have closed all household waste recycling centres (the tips) in the county.

Go to KCC's website for all their service updates.

--------------------

Monday 23 March - 10am

Our new-look website is up and running this morning.

It has the current status of our essential services, plus the latest information for residents and businesses - including all the help and support that's on offer.

--------------------

Friday 20 March - 4pm

Garden waste collections suspended

From next week (w/c 23 March), all garden waste collections will be suspended for the foreseeable future.

Serco's crews have been severely reduced due to illness and self-isolation. There are just not enough people to carry out the garden waste service and the focus must be on other types of collections - food waste, black bins and purple sacks.

We will endeavour to get to as many garden bins as possible, including collecting tomorrow (Saturday), but we cannot guarantee every bin will be emptied.

Regrettably, if your garden bin has not been done by the end of Saturday, it will not be done and you will need to make your own arrangements to empty it.

Weekly food waste collections will remain in place.

As the situation continues, we will keep service levels under review and do not rule out further changes to other collections in the weeks ahead.

Our plans to introduce a charge for garden waste collections are also now under review in light of the suspension of the service.

We apologise for the undoubted inconvenience and issues this suspension will cause. It is not a decision we have taken lightly but these are extraordinary and very difficult times and sadly we have had no choice.

--------------------

Friday 20 March - 10am

Earlier this week, the Chancellor set out a package to help support businesses who pay business rates through the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

We are expecting to have more information on this soon and will be updating our website with details as and when we have them.

--------------------

Thursday 19 March - 9am

Regeneration and Property Committee on Thursday 26 March has been cancelled.

--------------------

Wednesday 18 March - 12.30pm

The Sunday boot fair at the Wincheap park and ride site has been cancelled until further notice.

--------------------

Wednesday 18 March - 11.30am

Joint statement from Canterbury City Council, Catching Lives and Porchlight - support for rough sleepers

With regard to the current public health situation we, the organisations who are most involved with helping homeless people, rough sleepers or other groups, would like to let the people of Canterbury district know what we are doing to support our clients and what we would like you to do.

What we are doing:

  • Rough sleeper services - we are endeavouring to continue rough sleeper services at current levels. Should for any reason that become impossible, then a basic service of food and warm clothing will be made available by Catching Lives
  • Our outreach teams will continue to support rough sleepers 
  • Canterbury City Council's housing solutions team will continue to provide support to those who find themselves homeless or threatened with homelessness. Advice and assistance is available on the council's website
  • We continue to monitor the guidance being issued by the government with regards to supporting rough sleepers and are also following guidance being issued by Homelessness Link

If the situation changes we will endeavour to continue supporting our clients in as full a way as is possible.

Homeless people are most at risk of COVID-19 infection from inadvertent contact with people who are not homeless. We appreciate that members of the public would like to carry on helping homeless people, so in order to do so safely and to minimise the risks to everybody, we are advising the public in the following ways:

  • If you see a homeless person who is extremely unwell, please call 999 for emergency assistance
  • If the person is suffering from a persistent dry cough, please do encourage them to call 111 for medical advice
  • If you meet a homeless person, please call 0800 5677 699 or 0300 500 0914 and let us know  
  • If you would like to donate money, food or clothing to a rough sleeper, please ensure that any food stuffs/drinks are fresh and sealed. Remember that cash is a known vector for cross contamination, so please think carefully and ensure your hands are clean before passing money. If you prefer, there are charities supporting homeless people where you can give funds in an non contact format

More generally please keep a respectful distance from homeless people, but do continue to stop and have a conversation. Social contact and mutual support is important and if due consideration is given to prevention measures, all of our community can stay safe, together. 

--------------------

Tuesday 17 March - 5pm

An update on cancelled committee meetings - the following will not be taking place:

Herne Bay Forum - tonight
Whitstable Forum - Wednesday 18 March
Whitstable Harbour Board - Friday 20 March
Rural Forum - Monday 23 March
Joint Transportation Board - Tuesday 24 March
Community Committee - Wednesday 25 March

--------------------

Tuesday 17 March - 12pm 

We are following the latest developments on coronavirus extremely closely and will adhere to the latest advice from Public Health England and the government. Our sole aim is to make sure we deliver the vital services our residents rely on while protecting the welfare of our staff.

We have a wide range of tried-and-tested plans in place to cope with all sorts of disruption from heavy snow to pandemics.

We are also working with those who deliver services on our behalf, such as East Kent Housing and Serco, to make sure they have robust plans in place and are aware of the latest government advice on how to carry out their work safely. 

Tonight's Herne Bay Forum and tomorrow night's Whitstable Forum are cancelled. These are advisory meetings. The Beaney and the Roman Museum are now both closed.

Given that councils deliver an enormous range of services, it's inevitable that people will have all sorts of questions. Right now, we may not have all the answers, but we're systematically working our way through any problems Coronavirus presents us with. 

As the situation progresses, we will keep residents up to date via this page and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

You can keep up to date with the latest information on coronavirus on GOV.UK or visit NHS UK for advice and information.

Published: 17th March 2020