Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
For the latest information and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak:
See Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do on GOV.UK for announcements, news and guidance.
See the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK on GOV.UK and find what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus.
See Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information on the Cumbria County Council website for information regarding closure of schools and nurseries to all except essential workforce
Read our action plan statement dated 18 March, 2020 about accessing council services and working practices, implementing business rates holiday and business grants.
What are we doing to help prevent the spread of the disease?
Like many organisations we have put in place our business resilience plan to protect our staff and customers and to ensure essential services continue to run. We are constantly reviewing the situation and may announce further changes in response to guidance from the Government and Public Health England. We will notify you of these changes on this website, and on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.
How you can help us limit the spread of coronavirus
We have temporarily closed the Town Hall and Mansion House in Penrith. Customers are encouraged to make use of the pay, apply and report functions of our website, or to use the customer service telephone number, 01768 817817 if they need to speak with a customer service advisor.
Read more on our contact us page.
What are our staff doing to limit the spread of COVID-19?
In order to protect our staff and members of the public the council is making changes to the way it interacts with partners and customers. We have already postponed all external events organised by the council and recommended that any external staff meetings, or training be conducted remotely, or postponed, if this is not possible. The council is also implementing other changes to its working practices, including:
- Staff working from home where possible.
- Ensuring that staff vulnerable to infection are protected.
- Ensuring good hygiene by encouraging hand washing and clean surfaces.
- Closing Penrith Museum and Tourist Information Centre to the public, although telephone and email enquiries are still being answered.
- Protecting yourself and others from infection
Police and enforcement powers
The government has strengthened police enforcement powers in England to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
If members of the public do not comply the police may:
- Instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse
- Ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
- Issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
- Issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines. If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary.
However, in the first instance the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.
Read more on the announcement at www.gov.uk
Prevention is always better than cure
As with the flu virus, the most effective way for people to protect themselves from COVID-19 is to adopt good respiratory and hand hygiene to prevent the risk of infection and a 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach to coughs and sneezes.
Here’s the official NHS advice for preventing the spread of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds.
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work.
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus.
- Only travel on public transport if you need to.
- Work from home, if you can.
- Avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas.
- Avoid events with large groups of people
- Use phone and online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services.
Read start using online service on the NHS website for anyone registered with a GP surgery.
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- Have visitors to your home, including friends and family
Preparing household waste for collection
Households where there is a confirmed, or suspected COVID-19 infection, should:
- Place all waste in a peddle bin liner or other rubbish bag and tie or knot the top of the bag when full.
- Place pedal bin liners or other rubbish bag in blue refuse bag, so waste is double bagged, and tie blue refuse bag in a double knot.
- Store full tied blue refuse bags in a secure location and mark for storage for at least 72 hours.
- After 72 hours the double knotted blue refuse bags can go out on your next collection day.
Waste should be stored safely and kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until negative test results are known, or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.
If a test for suspected COVID-19 is negative, waste can be treated in the normal way.
If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate or possible, you should call our contact centre on 01768 817817 and they will be able to advise you on how to arrange a Category B infectious waste collection by a specialist clinical waste contractor.
Our waste collection contractors will not collect waste placed in untied bin bags. Please ensure all waste is put out in tied bin bags.
Read about the changes we're making to our waste collection services in our media release, dated 25 March 2020.