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Guidance for Lewisham residents: frequently asked questions about COVID-19

General guidance for the Lewisham community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This page was last updated on 1 June.

Covid-19 and lockdown rules

Can I leave the house?

From 1 June 2020 up to six people can meet up, exercise or play sport together outside. This includes in gardens.

You must still follow social distancing guidelines and keep two metres apart.

Can I get COVID-19 from my post?

After handling your post, you should clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose. The outer packaging/envelope can be disposed of in the normal way.

Can I move house?

Where possible you should not move house during the COVID-19 outbreak. You should only move if it is unavoidable for contractual reasons and you cannot reach an agreement to delay. During the move, you must follow social distancing measures at all times. More information on moving house during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the Government’s website.

Volunteering and key workers

How can I volunteer to help?

If you want to volunteer to help vulnerable people, visit the Lewisham Local website or call 0333 015 0378.

To volunteer with the NHS, apply on the GoodSam app.

Find a mutual aid group in Lewisham that you can help out with.

Am I a key worker?

Key workers include a wide range of workers who are critical to the COVID-19 response. Read the Government’s list of key workers.

If you think you are a key worker, you should confirm this with your employer.

I am a key worker. Can I get a temporary parking permit during this time?

We are providing free temporary parking permits for key workers during this difficult period.

Key worker permits are valid until 22 August 2020.

Key workers are those who have been identified as such by the Government.  You can find a full list of key workers on the GOV.UK website.

Valid forms of ID which are accepted as proof of key worker status are:

  • a letter or email from their employer 
  • a valid work permit.

Learn more or apply for a free temporary parking permit.


Help and support

I live on my own and have no family or friends to support me. What help is available?

The Government is providing direct support (e.g. deliveries of food and other essential supplies) to people who have a medical condition that makes them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

If you are in this category you should have received a letter or been contacted by your GP, for further guidance on who is included in the extremely vulnerable category please see here

If you are in this category, you can register for support as extremely vulnerable on GOV.UK (or ask a friend/family member to register on your behalf).

If you need support (including food deliveries), but are not classed as extremely vulnerable, you should:

Alternatively, you can contact your local mutual aid group for support.

For urgent support outside of office hours call 0208 314 6000.

What support is there for people experiencing domestic abuse?

If you are experiencing, or at risk of, domestic abuse you do not have to stay at home.

If you are in immediate danger

If you are in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the police.

If you are in immediate danger and can't talk, dial 999 and press 55. A police officer will help you without you needing to speak.

Help and support for people experiencing domestic abuse

See what help and support is available if you are experiencing domestic abuse.

Can I use my taxicard to get supplies?

If you have mobility issues and are a member of the Taxicard scheme you can make a request for a Taxicard driver to pick up and deliver essential supplies for you. Your friends and family can also use your Taxicard to pick up and deliver essential supplies.

Read more about how you can use Taxicard during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Support for non-UK nationals and speakers of other languages

How does COVID-19 affect me as a non-UK national?

The Mayor of London has a guide for non-UK nationals about COVID-19. This guide covers access to healthcare, the EU Settlement Scheme and guides in different languages.

Where can I find COVID-19 advice in other languages and in easy read format?

Support for parents

I am a parent. Where can I find the latest and information on schools and activities during this time? 

Please keep in contact with your schools for the latest information. Read the latest information about school closures.

Read the latest information for families and resources for keeping your child engaged and learning.

Read the latest guidance about free school meals.

Financial and housing support

Can I get help with my council tax or housing benefit costs?

We run a council tax reduction scheme to support people on low incomes. Find out more about support, reductions and how to apply.

Can I get a one-off payment to buy essentials?

Yes you can apply for the Emergency Hardship Fund. This fund may be able to help you get a one-off payment to help you buy essential food and fuel. Read more details and find out whether you are eligible.

What financial support is available for those who have lost their jobs, had their hours reduced or are self employed? 

If you are on a low or reduced income due to Covid-19 you may be able to claim universal credit.

Universal Credit budgeting advance

If you are receiving Universal Credit and need help with emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker or funeral costs you may be able to apply for budgeting advance loan. This loan would have to be repaid via your regular Universal Credit payments, meaning that your payments will be lower until the loan is repaid.

Read more about the budgeting advance loan.

Budgeting loan

If you receive:

  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Employment Support Allowance

you may be eligible for a budgeting loan to help with key costs such as household items, funeral costs or costs linked with getting a new job. This loan will have to be repaid and the repayments will be taken automatically from your benefits, meaning they will be lower until the loan is repaid.

Read more about the budgeting loan.

I am homeless or about to be made homeless. What should I do?

You should try to make your own arrangements first. If you can’t then you should contact the housing enquiry line (there is currently no face-to-face service at Laurence House). We will do an assessment to understand your situation. Then we will decide what (if any) assistance we can offer.

Our focus is on supporting vulnerable residents who have been identified by the Government as most at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. This includes cases where there are serious safeguarding concerns and/or individuals are fleeing violence.

Housing enquiry line

Telephone: 020 8314 7007
Email: housingoptionsenquiry@lewisham.gov.uk (for families) or ship@lewisham.gov.uk (for single people)

What support is available for rough sleepers?

We are working with central and London government as well as the local voluntary sector to ensure that every rough sleeper is moved into safe accommodation.

As a result, the No Second Night Out (NSNO) hub and the night shelters run by the 999 Club and Deptford Reach Shelter have been transferred.

Outreach teams and our Rapid Rehousing Team continue to operate as normal to identify any rough sleepers who have not yet been moved to safe accommodation.

If you find someone sleeping rough let StreetLink know. They will connect the individual with services, accommodation and support in their local area.

How can I top up my pre-payment meter if I am self isolating?

Contact your energy provider to talk about the options if you are unable to top up your meter.

Your credit meter will not be disconnected if you are unable to top it up.

Find contact details for major energy providers or get advice about topping up your meter.

Do I need to attend the Jobcentre Plus?

All JobcentrePlus sites are temporarily closed, except for extreme cases (e.g. to support homeless people).

There will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits (including Universal Credit, Employment & Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance) for three months.

Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been stopped for the next three months, including for new claims.

Jobcentre Plus

Telephone: 020 8465 2715 (Forest Hill – emergency only) / 020 8271 5115 (Bromley – emergency only)

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

DWP website.

I am a local business owner. Where can I find information and advice about government support? 

Parking

Why has there been a price increase for parking permits?

Following an in-depth review in 2019, a new parking policy was introduced from 1 April 2020. The aim of the policy is to help reduce green-house gas emissions and improve air quality in Lewisham. The policy includes changes to the price of parking permits, including the introduction of emissions-based charging. Read more about the changes to parking permits here.

How has parking enforcement changed?

For everyone except key workers, our parking charges resume on 1 June 2020.

We will place warnings on vehicles parked in Pay and Display, and controlled parking zones (CPZ) without a valid permit from 26 May.

From 26 May to 1 June, vehicles which are parked in contravention to the Traffic Management Act 2004/Road Traffic Act 1991 may be issued with a warning notice.

From 1 June, vehicles which are parked in contravention to the parking regulations may be issued with a penalty charge notice.

Vehicles parked in controlled parking zones (CPZs) and Pay and Display bays should have a valid permit/ paid session. From 1 June, they may receive a penalty charge notice if they do not.

I am a key worker. Can I get a temporary parking permit during this time?

We are providing free temporary parking permits for key workers during this difficult period.

Key worker permits are valid until 22 August 2020.

Key workers are those who have been identified as such by the Government.  You can find a full list of key workers on the GOV.UK website.

Valid forms of ID which are accepted as proof of key worker status are:

  • a letter or email from their employer 
  • a valid work permit.

Learn more or apply for a free temporary parking permit.


Home maintenance and noise

Can I still have building work done on my house?

Only essential repairs and maintenance can be carried out during this time. Social distancing must be observed. For example, staying two metres apart and ensuring that any work takes place in a well ventilated space.

If a household is isolating or someone is being shielded, no work should take place unless there is a risk to the safety of the house. For example, emergency plumbing.

Can I carry out work to a tree on private land within a Conservation Area or to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order?

We are unable to accept any new tree work applications except for applications made under the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation)(England) Regulations 2012 in relation
to dead and dangerous trees, i.e;

  • cutting down a tree when the whole tree presents an urgent and serious safety risk or
  • pruning part of a tree that presents an urgent and serious safety risk.

These applications are known as five day notices.

Please be aware that it is a criminal offence to carry out works to a tree within a conservation area or to a tree covered by a TPO without permission.

We are unable to undertake site visits, so please email five day notices with sufficient supporting information and photographs to planning@lewisham.gov.uk.

Is there any advice about noise disturbances?

Please think about how noise from your home could cause problems and upset to your neighbours. Please also be more patient with noise and activity that you don’t usually hear.

Parties

You should not be socialising with anyone who you don't live with. This also applies in any outdoor areas.

Any complaint concerning noise from a party or a social gathering will be investigated.

If you have an online party in your home, please keep the volume down and avoid doing it late at night.

DIY

Long periods of drilling, sawing or hammering will disturb your neighbours.

If you can do so whilst maintaining a two meter social distance, talk to your neighbours about the works you want to do. You should be prepared to compromise

Don't do this noisy work in the evening or early in the morning, particularly at the weekend. This is unless it is an emergency.

Report noise disturbances

You can report a noise disturbance here.

Parks, libraries and leisure centres

Are parks still open?

People can continue to visit our parks. If you are using the park you must be socially distancing, keeping two meters apart.

We have begun a phased reopening of sporting and outdoor facilities, starting with tennis and basketball courts. We will keep this process under review to ensure that you are safe and social distancing measures are being followed.

There will be teams reporting any anti-social behaviour or social gatherings to local Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Contact Glendale, who manage our parks, for more information.

Can I still visit the leisure centre?

All leisure centres in Lewisham are now closed.

Can I visit the library?


All libraries in Lewisham are now closed. But you can borrow new books via the e-library. Read information about library closures.

Rubbish and recycling

Is the reuse and recycling centre on Landmann Way open?

Landmann Way is open to Lewisham residents. You must book a slot to visit and strict social distancing rules apply. Find full details about how to book a slot and what you can recycle on our website.

I have COVID-19 symptoms, how should I get rid of my rubbish?

Please ensure you double bag your personal waste (e.g. used tissues, cleaning cloths, wipes and nappies) and keep it somewhere safe for 72 hours before putting it out for collection.

I’ve ordered a new food waste/recycling bin. Will these still be delivered?

It will take longer than normal to deliver new food waste and recycling bins. We are sorry for the inconvenience. We expect that it will take 6-8 weeks to deliver food waste bins and 4-6 weeks for recycling bins. 

What is happening with our waste and recycling?

Our refuse and recycling is currently operating normally. However, our refuse and recycling centre on Landmann Way is now closed. This may be subject to change so please check our rubbish and recycling webpage regularly.

Can I have a bonfire in my garden?

Please do not to light bonfires during the COVID-19 outbreak as the effects are likely to be more serious at this time:

  • COVID-19 can cause serious respiratory problems in some people which may be aggravated by the smoke from bonfires.
  • People are confined to their home and unable to escape unpleasant fumes.
  • Bonfires can become out-of-control or cause accidents, putting additional pressure on the emergency services.

We know that the closure of our reuse and recycling centre (Landmann Way) could create a storage issue for you. You should compost your garden waste where possible and bag up rubbish for disposal at a later date.

We will take enforcement action against any persistent offenders where bonfires impact neighbours.

I want to do a big clear out. Can I arrange for large items to be taken away?

We ask residents to not do big clear outs at the moment as they will create more rubbish recycling for our crews to collect.

We have currently suspended our collection of large items. 

Death and registration services

How are registration services affected?

Lewisham register office is now closed, but you can book an appointment to register a death over the phone. If you have a registration booked, you will be contacted to advise how you can reschedule your ceremony. You can still claim child benefit or universal credit without registering the birth of your child.

How can I register a death?

You can book an appointment to register a death over the phone. It remains a legal requirement that deaths are registered as soon as possible and within five days. Do not visit register offices in person.

Are cemeteries and crematoriums still open?

Our cemeteries are open from 9am–5pm at weekends for those who want to visit a grave or memorial.

From Monday–Fridays our cemeteries and crematorium are only open for those attending burial and cremation services.

We ask for everyone’s respect during these difficult times as our team works hard to follow the government guidance and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

The decision to reopen to visitors at the weekend will be kept under review for the safety of everyone involved.

Read more about changes to cemeteries and crematoriums.

Can I still attend a funeral?

There have been changes to how funerals can be held due to the risk of infection. See guidance on our website.

Mental health

How can I look after my mental health?

Below are some tips to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Continue to connect with others (e.g. via telephone, video calls or social media).
  • Help and support others.
  • Talk about your worries.
  • Look after your physical wellbeing.
  • Manage your media and information intake.
  • Establish a daily routine.
  • Keep your mind active.

Find more information and resources to look after your mental health here.