COVID-19: Service Update

Full details of current restrictions can be found at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you 

New restrictions will come into force from 27 November 2020 - find out what they mean for you and what they mean for business at this link: Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions from 27 November 2020

The Executive has agreed to introduce a two week circuit breaker from 27 November 2020 to slow the spread of #COVID19 in the community and protect the health service.
More information at Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations guidance: restrictions from 27 November 2020 | nidirect

Graphic summarising the NI Executive restrictions to be introduced 27 November until 11 December 2020

Executive tightens restrictions to curb COVID-19
Date published: 14 October 2020

The Executive has agreed a range of significant time-bound interventions to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland. In addition to current household restrictions, the measures detailed in the below graphic will come into regulatory effect on Friday 16 October and will be in place for a period of four weeks:

Graphic chowing the NI Executive COVID restrictions for Northern Ireland announced on 14 October 2020

Further updates: https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/news/executive-tightens-restrictions-curb-covid-19

Localised Restrictions

Local Restrictions were extended across Northern Ireland from 6pm on 22 September.

Yell background including black text stating current local restriction information

Please familiarise yourself with the latest announcement from the Northern Ireland Executive and what it means for you. The restrictions mainly relate to household gatherings: 

  • No mixing of households in private dwellings, exemptions apply
  • No more than six people to gather in a private garden from no more than two households 

Read the full details at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you#toc-1

We all have a responsibility to help ease COVID-19 cases and keep our Borough safe.

Please see below drop down menu for more information about current service provision and access to Council sites/facilities.

Information about council services during the COVID19 pandemic

Summary of Council Services during restrictions 27 November to 11 December 2020

The NI Executive has announced that new restrictions will come into effect across Northern Ireland from 00.01 on Friday 27 November. This will result in some changes to our services and facilities.

The following facilities will remain open:

  • Parks
  • Playgrounds
  • Household Recycling Centres
  • Cemeteries
  • Public Toilets

Refuse collections, environmental health services, registration services and business support services will also continue as normal.

The following facilities will be closed from Friday 27 November for a period of 2 weeks (subject to NI Executive review):

  • Leisure centres (including pools and gyms)
  • Pitches and games areas
  • Visitor Information Centres
  • Ards Arts Centre
  • North Down Museum
  • Community centres (except for childcare provision)
  • Exploris
  • Pickie Fun Park
     
Accessing Council Services

We are very aware of the ongoing concerns around coronavirus (Covid-19) and will continue to communicate any changes to service provision as necessary. 

Please take time to look at our website for the answer to your query.

If you need further assistance, please direct your query to enquiries@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk and someone will respond as soon as possible.

You can contact the main Council switchboard on 0300 013 3333 but we would ask, where possible, you use email in the first instance, in order to keep phonelines clear for our more vulnerable residents to contact us by telephone.

The health and safety of customers and employees is our number one priority.  We recognise the important role that both our teams and our customers have in keeping healthy.   

We would ask: 

  • Please do not come to any Council facilities if you are unwell (symptoms including shortness of breath, a new persistent cough, sore throat, or fever (temperature above 38˚C)). 
  • Keep your hands clean, wash regularly and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water 
  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch all coughs and sneezes and then bin the tissue – then wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser 

We ask anyone who is concerned that they may have encountered the virus to follow the Government advice and self-isolate in the first instance. You can find the latest advice for Northern Ireland on the Public Health Agency website https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/

Business Continuity Plan

We continue to work on our business continuity plan to help us provide services to residents in our Borough during these difficult times. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we adapt our services in light of the pandemic.

Please be aware that all services are kept under active review and changes may be made at short notice if required operationally or in response to updated guidance received from the NI Executive. As much as possible, we will keep you updated on this website and on our social media channels:

https://www.facebook.com/ArdsandNorthDownBoroughCouncil/

https://twitter.com/ANDborough

The following Council facilities continue to remain closed to the public until further notice:

  • Arts Centre, Newtownards
  • Community Centres / Halls 
  • Council Offices
  • Environmental Resource Centre, Bangor
  • North Down Museum
  • North Road Depot, Newtownards
  • Signal Centre
  • Town Hall Bangor
  • Visitor Information Centres 

Please note, all cash handling will cease and any transactions must be carried out electronically via phone or post until further notification.

Ards Arts Centre

In line with the NI Executive Regulations, Ards Arts Centre will remain closed from 27 November 2020 (subject to review).  

Please check back for further updates.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Bin Collections and Bulky Collection

Currently household collections of bins is continuing as planned. Changes to the bin collection rota may become necessary depending upon staff availability. 

With many people still working from home we are aware that there are likely to be more cars parked in and around all our residential streets. Please park as responsibly as possible to allow our vehicles to access your streets and help us deliver this important front line service.

Any changes to these service arrangements will be communicated via the council website, Facebook and Twitter. Please download the Binovation app to check how to correctly sort/recycle your waste.

Please read instructions re: waste disposal and cleaning guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) here

The bulky waste collection has now resumed - for more information visit www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/bins-and-recycling/special-collections

Building Control and Planning Services

Building Control

Building Control applications are still being received, processed and assessed. There is currently no public access to the Council buildings so please contact the team by telephone at 028 9127 8015 or via email buildingcontrol@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

All inspections should be requested as normal, although only open air external and completions of new build unoccupied buildings will be able to be carried out physically.

Other inspections can be facilitated by your providing of photographs at that time for assessment and comment by the officer to the email address above.

For more information please visit www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/building-control/building-control-service-delivery-during-the-covid19-outbreak

Planning Service

The Planning Office remains closed to the public until further notice. However, planning services continue to operate in terms of application submissions, and processing and issuing. 

We cannot, however, at present facilitate any office-based duty planner appointments, file viewings, or register viewings.  Should you require assistance, please email: planning@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

Telephone: 028 9182 4006 between 9am and 3pm and staff will endeavour to assist you with your query as far as practicable.

For more information please visit https://www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/planning

Burials and Cemetery Information

To protect the integrity of the burial service during the pandemic, we have implemented a number of measures.

These include: 
- restricting the number people attending funeral grave side services to 25 mourners only (From 16 October 2020 in line with NI Executive guidance)
- ensuring ‘social distancing’ measures of two metres in line with public health advice.
- limiting the duration of grave side services to 15 minutes.

We recommend not to shake hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19. We are aware that shaking hands is a widely accepted practice however, by avoiding unnecessary contact we can, collectively, do our best to reduce the spread of this virus. 

To protect our cemetery staff, additional protective equipment has been issued. This includes face masks, glasses and gloves.  

Cemeteries

Following the decision by the NI Executive (24 April), cemeteries across Ards and North Down reopened on 25 April at 1pm. 

From 1 August, cemeteries will be open from 8am – 9pm.

Cemetery opening hours vary throughout the year as below: any changes to these times will be communicated via our website and social media channels. 

November to February: 9am - 4pm
March & October: 9am - 6pm
April & September:8am – 8pm
May to August: 8am – 9pm

Please adhere to social distancing measures when visiting the cemetery. No use of cemeteries for reasons of exercise please.

Please do not attend any of the cemeteries if you are displaying any of the symptoms of Covid19: please follow Public Health Agency advice, remain in your home and book a test.

Business support

Business helpline 028 9147 3788

Email: signaladmin@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

Website www.andbusiness.co.uk

Council officers are on hand to  assist  businesses in the borough requiring help and guidance on support options that may be applicable and signposting to relevant Covid-19 information. 

Helpline and email hours:  9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) 

Please also take a look at our Environmental Health Link below for the latest health and safety advice in for businesses.   

www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/business/environmental-health/health-and-safety-for-businesses-during-the-coronavirus-covid19-outbreak

Committee and Council Meetings

All Standing Committee (excluding Planning) and Council meetings were cancelled during the lockdown period from 23 March until the end of May 2020.

From 1 June, Council and Committee meetings are being held virtually, and an updated timetable of scheduled meetings can be found at: www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/about-the-council/committee-and-council-meetings

Community Centres and Halls

Update 27 November 2020

Community centres (except for childcare provision)will be closed from Friday 27 November for a period of 2 weeks (subject to NI Executive review):

Our community centres/ halls reopened on 5 October.  

Update 19 October 2020

Community centres will remain open under certain restrictions and with risk assessments/ controls in place. No more than 15 people per booking except for the agreed exemptions – childcare/ worship/ use by the health service. No prohibited activity e.g. indoor sports, exercises classes
Community Halls staff are contacting users to discuss the restrictions.
 

Community Support

Our teams worked with a number of community support services to ensure the vulnerable within our communities were supported during the difficult days of the lockdown.

A Directory of Services was set up to assist people in accessing the help they needed in getting food and medicine: www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/about-the-council/directory-of-services

Council staff also assisted with the delivery of weekly food boxes to the most vulnerable under the Department for Communities food parcel scheme.
 

Environmental Health
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Powers

From 2nd June enforcement of Regulations 3 and 4 will be shared between the District Councils and PSNI. Advice is available on our page below:

https://www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/environmental-health/coronavirus-covid-19-emergency-powers

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Complaints

If you have concerns or information about COVID-19 NI Executive Regulations not being adhered to, see our information page below:

https://www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/environmental-health/coronavirus-covid-19-complaints

  • Health and Safety for Businesses during the Coronavirus/COVID19 Outbreak

Risk Assessments

If you employ people then you should review your risk assessments based on the most up to date information provided by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and take appropriate action.

To help your business work through this follow the link to our advice page below:

Risk Assessment Advice for Businesses during C-19

Remember: a risk assessment is only effective if you and your staff act on it. You must follow through with any actions required and review it on a regular basis.

 

Advice for Temporary Food Delivery or Collection Services 

We are aware that several small catering businesses across the borough have started offering delivery services in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

To help your business do this safely and successfully please follow the link to our advice page.  

Advice for Food Businesses

Please contact the Environmental Health team if you have any questions: 

E: foodenquiries@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk  

Please include a phone number so that a member of the team can give you a call back. 

Health Guidance

Please follow the current public health guidance on the Public Health Agency Website: https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/

Please continue to look out for family, friends and neighbours who are vulnerable.

Home visits

Only home visits deemed essential will be carried out and remain subject to a pre-screening phone call in relation to householders in the home.

Household Recycling Centres - currently open

All household recycling centres in Ards and North Down were closed on 24 March in order to comply with government regulations on non-essential travel.

Ards and North Down Borough Council reopened its three largest household recycling centres on Monday 18 May 2020, with additional sites reopening on a phased basis: Holywood on 11 June and Kircubbin 15 June. Remaining sites reopened from 1 July onwards. 

For current opening hours please visit www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/HRCUpdates

Updated hours of operation from Tuesday 1st September 2020

Ballygowan, Comber, Donaghadee, Millisle, Newtownards, Kircubbin and Portaferry Household Recycling Centres will be open:

  • Monday to Friday from 8am to 4.45pm 
  • Saturday from 8am to 4.15pm
  • Sunday: Closed 

Holywood Household Recycling Centre will be open:

  • Monday to Wednesday from 8am to 4.45pm
  • Thursday: Closed 
  • Friday and Saturday from 8am to 4.45pm
  • Sunday from 10am to 3.45pm

Balloo (Bangor) Household Recycling Centre will be open: 

  • Monday to Friday from 8am to 4.45pm
  • Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4.45pm

From Tuesday 1st September, booking is no longer required at any of the Household Recycling Centres. 

Housing Guidance (Private Rented Landlords and Tenants)

The Private Tenancies (Coronavirus Modifications) Act (NI) 2020 has been given Royal Assent and is now law. The Department for Communities has published guidance for this Act to give advice to landlords and tenants during this emergency period. The Act applies from 5 May and requires private landlords to give 12 weeks notice to quit to tenants during the emergency period.

Download the guidance document to read more.

Leisure Facilities

Update 27 November 2020

Leisure centres (including pools and gyms) will be closed from Friday 27 November for a period of 2 weeks (subject to NI Executive review).

Pitches and games areas will also close.

You can find the latest updates and information on the Leisure website and Facebook page 

The Exercise at Home classes that were produced during lockdown are still available for you to enjoy at home: find them at https://www.leisureardsandnorthdown.com/eah

Licensing

Licensing Services offices are providing a reduced service and the office is closed to the public.

If you are enquiring about the renewal of a licence please email: licensing@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk

Licensees should be aware that if their current licence (Entertainment, Marriage Place Approval or Street Trading) is due for renewal they must complete the application form that has been sent to them and return it either by post or email before the expiry date of their current licence. This will ensure that they will be able to continue to provide activities covered by their licence once they begin to reopen their businesses.

The Council will contact the applicant when the fee and test certification is required to complete the application.

We will keep you informed as the situation changes.

North Down Museum

In line with the NI Executive Regulations North Down Museum is currently closed (subject to review).

Please check back for further updates.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.  

Parks and Playparks

Our parks remain open to allow people to take daily exercise locally.  

Please be responsible if enjoying our beautiful parks and open spaces:

  • Keep your distance from others
  • Maintain good hand hygiene
  • If bins are full, take your litter home and recycle it appropriately
  • Be considerate of others and #ShareTheSpace
  • Keep dogs under control

Following Northern Ireland Executive guidance, all 68 play parks across the Borough reopened10 July on a pre-covid basis with a focus on user self-regulation. That means parents and guardians are required to take responsibility for social distancing and appropriate supervision.

Reopening has been subject to risk assessments carried out in accordance with the HSE NI recommendations contained in the document “Promoting a Balanced Approach to Children’s Play and Leisure”.

In anticipation of reopening, Council officers worked with PlayBoard NI to develop guidance for parents to enable facilities to reopen. As a result, a range of measures aimed at minimising the risk of infection have been agreed and parents and children visiting play parks are asked to adhere to the following guidance:

1. Closed Play Parks

If the play park you wish to use has not yet been officially reopened, please do no attempt to use or access the equipment

2. Secured equipment

In some cases, pieces of play equipment may have been secured to prevent their use on safety grounds. If an item has been secured to prevent use do not attempt to remove temporary barriers or use the equipment

3. Social Distancing

When visiting a play park make sure that you follow current government guidance on social distancing, encourage and support your children to do the same and keep a safe distance from others not in your household/social bubble

4. Busy Play Parks

If the play park is busy, consider coming back at a later time and let your child know in advance that this may be a possibility to avoid disappointment

5. Hand Washing

Wash your hands and your children’s hand’s before and after visiting the play park. Take hand sanitiser with you and ensure you and your child use it frequently whilst in the play park

6. Waste Management

Make sure that any disposable tissues, PPE equipment etc. is disposed of in the litter bins provided or, if one is not available take it home for disposal

7. Be Sensible

If you or anyone in your household are showing any Coronavirus symptoms, stay home and do not visit the play park. 

Registrations of births, deaths and marriages

Registration of Births - UPDATE 1.6.2020

Registration services have put in place measures for recommencing the registration of births in the Town Hall, Bangor, by appointment only from 3 June 2020.

Please do not ring for an appointment to register your baby. The Registrar will contact you. Please:

1. Download, complete and sign the Registration of Birth Form, available from NI Direct.
2. E-mail the form to registration1@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk.
3. Once your completed form has been received, we will contact you to arrange an appointment.

Due to COVID-19 we have a large volume of births to register, therefore we are giving priority to parents who live within the district of Ards and North Down.

During this exceptional period, parents will not be penalised if the birth has not been registered within the required 42 day period. Parents can continue to enrol their child at a GP Practice. They will be required to supply the following information when they contact the Surgery;

* Child’s Health & Care Number (Issued by the hospital at birth)

* Full Name the child is to be registered as

* Home Address the child will be residing at

Child Benefit

Your midwife will provide you with Form CHS1 when your baby is born.  If you have been unable to register your child’s birth due to Coronavirus and wish to claim child benefit,  please submit Form CHS1 along with your child benefit application form to the Child Benefit Office.  Please retain a copy of this form as it will be required when you register your baby.

Marriages and Civil Partnerships

Registration will be taking new bookings for civil ceremonies taking place in 2021 from Monday 2nd November.  Contact our office to check available dates and to make a provisional booking.  Please note that ceremonies are likely to be subject to restrictions from the Northern Ireland Office for the foreseeable future.  We would also ask you to bear in mind that, in line with current health and safety advice, Bangor Castle is restricted to a maximum of 20, which includes the wedding party, guests, photographer etc. 

To cancel or postpone your wedding please email registration1@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk with your name, mobile number and date and place of marriage and we will respond to you in due course.

New applications for Religious or Humanist marriages will only be accepted by post.  We are happy to accept photocopies of passports and other legal documents on the proviso that the originals are seen when collecting the Marriage Schedule.  We will contact you to pay the £44 fee over the phone, so please be sure to provide your phone number.

Death Registrations

The doctor will send the death certificate by email to the General Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will then contact the next of kin or their funeral director and the death will be registered by phone. There will be no need to attend your local Registrar's office. If you have any issues please contact your undertaker or the Registrar on 028 9127 8003.