COVID-19: Service Update

Service update graphic

Community Engagement: Let us know what your community group or organisation is doing to support people in the community - click here.

As we respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), we are streamlining our resources to prioritise delivery of essential services. Please read the Easing of Lockdown Statement in the drop-down list below.

It has been agreed that following facilities will be open for the public:

  • Parks (with the exception of Island Hill, Comber and all play park facilities). When visiting our open spaces for daily exercise, please adhere to current government guidance.
  • Cemeteries - (reopened Saturday 25 April), please see additional information in the drop down list below.
  • Household Recycling Centres at Bangor, Newtownards and Comber (reopened Monday 18 May), please see additional information in the drop down list below. 
  • Harbours and slipways (reopened Wednesday 27 May), please see additional information in the drop down list below.  


The Council has agreed the closure of the following buildings and facilities to the public until further notice:

  • Arts Centre, Newtownards 
  • Community Centres / Halls (including the Queen’s Hall Billiards Club)
  • Council Offices
  • Environmental Resource Centre, Bangor
  • Household Recycling Centres (with the exception of Balloo, Bangor; North Road, Newtownards; and Comber HRCs)
  • North Down Museum
  • North Road Depot, Newtownards
  • Leisure centres
  • Playgrounds (where it is not physically possible to close the playground by locking a gate, signage will be put in place)
  • Public toilets
  • Signal Centre
  • Sports pitches / facilities and pavilions
  • Town Hall Bangor
  • Visitor Information Centres 

We are very much aware of the concerns around coronavirus (Covid-19) and will continue to communicate regularly as the situation develops. 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 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 online here 

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. As much as possible, we will keep you updated on this website and on our social media channels.

Information about provision of services is below.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Information about council services during the COVID19 pandemic

STATEMENT ABOUT EASING OF LOCKDOWN AND REOPENING OF SITES AND FACILITIES (21.05.2020)

The Council is constantly monitoring and reviewing our provision of services as we respond to the challenges created by the pandemic. We are currently receiving a lot of queries about when we will reopen various sites e.g tennis courts, bowling greens etc.  

We are taking guidance from the Northern Ireland Executive and planning how we can reopen facilities in a safe, timely and controlled manner, with the protection of users and our staff foremost in our consideration.  In relation to sports facilities that have recently been approved for reopening by the NI Executive, we are taking on board emerging guidance from relevant governing bodies and Sport NI in order that we might make these sites available as soon as possible, with all necessary additional health and safety measures in place.

Coming out of the lockdown will be a slow process and we ask for your continued patience. 

Please refrain from accessing/attempting to access Council-owned facilities e.g. pitches/courts/playgrounds etc, as these still remain closed. When taking exercise in our parks, please do not gather in mass groups, and continue to observe the #socialdistancing guidance issued by the NI Executive.


Any updates on the reopening of facilities will be shared on our website and on Council social media. 

Thank you and please #StaySafe 

Bin Collections and Bulky Collections

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 now 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.

From Thursday 19 March, bookings for special household collections will no longer be accepted. Existing requests will be honoured as far as possible. 

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

Building Control

Building Control Inspections during the Covid – 19 outbreak.

Please see up to date information here; 
www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/building-control/building-control-service-delivery-during-the-covid19-outbreak

Burials

To protect the integrity of the burial service over the coming weeks and months, we are implementing a number of measures.

These include: 
- restricting the number people attending funeral grave side services to 10 mourners only.
- 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.  

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.   

Car Parks

Car parks at outdoor amenity sites have recently been approved for reopening.  We have taken on board guidance from DAERA and intend to reopen some outdoor amenity site car parks within the Borough on Wednesday 27 May 2020.

We all want to enjoy the outdoors with our families and friends and alongside the Government protocols and public health guidelines, so please STAY LOCAL - STAY APART - STAY SAFE - LOVE THE PLACE.

Sites reopening as follows:

Bangor

• Banks Lane, Bangor
• Eisenhower Pier, Bangor
• Luke’s Point, Bangor
• Quay Street, Bangor
• Queen’s Parade, Bangor

Donaghadee / Groomsport / Holywood

• Donaghadee Seafront car park (at the marina)
• The Commons, Donaghadee
• Groomsport Harbour, Groomsport
• Ballymenoch Park, Holywood
• Seapark, Holywood

Newtownards

• Cunningburn, Newtownards
• Kiltonga Nature Reserve, Newtownards
• Londonderry Park, Newtownards
• Whitespots Country Park, Newtownards

Peninsula

• Harbour Car Park, Ballyhalbert
• Ballyvester
• Springvale Road, Ballywalter
• Main Road, Cloughey
• Kircubbin (near Yacht Club)
• Ballywalter Road, Millisle
• Ballywhiskin, Millisle
• Millisle Beach, Millisle
• Cook Street, Portaferry
• Anchor Car Park, Portavogie
• Portavogie at the Multi-Use Games Area

Cash handling

All cash handling will cease and any transactions must be carried out electronically via phone or post.

Cemeteries

Following the decision by the NI Executive (24 April), cemeteries across Ards and North Down will reopen on 25 April at 1pm.  Please note the following arrangements.

The cemeteries will be open to the public at the following times:

Monday to Friday: 4pm-8pm

Saturday: 1pm to 8pm

Sunday 10am to 8pm

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

**Grass cutting activities only began in our cemeteries after a period of lockdown in the past week.  As such they are not in the condition we strive to maintain during normal circumstances.  Please be patient as our employees work hard to improve the condition of all our cemeteries over the coming week. 

Committee Meetings

All Standing Committee (excluding Planning) and Council meetings are cancelled indefinitely.

Community Centres and Halls

In line with the decision to close Council-owned buildings and facilities in light of the current situation re: COVID19, please note that our community centres are now closed to the public until further notice.

If you currently have a booking with any of our Community Centres, unfortunately this has now been cancelled. Our staff are currently working through the bookings (in date order) and will be in touch with regards to issuing refunds. Thank you for your patience at this time.

Community Support

Our teams are currently working with a number of community support services to ensure the vulnerable within our communities are supported at this time. 

A Directory of Services has been set up and is being updated regularly as we get more information: www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/about-the-council/directory-of-services

Department for Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has announced that a new weekly service will commence which will see 10,000 food boxes being delivered to the most vulnerable in society during the COVID-19 lockdown.

More information can be found at: https://bit.ly/34gJEKb

PLEASE HELP US ENSURE EVERYBODY WHO QUALIFIES FOR THIS ASSISTANCE IS REGISTERED.

Please do not contact Council, but instead:
Telephone: 0808 802 0020 9am-5pm 7 days a week
Email: covid19@adviceni.net
Text: ACTION to 81025
 

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:

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:

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. 

Events

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ards and North Down Borough Council has made the difficult decision to cancel all Council events until 31 August 2020 in line with Government and Public Health Agency advice.

Existing permissions granted to external organisations to hold events on Council land have also been suspended until the end of August - a decision that will be reviewed in May.

The Chief Executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council, Stephen Reid, said:

"All of these decisions have been made in the best interests of public health and wellbeing.  A lot of time, preparation and money goes into organising events so it's particularly important for us to give clear direction as early as possible."

"The decision to suspend land-use permissions already given to organisations will be reviewed in May. If Government guidelines change, particularly in relation to social distancing, Council will reconsider suspended bookings for July and August."

The Council will be focusing its efforts on developing a recovery plan in collaboration with key partners. This plan may include the organisation of a number of smaller events throughout the summer should Government guidelines change. The focus of these will be to help rebuild communities, the economy and the high street.

Harbours

In line with the NI Executive’s announcement last week regarding reopening access to certain outdoor activities, including water sports, the Council’s harbours and slipways will be reopened tomorrow – Wednesday 27 May 2020.

Terms and conditions of use of these facilities associated with the ongoing threat of community spread of Covid-19, will be implemented (please see link below for further information).  

The Council's harbours are: 

Bangor Marina, Groomsport Harbour, Donaghadee Harbour, Ballywalter Harbour, Ballyhalbert Harbour and Cook Street Pier.

Find out more at Harbour Arrangements During Covid-19

Health Guidance

Please follow the current public health guidance on the Public Health Agency Website. Please continue to look out for family, friends and neighbours who are vulnerable.

Home visits

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

Household Recycling Centres

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.

The Northern Ireland Executive updated the Covid-19 regulations on 14 May to include trips to Household Recycling Centres as a reason for essential travel.

In response, Ards and North Down Borough Council will re-open its three largest household recycling centres on Monday 18 May 2020.

Please read the full update here:

www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/HRCUpdates

Housing Guidance (Private Rented Landlords & 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

During the closure of our leisure facilities you can find the latest updates and information on memberships, bookings, swimming lessons and our Exercise at Home programme on the Leisure website and Facebook page 

Licensing

Licensing Services offices are closed until further notice.

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 send an email to the above address before the expiry date of their current licence. This will ensure that they will be able to continue to provide services covered by their licence once this crisis has ended.

All the other licence renewal requirements (fee, advertising, certification and insurance) will not be required at this time but will need to be provided within three months from the end of this crisis.

We will keep you informed as the situation changes.

Parks

Our parks remain open to allow people to take daily exercise locally.  It is very important that everyone observes social distancing guidance when using our parks. A safe distance means staying at least two metres from everyone else in the park.

Car parks have been closed at our parks and playing fields. From Wednesday 27 May, we are planning to reopen these car parks putting in place the necessary arrangements and signage to help with social distancing.

Planning

Due to the current Covid-19 outbreak the Planning Office will be 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 we will endeavour to assist you with your query as far as practicable.

Recruitment

All recruitment exercises have been postponed. Thank you for the interest you have shown in our vacancies. All completed applications will be kept on our records and the HR department will be in touch in due course. 

Registrations of births, deaths and marriages

Following the strict new measures introduced by UK Government on Monday 23 March 2020, including the advice to ‘STAY AT HOME’ the Registration Services offered at Ards and North Down Borough Council offices must now be severely restricted.

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.

Information about the suspension of services during COVID19 pandemic is below.

Birth registration services were suspended from Tuesday 24 March unti Wednesday 3 June 2020. 

Note:  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 during the suspension of this process. 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

There will be no civil marriage or civil partnership ceremonies within the district until further notice.  We will not be taking further bookings at this time.

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

From Friday 27 March 2020 (including Monday 25 May 2020 – Bank Holiday) 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.