Coronavirus - COVID-19

Impact on council services

Some of our services are changing to help protect our most vulnerable people from coronavirus.

Planning

Our planning team has had to introduce some changes to the ways they work.

Waste

Garden waste collections resumed on Monday, 27 April.

Please note: each household is limited to either their two garden waste bags or their one bin per collection. We will not be collecting any additional excess garden waste during this time. All our Household Waste Recycling Centres (tidy tips) re-opened on Monday, 11 May but you must book to visit.

Bus services

There may be changes to bus services in response to reduced patronage and/or reduced availability of drivers. The bus information pages on our website provide detail on service changes we are aware of. The bus operators are aware of the need for key workers and residents to access essential services and will do everything they can to maintain these services as much as possible.

Children’s centres

These centres provide a range of services to families, including various group activities. Given concerns about social distancing and particular advice surrounding pregnant women, the Council will be discontinuing group activities at the centres for the foreseeable future whilst maintaining its important one to one support services to families.

Leisure and library services

Libraries

Our libraries are to re-open from Tuesday 11 August. We will operate with a select and collect service. This sees customers able to request, borrow and return books at libraries, without entering library buildings. This approach is in line with sector advice and is being followed by many other library authorities. Our extensive online service will continue to be offered as normal.

Leisure centres

Dunstable and Houghton Regis leisure centres re-opening

We are pleased to confirm that our Houghton Regis and Dunstable leisure centres will re-open from Saturday 8 August.

While we had planned to re-open them from 25 July, in light of the increasing coronavirus infections in Luton, we decided to postpone the re-opening of these centres as precautionary measure. 

Following the latest government announcement, we are now in a position to re-open both of these services to our customers.

Other leisure centres

Our four other leisure centres will be re-opened on Saturday 25 July.

We’ve been working closely with our leisure operator, Stevenage Leisure Limited (SLL), on preparations to make sure that it is safe for customers and staff.

A range of activities will be available, but some equipment will be spaced out, temporarily unavailable or marked ‘out of use’ to ensure these comply with social distancing rules.

The centres will be open to both members and non-members, but bookings must be made in advance, online, directly with the leisure centre. Find your nearest leisure centre.

To ensure that everyone is safe and feels comfortable using our centres, there will be some changes. These include:

  • a one-way system and signage to guide customers
  • changing rooms and showers will also be limited and customers will be asked to arrive at the centre dressed ready for their activity, bringing only essential items
  • increased cleaning of equipment and sanitisation stations, to ensure the highest possible standards of hygiene and cleanliness

These measures will be adapted as and when government advice changes throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Countryside open spaces

All countryside open spaces are open to the public. The safety of the public, volunteers and staff is our priority and re-opening of facilities will need to be gradual and phased over time. We are following government guidance and working with our countryside partners to respond to changes in the advice as quickly as we can.

Car park facilities at all sites are fully open. This includes Rushmere Country Park (including Stockgrove) and Dunstable Downs. To keep open safely and maintain social distancing, we will need everyone to stay alert and follow the guidance provided. This includes maintaining social distancing, regular hand washing and disposing of all litter. Please do not use barbecues. Open spaces can be very busy and to support social distancing, please consider visiting at off-peak times and leaving the countryside as you would expect to find it. While visitor centres remain closed to the public, external toilets and take away refreshments are available at both Dunstable Downs and Rushmere Country Park. For more information about using green spaces, please read the guidance from central government on protecting yourself and others.

Housing

In line with Government advice for minimising person-to-person contact, the Housing team will be prioritising only essential repairs if they are inside someone’s home. The team is also reducing group recreational activities in housing and Independent Living schemes. Find out more on the Housing pages on our website.

Day centres

In close liaison with service users and carers, our day centres closed in stages. Day centres for older people in Leighton Buzzard, Biggleswade and Houghton Regis closed from Friday, 20 March and our Learning Disability Day centres in Silsoe, Houghton Regis and Biggleswade closed from Thursday, 26 March.

Registration service (including weddings and civil partnerships)

Registration offices are closed with the exception of The Court House, Woburn Street, Ampthill  MK45 2HX, which is open by appointment only, to deliver various services including weddings and civil partnerships. Find out how our registration services are affected.

Other council services

We are working with our staff and contractors on contingency planning and service prioritisation in the context of potentially reduced workforce.

Getting support

Self-isolating

You can use this form to request support from our Community Partners who will help with food and pharmacy collections. We can also make arrangements for you to receive a priority supermarket booking slot if you are unable to arrange one online yourself.

Self-isolating support

Adult social care support

If you have any care or support needs you can ask us for a needs assessment. The assessment will look at both your physical, mental and emotional needs.

Financial help (emergency provision)

Financial help (emergency provision) is available following an emergency or crisis to meet the immediate day-to-day expenses relating to food and utilities. Supermarket vouchers and top-ups for pre-paid energy meters are provided to meet these needs.

To apply, you must permanently residing within Central Bedfordshire:

  • 16 years or older
  • in an emergency situation and not have enough money to meet the immediate needs of you and your family

You do not need to be in receipt of any benefit or entitlement.

Apply for emergency provision

If you need to contact us in an emergency, please call 0300 300 8900.

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