Frequently asked questions about coronavirus

We are updating our FAQs with the top enquiries received by our Customer Services Team.

Schools

My child goes to a school in Wandsworth - where can I get more information about whether they can attend school?

The Government has asked that all educational settings, including schools, open for pupils whose parents are key workers and for vulnerable pupils (those with an Education, Health or Care Plan and those with a social worker).

The Government has also asked that schools work to welcome back pupils in nurseries, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from 1 June 2020. No school will reopen unless the Headteacher and Governors are confident it is safe to do so.

For the latest information, please visit individual school websites. Also see information on the THRIVE web pages.

Waste and recycling

What is the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on waste and recycling collections and street cleaning services?

We remain in constant communication with our partners to ensure the impact on recycling and waste, street cleaning and other key environmental services is kept to a minimum. Check our Rubbish and recycling pages for the latest update on these services.

Road works

Are you still doing road works?

All non-essential highway works have now either been completed or postponed.  All highway emergencies will continue to be attended and made safe as soon as possible after they are received.  Faults can continue to be reported on line, however, due to staff shortages our normal response  times may be extended. There are a number of emergency road works currently being undertaken by amenity companies e.g. Thames Water.

Council Tax

Should I still pay my rent or Council Tax?

You must pay your rent and Council Tax if you are financially able to. If you are unable to pay, please seek advice. Don't just not pay - make sure you get advice about this. You may be entitled to Council Tax Reduction.

There's also advice on claiming Universal Credit if your financial circumstances have changed.

How do I pay my Council Tax if Council buildings are closed?

You can pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit, online.

Parking

I work for the NHS or Social Care, can I park for free?

Yes - see more information.

Will I have to pay a penalty charge, if I couldn't move my car due to self-isolation?

It depends on the circumstances. If the vehicle was causing an obstruction or road safety concern, it may be that a penalty charge is still appropriate. In all circumstances, we would urge drivers to appeal any penalty charge issued at this time if they feel there are genuine mitigating circumstances.

As the roads are quiet, can I park in bus stops or lanes, taxi ranks, keep clear or on double yellow lines?

No, these areas are reserved for use by public transport vehicles or need to be kept clear to keep the roads operating safely. Any vehicle parked in contravention of these restrictions may still receive a penalty charge.

I have an outstanding debt for a penalty charge, will the Council be sending Enforcement Agents to take money or goods?

For the time being, the Council has suspended registering new debt recovery warrants and also has reduced debt recovery activity. This does not mean the debt will go away. If you are able, you should still make contact with enforcement or collection agents on any outstanding debt to ensure they are aware of your situation.

Safety

I am experiencing issues with domestic abuse due to being isolated, what can I do?

We understand that self-isolation has the potential to aggravate pre-existing abusive behaviours. If you need support, services are always available. This includes refuges, emergency housing, community services and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247.

If it is an emergency please call 999.

While in lockdown or self-isolation, people are likely to be spending more time with perpetrators, potentially escalating the threat of domestic abuse and further restricting their freedom.

In the current climate, it is certainly more challenging for victims who are suffering abuse if they cannot leave the house. If you are concerned about a victim who may be stuck indoors please call Refuge on their behalf, or the police if you know they are in immediate danger.

Read further information on domestic abuse and partner organisations.

I think I have bought a fake product / seen fake information online or received a fake email. What do I do?

There are reports that fake coronavirus testing/treatment kits have become available around the world. These kits contain harmful chemicals. The police are warning anyone who had bought one of these kits not to use it. Report to Action Fraud, quoting 'Trinity CV19 treatment kits'.

During this time, be aware of fake websites and suspicious links. Criminals will advertise products they know to be in short supply, such as hand sanitiser, face masks and ‘treatments’.

There are a number of fake emails also circulating claiming to be from health organisations (such as the World Health Organisation or US Centre for Disease Control), with attached ‘safety advice’ which when clicked downloads malware to infect the device.

Ensure you check where an email has come from – is the email address suspicious?

Never click on any suspicious links or open any documents on emails that you were not expecting – do not let your curiosity get the better of you!

I am worried about elderly people being targeted by doorstep scammers

The elderly are being increasingly targeted by doorstep scammers due to their increased isolation from family and friends. Criminals are posing as police and health officials, sometimes offering to vary out a coronavirus test on their doorstep in exchange for cash.

Be vigilant. As always, do not accept offers on the doorstep. Always confirm who the person is using a trusted number – genuine officials will always wait.

Thieves posing as good Samaritans are offering to complete shopping trips on behalf of the elderly, before keeping the money or bank cards that are handed over.

Treat such invitations with caution.

Never hand over your bank card or details.

If vulnerable people are using others to do their shopping, ensure it is someone they know or from a trusted source.

Volunteering

I would like to volunteer to help - where can I find out more about this?

To make it easier for the public and businesses to offer help, we’ve developed a way you can offer help easily, and be directed to a local organisation that needs what you can offer. Find out more.

Shopping

Should I be stockpiling food and other supplies?

No. We are advising people not to panic buy as it leaves other members of the community, particularly vulnerable people, at risk of not being about to buy food, toilet roll, medicines and other essentials. Read more about supermarket opening times.

Construction

How can I complain about construction and building work during the pandemic?

As more people work from home during the coronavirus pandemic the impact of neighbour noise, particularly building work has become and increasing concern.

The council’s noise service can take action against construction noise if the site is operating outside of reasonable working hours. It is not possible for the Council to take formal action against a well-managed building site which keeps to the hours of 8am to 6pm (for noise generating work), and takes reasonable precautions to minimise noisy activities as far as is reasonably practicable as they would be working within the terms of the law and their planning conditions.

For more information, view Business and commercial noise.

If you are experiencing excessive construction noise and want to make a complaint you can contact our noise team on 020 8871 6127 or you can Report it online

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have assessed the service we provide responding to noise complaints to ensure that we do not put you or our officers at risk. We will not routinely undertake visits unless an assessment has been made which demonstrates it is safe for us to do so. We will still continue to operate our service and respond to complaints using alternative measures such as carrying out noise assessments outside properties in some cases. It is hoped that you will appreciate why we have come to this decision.

Like every other business, construction sites operating during the COVID-19 pandemic must ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection, including following the Government’s recommendations on social distancing. 

If you are concerned that any building site is not following safe practices for social distancing during the pandemic please contact the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) by completing the form on the HSE website.

Utilities

How are utilities affected?

Whilst there is no impact on electricity, water and gas services, it is recommended that residents who are vulnerable sign up for the ‘Priority Register’ with their providers.

Details of registers in the borough include:

Cadent Priority Services Register

Southern Gas Networks Priority Register:

Thames Water Priority Services Register