Bristol coronavirus info and advice for residents

Thank you for your support and resilience during this unprecedented time. The situation is moving fast and every day we are responding to the new challenges the coronavirus pandemic brings us. For the latest information, including changes to our services, visit our website, Twitter and Facebook pages. Please also share the information from this newsletter and our online sources with friends, family and neighbours. If you can’t find the answers you need, email us at coronavirus@bristol.gov.uk. People who are the most vulnerable can also call our free telephone hotline on 0800 694 01848

I continue to be impressed by the We Are Bristol spirit and the many ways we support each other as a community. Thousands of people have already signed up to volunteer on the Can Do Bristol website and we urge anyone else to join if they are able to. A few days ago some of our volunteers helped prepare emergency food parcels for people who were at the greatest risk of getting seriously ill if they catch coronavirus. It was humbling to see the pictures and hear what a difference it made.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday) to get help.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

Council tax

We will continue to issue bills and invoices for all council services as normal and this includes council tax.We know some people’s financial situations have changed, and support is there for those who really need it.If you can pay your council tax then you need to keep paying it – if lots of people stop paying council tax this will affect how we provide critical services.If your finances have significantly changed, you can apply for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.For anyone else who is worried they may miss payments over the next few months, we will be in touch regarding any amount owed and there will be no interest on debts due to missed council tax payments.

If you need help

We have launched a We Are Bristol telephone hotline to help the city’s most vulnerable citizens during the pandemic. It’s for those who really need our help right now, particularly with food and medicine collections. Call the freephone number 0800 694 0184 (8.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday). We can also help to arrange follow up support with different organisations.

Volunteer to help the most vulnerable

To coordinate volunteering efforts in a safe and organised way, we have launched Can Do Bristol. Sign up to volunteer through the website and you will be added to a list of volunteers across the city that we will be able to call on to help support the most vulnerable. You may also be contacted by a community organisation such as Feed Bristol, the NHS, or an adult social care provider.We may not be in touch straight away. The challenges we are facing will be with us for months and there will be different levels of need at different times. By making yourself available, we will be able to ask for your help at the right time.

You can also make a financial donation to the Coronavirus 2020 Response Fund, organised by Quartet Community Foundation. This will support the most disadvantaged communities.

If you are caring for people with learning disabilities

We are encouraging carers of people with learning disabilities to make sure their Healthcare Passports are up-to-date in case they need to go into hospital during the coronavirus outbreak. A Healthcare Passport is a document about the patient and their health needs. Used alongside their care plan, it is designed to provide extra information on their preferences such as the food they like and dislike, information on personal care, the amount of physical contact they like and how they like to be communicated with.

Keeping safe

Please be wary of potential scams and retailers hiking prices on essential goods during the evolving coronavirus situation. For example, we have received reports of people pretending to be from the British Red Cross, knocking on doors of older people and vulnerable residents attempting to take their money to do their shopping and not returning.

Please do not open your door to anyone claiming to offer instant screening tests for coronavirus, and be careful  letting people into your  homes.Our advice is to ask someone you know, like a family member, neighbour or friend to get essential goods for you if you’re self-isolating. If you’re worried you’ve been approached with a scam on your doorstep, contact the police on 999 or 101 for non-emergencies.

There is a lot of misinformation being shared about the coronavirus, particularly on social media. Please always use trusted sources such as the government, NHS, Public Health England and our own council website.