Coronavirus (COVID-19) - service updates

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic most council services will remain open and unaffected - any changes to services is detailed below:

Fostering and Adoption recruitment events update:

In response to the Covid-19 situation, Cumbria County Council's Fostering and Adoption Service has reviewed our recruitment activity, in line with Government guidance, to make sure our staff and members of the public remain safe during this challenging time. 

We have suspended all face-to-face appointments, events and drop-ins, up to and including 30 April. However, we will be contacting all those who have booked onto one of our Eventbrite appointments to offer them the opportunity to have a detailed telephone consultation with one of our experienced, friendly team members instead.  

Despite the uncertainty we all face at this worrying time, our priority remains finding caring homes and families for vulnerable children in our communities, and we would love to help get you started on your fostering and adoption journeys.

If you're interested in fostering or adoption, we would encourage you to get in touch by:

Following the latest government announcements, all pupils should return to schools and colleges from Monday 8 March. Returning to school and college is vital for children and young people's education and wellbeing.

Contact your child's school if you have any questions about your child attending school.

Government advice


The return to school from 8 March

Who should attend?

From Monday 8 March all children and students should return to school or college and attendance will be mandatory once again from this date. 

Mandatory attendance means that it is your legal duty as a parent to send your child (if they are of compulsory school age) to school regularly if they are registered at one. Where a secondary age pupil is not expected to attend due to their school's testing programme in the week of 8 March, absence will not be penalised.

Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should still attend school or college.

A small number of children and young people will not attend in line with public health advice to self-isolate. If your child falls into this category you will have received a letter confirming this. Shielding has currently been extended to 31 March. Children who are self-isolating or shielding will continue to be offered remote learning by their school.

Will my child be tested?

The following testing measures will be in place as pupils return to school:

  • All primary school children will return on Monday 8 March and will not be tested. Primary school staff will continue to take two rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home.
  • All secondary school and college students will be offered COVID-19 tests as they return to the classroom from 8 March. Pupils can return to school or college following their first negative test result. Secondary school and college staff will also be provided with two tests to use each week at home.
  • Testing is voluntary and your child will not be tested unless they (if they are aged over 18) or you (or another parent/carer) have given informed consent. We strongly encourage you and your child to take part, to help us break chains of transmission and manage the virus. Your child will not be stopped from returning to school or college if you or they choose not to be tested or are not able to undertake a test and will return to face-to-face education in line with their school or college's arrangements.

Will my child have to wear a facemask?

Guidance issued by the government for all schools in England states: 

  • Staff and students in secondary schools and colleges are advised to wear face coverings in all areas, including classrooms, where social distancing cannot be maintained and as a temporary extra measure
  • Children in primary schools do not need to wear face coverings

What further safety measures can you expect to be in place at your child's school?

  • Schools will continue to use protective bubbles to help manage risk
  • Social distancing
  • Staggered start and finish times
  • Ensuring that everyone cleans their hands thoroughly, and more often than usual
  • Promoting the 'catch it, bin it, kill it' approach, to ensure good respiratory hygiene
  • Enhanced cleaning and ventilation, including cleaning frequently touched surfaces more often.


Lateral Flow Testing for household members

Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils can now access lateral flow devices to carry out rapid testing at home.

From 1 March 2021, if you are a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil, you can access twice-weekly rapid testing using one of the following routes:

  • Through your employer (if they offer testing to employees)
  • Attending a local testing site and having a supervised test onsite
  • By collecting home test kits from a test site
  • By ordering a home test kit online

Please note that whilst the online information does not specifically indicate the age range for household members rapid testing, it is predominantly aimed at adults aged 18+.


Get a test through your employer

Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.

Take a test at a local testing site

You can take a rapid lateral flow test at one of the local test sites listed below. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You should not need to book an appointment. Test sites will generally be open between 1.30pm and 7pm for lateral flow tests. Do not visit outside of these opening hours, as the site may be being used for the testing of people with coronavirus symptoms. 

Collect test kits

You can collect 2 packs of home test kits at a local collection point. Each pack contains 7 tests. Anyone aged 18+ can collect.

Most collection points are open from 1.30pm to 7pm. You can check online if the location is open or busy before you go. You do not need to make an appointment.

Do not visit a collection point outside opening hours, as it may be used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside these times.

Find your nearest home test kit collection point.

Order home test kits online

If you cannot get tested at your workplace or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online. Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.  Order rapid lateral flow home test kits.

The test sites in Cumbria are listed below.

  • Allerdale House Overflow Car Park (Workington)
  • Barrow Town Hall Courtyard (Barrow)
  • Carlisle Airport (Carlisle)
  • Castle Meadows Car Park (Whitehaven)
  • Cecil Street Car Park (Carlisle)
  • County Hall Car Park (Kendal)
  • Sandgate Car Park (Penrith)

Can the tests be used on children under the age of 12?

Yes they can, but the Public Health team does not recommend schools and other settings actively promote regular rapid testing in children under the age of 12 because it can be unpleasant for them.

We recommend education settings encourage adult members aged 18+ of households, childcare or support bubbles of school staff and pupils to participate in the twice-weekly rapid testing programme.

Please note that the information booklet that comes with the household member LFD kits does say they are suitable for children under the age of 12, so parents/carers may ask you if they can test their children. Parents and carers should be advised that this is not recommended, but if they are going to do so, they should strictly follow the guidance in the information booklet.

If children under the age of 12 develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should get a PCR test.

Please contact the Public Health team by emailing EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk if you have any questions.


Frequently Asked Questions for parents and carers:

Do I have to wear a facemask when picking up my child? We would actively encourage parents to wear a face-covering when dropping off and picking up children from school. The wearing of face coverings in congested areas and where unable to consistently maintain social distancing is seen as an effective measure to reduce the spread of the virus.

My child is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. Can they return to school on 8 March? The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) is to shield and stay at home as much as possible until further notice. They are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies nationally. All 16 to 18-year olds with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality will be offered a vaccine in priority group 6 of the vaccination programme. At present, these children should continue to shield, and self-isolate if they have symptoms or are identified as a close contact of a positive case, even if they have been vaccinated. Current CEV advice will remain in place until at least the 31 March 2021. 

What do I do if my child's class or group is asked to isolate? If any children in a setting test positive for COVID-19, please be aware that public health may advise others in the same setting get tested and isolate if they experience other symptoms including: headache, diarrhoea, severe fatigue and sore throat. The setting should let all parents and carers know immediately if this advice is given. If you have a child at school and they are sent home because there's been a confirmed case within the school, your child must isolate for 10 days, even if they don't display any symptoms.

What are the common symptoms of Coronavirus in children? Be aware of coronavirus symptoms. If your child has a temperature, develops a new, continuous cough or loses their sense of smell or taste, do not send them to school.

My child has symptoms - what should I do? If a child shows symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a temperature or a change to/loss of sense of taste and smell) they should get a PCR test as soon as possible (please do not use lateral flow tests in an individual who has symptoms). The entire household should stay at home until the test result is known. 

Can parents / carers get tested when children return to school? Twice weekly testing using rapid lateral flow tests (LFT) will be available to adults in all households with primary, secondary school and college aged children and young people, including childcare and support bubbles. From March 2021, if you're a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil you can get a twice-weekly test:

  • through your employer if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local test site
  • by collecting a home test kit from a test site
  • by ordering a home test kit online

Find out more about lateral flow testing


Back to school videos 

To help your child prepare for the return to school we have made two videos available. The first features 12-year-old Abi demonstrating a Lateral Flow test and the second features Director of Public Health Colin Cox addressing some of the key concerns and questions that pupils have about the return to school. Please share these with your child(ren).

Lateral flow test demo

Message to children from Colin Cox

Cumbria Care is open for visitors by arrangement in all of its residential homes in line with government guidance and our visiting policy. Visit yourcumbria.org for further information. 


In response to the latest government guidance on COVID-19, Cumbria County Council will with immediate affect temporarily close all its buildings to the public and will no longer provide non-essential 'face to face' services.

Alternative contact can be made on line, by phone, or by email. 

In an effort to continue to support residents in this unprecedented time, the Council can be contacted in the following ways:

Online - Go to the Cumbria.gov.uk for online services 

Email - You can find a dedicated email address on Cumbria.gov.uk to enable you to stay in direct contact with the Council and the service you need

By Phone - You can call the Council on its general number 01228 606060 


 Are not available for use by the general public  

Please be assured, that government changes do not affect the ability to respond to emergency 999 situations - for this it is absolutely business as usual. There have been some changes to their day to day activities and public access to community fire stations has been restricted.

During COVID 19 the council has continued to respond to essential highways issues. At the end of March a decision was made to temporarily suspend ongoing highways maintenance work/activity and to only deal with the emergency responses for emergencies, major safety defects, weather related issues and road traffic collisions. This was done to help maintain the stay at home message and social distancing requirement whilst keeping the roads safe. 

Following further Government advice received, we have been able to recommence our highways maintenance activity. This involves all aspects of essential highways maintenance from resurfacing schemes to permanent patch repairs.  The Highways service has introduced additional risk assessments and safe operating procedures for COVID 19 to ensure safe systems of work in relation to highways operations - these safe systems align with the latest guidance from Public Health England, and Industry Guidance. Our contractors have advised that they can operate safely on highways sites, complying with the appropriate guidance to achieve the social distancing measures.

COVID-19 information for users of public rights of way

You are reminded that people live and work in close proximity to many of our public rights of way and many landowners will be especially concerned and vulnerable at this difficult time. You are asked to:

  • be sensible, courteous and considerate when using public rights of way at this time
  • follow the government guidance on social distancing by keeping at least 2 metres apart. Natural England have asked users to, if possible, try to avoid using footpaths etc. that may take you through a farmstead or other rural business where social distancing may be difficult
  • follow the Countryside Code: leave gates as you find them and keep dogs under close control at all times - Defra advise that you should keep your dog on a lead near livestock and away from other people/dogs, Defra have posted a video containing advice for users
  • when using gates and stiles be mindful that other people pass through these and that landowners may need to use them multiple times a day. Wash your hands and or sanitise as soon as possible after touching shared surfaces
  • keep to the definitive line of the path or use an alternative route if provided by the landowner 

Public rights of way provide an opportunity for people to take exercise in their local area and get some fresh air in these difficult times. However, people are advised to stay local and not travel unnecessarily, and should not congregate on public rights of way. If there is a particular problem with large numbers of people congregating on a right of way then the Police should be informed who have powers to disperse such groups.

We manage the public rights of way network in line with national government legislation and guidance and at present there is no advice or requirement for the public rights of way network to be closed or restricted in any way. The Council will respond to any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance but at this time there are no provisions to close public rights of way.

COVID-19 information for landowners and property owners

We manage the public rights of way network in line with national government legislation and guidance and at present there is no advice or requirement for the public rights of way network to be closed or restricted in any way. The government reports that the risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the government's instructions to maintain social distancing.

People living and working in close proximity to public rights of way are reminded that the public have a legal right to use a public right of way, and that they should not block or obstruct paths. Where residents living near public rights of way have concerns then they should exercise suitable precautions to ensure social distancing from people on the path. They may want to regularly clean any gate latches or other surfaces on any paths across their property, or landowners may wish to consider tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that users of the path do not need to touch the gate.

Landowners may, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using routes, consider:

  • informing the public using the public right of way of their responsibilities, by displaying an appropriate notice. This should not discourage use but alert users to their proximity to homes and working environments and to use appropriate and reasonable caution in terms of social distancing and hygiene practices. Download a poster which can be displayed for public rights of way where there is no alternative route: PROW COVID-19 notice no alternative route (PDF, 165KB)
  • if suitable, installing a permissive path through which you can invite users to use an alternative route.  However, the definitive alignment of the public right of way must remain open and available at all times, and any permissive path is arranged under your own liabilities and insurance cover and must have agreement from all landowners. You would be advised to waymark any permissive path as such and the public rights of way team can provide further advice on this. Download a poster which can be displayed for public rights of way where there is a safe alternative route: PROW COVID-19 notice alternative route (PDF, 107KB)
  • temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by considering using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools.

Public rights of way provide an opportunity for people to take exercise in their local area and get some fresh air in these difficult times. However, people are advised to stay local and not travel unnecessarily, and should not congregate on public rights of way. If there is a particular problem with large numbers of people congregating on a right of way then the Police should be informed who have powers to disperse such groups.

If meeting an Officer of the Council on site, landowners are reminded of the need to maintain social distancing at all times. Conversations will be held by phone and email as a preference. Any face to face discussions shall not contravene social distancing and an Officer may withdraw from a discussion if social distancing is not adhered to.

The Council will respond to any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance but at this time there are no provisions to close public rights of way.

There are 14 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the county where you can take your household waste.  

HWRCs have now been reopened with restrictions in place to protect the safety of our staff and residents. 

Find out more about site rules and opening times.

Find out more about opening of libraries in Cumbria

Try our online offer

Thousands of our library members are making the most of our online services, including Borrow Box, and downloading top titles in ebooks, audio books, comics and magazines, straight to their devices for free. Try our online offer.

Not a member? Don't worry

We can now provide a temporary membership which will allow you to access a wide range of fantastic online services for free, including ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines, comics and newspapers.

Join and get started with a temporary membership.

Update to on and off street parking

On Monday 22 June, the County Council's on and off street parking enforcement restarted, this included issuing penalty charge notices in all parts of the County where motorists are not parking safely and legally. 

Parking enforcement in the national parks and other tourist hotspots was reintroduced on 15 June following an increase in visitors to the area who unfortunately were not parking in a safe and considerate manner. 

Drivers are reminded to display their parking discs and residents parking permits where appropriate. Charging for parking in County Council car parks restarted again on 22 June. Free parking for NHS and care workers will continue as long as they display a valid ticket.

What the Government has told us 

Because of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic the Government has told Local Planning Authorities it is important they continue to provide the best service possible.  To prioritise decision making and to make sure the planning system continues to function, especially where this will support the local economy. 

In line with these Government expectations the Council will continue to progress decision making wherever possible, but in a way which protects its staff and the people they would normally interact with. 

Subject to ongoing review our teams will:

  • work from home wherever possible
  • continue to make decisions and recommendations delegated to Officers in line with our Constitution
  • continue to offer pre planning application advice and advice on the Historic Environment by telephone or by email
  • not be unable to meet customers at our frontline offices at County Hall, Kendal and Lady Giffords House, Carlisle, until further notice
  • only undertake site visits by exception
  • for all new planning applications and applications for Commons Registration and Town and Village Greens it will not be possible to publicise by site notices until further notice
  • be unable to provide copies of the commons register and searches of the rights section of the register, or process applications for the amendment of the commons register.

Current applications 

If you are sending comments, amended plans or other information in relation to an ongoing application, please forward those details to developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk.

For all enquiries relating to commons and Town and Village Greens applications, please contact Commons.Registration@cumbria.gov.uk.

Central government recently announced that the Registration Service can start to do appointments again, but only when it is safe to do so.

We are working very hard at the moment getting our offices ready and changing how we will work with our customers and communities.  Keeping you and our team safe is our top priority.

We are taking things step by step and as soon as we can, we will gradually start to take appointments and bookings again.

Some of the things we are going to do:

  • Screens at all reception desks and office desks to protect you and our team
  • Masks and gloves for staff  
  • Organising thorough cleaning of each office every day
  • Sourcing stocks of local cleaning materials so the team can clean between each customer appointment
  • Washing our hands more often and always between appointments
  • Hand sanitizer units in place in all offices for you and our team
  • New ways of working to reduce the time we spend with you to a minimum 
  • New ways of working to avoid handling cash wherever possible
  • Up to date signs with advice on how to stay safe in our buildings

We want to do all this but still give you the best customer experience possible.  The safety of you and our team is our top priority, and whilst we hope to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, we thank you for your continued patience whilst we get everything in place.

Our telephone lines are busy so please visit this web page to keep up to date.

Specific service information:

Birth

Death or Still-birth

Notice of Intent for Marriage or Civil Partnership

Ceremonies

Certificates 

Corrections and Re-registrations