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Coronavirus update

Last updated: Monday 6 April 2020

As we respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), we have streamlined our resources to prioritise delivery of essential services, such as waste collections and burials and cremations.

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Venues closed and services reduced

Bins, recycling centres and waste disposal

Waste and recycling collection services

  • From Wednesday 1 April, normal collections have resumed for black, brown and blue bins. Please present your bins for collection on your usual collection day. Blue bins that were missed will be collected on your next scheduled day. Find your bin collection day online.
  • Bryson recycling box collections are continuing as usual. From 6 April, you will need to sort your recycling differently. Find out how to sort your recycling from 6 April.
  • Purple glass recycling box collections have been suspended. If possible, please continue to separate and store any glass waste until our normal collection resumes.
  • The wheelie box trial in north Belfast has been suspended. Please put your food and garden waste into your brown bin for collection. If possible, please continue to separate and store any recyclable waste until our normal collection resumes. If this is not possible, you can put these into your black bin.
  • We're unable to deliver green food waste bags at this time. If you have none left, you can put food scraps into your brown bin without a bag, or wrap them in newspaper instead.
To help our crews as much as possible, you should:
  • not leave side waste or extra rubbish bags next to your bin, as we can’t collect them
  • sort your recycling properly
  • ensure you wash your hands, before and after handling your bins or recycling boxes
  • wipe the handle of your bin and boxes down after you leave it at your usual collection point
  • not approach our staff and follow social distancing guidance
  • make sure disposable gloves are placed into your black bin once you’ve finished using them
  • visit NI Direct for more advice on bin hygiene and fly-tipping
You must not put items such as used tissues or disposable cleaning cloths into your recycling bins or boxes. This is very important.

Coronavirus waste

If you have suspected, or confirmed coronavirus, before you put items such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in your black waste bin, you should:

  • double-bag them, tying the bags securely
  • keep them separate from other waste for 72 hours before putting them into your black waste bin for collection

Recycling centres and civic amenity sites closed

Our recycling centres and civic amenity sites are now closed. This is for the safety of our crews and the public. 

New black bin orders are suspended

If your black bin has been lost or stolen please email wastemanagement@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 0800 032 8100.

Bulky waste collections suspended

We’re not taking new bookings for bulky waste collections.

Commercial waste

There is disruption to our commercial services at this time.

Births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships

Register a death or stillbirth

An electronic system is now in place to register a death or a stillbirth.

Please call our registration office on 028 9027 0455 and we will complete the process by telephone.

Register a birth

We are unable to register births at this time.

Weddings and civil partnerships

We are unable to carry out weddings or civil partnership ceremonies at Belfast City Hall, Belfast Castle, Malone House or at external venues. We are not taking any bookings for marriages or civil partnerships.

We can only accept new applications for religious and humanist marriage notices by post at this time.

Cemeteries

In line with emergency legislation, our cemeteries are closed to the public, sculptors and contractors. Access is only allowed for funeral corteges.

Burials and cremations

Burials will take place. But there are restrictions on burial arrangements at our cemeteries.

We have closed the chapel and facilities at Roselawn Crematorium to mourners.

Cremations will be carried out but no family or friends can attend.

Council services

While normal services have been suspended, you can use the following email addresses for any urgent queries. We will monitor these during office hours and deal with queries on a priority basis. We are unable to carry out visits to premises, unless it is an emergency and will always consider the safety of staff and members of the public.

For our dog warden service, email dogwardens@belfastcity.gov.uk or for animal welfare, email animalwelfare@belfastcity.gov.uk

For port health, email porthealth@belfastcity.gov.uk  (or you can phone 028 9035 1199)

For Houses in Multiple Occupation, email nihmo@belfastcity.gov.uk for houses in multi occupation

For other urgent queries including: 

  • food safety
  • health and safety
  • pollution control
  • noise
  • off street parking
  • public health
  • housing

email envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk and for emergencies outside normal working hours, telephone 07850 499622.

Pest control

We have cancelled all pest control inspections and are no longer making appointments.  If you already have an appointment, this will be cancelled.

Abandoned vehicles

We will not be dealing with abandoned vehicles. This service is suspended.

Venues and facilities

As we respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), many of our venues and facilities are closed.

Closures include:

Public toilets

Our public toilets are closed.

Playgrounds

We have closed our playgrounds that can be locked. For those playgrounds that remain open, you must follow social distancing guidance.

Car parks

We are waiving off-street parking charges at our car parks in line with Department for Infrastructure.

Just Eat Belfast Bikes

Belfast Bikes rent a bike service has been suspended across Belfast. All bikes have been removed from the stations. Memberships will be frozen throughout this period.

Belfast Castle and Malone House

Belfast Castle and Malone House are closed to the public. Regrettably any functions, booked at either venue between now and the end of April, will be postponed or cancelled. 

Belfast City Council registrars will be unable to carry out any weddings or civil partnership ceremonies at Belfast Castle and Malone House.

We will keep the situation under review. 

You can email Belfast Castle at bcr@belfastcastle.co.uk or Malone House at mcr@malonehouse.co.uk for more information. 

Events

Our events are cancelled. Visit our events page for the latest updates.

Building Control, Planning Services and Licensing

Building Control, inspections, licences and permits

The Cecil Ward Building is closed for Building Control, licensing and permits but we are working remotely with a limited service.

Our office number 028 9027 0650 is unavailable but we can:

You can also:

Planning Service 

Our Planning Service is currently working within a limited capacity with no staff in our offices or on site.

Although we are reducing our normal services, we will progress current applications and appeals where possible. We aren't accepting new applications at this time and any that we receive by post, will be held and progressed later.

Operating a business

If you need advice for your business or you are an employee or a member of public concerned about unsafe work practices in a shop or an office or a warehouse you can contact us at envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk.

Concerns about unsafe work practices in other types of workplaces such as manufacturing and construction sites should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive for NI.

Coronavirus business closures

The Northern Ireland Executive has introduced new powers to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (PDF). The regulations came into effect at 11pm on Saturday 28 March and provide clarity on what retail services and other venues may remain open in Northern Ireland and which should close immediately. Information on these regulations can be found on the NI Direct website.

Currently the police are responsible for enforcing these regulations. If you think a businesses is still open when it shouldn’t be or is providing food or drink to be consumed on the premises this should be reported to PSNI.

Workplace safety guidelines and social distancing

If your business can continue to operate, you must follow workplace safety guidelines and social distancing to protect the safety and health of everyone in your workplace, including your customers and others visiting the premises.

Doing what is reasonable under the current guidelines to protect your staff and members of the public will help you to comply with health and safety law. Businesses must review their risk assessments and put in place measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The latest Public Health Agency (PHA) guidance should be considered as part of the risk assessment. An example of a COVID-19 risk assessment is available on the Health and Safety Executive NI Website.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 all employers should: 

  • encourage employees to work at home, wherever possible; 
  • ensure social distancing is maintained between persons in the workplace and in work vehicles, if working from home is not possible;
  • put systems in place to ensure that if someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new continuous cough or a high temperature they are sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance;
  • remind employees to wash their hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available), and to sneeze into tissues and dispose of the tissues promptly – Catch it, Bin it, Kill it;
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products; 
  • strongly advise and support employees from defined vulnerable groups to stay at home and work from there if possible.

For premises open to the public additional measures could include: 

  • the use of additional signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms; 
  • controlling entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded;
  • using floor markings and signage to help maintain social distancing and direct customers into lanes if feasible; 
  • making regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice; 
  • placing Plexiglas barriers at tills and counters as an additional element of protection between employees and customers if possible; 
  • encouraging the use of contactless payments where possible; 
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly by customers e.g. door handles, display surfaces, counters, check outs, shopping baskets, trolleys etc. 
  • frequently cleaning employee areas including work stations, backrooms, stock rooms, shared equipment such as keys, phones, tablets, lifting equipment, etc.

Further information

Visit other trusted sources for more information: 

The most up to date guidance from the Public Health Agency

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses (GOV.UK) 

Advice on safety measures in the workplace  (HSENI)

Guidelines for food businesses (GOV.UK)

Food delivery and takeaway guidance (CIEH) - PDF

Sources of guidance and support on the impact of COVID-19 (NI Assembly)

Call for businesses to support supply of ventilators and ventilator components

As part of the government response to Covid-19, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is seeking UK businesses and organisations with the ability to design, manufacture or supply the following, as well as those who have, or provide, medical training or logistics capabilities.

If your business or organisation can help, find out more and register your details

  • Air Compressors / Pump
  • Air Filter, HEPA Filters
  • Bellows
  • Check valves / one-way valves
  • Electric Motors and motor controllers
  • Flow Control valves
  • Flow Sensors and Indicators
  • Gas mixing valves
  • Heat and moisture exchanging filters (HMEFs)
  • Industrial Automation components (Safety Relays, PLCs)
  • Linear actuators and controllers
  • Manometers
  • Oxygen Sensors and Indicators
  • Power Supplies
  • Pressure Regulators
  • Pressure relief valves
  • Pressure Sensors and Indicators
  • Self-inflating bags
  • Solenoid valves
  • Tubing and fittings

Health guidance

Please follow the current public health guidance on the Public Health Agency's website.

Look out for family, friends and neighbours who are vulnerable. You can register to volunteer to help organisations that are responding to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We continue to work on our business continuity planning and will keep you updated on this website and on our social media channels.

Information on coronavirus (COVID-19) for Northern Ireland

Visit the nidirect website for advice on coronavirus (COVID-19), including government services which may be affected.