We have set up a coronavirus (COVID-19) telephone line to help with enquiries. We have a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that may help you before contacting us.
Go to our changes to our services page to find at what services have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
I need help with business grants / support where can I get help?
Update – We have processed the new retail rate relief, introduced by the government and revised bills will be issued shortly. From Monday 30 March you will be able to view your revised Business Rates bill through the online portal.
Business Support – A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees.
This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.
- Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure
- Cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure
- Small business grant funding
Best Growth Hub – For updates on Business rate relief and newly announced grants for eligible businesses. Details around implementing these grants have not been announced yet.
HMRC tax helpline – HMRC has a dedicated helpline 0800 0159 559 for businesses concerned about paying tax due as a result of COVID-19.
British Business Bank – Information on supportive loan schemes for businesses.
Insurance – Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and Government ordered closure should be covered. Advice from the Government on the 17 March to avoid pubs, theatres, etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as other terms and conditions are met.
I cannot pay by business rates as my business is closed due to the coronavirus.
If you are worried about paying your business rates, please contact our Revenues and Benefits Team on 01992 564188. There will be no action taken on the remaining debt for 3 months.
We can provide business rate reliefs as per the Government statement, call our Business Rates Team on 01992 564188 and we will take your details. Provision of additional grants have not yet been empowered or funded.
We await more Government details over and above the information links supplied, in relation to grants to local businesses. The comments could either relate to the provision of grant funding to the local authority in lieu of the receipt of business taxes or grants that can be made available.
Call us on 01992 564188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your details and a summary of the reason for a grant. We will reply within 7 days.
I am not able to pay my Council Tax as I am not able to go into work due to the coronavirus.
If you are worried about paying your Council Tax, please contact our Revenues and Benefits Team on 01992 564188. There will be no action taken on the remaining debt for 3 months.
Isolation note service
People unable to work for more than 7 days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new NHS online service.
Isolation notes provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.
Is there anywhere I can get help with the delivery of food or picking up prescriptions or essentials?
Speak to your local supermarkets to see what they are doing to help customers.
Keep up to date with advice from Public Health England – see Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
There are many community groups offering help and advice on social media.
- Essex Coronavirus Action
- Loughton, Epping, Ongar and Surroundings Covid-19 Support Group
- Loughton and Buckhurst Hill COVID-19 Mutual Aid
- Nextdoor – a forum offering advice on everything in your area
Look out for a Viral Kindness form for volunteers in your area who can help.
How can I get food bank vouchers
Referrals must be made by a referral agency. You can do this on the Epping Forest Frontline website.
Will you still be collecting our rubbish and recycling?
Yes, at this moment in time, we are still collecting your recycling and rubbish containers.
If you are self-isolating or have coronavirus you should follow this advice to ensure the virus is not spread by your waste.
- Place all personal waste such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths securely in a plastic bag or bin liner
- Put this plastic bag in another plastic bag and tie securely
- Store the bag separately to other waste for at least 72 hours before putting out for collection
After 72 hours outside the body the virus is no longer viable, and the double bagged waste can be put in your general rubbish collection.
Only waste that is heavily contaminated, such as tissues that have been coughed in and cleaning cloths that have been heavily contaminated need to be treated in this way. Regular household recycling and waste should be treated as normal.
Individuals who are self-isolating should not visit any recycling centre.
Read more on Love Essex – Coronavirus impact on waste services in Essex.
We are continuing to assess the situation and making plans to continue vital bin collection services. This may result in general rubbish and food waste collections being prioritised, other services being suspended at short notice, such as recycling or bulky waste collections.
At this time, we are asking our residents to do their very best to reduce their waste wherever possible. Only buy what you need, store food properly and recycle as much as possible. Think about how you could reduce your waste and try composting your garden waste at home.
This situation is being constantly monitored and further updates will be provided.
Until further notice all new applications and assessments for a larger wheeled bin have been suspended.
We are a commercial premise that is closed due to the coronavirus, but at this time have permanent residents in.
Yes you can have a temporary black wheeled bin (for refuse), blue box (for glass) and access to the clear recycling sack service during this period (see What goes in each bin). It will be collected once normal services are resumed – please call us on 01992 564000 to arrange this.
This does not include residential or care homes.
I have an engineer / housing officer coming to me today will they still be coming?
Our Housing Repairs service have had to make some alterations to how the service is being run. The Customer Repairs Contact Centre team are being relocated from the offices to remote working and we would ask for your continued patience as we improve this aspect of the service.
In the interests of protecting our staff and residents we have also taken a decision to prioritise emergency and urgent repairs and as such, non-essential routine appointments are no longer being booked in by the staff. We would ask that you continue to monitor this website for any changes to this.
If you currently have an appointment booked in with us, we will attempt to honour these where possible, however due to staffing shortages and any risks involved with us attending people’s homes, we may have to contact you to postpone jobs for the immediate future.
If you currently have an appointment with us and a member of your household is self-isolating, feeling unwell or falls into any of the categories that the government deem to be high risk, we ask that you immediately contact our service on 01992 564199 (option 1) and ask to postpone this appointment.
We will where possible continue to work on external repairs, or types of jobs where social contact is limited.
I am not able to pay the rent on my property due to having to self-isolate and not getting paid.
If you are having concerns about getting into debt with your rent, please contact our Housing Team. There will be no action taken on the remaining debt for 3 months.
- EFDC housing tenants – call the Rent Collection Team on 01992 564545
- Private tenants – call 01992 564027 for advice and support
- Call 01992 564165 if you feel you are at risk of becoming homeless
I am homeless and need somewhere to live, can I still see somebody at the council to get help?
We are still currently seeing people at the Civic Offices for emergency situations only.
However we recommend you call us on 01992 564000 and ask to be put through to the Homelessness Team. This service is only available between 9am and 11:30am.
I am experiencing issues with domestic abuse due to being isolated, what can I do?
If you are in immediate danger call the Police on 999.
Visit the Changing Pathways website, a local domestic abuse charity providing free and confidential support for individuals in the Epping Forest area. Call 01268 729707 for advice or if you seek refuge space call 01268 581591.
Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline
Compass is available 24 hours a day, for callers to speak with a trained member of staff who will complete an assessment and ensure contact is made with the most appropriate support service.
There will be an easy to use online form for both the public and professionals wishing to make a referral.
I feel even more socially isolated now and am thinking of taking my own life.
There are many charities and organisations set up to help you.
- Call 116 123
- Email email@example.com
- Infoline 0300 123 3393
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Text 86463
- Post: Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FS
The Infoline provides an information and signposting service. Open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).
- Call 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight every day
If EFDC can withdraw Liquor licence due to H&S – local businesses’ can then make a claim of Loss of Licence to their insurance companies but Insurance Companies are looking at ways to avoid pay outs.
At the moment Licensing Authorities have no legal basis for withdrawing licences for this reason. This means that we will not be withdrawing licenses unless new guidance is issued by the Government.
I don’t know whether my school is shut for my child – I am a key worker what do I do?
Essex County Council have a statement on their website:
- Government announces school closures from Friday – 20 March 2020 update
- Go to Essex County Council coronavirus for the latest information on the situation
If you are having trouble locating help and advice, please look on our Epping Forest Frontline website where further guidance available.
A new COVID-19 factsheet is now live on Epping Forest Frontline website.
The COVID-19 factsheet provides guidance on employment and consumer rights. We hope this answers some other questions and saves you waiting on the telephone for an answer. Type in the word ‘virus’ in the search box and all related services and information will pop up.
Are you concerned that businesses or venues are not observing the closure directive.
Venue closure is enforced by Environmental Health Officers and Trading Standards Officers in conjunction with the police if necessary. A prohibition notice may be served, and businesses fined if they fail to comply.
Are your leisure centres still open and what happens to my membership if they are not?
Our leisure centres closed on 20 March – see Leisure Centres to close.
Are parking permits being suspended during this time?
No, however a considerate approach will be given to enforcement especially if individuals state and prove they are home isolating.
Are you concerned that some stores or shop keepers are excessively raising the prices of essentials?
You may have seen some inaccurate social media information telling you to contact us if you want to complain about price hikes in local shops. While we do not approve of unnecessary price increases, Essex County Council provides your local Trading Standards service.
If your Planning Application is too large to pay by card, then use the details shown to make your payment.
Planning application payments – in the event the amount is too large to pay by card.
- NatWest – Epping
- Sort Code 60-07-39
- Account number 56340001
Please quote your pre-app or planning app reference (EPF/ or EF /ENQ/ reference)
Do you suspect that someone is suffering due to financial debt and is falling victim to Money Lenders or loan Sharks?
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) recognise that this period may be one of increased financial pressure for many people. The Team is fully committed to ensuring that illegal money lenders (loan sharks) do not take advantage and profit from other people’s hardship.
The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service on 0300 555 2222 remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage not only victims but friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of loan sharks.
If you are experiencing noise issues and want to raise a complaint.
The Community Resilience Team will not be carrying out home visits to discuss matters with residents, or to monitor noise issues to minimise the risk of cross contamination to both our residents and our officers.
We will continue to record all complaints, provide advice, investigate enviro-crime and send letters, and are currently exploring the use of other technological solutions to record any disturbance residents are experiencing.
Are you worried that someone may be falling victim to fraudsters posing as officials or volunteers?
Fake products / websites
A man has already appeared in court for making fake coronavirus testing / treatment kits and selling them worldwide. 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’.
Claims like ‘100% safe’, ‘No side effects’ and ‘Quick results’ should be warning signs.
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!
Elderly individuals 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 offering to shop for the elderly and then keeping their money
Thieves posing as good Samaritans are offering to complete shopping trips on behalf of the elderly, before keeping he 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.
Pension savers have been warned to be extra vigilant of criminals seeking to prey on people anxieties amid the pandemic. As markets are affected and people seek to increase their savings, it may make people look to make snap decisions that could have serious consequences.
As always, the advice remains – do not respond to cold callers.
Take your time to think things through carefully and do your own research (even if you are being offered a ‘limited time deal’).
If something is too good to be true – it usually is!!
How can I get food bank vouchers?
Please visit Epping Forest Frontline website for information on food bank vouchers.
My question is not here what can I do?
Call us on 01992 564088 and we will try to help.