Coronavirus advice for residents

This is where you can find information about coronavirus (COVID-19) including what you can do to protect yourself, and the impact of the disease on our services.

More on coronavirus: how you can helpbusinesses, vulnerable people, more information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

  • stay at home only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

Anyone can spread the virus.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Find a list of local, community-led and national organisations that are able to provide support services during this time.

You can also sign up for our digital updates for the latest on our coronavirus response.

Sign up

1. Parking for NHS, care and key workers

NHS workers and care workers

Following the announcement by Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, we are allowing NHS workers and care workers to park for free and without time limit in pay-to-park bays in Westminster until further notice.

If this applies to you, to enable our Marshals identify who should be granted this concession we ask that supporting evidence be placed in your windscreen, such as photocopies of your work pass with sensitive information removed, or a letter of evidence on headed paper from your employer.

Should you receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) whilst carrying out your critical work, please challenge this with supporting evidence in the normal way as per the advice on the PCN and your challenge will be considered sympathetically.

Other key workers

We are also issuing similar parking disregards for other key workers where a need is identified. Applications for disregards will be considered on the basis of priority and available kerbside parking space.

If you fall into one of the approved Key Workers groups, please send through requests to approvalteam@westminster.gov.uk with the following details:

  • name
  • address
  • vehicle registration
  • location required
  • contact telephone
  • contact email
  • reason 

The disregards provided can last up to 12 weeks and their continued use beyond that period will be reviewed should that be necessary.

2. Staying healthy

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

Stay at home to stop Coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
If you have to go outside to do essential tasks or exercise, stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people.

What to do if you have Coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

Please visit the NHS advice on self-isolation if you or someone you live with has symptoms.

Advice for people at high risk

Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill, but there are some people who are at a higher risk.

If you are at high risk, you will be contacted by the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020. Do not contact your GP or healthcare team at this stage – wait to be contacted.

Please visit the NHS advice for people at high risk for more information and advice on extra things you can do to avoid catching coronavirus.

Other things you can do to stop the spread of Coronavirus

  • wash your hands with soap and hot water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, if you need to go outside
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Looking after your health and wellbeing

To help yourself stay well while you're at home:

  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
  • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • do light exercise at home, or outside once a day

For more advice, see:

Stay up to date on the latest health advice by visiting NHS Coronavirus.

3. Housing services

We have plans in place to keep essential housing services running. However, to slow the spread of the virus and help keep everyone safe, our housing services are changing.  

We are doing everything we can to ensure urgent requests and those most in need are taken care of as a priority and we thank residents for their patience and understanding.  

Whilst our phone lines remain open, until further notice we are:

  • keeping service centres open to assist with urgent housing services issues only, on a one in one out basis
  • prioritising emergency and urgent repairs  
  • stopping face-to-face resident engagement events and drop-in surgeries
  • equipping staff with personal protection equipment to prevent unintentional spread of the virus  
  • increasing cleaning of communal area surfaces including door handles, lifts and switches
  • closing our halls, playgrounds, pitches and youth clubs. 

We’re keeping residents updated and hope our service can return to normal soon.

Find out more within our Housing Services - Coronavirus FAQ guide

What can residents do to help?

Contact us on 0800 358 3783 for urgent housing services issues, such as emergency repairs, otherwise make use of our online housing services where residents can report repairs and anti-social behaviour, pay bills, find out about parking and more.

Residents should tell us if they/their household:

  • are self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms, and we are due to visit 
  • need help staying at home   
  • have updated contact details including phone or email.

​​How to get help or volunteer to help

We’re updating all residents and proactively calling on those most vulnerable including people experiencing homelessness. 

Westminster Connects links volunteers to those who need help. In the first instance, if you or anyone you know needs help as a result of coronavirus, please email us at westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk, call 020 7641 1222 or send us the details online.

If you are concerned about an adult who you think requires social care and support, phone 020 7641 1444 or 020 7641 1175 or email adultsocialcare@westminster.gov.uk.

If you are concerned about a child, phone 0207 641 4000 or email AccesstoChildrensServices@westminster.gov.uk.

Find out more about Westminster Connects and how you can help

4. Registrar's office - births, deaths, citizenship and marriages

The Westminster Registration Service is open for death registration appointments only.

To make an appointment to register a death please contact The Westminster Registration Service on 020 7641 7500.

You should not come into the Register office if you have any of the symptoms associated with the Coronavirus (a high temperature or above and a new continuous cough); tested positively for the coronavirus; recently travelled to an affected area / country; or have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case. You are advised to self-isolate as advised and contact NHS 111 online for further advice.  

Please note we are experiencing high levels of calls and emails at the moment, so it may take longer than expected to respond to you. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

For more information, including questions about citizenship ceremonies, and registering deaths and births, read our Registration Service coronavirus FAQ's

5. Schools and nurseries

Our Family Information Service webpage now contains information on childcare arrangements in Westminster for our residents who are key workers. A comprehensive list of available childcare provision can be found at the above webpage, in the section Coronavirus Update: Childcare Arrangement. 

The Council has been in touch with special educational needs transport services (SEN) providers and four have agreed to offer delivery to vulnerable pupils or those who are unable to collect meals. 

School arrangements for vulnerable and key worker children

To limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Government advice is that if children can stay safely at home, they should do so. The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Below is the latest information on which schools in Westminster are currently open for pupils in these categories. We would advise that you keep checking our website for updates in case of changes or closures in the future.

Parents should have been notified by individual schools and colleges about arrangements for their children but if they have further queries they should contact school.standards@rbkc.gov.uk

 

Nursery schools

  • Dorothy Gardner Nursery School: pupils are currently attending Queen's Park school.
  • Mary Paterson Nursery School: pupils are currently attending Queen's Park school.
  • Portman Early Childhood Centre is open.
  • Tachbrook Nursery School – part of cluster of schools alternating provision across their sites:  Burdett-Coutts CE Primary School, Soho Parish CE Primary School, St Clement Danes School, St Gabriel's CE Primary School, St George's Hanover Square Primary School, St Matthew's CE Primary School, St Vincent de Paul RC School and Tachbrook Nursery School

 

Primary Schools            

  • All Souls' CE Primary School is due to re-open on 30 March 2020
  • ARK Atwood Academy is open
  • Barrow Hill Junior School is open with children from Hampden Gurney CE Primary, Christ Church Bentinck CE Primary, St Vincent's RC Primary School and St Joseph's RC Primary School also attending
  • Burdett-Coutts CE Primary School, Soho Parish CE Primary School, St Clement Danes School, St Gabriel's CE Primary School, St George's Hanover Square Primary School, St Matthew's CE Primary School, St Vincent de Paul RC School and Tachbrook Nursery School:  part of cluster of schools in south Westminster alternating provision across their sites
  • Christ Church Bentinck CE Primary School: children are attending Barrow Hill Junior School this week and St Mary's Bryanston Square CE Primary School from 30 March 2020
  • Churchill Gardens Primary Academy; Pimlico Primary Free School and Millbank Academy: pupils to attend Pimlico Academy secondary school
  • Edward Wilson Primary School is open and children from St Stephen's CE Primary School are also attending
  • Essendine Primary School: provision being provided at Queen's Park Primary School
  • Gateway Academy has provision in place but currently no children are accessing this on site
  • George Eliot Junior School is open and also accommodating children from Robinsfield Infant School
  • Hallfield Primary School is open
  • Hampden Gurney CE Primary School pupils are attending Barrow Hill Junior School until 27 March 2020 and then St Mary's Bryanston Square CE Primary School from 30 March 2020
  • Our Lady Of Dolours RC Primary School is open
  • Queen's Park Primary School is open and offering provision to children from  Dorothy Gardner Centre, Mary Paterson Nursery School, Essendine Primary School and St Peter’s CE Primary School
  • Robinsfield Infant School: children are currently going to George Eliot Primary School
  • St Augustine's CE Primary School is open
  • St Barnabas CE Primary School is open
  • St Edward's RC Primary School is open
  • St James and St John CE School is open
  • St Joseph's RC Primary School: pupils are being hosted by Barrow Hill Junior School
  • St Luke's CE Primary School: children are attending Kingsgate Primary School in Camden
  • St Mary's Bryanston Square CE School is open
  • St Mary Magdalene's CE Primary School is open
  • St Mary of The Angels RC School is open
  • St Peter's CE Primary School: provision being provided at Queens' Park Primary School
  • St Peter's Eaton Square CE School is open
  • St Saviour's CE Primary School has provision in place but currently no children are accessing this on site
  • St Stephen's CE Primary School: children are going to Edward Wilson Primary School
  • St Vincent's RC Primary School pupils attending at Barrow Hill Junior School until 27 March 2020 and then St Mary's Bryanston Square CE Primary School from 30 March 2020
  • Westminster Cathedral RC School is open
  • Wilberforce Primary School has provision in place but currently no children accessing this on site

 

Secondary Schools        

  • Grey Coat Hospital is open
  • King Solomon Academy is open
  • Paddington Academy is open
  • Pimlico Academy is open and also accommodating children from Millbank Academy, Pimlico Primary and Churchill Gardens Primary Academy
  • Harris Academy St John's Wood is open
  • St Augustine's CE High School is open
  • St George's Catholic School is open
  • Marylebone Boys' School is open
  • St Marylebone CE School is open
  • Westminster Academy is open
  • Westminster City School is open
  • Sir Simon Milton UTC is closed with pupils receiving remote learning

 

Special Schools

  • College Park School is closed, with children going to QEII site if required
  • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee School (QEII) is open
  • St Marylebone Bridge School is closed but being kept under review

 

Alternative Provision

  • Beachcroft AP Academy children are going to Latimer AP Academy in Kensington and Chelsea

 

Read the latest advice on schools from Public Health England

6. Waste and recycling

Waste collections are currently running as normal. However, the council’s Mobile Recycling Centre will not be operating at Warwick Avenue until further notice. There are no collections of bulky waste from within households.

Cleaning and disposal of waste: when cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table-tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

The Household Waste and Recycling Centre at Smugglers Way has closed temporarily.

Recycling advice for London

Councils across London, alongside waste disposal authorities, private waste companies and all those who help collect and process our recycling and waste in the capital, are working hard together to provide the best possible service while we are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Waste and recycling crews are designated as essential front-line workers during the crisis, and they continue to do a fantastic job in very difficult circumstances.

Our aim is to do everything we can to keep the streets clean, keep collecting your rubbish and make sure your recycling bins continue to be emptied as often as possible, while protecting the health of all our workers as well as the general public.

But as most of us are now staying at home, it seems likely that this will create more household waste and put pressure on our recycling and waste services.

Although all of London’s councils are still running collections from households, most local household tips and recycling centres across the city are now closed. Where there are staff shortages due to sickness, councils may need to make changes to services like garden waste collections and the removal of bulky items such as mattresses, white goods or furniture.

The situation is fluid and incredibly challenging, so we need your help to make sure the service can continue to be delivered as efficiently and safely as possible.

You can really help by:

  • regularly checking on your local council’s website for updates on types and frequencies of recycling collection where you live
  • not taking any of your waste and recycling to your local tip or recycling centre. This is not defined by the Government as an essential journey, and most local household tips and recycling centres have been closed
  • trying to minimise the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste you produce. Every bit you can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good service for everyone
  • checking locally about what can and can’t be recycled in your council collections
  • if you’re self-isolating and feeling ill, putting any potentially infected items like used tissues or cleaning cloths into separate plastic bags and double-bagging them. these bags should then be put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before you put them out into your external bin
  • avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for council crews to collect. Please hold onto large items such as furniture, mattresses etc. until the outbreak has subsided; and do not dispose of waste on a bonfire as the smoke causes air pollution and has potential health effects for you and your neighbours
  • continuing to wash your hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene when handling your rubbish and recycling and keeping your distance when the workers are doing their collections where you live

London Recycles will be providing regular updates on recycling services across the capital so please check at www.londonrecycles.co.uk for the latest information and advice.

7. Libraries

All Westminster’s libraries are closed in line with Government guidance. All library and archives events and activities have been suspended and we will be waiving all overdue library charges during this time. Our libraries do offer many free online resources, including eBooks and eMagazines.

8. Leisure centres

Following government advice, all leisure centres will be closed until further notice. This will include all council leisure centres. 

9. Childrens centres and youth clubs

Children’s centres and youth clubs are now closed. An online package is currently being developed for youth clubs to keep users engaged.

10. Parks, playgrounds and sport pitches

Staying active is vital to everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing. Therefore, in-line with current Government advice, our parks and open spaces will continue to remain open but our playgrounds, multi-use games areas, outdoor gyms, sports courts and pitches, table tennis tables and other communal recreation areas will now be closed.   

  • If you're going outside to get or stay active, please:
    • do so only once a day
    • go alone or only with members of your household
    • do so locally, staying close to your home
    • stay 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household
    • minimise time spent outside of the home
    • travel on foot or by bike
    • do not use public transport
    • do not gather in groups of more than two people, excluding members of your household
    • wash your hands for 20 seconds when you get home 
  • If you don’t think that’s possible, then there are loads of great ways you can get and stay active at home. There are some great ideas on the Sport England website and on social media, search #StayInWorkOut, to help everyone stay active.

11. Planning services

Planning and Building Control Services are still operating but with some temporary measures introduced. For example:

  • planning officers will not be able to undertake site visits which require face-to-face contact or entering a property until further notice, although photographs may be acceptable
  • planning enforcement inspections will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • planning applications should be submitted online via the Planning Portal

Officers are contactable over e-mail or by phone. Officers can also arrange and participate in conference calls using Microsoft Teams and Skype.

For further information please read our planning and building control frequently asked questions page.

12. Westminster Adult Education Service

The board of governors at WAES has taken the decision to cease any face to face teaching. For more information visit the WAES website.

13. Events and Filming

The government has now given very clear guidance in relation to social distancing, mass gatherings and non-essential social contact.

In light of this advice, from now until Thursday 30 April, Westminster City Council will not be supporting any event and filming activity within our parks and open spaces, or on the public highway within the City of Westminster. 

Given the ongoing uncertainty in relation to Covid-19 these timescales are subject to change. As a result, we are not able to offer or confirm alternative dates at this time.

The council will not be accepting any new event applications until further notice. Please continue to check our events and filming webpage for future updates.

Should you wish to discuss this further then please contact your assigned officer or email: eventsandfilming@westminster.gov.uk

We understand how disappointing this news will be, but the world is in an unprecedented situation and whilst events and filming are hugely important to the city, public health must be everyone’s top priority.

14. Council committees

The council is suspending public speaking at planning meetings during the coronavirus pandemic. You can continue to submit written representations on planning applications to the council which will be considered by the planning applications sub-committee.

For full information on council meetings, please see the committee section.

 

15. Public toilets

All public toilets remain open, apart from Broadwick Street in Soho which has been closed due to anti-social behaviour issues.

The facilities are free to use and hand sanitiser is provided.

 

 

16. Construction sites

At this time, we support the Government’s position that construction should continue. This is always subject to review in light of changing circumstances, however, Westminster Council will ensure that those involved in construction are abiding by the Public Health England (PHE) guidance on social distancing. We will also make sure that all public realm and highways works adhere to PHE advice and that contractors put in mitigations to prevent the spread of the virus.

17. Busking

We ask all street performers to help implement the Government advice on social distancing by not carrying out any performances at this time. By continuing to perform and gather crowds, you are putting yourself and the public at risk. 

18. Myth busting

It is important to receive information regarding the Coronavirus from official sources such as the NHS and Government. The World Health Organisation also has some handy myth busting advice.

Last updated: 30 March 2020