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For all the latest Coronavirus information including support for Copeland residents and businesses

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Coronavirus - FAQs

Vulnerable residents

I am, or someone I know is, vulnerable and am unable to access food or medicine. What should I do?
A new emergency support service has been launched for people in Copeland at high risk of becoming seriously ill and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours. The Emergency telephone support line is 0800 783 1966, or you can email your request for help to

I am homeless or at risk of homelessness, can you help me?
Yes, contact our team at any time on 01946 427070, or email

I am a victim of domestic abuse and need to leave my home. Is there anywhere I can go?
Our Prevention and Crisis Support Officer works with those who have suffered domestic abuse or sexual exploitation. In addition to the role, we also provide emergency accommodation to those in need to ensure they have a safe place to stay. For more information on how we can help, call 01946 427070, or email

Waste and recycling collections

Is the waste and recycling service still operating?
Yes, our crews are working tirelessly to keep delivering these services to our communities. Please help them remain in operation by cleaning your bin handles and box edges, washing and squashing your recycling and only putting out your recycling or waste if it is full.

I have a case of Covid-19, or a suspected case of Covid-19, in my household. What do I do with my waste?
The Government advice is that waste from a house with cases of Covid-19 (or suspected Covid-19) should be placed in a bag, which is then sealed, placed inside another bag, which is also sealed, and then stored for 72 hours before being put out for collection. The timing of the deposit of the waste into the residual waste bin is all important in order to protect collection and disposal staff. We ask that you do this to ensure safety, even if this means missing a collection.

My collection has been missed. What do I do?
Due to the reduction in staffing levels and the increased pressure on our collections, to ensure that we can continue to deliver these, we are unable to return for any missed collection unless there are exceptional circumstances. Your waste or recycling will be collected on your next collection day. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

My recycling boxes or bag have been lost or misplaced. What can I do?
Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to deliver any replacement receptacles at this time. You may use your own receptacles, preferably similar in size and weight in the meantime, if it is safe to do so.

I don’t have any blue bags left and need to dispose of household waste. What should I do?
Email and our team will arrange for our waste crews to collect up to four black bin bags, at your collection point, on each collection date, until we can arrange for the collection or delivery of blue bags. Find out when your next collect date is here.

Are recycling points still open?
We encourage residents to follow Government guidelines and avoid making unnecessary trips to these sites at the moment. Please keep any surplus recycling until social distancing measures are lifted. Thank you for your understanding.

How will the new monthly garden waste collections work?
Our garden waste collections started on May 4 and they will be every four weeks until further notice. We’re using more vehicles so that our crews can socially distance, but our resources are still stretched, which is why the collections aren’t fortnightly. You can find when your new collection dates are by checking your online calendar here. If you don’t have internet access, please call us on 01946 598300 or email We can’t offer our second bin service at the moment. If you had one arranged and haven’t yet been refunded, please get in touch. We also can’t take extra waste left beside your bin, and we won’t be able to come back for any bins that have been missed. Please try to make sure your bin isn’t excessively heavy – our vehicle won’t be able to lift it and your bin could get broken. If it’s too heavy please take some of the waste out and add it to your next collection. Packing bins tightly also means some might get wedged in the bottom and left behind, taking up more room in your next collection. If this happens, please try to loosen it before the next collection. We will revert to fortnightly collections as soon as resources, and government guidelines, allow. Thanks for your patience. Please note we are not operating trade garden waste collections.

Council Tax

I usually pay my Council Tax in person at one of your offices. How can I pay this now they’re closed to the public?
You can pay online, or by phone. Alternatively you can set up a Direct Debit or standing order. Full details can be found here.

I can’t afford to pay my Council Tax as I have been financially affected by the virus. What help is available? 
If your income has reduced you may be eligible for certain benefits including Council Tax Reduction. Copeland Council is also able to offer a further £300 off the bills of those who receive this benefit for 2020/21. We also have a small fund to assist people not in receipt of this benefit, who have been significantly financially affected by Covid-19. More information here. You can also check whether you are eligible for any Council Tax discounts here. We can also reduce the monthly payment by spreading the costs over 12 months, rather than 10.

Business rate relief and grants

My business is being financially affected due to the current pandemic. What support is available?
The government has announced business rates relief for all businesses in hospitality, leisure, retail, some small businesses and those eligible for rural relief. It has also announced cash grants of £25k and £10k. For more information and how to register go to our business support page.

I have completed my form. When can I expect to hear back?
We want to reassure you that we understand that this is a difficult time and we are doing everything we can to get the payments to you as soon as possible. We aim to respond to any email enquiries within three working days. Part of the grant process involves us verifying ratepayers, rateable values and eligibilities as of March 11, 20 – this process takes time so please bear with us. Once we verify that you are eligible for a grant we aim to pay this straight away. Any rate relief will be automatically applied to eligible accounts and we will issue amended bills soon.

I am on the business rates list but my rateable value is zero?
With a zero rateable value you do not pay business rates and are ineligible for both the retail, leisure, and hospitality grant of £25k and the small or rural business grant of £10k. These are both issued based on either rateable value thresholds or entitlement to small or rural business rate relief. If you are able to provide us evidence that your business should have a rateable value higher than zero on March 11, 20 we will consider your case further. 

We have one business rates bill but there is more than one business operating in the building?
All businesses operating from a single premises should be liable for their own Business Rates Assessment as clarified through our annual billing process. If you need to make amends to our current records we will share these with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). If we are satisfied that our business rates list was inaccurate on March 11, 20, as soon as we are notified of the updated rateable value from the VOA, we will consider a grant payment. We ask that you confirm the position by email as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so as a result of receiving an inaccurate annual bill for 20-21.

Will grants be taxed?
Yes. The Small Business Grants, and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants will be subject to either corporation tax, or tax calculated through your annual self-assessment. However, businesses that make a loss this financial year will not pay tax on the grants. Only profitable businesses will be taxed, which will help support our vital public services at this time. 

The business hasn’t paid equal to, or more than, the grant amount, in business rates. Is it still entitled to the full amount?
Yes, if the business is eligible. Grants are not based on the amount of business rates paid and therefore all business who are eligible are entitled to the full amount. 

Takeaway and/or food delivery premises

I own, or work at, a takeaway and I’m not sure what measures I should be taking to prevent the spread of the virus?
The Government has produced detailed guidance for food premises operating during the pandemic here. Our Environmental Health team has also prepared guidance in-line with Government advice.

Health and safety

Can we release sky lanterns to support the NHS?
Whilst we encourage showing support to the NHS, we do not authorise the use of sky lanterns on any land we own. Sky lanterns are not only harmful to wildlife and the environment, they also create added worry and pressure for our incredibly stretched emergency services at this time. Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has issued an urgent fire safety warning about the dangers of setting off sky lanterns. You can find more about this here. We encourage people to instead join the weekly Clap for Carers to show appreciation for the NHS, carers and key workers. And most importantly adhere to Government safety advice and follow social distancing rules.

Central Government guidance

Central Government has also produced a detailed list of FAQs. To view these go to