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Coronavirus update

Updated: Wednesday 27 May 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 and services

Support and advice for residents

Information for businesses and employees


Recycling centres and civic amenity sites

Recycling centres in Belfast reopened to the public on Monday 18 May. Temporary arrangements are in place in order to protect your and our staff's health and safety, and to facilitate social distancing in line with the current public health advice. 

  • Recycling centres are open six days per week, from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, and from 10am-5pm on Saturday. They are closed on Sunday. 
  • You will be asked to provide proof of address as the sites will only be open for people living in the Belfast City Council area. Examples of proof of address we will accept include your driving licence, a utility bill (gas, electricity, broadband supplier), or a bank statement.
  • There may be significant queues and delays, so we are asking you to consider if your visit is absolutely essential. We are appealing for cooperation with the temporary arrangements and thank you for your patience at this time.
  • Recycling centres will only be able to accept:
    • bagged general waste/non-recyclable waste/black bag waste
    • garden waste (grass, hedge trimmings – no garden furniture or machinery)
    • glass bottles and jars
    • cardboard 
  • Vans or trailers will not be permitted access and the number of vehicles on site at any one time will be restricted. 
  • Temporary traffic management arrangements will be in place at each of our recycling centres to allow vehicles to enter and exit our sites safely.
  • You will be responsible for unloading your own waste to maintain social distancing from staff.
  • If you are self-isolating or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you should not visit a recycling centre. 
  • Civic amenity sites at Agnes Street, Cregagh Road and Springfield Road remain closed.

Bins and waste disposal

Waste and recycling collection services

Most of our waste and recycling collections are running as usual.

  • Collections of black, brown, and blue bins, and purple glass recycling boxes are continuing as usual. Find your bin collection day online.
  • Wheelie box collections for residents in the Castle area of north Belfast have resumed, but you need to sort your recycling differently. Find out more.
  • Bryson recycling box collections are continuing as usual, but you need to sort your recycling differently. Find out more. (opens in new window). 

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
  • make sure 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
  • follow social distancing guidance
  • make sure disposable gloves are placed into your black bin once you’ve finished using them
  • visit nidirect for more advice on bin hygiene

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, follow these instructions before putting items such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in your black waste bin:

  • 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

Fly-tipping

We are aware of reports of fly-tipping across the city and our teams are trying to respond to requests for service as resources allow.

If possible, we would ask people to report fly-tipping using our online form and we will clear rubbish as soon as operationally possible.

Visit nidirect website for more information on fly-tipping.

New bin and recycling box orders

You can order new bins and recycling boxes as usual. 

Bottle banks

A limited number of glass bottle banks remain open at locations across the city.

Bulky waste collections suspended

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

Asbestos collection service suspended

We're not taking new bookings for asbestos collection.

Commercial waste

There is disruption to our commercial services at this time.

Advice on garden bonfires

We are advising residents not to burn household waste in their gardens. Burning waste materials in your garden can produce unpleasant smells, soot and dangerous fumes.

If burning is regular or repeated, it can cause a smoke nuisance which is an offence under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (NI) 2011. Garden bonfires can also be very dangerous and can easily spread. If smoke from the burning materials affects visibility on roads and endangers traffic, it is an offence under the Roads (NI) Order 1981.

Find out what goes into your recycling bins and boxes and composting.

Births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships

Register a death or stillbirth

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

Please telephone our registration office on 028 9027 0455 and we will guide you through the process by telephone.

Register a birth

We are unable to register births at this time. This is subject to review.

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, burials and cremations

Cemeteries

Knockbreda cemetery is open every day. Opening times in Roselawn Cemetery, City Cemetery and Dundonald Cemetery are limited to Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday. Find out about arrangements

Burials and cremations

Burials are taking 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 Environmental Health 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 other urgent queries including: 

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

email envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk. For emergencies outside normal working hours, phone 07850 499622.

Pest control

We have temporarily suspended our pest control service and no appointments will be taken at this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Abandoned vehicles

We have suspended the abandoned vehicles service.

Venues and facilities

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 is 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. Functions booked at these venues between now and the end of July will be postponed or cancelled. 

We will keep this under review. 

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

Parks

Our parks remain open to allow people to take daily exercise in their local park. But it is very important that everyone observes social distancing guidance when using our parks. A safe distance means staying at least two metres from everyone else in the park.

From Wednesday 27 May, all car parks at our parks are open to the public.

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 

We remain open and have new working practices in place.

Please send all correspondence by email to the planning@belfastcity.gov.uk, which will make sure it is processed as quickly as possible.

Support and advice for residents

Belfast Community Helpline

We have set up a dedicated helpline which will provide advice and support for our residents. It is run by our staff, who can provide:

  • information about food parcels
  • information about prescription pick-ups
  • help with emotional support
  • general advice
Find out more about the Belfast Community Helpline 

Health and wellbeing advice

Information about how to find support from voluntary organisations in your area, coronavirus (COVID-19) related health and wellbeing advice, housing advice and how to volunteer. Find out more.

Advice for pet owners 

We are advising all animal owners to make sure their pets are kept under control during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. This can help to keep members of the public safe, and allow social distancing guidance to be followed. 

We ask that dogs are kept on a lead when out in public, and for dog owners to check their pets are secure when they are at home to minimise the risk of straying. 

Find out more about dog control and animal welfare


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Business

Information and advice for businesses and employees

Find the latest information and advice for business and employees.

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, 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.

Guidance for employers and businesses on managing Legionella can also be found on the Health and Safety Executive for NI website.

Operating a business

Coronavirus business closures

During coronavirus (COVID-19), by law certain types of services, businesses and shops must close their premises to the public. We’re responsible for enforcing closures and restrictions shops and businesses which do not need a licence to operate. The police enforce closures of licensed premises.

To find lists of businesses which are subject to restrictions, go to:

Complaining about a shop or business

If you’re concerned a business is open when it shouldn’t be or is providing food and drink to be consumed on the premises, you can report this to us by email: envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk 

Complaining about social distancing 

Depending on the type of business, if you're concerned about social distancing in business premises, you should contact us by email: envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk or the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) by email: mail@hseni.gov.uk or telephone: 0800 0320 121

Complaining about a licensed premises

Licensed premises such as bars, clubs and licensed restaurants must not open during coronavirus. To complain about a licensed premises, you should contact the police using the non-emergency number 101. You can also do this online:

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
  • ensure social distancing is maintained between persons in the workplace and in work vehicles
  • put systems in place to ensure that if someone becomes unwell with a new continuous cough or a high temperature in the workplace 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, for example door handles, display surfaces, counters, check outs, shopping baskets, trolleys
  • frequently cleaning employee areas including work stations, backrooms, stock rooms, shared equipment such as keys, phones, tablets, lifting equipment

Further information

Visit other trusted sources for more information: 

The most up to date guidance from the Public Health Agency (PHA)

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)

Supplier relief assistance for our at-risk suppliers

The UK Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of disruption.

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

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