Coronavirus Frome FAQs

Last updated 22nd July 2020

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation progresses, there are many questions and concerns about how the necessary government measures will affect us all. We’ll do our best to answer your questions, and keep this page updated with useful information.

  • How can I help others?

Get to know your neighbours and offer help where needed. There are a number of local charities who will urgently be looking for more help over the coming weeks and months including Active and in Touch and Fair Frome. There is also an online register of volunteers that you can add yourself to here.

  • Is the Town Council still operating?

Yes, we are.  While the Town Hall is closed to the public, Council staff are still working but from home where possible in line with government guidelines.

  • Is Fair Frome still operating?

Yes, although opening hours and services may need to be altered as the situation progresses. For up to date information please visit the Fair Frome website, call 01373 488578 or email info@fairfrome.org

  • I have elderly relatives in Frome who may need help/support, but I’m too far away/in self-isolation, what help is available?

There is currently a lot of work going on to coordinate local volunteers to help support vulnerable people with basic needs such as shopping and prescription collections. We are encouraging people to activate their support network in the first instance.  We are also able to offer those without a support network some services, all the details can be found on our Support Services page.

You can also contact local groups Active and in Touch and Health Connections Mendip for more advice.

  • Where can I find a list of which local shops are open or offering deliveries?

We’ve updated our directory on Discover Frome with a dedicated COVID-19 shopping page and will be continuing to update this over the coming weeks.  There you can find details of businesses that are open, delivering food and drink locally, those offering takeaways for collection and delivery as well as which local retailers are still operating online.  Please let us know if you are a business and would like us to include you in the listing.

  • When and where do I have to wear a mask?

As of Friday 24th July, the law is that people must wear a face covering on public transport and in shops & supermarkets.

The Government is also strongly recommending that people wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult – and where you might come into contact with people that you do not normally meet.

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. Current exemptions include:

  • Young children under the age of 11
  • If you are not able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment; or disability
  • If a police officer or other official requests that you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering, for example if you’re asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification.

You can read the Government’s information on this in full here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

  • I’m unable to leave home/self-isolating, how can I get food/prescriptions?

We are encouraging all Frome residents to get to know their neighbours and be aware of anyone in their street who may need help. Making contact with somebody near by is your best source of support in the immediate future.  You may be able to  sign up for the online prescription service here, and over on Frome Community Drivers website you can find details of how they are helping with prescription delivery or call 07596 591391. We are also offering further assistance on our Support Services page.

  • I’m worried about maintaining good mental health for me and my family during this time, where can I find support?

There are a range of groups and charities who are able to offer remote services to help you through the coming weeks. Visit our Advice & Support for families page for a list of organisations who can help with a range of issues for families and individuals.

  • I am on a zero hours contract and have been laid off, what do I do?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit. To find out more and to check if you’re eligible visit www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit or call 0800 328 5644.  The Government website has guidance for employees.

  • I can’t pay my rent/mortgage, what do I do?

You may be eligible for universal credit to help pay your rent if you are unable to work/lose your job due to the Coronavirus. Please visit the Government website for more information: www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit or call 0800 328 5644.

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on:

  • your mortgage
  • loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home

This help is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). For more information visit www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest

  • I run an independent business, what help/support is available if I have to close?

We’ve put together some useful links for business owners to help you through this uncertain time.

  • Are bin collections and other council services running as normal?

Frome’s Recycling Centre is now following their usual summer schedules and are taking a growing range of materials. Restrictions remain on vehicles, materials and visitors to ensure social distancing and safety.  Please find more information on opening times and guidance on Somerset Waste Partnership’s page.

The Garden Waste kerbside collections has been reintroduced and bulky waste collection are now being accepted. Most other kerbside collections are running normally, aside from textiles.

All collections are taking place on usual schedules. If your collection is missed, report this after 6pm on collection day via your ‘My Account’ at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.

It may help crews to rinse containers, squash all but glass and aerosols, flatten all boxes and tear card to fit in boxes, sort-segregate materials without using carrier bags, and put out by 7am. Put all food waste in the food waste bin.

The Government has also issued specific advice on how anyone with symptoms of the Coronavirus should dispose of their personal waste such as tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, you can also find this advice on the Somerset Waste Partnership website.

  • Is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau open?

Following Government guidelines, Mendip Citizens Advice offices are now closed for drop in sessions.
The team are still available to help over the phone, their advice line number is 0344 488 9623.  They are also offering an email advice via their website: https://tinyurl.com/sr26jko

  • Do I still need to pay my Council Tax?

You will still need to pay your Counctil Tax, you may be able to spread your payment across 12 months if you don’t currently do this, please call Mendip District Council on 0300 303 8588 to see if this is possible.  Alternatively, there is a hardship fund available for people to access if you are struggling to pay due to financial hardship

  • Will local public transport services continue to run as normal?

Some bus and train services have been reduced. We’ll be updating our Public Transport page as and when we receive new information. You can also find regular updates on the Frome and Villages Bus Users website and GWR.com.

  • I am concerned about domestic violence

SIDAS (Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service) can support anyone effected by domestic violence (which is likely to increase over the coming weeks).  Their number is 0800 69 49 999  and is available 8am – 8pm or email heretohelp@livewest.co.uk.  More information can be found on the SIDAS website.
Moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a “cooling off” period following arguments at home or if you are feeling unsafe is allowed during this period.  Additionally, those living with domestic abuse can access safe spaces at Boots pharmacies.  Those needing help can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room, where they will be able to contact services for help and advice.

  • Are the parks and green spaces still open?

Yes, our parks and green spaces are still open.

This is in line with the Government’s current advice; which you can find here:

Coronavirus: What you can and can’t do
Coronavirus: Staying safe outside your home

The Town Rangers are back working in the parks and green spaces most of the time now as well; very much focused on the seasonal tasks.

Even so, if you see something that might be a problem then please let us know by calling 01373 465757.  That way, we can look at it and can complete any emergency works as a priority.

  • What about play areas – and places like the skatepark?

Our play areas and outdoor gyms will be open again from Saturday 4 July.

Stay safe – and Play safe

We hope this information is helpful if you’re thinking about heading to one of our play areas; or to our outdoor gyms at the Showfield and Tower View:

  • Please check for the Government’s latest guidance on social distancing – at the moment this still means keeping 2m apart as far as possible
  • Practice good hand hygiene. We won’t be cleaning our play areas or our outdoor gyms – so we’d recommend that you wash or sanitise your hands before and after you play; and before and after eating and drinking
  • Look out for other people while you’re out. Including taking turns on things

Further information look at this stay safe and play safe advice for when you visit.

The following spaces are now open again, though (as of 10 June):

  • The pump track at Welshmill
  • The skatepark at Mary Baily
  • The multi-use sports court at Mary Baily

Again, if you decide to use these spaces, please follow the Government’s current guidance which is detailed in the two links above.

Skateboard England have also produced some handy advice for skaters which is pretty sensible for places like the pump track too:

Skateboard England’s website
Skate Safe Infographic

  • What about the toilets in Victoria Park?

We’re re-opening the toilets in the park from Wednesday 22nd July.

We’re not in a position to clean them throughout the day; but we have put some new things in place. This way, you know what we’re doing.

Good to know:

  • The ladies’ and the gents’ will be open every day (including weekends) between 10am and 6pm
  • The accessible toilet is opened (and closed) by a Radar key
  • We’ll be cleaning and disinfecting the toilets once a day in the mornings, before they open

What’s new:

  • You’ll find hand sanitiser gel as you go in (and as you leave)
  • We’ve temporarily closed two of the cubicles in the ladies’ so it’s easier to keep your distance
  • We’re also suggesting one in; one out as far as possible – but we realise this might be tricky some of the time

We haven’t put a one-way system in place because it just isn’t very practical. So please look out for others and keep your distance if you have to queue outside.

And, as we’re all used to by now:

Please check for the Government’s latest guidance on social distancing – at the moment this still means keeping 2m apart as far as possible

Practice good hand hygiene. We’re thoroughly cleaning the toilets once a day – but not in-between. As such, we’d strongly recommend that you wash or sanitise your hands after using the toilets; and you might choose to do this as you go in. This is why we’ve put hand sanitiser dispensers in.

  • Can I use the new Wild about Sharing boxes yet?

You might have found our new Wild about Sharing boxes at Victoria Park, Welshmill and the Old Showfield.

They’re ready to be used but we’d recommend good hand hygiene whether you’re sharing or taking things; and you might want to think about cleaning things that you take if that’s practical.

Find out more about Wild about Sharing.

  • Are the tennis courts open, I’ve seen people playing on them.

The tennis courts on Mary Baily are open for bookings again but there are restrictions on play that must be adhered to. You can find up to date and detailed information from the Lawn Tennis Association here: www.lta.org.uk

The LTA has also produced a quick guide for tennis players.

  • Is the leisure centre open? What about other venues and community groups?

In line with the latest Government advice, leisure facilities are still closed.

  • Can I still go to my allotment?

There are no plans to close the town’s allotment sites, and the Government has suggested that this is viewed as your exercise for the day.

People will still need to be mindful of social distancing while they’re out; and the Allotments Association has local guidance in place at the various allotment sites, including limited parking. Where there are gates or padlocks involved in entering the allotments, then please think about good hand hygiene.

  • What should I do if I see someone not following the Government guidelines?

We should all be following the latest advice on the Government’s website regarding staying home and social distancing. If you feel that individuals or businesses are not following the guidelines and are putting themselves and others at risk you can report it on the Avon & Somerset Police website.

We will keep these pages updated with where help is required and how you can get involved. Somerset County Council also has a Coronavirus latest updates page providing information from the county-wide services they run and support.

If you have a question that we may be able to help with please email info@frometowncouncil.gov.uk

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