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Important changes to our services

Last updated 27 March 2020

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) our services are changing. This is so that we can redeploy employees to help front line staff, protect those in at-risk groups and keep essential services running. 

This is an unprecedented, continually changing situation and we are all working to keep Dorset residents safe. 

All services will be regularly reviewed to take into account the latest position and advice on COVID-19 from Public Health England.

Bins and waste

Bin collections

Currently running normally. This may change in the coming weeks depending upon advice from Public Health England and the availability of employees. There is a plan to prioritise particular services if this is needed. 

Household Recycling Centres/tips 

All our household recycling centres (HRCs, or 'the tip') are now closed until further notice. Read more on the Dorset Newsroom.

Council offices

We have closed our public facing offices.

You can still contact us by email: customerservices@dorsetcouncil.gov.u

Or call us on the following numbers:

  • County Hall, Dorchester – 01305 221000
  • South Walks House, Dorchester – 01305 251010
  • Mountfield, Bridport – 01305 251010
  • Commercial Road, Weymouth – 01305 838000
  • Westport House, Wareham – 01929 556561
  • Allenview, Wimborne – 01202 795096
  • Nordon Lodge, Blandford – 01258 454111

Our customers services can take telephone calls and emails when they are working at home.

Country parks 

Our 7 country parks are now closed: 

  • Avon Heath Country Park 

  • Durlston Country Park 

  • Hardy's Birthplace Visitor Centre/ Thorncombe woods 

  • Lodmoor Country Park 

  • Purbeck Park 

  • Moors Valley Country Park and Forest 

  • Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre 

All Dorset Council run playgrounds and play parks are closed.

All Dorset Council run countryside car parks are closed.

Funeral services

Following Government guidelines there are changes to funeral services.

We have introduced restrictions to the number of people attending funerals at Weymouth Crematorium. Taking account of Government guidance to limit the spread of Coronavirus and to protect the public and our staff operating this critical service, the following measures will apply from 25 March 2020.

The attendance of close family at funeral services will be restricted to 10 people. Close family are parents, siblings, spouse or partner, children and their partners. The crematorium office will close to members of the public.

We appreciate that this will be distressing for the bereaved and will keep the restrictions under active review. Funeral Directors have been advised of this action and will be in touch with families to help make necessary arrangements.

Funeral services can be viewed on-line and we will make this service available free of charge to families and friends who are unable to attend funeral services.  When the situation improves, the bereaved affected by this restriction will have the opportunity of holding a memorial service at the Crematorium.

Restrictions may change dependent upon future Government guidance.

The bereaved should contact their Funeral Director for further advice. Weymouth Crematorium can be contacted on 01305 786984 and by emailcrem@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Harbours

  • we have suspended all activities in Weymouth, Bridport and Lyme Regis - except for essential commercial tasks, as defined by government guidance, including commercial fishermen to ensure food supplies
  • the harbour offices are all closed as public access points - they can still be contacted by email or telephone, where card payments can be taken
  • there will be no boat lifts, no trips by commercial passenger vessels or authorised use of leisure crafts
  • harbour dues and charges will continue
  • all slipways are closed to recreational users
  • the harbour teams will regularly check customers boats - so berth-holders do not need to travel to their berths
  • the Harbour Masters and their teams will monitor activities to minimise non-essential traffic and remain available to assist the emergency services including the Maritime and Coastguard

Highways 

Work on our highways will continue unless there is a change in guidance from Public Health England. It will also depend upon the health and wellbeing of employees, and the availability of materials from suppliers. There is a prioritised plan of work so that we can manage this situation. 

Housing 

We have had to change the way we run our housing service in response to COVID-19. 

Leisure centres 

All Dorset Council leisure centres now closed.

Following the latest government advice issued in regards to coronavirus (COVID-19) and social distancing guidance, we are closing all cafés and leisure centres operated by Dorset Council from Saturday 21 March.

Libraries 

After careful consideration, we have decided to close all Dorset Council libraries from the end of the day on 20 March. The community libraries are also closed until further notice. This is based on the current advice from central government as libraries are public places which present social-distancing challenges. This decision wasn’t an easy one, balancing the impact on our users and communities at a time when some people may need support, and managing the wellbeing and health of our employees. 

Don’t worry about returning items late during this closure period as any charges will be cleared when the items are returned. You can continue to access our digital resources, e-books, audiobooks and magazines online.

Closure is until further notice and we will regularly review to take account of the latest position and advice on COVID-19. 

Registration services 

Registering births 

  • birth registrations are now deferred indefinitely
  • this is government guidance so there will be no penalty to anyone not registering within the standard timeframe
  • claims for child benefit or universal credit can now be made before the birth being registered - if you have not been able to register because of these measures

Registering deaths

  • with effect from Monday 30 March 2020, all registration appointments will done by telephone
  • a maximum of 2 certificates will be issued for any registration - these will be sent out by post
  • the Tell Us Once service is currently suspended but we will help families to complete this themselves

Weddings and civil partnerships 

Further to the government’s announcement on 23 March, Dorset Council regret that all wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be cancelled up to and including 13 April 2020. Our registration service is contacting all couples affected and will re-arrange their ceremonies to a later date.

Notices of marriage or civil partnership appointments are now deferred indefinitely.

If you are personally affected by this decision, Registration Services will contact you direct. However, you can email registrars@dorsetcouncil.gov.ukor call 01305 225153 if you wish to discuss your options.

Registration office closures

  • all registration offices are closed to the public until further notice

Schools 

Find out what is happening with school closures, free school meals and transport.

On Monday 23 March all Dorset schools will be open for children of key workers and those who meet the criteria set out in Thursday’s government guidance. Some schools may be completely closed for staffing reasons, find out about your school. School transport will pick up children as usual for the open schools. We will then assess the numbers and needs of the children and organise schools and transport accordingly for future days. We will keep parents informed about the details when this has been planned. 

The Dorset History Centre and archives 

Archives and local studies (in keeping with libraries) are closed until further notice. We will review the situation regularly and in line with official guidance.

Staff will continue to answer email and telephone enquiries. Please check the website for up to date information about the service. 

Tourist Information Centres

Dorchester, Discover Purbeck, Lyme Regis and Sherborne Tourist Information Centres are closed.

Toilets

All of our public toilets are now closed. 

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