Frequently asked questions

If an event is cancelled by the council because of a concern about coronavirus, will the council refund me?

No, the council will not issue refunds in this situation. You should speak to whoever you purchased tickets or made any bookings with.

Can the council implement temporary cycling and walking space?

We already have an existing ongoing programme of infrastructure projects which prioritise sustainable travel modes such as walking and cycling. We have seen higher rates of cycling and walking across the city during the lockdown period and are actively looking at bringing some schemes forward to maximise on this. Alongside planned infrastructure improvements, we will also be continuing to signpost people to our My Journey sustainable travel programme which provides a range of initiatives to help people sustain these healthier travel choices.

Will my bins still be collected?

All collections are now running as normal. The latest updates, information and guidance can be found on our Coronavirus pages.

How do I avoid COVID-19 scams?

The Government has only sent one text message to the public regarding new rules about staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Any others claiming to be from UK Government are false.

Criminals are able to use spoofing technology to send texts and emails impersonating organisations that you know and trust. We would remind anyone who receives an unexpected text or email asking for personal or financial details not click on the links or attachments.

Some Southampton residents who been identified as clinically vulnerable but have not yet registered for government support, may get a text message from Southampton City Council under ‘SotonCC’ or 07860064055 where a reply is needed.

During this period, Southampton City Council is starting to make more use of texts, emails and phone calls to communicate with residents and tenants. For example, our Customer Payment and Debt Team have provided tenants direct phone numbers to contact if they needed any help with rent or benefits. The council has now also restarted recovery action and we are contacting customers who are in arrears. These messages are legitimate and are being sent out to make sure people know who they can turn to for help. Please note this is for advice only and we will never ask you for personal or financial details. If you are unsure, please check by calling Customer Services on: 023 8083 3000.

Why am I seeing Council staff still working in public areas?

We understand that some residents may ask why Council staff are still being seen out and about doing their work. Local Authority employees are classed as key frontline workers and we are asking all staff to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. The City Services teams are continuing with grounds maintenance, cleansing and waste collection operations (apart from glass collections), and we are delivering our services in line with government and chief medical officers’ guidance and updated risk assessments.

We are ensuring that good hygiene and social distancing measures are adhered to through regular communications with staff.

Where required, some staff are being redeployed to support other critical areas and are helping with receiving and delivering food to vulnerable residents and PPE to other frontline key workers.

We are closely adhering to the current guidance in section 4 of the latest government guidance.

Is it free to cross the Itchen Bridge?

Toll Charges on the Itchen Bridge were reinstated from Monday 1 June 2020.

Civic officials have been reviewing the suspension of the toll – which is used to manage the volume of traffic using the crossing and cover ongoing maintenance costs – over recent weeks and decided to reinstate the charges as more drivers are making longer journeys.

Motorists will need to pay during the following periods:

  • Monday to Friday 7am - 6pm
  • Saturday 8am - 6pm

A further decision on whether to apply the toll 24 hours a day (a return to its usual operation) will be made after three weeks.

Do I still need to pay Council Tax if I am in self-isolation and unable to work?

Anyone who is isolating or has confirmed COVID-19 virus, and due to this is unable to pay their council tax, will need to contact us to let us know. Please email council.tax@southampton.gov.uk including your Council Tax account number, explaining your situation, and the team will reply.

Why are there so many cruise ships docked?

Cruise ships are returning to appropriate ports, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so that passengers can disembark to return to their homes.

The Port Health Authority in conjunction with Public Health England are in regular communications with the vessels to ensure the correct procedures are strictly followed.

Those ships will not be setting sail until further notice, so the ship will be used to ensure crew on board are accommodated. The ships require power to run safely for the remaining crew on board. As this is an evolving situation, you can contact the Associated British Ports team for the latest information.

Are the ships in ports causing air pollution?

Associated British Ports have informed us that ships may remain in port for some time and crew may be accommodated on board during this period. Vessels that are alongside will be running minimal power generation systems to operate essential services for crew welfare.

Data has also shown that air quality in Southampton has improved in the past week and is not anticipated to change.

Are the mighty Southampton FC still playing?

You can find the latest information from Southampton FC about Coronavirus on the Southampton FC website.

Are taxi and private hire cars still working?

Yes, following the advice of NHS England and Public Health England, Southampton City Council is providing the following guidance to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in the city, to help prevent potential transmission of Coronavirus should it become more prevalent in the country.

Is there any way to access library resources from home?

Keep entertained with free library content without going to the library. Explore our digital library and discover a wide range of resources to find something interesting to read, listen to or learn. They are free to use and all you’ll need is your Borrower number and PIN.

You can also read more online about libraries reopening.

When can I use my bus pass?

Time restrictions have been reinstated and you use your bus pass after 9am only. You can find more information on the SmartCities page.

Should I offer to help my neighbour?

Now more than ever, we all need to look out for each other.

We are mobilising and redeploying our staff and working with the voluntary sector to help the most vulnerable. We will update our website as more detail is available. This will be updated with new details as they become available.

We need your help to get through this. Make sure you check that neighbours are doing ok, especially if you think they may be vulnerable.

Please remain safe and stay two meters away from them so that you don’t risk sharing coronavirus.

If you know a neighbour doesn’t have access to the internet then make sure you keep them in the loop on any changes that may affect them.

Can I have a bonfire in my garden?

We’ve all been taking advantage of the weather to spend some time in the garden and may now find yourself with garden waste to dispose of. You can take this to a Household Waste Recycling Centre or sign up to garden waste collections.

Having a bonfire might seem like a good solution, but with so many people at home this has the potential to impact on many more neighbours than would normally be the case. Smoke and fumes from bonfires can worsen existing respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and COPD and potentially affect those with heart complaints, causing breathing difficulties to those most vulnerable to Coronavirus.

We encourage you to be mindful of neighbours and your local community and not to burn waste in your garden. If you don’t already, you could think about composting, using grass cuttings as a mulch on your flower beds. Efforts to improve air quality in the city have delivered improvements over the last ten years but in recent weeks we have seen significant reductions in pollution in response to changes in our behaviour. This can only help the most vulnerable in our communities so let’s try to do what we can to maintain this.

There is so much information about coronavirus, how do I know what to believe?

Focus on trusted sources, like GOV.UK, NHS and the council. Be careful and considered, you play an important role in not sharing incorrect information. This BBC blog explains a bit more about that.