Published: Friday, 20th Mar 2020

Accurate as of 1pm on Friday 20 March 2020

Daily Bulletin

Accurate as of 1pm on Friday 20 March 2020

The Mayor of Bolton has said she is thinking of everyone affected by the virus and thanked everyone working to keep people safe. You can view her message here.




Latest government guidance

Social distancing and self isolation

Update about council services

Council Tax

Business support

Community support

Update from our partners

Further information


  1. Introduction

Welcome to the daily update about the council’s response to the coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak.

Thank you for your ongoing hard work and for your patience and support in these challenging times.

We understand that you will be concerned about COVID19, and the impact it will have on us personally, on our jobs, and on the services we deliver as a council.

 We will endeavour to keep you up to date every day in the in the early afternoon.

Could managers please make sure anyone without a council email address receives the information in this bulletin.

The primary concern of the council is the welfare of our residents and staff to the virus, while also making sure that we protect our residents, and in particular our most vulnerable residents.

National guidance is being updated regularly and the Public Health team is assessing any new updates three times per day.

If you an employee of the council a single intranet page has pulled together all the information we have sent out so far to all staff.

All public information is on this webpage:


  1. Latest government guidance


The latest government guidance can be found here.


  1. Social distancing and self-isolation

You will have heard that the Prime Minister has advised ‘social distancing’ for all people, and strongly advised it for older or more vulnerable people.

The aim is to protect the health of the population by measures to reduce the social interaction between people to help reduce transmission.

Social distancing is what you do if you don’t have symptoms, to reduce the risk of picking it up (eg working from home).

It is different from self-isolation which is what you do if you or a member of your household has symptoms. It’s to reduce the risk of spread outside the home.

Further guidance has been sent round via staff news.

Our aim is to support as many people as possible to work from home as soon as we can. This will mean changes to the way we all work and may mean that you are asked to carry out different tasks than usual. 

As services come under pressure due to absence, we may need to ask some people who have been working remotely to use different locations, or come back into the office. You should keep in regular contact with your line manager.

If you’re working away from your desk, at home or otherwise please make sure you or colleagues have transferred your phone.

For Mitel phones:

  • With the handset down:


  • Press *8


  • Enter 9 and your mobile number (or other number if appropriate)


  • Pick up and return handset


During these difficult times we need to look after each other as well as protecting ourselves.

The best way to do this is keep a social distance of 2m (three steps) and remember the importance of handwashing.

Thorough and proper hand washing is vital to protect you and everyone around you from coronavirus, at work, home and in public places.



  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • additional to when you use the toilet and prepare food, always wash your hands when you get home or into work too
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available


    Check that you’re doing it right by watching this -


Staff who fall into one of the vulnerable groups are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus will now be self-isolating ‘socially distancing’ and working from home wherever possible.

We issued the following guidance about self isolation yesterday:


  1. Services

Due to the nature scale of the situation, and because guidance is changing daily, we are making decisions on a daily basis as things evolved. We are doing this through our Incident Management Team that has been established.  Our decisions are being taken to ensure that the safety of our staff and our residents.

Please be assured services for vulnerable people are running as normal and any communication should come through the usual channels.


Waste disposal advice

Current advice for cleaning and disposal of waste from affected households if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Make sure you double-bag your grey bin rubbish – especially personal waste such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths.

Rubbish bags should be placed into a second bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste in the room in which you are self- isolating.  Keep aside for at least 72 hours before putting into your usual external household grey waste bin.



The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

We are working with schools on the arrangements and further information will follow.


Town centre events

We are not taking any commercial space or event bookings for the town centre for the foreseeable future and have had to cancel all town centre bookings for the immediate future. 

This decision does not include IronMan UK or Bolton Food and Drink Festival which are part of separate discussions and to which no decision has yet been made.

We will continually review this decision in line with government guidelines and will look forward to welcoming event organisers back to Bolton town centre as soon as we are able. To consider an alternative date please let the team know, via the email


The Albert Halls

In line with the theatres up and down the country the Albert Halls is closed. Everyone who has purchased tickets for shows or events will be contacted by Quay Tickets and offered a ticket transfer to a new date, or a refund if the new date is inconvenient.

Please call 0843 2080500 if you have further concerns regarding tickets purchased for the postponed events. Please visit for further information.


However the Albert Halls remains open for pre-booked weddings. However this will remain under review.



Changes to Library and Museum Services

The Central Museum, Aquarium, History Centre, Smithills Hall and Hall i’th’wood will be closed to visitors from Saturday 21 March.

Public access to the grounds at Smithills Hall will still be available.

The following libraries will remain open as follows from Saturday 21 March:

Horwich Library

Farnworth Library

Harwood Library

Saturday         9-5

Monday           9-5.30

Tuesday          9-5.30

Thursday         9-5.30

Friday              9-5.30


Central Library

Saturday         9-5

Monday           9-5.30

Tuesday          9-5.30

Wednesday     9-5.30

Thursday         9-5.30

Friday              9-5.30

Blackrod, Westhoughton, Bromley Cross, Breightmet, Little Lever and High Street Libraries will be closed to visitors.

All existing loan due dates and reservation collection dates by 90 days are being extended from yesterday (Thursday 19 March). If any fines are accrued at this time these will be waived by staff when the customer is able to return their books.

If customers are self-isolating and have access to any type of computer or tablet they can download eBooks and eAudio books from Borrowbox and will find the information to do this on the library catalogue.  eMagazines are also available.  All can be found at the following link:


Home Library Service

We know a lot of our Home Library Service users may be concerned at this time, whilst the environment around us is so uncertain, and wanted to reassure you that our delivery teams are being extra vigilant.  We are following the advice of the Government and Public Health England, extra handwashing is being carried out and we are following contactless deliveries.

Contactless deliveries; our drivers ring your doorbell, place your books in the doorway and stand two metres distance as you open the door.

We know how important reading is to a lot of our library members unable to leave home, if you know someone that may benefit from this service you can find out more information  by either calling Farnworth Library on 01204 332344 or emailing


Pest control

We are endeavouring to continuing to provide a pest control service. However to protect both the customer and pest control staff, until further notice, Pest Control will not attend any issues inside properties. The only appointments that will be taken are for gardens and outside areas.


One Stop Shop

The One Stop Shop will remain open for the public to make online and telephone enquiries, with a full contact centre service.


Start Well Centres

There will be some changes to Start Well Centres next week.


From Monday 23 March - Oldhams and Alexandra Start Well Centres will be closed with the midwifery clinic moved to Harvey Early Years.


By the end of Tuesday 24 March – the Heaton Centre will close with office staff to Breightmet Health centre. Great Lever Start Well Centres will close with the midwifery clinic moved to Harvey Early Years.


  1. Council tax

We will be supporting council tax payers by:

  • Recovery action on all council debts, including for prior years, has been suspended for three months.
  • Staff will be working to proactively ensure residents get access to a range of financial support including Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Support and Local Welfare Provision.
  • The authority will also ensure that its Council Tax Support Scheme (CTS) continually changes to reflect changes in national benefits through the Council’s discretionary schemes.


  1. Business support

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Further information can be found her on the Government website.


The council is waiting for confirmation from the Government as to how the grant scheme for businesses will work.

When this information is known this will be published, together with details of how to apply, on

Please monitor this website for updates and be assured that the council is committed to implementing these measures as a matter of urgency.


Marketing Manchester will be running a special webinar dedicated to the Tourism and Hospitality Sector from 14:30-15:15 on Monday 23 March. 


  1. Community support

Residents are being reminded of the simple steps we can all take to help our most vulnerable friends and neighbours stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The council is working closely with our partners in the voluntary, community, social enterprise and faith sector leaders to help those in most need.

We are working with Bolton CVS to co-ordinate responses to volunteering and support and more information will be available soon.  In the meantime, please go to Bolton CVS website or call 01204 546055.


  1. Update from partners


Bolton at Home

Bolton at Home has taken the decision to only carry out emergency repairs for the moment.

Pre-arranged repairs are being postponed for the foreseeable future. Emergency repairs and servicing for gas safety are continuing if no one in the household as any symptoms. They will continue to do some external repairs where face-to-face contact or access to a property isn’t necessary.

All their staff have been asked to self-isolate at home if they, or anyone in their family, has any symptoms of the virus.


Transport for Greater Manchester

The Government is advising against non-essential use of public transport and for people to vary travel times to avoid rush hour.  

Services are currently operating as normal but as people begin to travel less and TFGM has less staff and drivers available, bus, rail and tram services will start to be reduced over the coming days.

Many operators have now published their revised timetables, which will come into effect from Sunday.  

While non-essential travel is being discouraged, peak time restrictions on concessionary tram and bus passes will be lifted during the early morning rush hour from Friday 20 March onwards to make it easier for the region’s older citizens and disabled people to get their shopping.  

Metrolink passengers with 28 day and annual travelcards are being offered refunds on the number of days left remaining on their tickets, as long as there is a minimum of 7 days remaining.  

Please visit this link for the latest travel and timetable information for all types of transport and check with individual operators ahead of your journey.


Greater Manchester Police

At Bolton the contingency planning is operating fully and the police are taking steps to minimise the risk of the spread of infection amongst the workforce.

Some of these measures will impact on the neighbourhood roles of staff and ability to deliver neighbourhood policing as it realigns colleagues into roles to support the frontline function. This will ensure it has sufficient resources to provide the emergency service that our community deserve in these unprecedented times.  

“We are fully committed to neighbourhood policing but would appeal for some patience in the short term until we can re-engage with our communities and see a return to normal business.”


The University of Bolton

The university is moving to a method of delivering their programmes to students so that they can continue their education throughout the academic year without the need for classes to meet on campus.

From 5pm today, Friday 20 March 2020, the Easter vacation will begin early for students with the exception of those students and apprentices who are in work placement with employers as an integral part of their degree course (e.g. Nursing, Midwifery, Degree Apprentices, Teacher Education etc.).  

All staff will continue to work, or be available for work tasks, but should do this remotely at home.

Teaching will recommence for students on Monday 20 April 2020, however, all classes will be mediated and facilitated using the Zoom technology app and will not take place on campus.

All other staff will work from home except essential skeleton staff in: Finance, the main Library, IT server support and Facilities.

Students will be encouraged to access the library either remotely or on a drop-in basis to take away resources.


  1. Further information

We know that people will have questions about this, and as the situation becomes clearer we will continue to talk to staff about these kinds of issues. It will be a challenging time, but we hope that you will continue to do your very best for the Bolton family, many of whom will be going through extremely difficult times over the coming weeks and months. As a Council, our residents will be looking to us for advice and practical support, and it is our duty to provide help to them, and to be there for them during tough times like these.   

If you an employee of the council a single intranet page has pulled together all the information we have sent out so far to all staff.

All public information is on this webpage: