Update on our services: 26 May

Now that the Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is underway, I hope that, like me, you are feeling optimistic that we are continuing to make positive steps towards something more like our ‘normal’ lives.

Indoor hospitality has now reopened and indoor entertainment resumed, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas. Up to six people or two households are able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.  All remaining outdoor entertainment is now able to reopen, such as outdoor cinemas and performances. Some larger events are also able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances, and sports events, and the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes has increased to 30. You can find out more details about Step 3 restrictions here.

It’s important to note that the Government has also issued new advice for people living in areas where the new variant (sometimes referred to as the variant first identified in India) is spreading. You can find out which areas are affected and what the advice is here.

The vaccine programme continues to be rolled out at pace, with people aged 30 and over now eligible to receive it.  We’re encouraging everyone to have the vaccine when offered the opportunity and while we recognise it’s a matter of individual choice, we want everyone to be in the best position to make an informed decision. We recognise that customers from BAME communities may have particular barriers or concerns and additional information - including vaccine resources in different languages - can be found here. Please take some time to find out the facts from official and reliable sources. A good place to start reading is the NHS guide.

We are continuing to ask customers whether they are vaccinated or not. This is particularly relevant when you need to see someone face to face or where services are being delivered in your home. We’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions help you understand why we’re interested in this information, which you can read here.  Don’t forget, free, twice-weekly rapid Covid-19 tests for every person in England who does not have Covid-19 symptoms are now available.

As we take this next step along the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, I want to assure you that we are continuing to offer our full repairs service to customers where it is safe to do so. However, it will be inevitable that some of our non-emergency repairs will take longer than usual to complete due to colleagues and contractors being off with Covid related symptoms or those needing to self-isolate. This means that we will be prioritising emergency and urgent repairs and given this, other repair work is likely to take longer than usual. If your repair is not urgent and you can delay your call, this will certainly help us to prioritise those in most need.

We also appreciate that Covid may have had an impact on your finances and you may be worried about your rent payments. We want to reassure you that if you are unable to make a rent payment because you are now on reduced hours, or you have lost your job because of the coronavirus, you will not lose your home.  Please talk to us if you are struggling so that we can work with you to agree a flexible payment arrangement that considers your individual circumstances.

The pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for all of us and no doubt we will still have some challenges ahead. But now many of us are able to see family and friends again, and are able to enjoy more of the activities we’ve previously missed, it certainly feels like the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel is getting a bit brighter.

Nicholas Harris

Find out more

We’re working hard to continue delivering services throughout the coronavirus pandemic and to support our customers – in particular those who most need our help. There’s more information on our dedicated page, with details of where to find support as well as info on our current service levels.

We’ll keep our services under constant review, and, as we have throughout the course of the pandemic, we will be guided by government advice in order to ensure we’re keeping our colleagues, customers and contractors safe. In the meantime, a full list of what is permitted is available on the Government website.