Coronavirus, what you need to know:
You can get the latest updates and guidance as it’s announced by following us on social media:
Moray is currently in Protection Level 1 of measures to suppress Coronavirus. You can find what this means for travel, leisure, socialising and more, on the Scottish Government's website.
Make sure to check the guidance about COVID-19 from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government, including social distancing, advice for those who are shielding and what symptoms to look for. For more local information you can check out the Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub.
All access points are now closed. Residents can contact us via the contact centre.
Below you will find the latest information and support options by topic:
If you have e-mailed us recently, please bear with us. We’re working through a larger than normal volume of enquiries with a smaller group of staff, but responding to ensure that those that need our help and support most are given priority.
Please be patient and our customer service colleagues will be in touch as soon as they can.
Temporary Closure grant
If your business is required to close by law you could be entitled to a temporary closure grant every four weeks, of one of the following:
- £2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
- £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above
An upper limit of £15,000 in total in any four-week period will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises
Nightclubs - a nightclub is an entertainment premises that is open until at least 2 am at the weekend, and the main or routine operation of the premises is after 7 pm, and where the majority of the premises are given over to permanent dance floor facilities. It must also:
- have a permanent DJ performance area booth
- be licensed for recorded music, dance facilities and live performance (at Q5 Activities Matrix within the Premises Licence Operating Plan) and
- the premises Licence Operating Plan at 5(g) must confirm it trades post 1am with music exceeding 85 DB and more patrons likely to be standing than seated
Business Restrictions grant
If your business is specifically required to modify its operations, as specified by the schedules of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 or specified in the levels list on the eligibility page, you may be entitled to a Business Restrictions grant every four weeks, of one of the following:
- £1, 400 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
- £2,100 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above
An upper limit of £10,500 in total in any four-week period will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises.
Theatres, sports stadia, conference and exhibition centres, comedy clubs, concert halls and music venues subject to a specific cap on the number of people who can attend an event.
All hospitality subjected to time restrictions on their operations ( i.e. no admittance after 9.30pm, closure at 10.30pm) by law - includes restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, licensed sports and social clubs and licensed premises - but excluding takeaways
Please note - All grants will be paid every four weeks in arrears and successful applicants will not need to re-apply if restrictions are extended beyond four weeks.
If your business is not listed above, please do not apply as you are ineligible for these funds.
For any enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Moray Emergency Relief Fund
There is a Moray Emergency Relief Fund in operation for those in acute financial difficulty or who have a particular problem facing them for which they can find no solution.
You can email: email@example.com for help with applications.
Our services offer free and confidential support if you've money worries:
- Scottish Welfare Fund – can help with money, food and household items in a crisis. T: 01343 563456
- British Red Cross Hardship Fund - you may qualify for £120 support to pay for essentials
- Money Advice Moray – can help with managing and repaying debts, help with claiming benefits, budgeting and benefit appeals. T: 0300 123 4563
- Benefit Services – entitlement to free school meals, clothing grants, Educational Maintenance Allowance, housing benefit, Council Tax Reduction. T: 01343 563456
- Discretionary Housing Payments can help if you require financial assistance to meet your rent costs. T: 01343 563456
- Citizens Advice Bureau can offer advice and support on a number of topics from budgeting to benefits and emergency aid. T: 08000 857 145
- Self Isolation Support Grant – you may be eligible for a grant if you are required to self-isolate by the Test and Protect Service and are on Universal Credit or other low income benefit and will lose earned income.
Residents and businesses facing difficulties with council tax and business rates payments are being offered help to spread the load. If you are unable to meet your payments please contact advisors on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think you will struggle to pay your rent please speak to your landlord (or letting agent) now. Landlords are not allowed to evict tenants that are in financial hardship due to the coronavirus.
Universal Credit can help with housing costs if you have a low income.
Discretionary Housing Payments can also help if Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn’t cover all of your rent, although it does not cover non-payment of rent arrears.
Moray Food Plus can help with food and essentials in a crisis. They work on a referral basis from support services such as Citizens Advice Bureau (08000 857 145) and Scottish Welfare Fund (01343 563 456).
Anyone facing financial hardship can apply for help in paying for food during the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, as the Flexible Food Fund has re-opened from 18 November 2020. Cash is allocated monthly to successful applicants, based on the number of adults and children in the house.
Those who previously received grants from the food fund will need to re-apply and the first payment will be made in December, with a further payment in January. Applicants can also choose to put the money towards energy costs.
Organisations and support services acting on behalf of those in need can refer clients by completing a referral form.
Bills & Debts
If you’re worried or struggling to pay bills and debts, including rent and council tax arrears, Money Advice Moray (0300 123 4563) can help to negotiate lower payments and payment breaks with creditors.
If you think you will struggle to pay your mortgage on time please speak to your lender now. Some lenders may offer you options such as a payment holiday or a smaller monthly payment for a short term period.
There is also help available from the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme if you receive certain benefits.
Benefit advice & support
Whether you are in or out of work and you want to check if you are entitled to benefits or need help to claim the right benefits, contact Moray Advice Moray by calling 0300 123 4563 or Citizens Advice Bureau by calling 0800 0857 145.You may also be eligible for Universal Credit.
Fuel / energy costs
Energy suppliers are offering some help to those struggling to pay bills as a result of the coronavirus – both prepay and credit meter. If you have a prepayment meter and are unable to go outside to top it up as you are unwell or self-isolating, speak to your energy supplier.
Moray Business Resilience Forum has been set up to bring together private and public sector organisations to respond to the emerging issues being faced by the sector in light of the pandemic.
Suppliers and Contractors
We’re keen to support all contracted suppliers through this difficult time to ensure that they are able either to continue to work with us through the crisis or, where that is not possible, to be in a position to resume normal service delivery when the outbreak is over.
We have adopted the guidance recently published by the Scottish Government regarding supplier relief measures Coronavirus (COVID-19): supplier relief SPPN 5/2020 - gov.scot.
We would ask any contracted supplier who has concerns regarding their ability to continue to meet their responsibilities either during or after the crisis (even after accessing the various forms of support available) without some form of emergency interim arrangements in place and who is not already in conversation with their council contract manager to email: email@example.com for help.
We are supporting businesses as best we can as the Coronavirus restrictions are relaxed, in particular in relation to enabling space for social distancing and safe operation.
We are asking businesses across Moray to answer a short series of questions to help us develop our plans to meet your needs, and make sure we have the resources to assist wherever possible.
Please download the consultation questions, and send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. We will be using the information in our planning from 9 June onwards. We appreciate this is a tight turnaround, but we want to work as fast as possible to get things ready.
Moray Business Resilience Forum has been set up to bring together private and public sector organisations to respond to the emerging issues being faced by the sector in light of the pandemic.
Your Council Tax pays for essential services that are delivered to all residents in Moray, so it is really important that if your circumstances have not changed that you continue to pay what you should, maintain your direct debit payments, or payment plan, as detailed on your bill.
If you’re in financial hardship, you may qualify for Council Tax reduction, among other benefits.
Our housing and property service is restricting contact with customers until further notice to reduce the spread of Covid-19. These changes are required to keep customers and our colleagues safe. In the meantime, if you're having difficulty paying your rent or managing your finances due to the current pandemic, read our guidance for those seeking assistance.
Information from the Scottish Government for Social Housing Tenants
Kevin Stewart MSP, the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, has issued an open letter to tenants (also available in large print) which gives advice on coronavirus and covers a number of key areas during the pandemic including:
- Financial difficulties or difficulty paying your rent
- Protection on eviction
- Support for victims of domestic abuse
- The allocation of properties and mutual exchange requests
- Staff and contractor visits to your home
- Repairs, maintenance and planned improvement programmes
- Gas safety
- Antisocial behaviour
We are committed to protecting the health and safety of staff and tenants and playing our part in preventing the spread of the COVID 19 virus. We are closely following Government guidance and re-introducing services where safe to do so. Currently, our staff and contractors will only enter an occupied property where it is essential to maintain health and safety of the occupants, for example servicing of gas and emergency repairs.
We are aware that for many of you, lockdown has meant your move to more suitable accommodation has been stalled. We have adapted our mutual exchange procedure to incorporate safe working practices and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus and we are now ready to re-introduce this element of our service.
If you applied already and your application was refused because we were not able to assess due to COVID-19 restriction, you will be able to submit a new application for assessment. If you need more information please contact your Area Housing Officer. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
A number of tenants have told us they are self-isolating. Understandably, their main concern is that they may not be able to pay their rent during this period. Changes in circumstances can often mean that tenants are not always in a position to pay their rent when it is normally due. In such cases, an affordable repayment agreement can be made that allows tenants to bring their rent account up to date over an extended period and avoid financial hardship.
If you do find yourself in this position because you are self-isolating, you are affected by Covid-19; or your income has reduced, please let us know immediately by contacting 0300 123 4566.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that there will be no evictions granted by the courts for any of the rented housing sectors. No evictions extends to local authorities, housing associations and the private rented sector.
If you do find yourself in a homeless situation, please contact 0300 123 4566 (in hours) and 03457 565656 (out of hours) for further help and support. All contact should be made by telephone in the first instance.
During the coronavirus outbreak we have been operating an emergency only repairs service. From 1 September, we will restart a full repairs service for our tenants.
Gas Safety Checks
As your landlord we have a legal responsibility to make sure that all gas appliances, fittings and flues provided for the use of tenants are safe. We are continuing to carry out gas safety checks.
The current restrictions on the coronavirus allow registered gas engineers to undertake essential work whilst taking the appropriate precautions. To keep you, your family and our workers safe, we will be following guidance around social distancing and taking additional precautionary measures whilst in your home.
Visiting your home
We know that you may be very wary of letting our staff and contractors into your home at this time. To reassure you we have created some guidelines to let you know the steps we are taking to keep you and your family safe.
Recycling centres in Elgin, Forres, Keith and Buckie are open, with strict physical distancing enforced. To manage traffic, and to protect the safety of our colleagues and residents, a booking system is in place.
Entry will only be permitted to the sites with a valid booking reference. Please make sure you read the booking form carefully, which sets out the materials being accepted at our recycling centres.
Some supermarkets have recycling facilities on their sites. At all locations you’re advised to observe and maintain social distancing, and incorporate recycling into your essential journeys for food or medicines.
Recycling bins (glass, paper and cardboard, and plastic and cans) are being collected three-weekly, alongside your green bin. Brown bins are being collected fortnightly. Please put out your containers for collection for 7:30am on your collection day as there may be changes to your collection time.
Please look out for your neighbours and check they are able to put their bins out. It may not be possible to come back for un-serviced bins until your next scheduled collection day.
Due to changes in staff, waste and recycling assisted collections may be collected by a different crew and at a different time. Please make sure your containers are easily accessible and visible. We may have to change where we collect and return your bins from and to.
We're re-opening limited indoor sports and leisure facilities. To see what's available in your area, check your local timetable and book a slot please visit our dedicated Coronavirus Leisure page.
From 19 October 2020, swimming lessons will resume in Moray, with a reduced number of spaces per lesson. Sports coaching for children and young people will resume from the start of the new school term (26 October) at Lossiemouth, Elgin and Forres House Community Centres.
Some current classes may change their schedule to accommodate the next phase of services re-opening. Such as sessions in Forres have been relocated to Forres House Community Centre from their current base at the swimming pool to allow classes to resume, including Body Combat, Kettlebells, Metafit and Abs (core HIIT).
Make sure you follow all appropriate guidance when booking and using facilities.
For clarification, suspension of monthly payments applies to those memberships which have direct debits set up through Moray Council.
Elgin library will be re-opening for customers to browse the shelves, without an appointment, from 23 November.
Those browsing and borrowing books are asked to keep their visits to no longer than 20 minutes, as numbers inside the library will be capped.
Customers will be able to use public PCs, reference, local heritage and archive resources – though appointments will be required for these services and are limited to one-hour per session.These services will be available on:
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am – 1pm
- Tuesday and Thursday between 2 – 6pm
- Saturday between 10am – noon.
Appointments can be booked online or by calling the library directly. The order and collect service will still be available outwith these hours for those who are not ready to come back into libraries.You can also make use of this service in Forres, Buckie, Keith, Aberlour and Lossiemouth.
You can place your order online and you will receive a time-slot to collect their orders from the library entrance.
There is currently a phased re-introduction of grass cutting in public areas.
Eight public toilets across Moray have re-opened.
Spaces for People
To allow for safe social distancing as lockdown restrictions ease, a number of streets across Moray towns will have traffic restrictions in place until the end of the year.
Sections of Forres High Street, Fochabers High Street, Queen Street and Clifton Road in Lossiemouth will all be subject to prohibition of waiting orders.
In Elgin, current measures remain in place until 25 October 2020, after which:
- The temporary pedestrianisation of east High Street and south Lossie Wynd (11am – 4pm) will end.
- The temporary restrictions on west High Street and Batchen Street will end.
- The all-vehicle restriction on Commerce Street (between 11am – 4pm) will end, and it will revert back to being pedestrianised except for permit holders and those accessing disabled parking bays.
- Pavement widening on east High Street (between Muckle Cross and Commerce Street) will continue. This will require continued relocation of the taxi rank, and suspension of the disabled parking bays outside Farmfoods.
- Additional disabled parking bays in car parks will remain.
- Business owners who are temporarily using land outside their premises for tables and chairs while the current restrictions are in place will be communicated with directly.
You can read full details of the changes from our newsroom, these changes only apply in Elgin, with restrictions still in place for all other towns.
New cards (you have not previously had a Bus Pass):
- Over 60s, Disabled and 11-25’s (Young Scot) applying for a new card online at getyournec.scot. No application form will be required in this case
- If you cannot provide the relevant digital evidence to allow you to apply online please contact Customer Service by email: email@example.com or 0300 123 4565 for further information
Lost, stolen, damaged card:
- Contact Customer Services, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0300 123 4565, with your name, date of birth, full address and previous address if you have moved since your last card was received.
Renewal cards (card has or is due to expire):
- Email your name, date of birth, full address and previous address if you have moved since your last card was received and attach evidence to support your renewal request.
- You can also see the renewal evidence for Disabled card holders.
- There is also information available for the renewal evidence for Disabled/Companion card holders
Registration offices inc birth and death registrations
Death and still-birth registrations are being carried out remotely five days a week.
Moray Council is introducing a staggered birth registration system, based on the date of birth of the child. This will help to allocate resources and address the backlog in a controlled and fair way. Dates are set out below:
Child born Registration commencing from:
- Before 31 March 29 June
- 1 April – 30 April 13 July
- 1 May – 31 May 27 July
- 1 June – 30 June 10 August
- 1 July – 31 July 24 August
- 1 August – 31 August 7 September
- 1 September onwards 21 September
Most details will be captured over the phone by registrars, with a strict appointment system for face-to-face signing of papers. Social distancing will be observed and residents should not enter the registration office without a valid appointment.
Those looking to register a birth should contact Moray Council’s registration office (01343 554600) to make an appointment in line with the dates set out above. Please do not call the office to make an appointment until your registration commencement date.
Marriages and civil partnerships
We understand many couples have disappointingly had their celebrations disrupted. We await further guidance from the Scottish Government which will help us plan for safely re-introducing marriages and civil partnerships in Moray.
Changes, including outdoor celebrations, take effect from 29 June – we will provide more detail as soon as we’re able to.
Car Parking charges will be re-instated at 15 council-owned ‘pay-and-display’ car parks in Elgin from 26 October 2020.
Parking at the St Giles Centre in Elgin after 3pm will be free Monday to Saturday until 2 January 2021.