Coronavirus, what you need to know:
You can get the latest updates and guidance as it’s announced by following us on social media:
NHS Inform has the latest health advice relating to Coronavirus, and an explanation of levels and restrictions is available on the Scottish Government's website. If you need help with things like accessing food, contact the Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub on its Freephone number.
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:
Free testing is available to residents aged over 5 years-old, for those who have no symptoms of COVID-19 but who could be infectious and spreading the virus without knowing it. No booking is required.
Identifying positive cases, and the resulting self-isolation, will help drive down community transmission. Lateral flow tests will be used, with results usually available within half an hour. Positive lateral flow tests will be followed by PCR testing, with results confirmed through a laboratory. Financial support, and access to food, may be available to those who test positive, depending on eligibility.
Drive-in testing stations for all without symptoms are available in Buckie, Keith, Forres and Aberlour. See below for days and times.
IMPORTANT: These dates are subject to change and other venues may be added. Mobile testing units may be redeployed to areas within Moray with greater need/those which are indicating higher rates of infection.
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.
MORAY BUSINESS START-UP GRANT - Launched 13 Sept 2021
The Moray Council’s Business Gateway service in partnership with Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) aim to stimulate local economic activity by supporting individuals to turn ideas into commercial reality. As we start to emerge from the impact of COVID19 we are offering targeted support to encourage new businesses to start in Moray.
Aimed at helping new businesses get off to a flying start, new entrepreneurs can now access:
- access to impartial and free advisory support
- skills training support on all aspects of starting and running a business
- £1500 financial support to assist in getting off the ground
The grant of £1,500 is available for start-up businesses which will be based in Moray. This grant scheme will remain open until end of March 2022 or until funds are exhausted.
Guidance on eligibility criteria and the application process can be downloaded here
All enquiries in the first instance should be emailed to email@example.com and you should include your contact details. The Business Gateway Team will respond and those eligible to apply will be sent an application form along with business plan and cashflow forecast templates to complete.
Only completed applications received with all other supporting documents required will be assessed on a first come first served basis.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 or a child or person you care for is required to self-isolate by the Test and Protect Services and are on a low income benefit or earn less than the Real Living wage 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 email@example.com
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.
Tenant Hardship Loan Scottish Government can offer loans if you have rent arrears and are experiencing difficulties paying them.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
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.
Repairs and maintenance to council homes and properties
Moray Council’s non-emergency repairs service for housing tenants will re-start from Monday 26 April, following the recent Scottish Government announcement that Moray will be moving to Tier 3. This includes planned maintenance programmes such as upgrades to your home.
Due to the previous Tier 4 restrictions we have a current backlog of outstanding non-emergency repairs calls. This will cause some ongoing delays within our repairs service. We ask for your patience. Please bear with us while we do everything possible to address this current backlog and all incoming calls.
All new non-emergency repairs can be reported from Monday 26 April by phoning our Contact Centre on 0300 123 4566 during office hours, 8.45am - 5pm. Please note our Contact Centre can be very busy between 8:45am and 10am. Where possible we would appreciate if your call can wait until after this time to avoid any unnecessary waiting time for you. All repairs will be prioritised depending on the nature of the repair.
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 all gas safety 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.
The Scottish Government have made a business support grant available for each licensed taxi/private hire driver who meets its eligibility criteria:
- Was working or available for licensed taxi driver or private hire driver work between October 9 2020 to at least January 31st 2021
- Has experienced a loss of income (50% or more compared with 2019)
- Have not applied for this grant from any other Local Authority
Please note that your form cannot be actioned without the required evidence.
We aim to process the grant within 4 weeks so please do not contact us before this time period has passed.
If you have not heard anything after 4 weeks then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting your full name and Taxi Driver Licence number.
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.
Eight public toilets across Moray have re-opened.
LES MILLS On-Demand
Moray Council is offering residents discounted access to one of the world’s best-known fitness empires.
Anyone living in Moray, regardless of whether they use existing leisure facilities, can sign up through Moray Council to LES MILLS On-Demand to take advantage of the offer.
Regular membership costs £11.95 per month, but by signing up through the council it’s just £7.94 per month and cancellation is free, anytime. New customers who sign up before the end of January will also get a 60-day free trial.
LES MILLS On-Demand is home to over a thousand online workouts for all ages and abilities, and features 13 of their globally-renowned exercise programmes.
Benefit from their global fitness community including 3-12 week workout plans, and world-class instructors to help you reach their fitness goals.
Available to stream through a TV, laptop, mobile or tablet, workouts can even be downloaded on iOS and Android.
Sport and leisure facilities
Sport and Leisure facilities are re-open.. Click on the following link for more information on timetables, booking etc - http://www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_133878.html
From 26th April 2021, Moray Libraries will be opening for browsing, PC use and access to Reference resources. Various temporary opening times will be in place in different libraries. Fochabers Library will be re-opening mid-May.
- Borrowers are asked to limit their visit to around 20 minutes
- One hour appointments must be made for PC use and Reference access
You can order using the app, by phoning 01343 562600 or ordering online.
There is currently a phased re-introduction of grass cutting in public areas.
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
Renewals, replacement photos, lost, stolen or damaged cards:
- You can now request these online at getyournec.scot. No application form is required
- If you cannot provide the relevant digital evidence to allow you to apply online please 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.
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.
Births registered on Mondays/Tuesdays and Thursdays with details captured over the phone by registrars and 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 our registration office (01343 554600) to make an appointment.
Marriages and civil partnerships
At the moment marriages and civil partnerships can still go ahead, with a maximum of 5 people.
The issuing of Blue Badges has been impacted by the demands Covid-19 has placed on our resources.
We apologise for the delay in processing new applications and renewals. Action is being taken in order to return to our normal service standards as soon as possible. The backlog of current applications are being processed in date order and will be assessed at the earliest opportunity.
We continue to accept new and renewal applications for Blue Badges - please allow extra time for your application, review or appeal to be processed.
Thank you for your patience.