Following the latest Government advice that people should only travel for essential reasons, City of York Council will be closing its customer centre at West Offices from Tuesday 12 January.
This will help to further protect residents and staff and prevent the spread of coronavirus in the city.
As people have been following the guidance and contacting the customer centre online or over the phone where possible, there has been a large drop in the number of people coming into West Offices.
During this time, our priority is to ensure we are able to provide essential services to those in most need and do not create an increased risk of infection.
All welfare assistance, business support information and forms are available online and those residents who need more help can call the customer centre on 01904 551550 for further help.
For routine business, as always, residents can call our customer service team during opening hours. People can also visit www.york.gov.uk where they can access most services 24/7. With many services operating under different arrangements, customers are urged to visit the council’s website for the latest information.
Essential face to face conversations with vulnerable residents and those accessing social care will still be facilitated, as part of their existing care. Any visits to individual’s homes will follow public health guidance.
Existing community and neighbourhood support will continue and the council’s new network of community hubs are continuing to ensure vulnerable people are identified and are able to access the support they need.
Arrangements are being made for Blue Badge assessment appointments to continue at West Offices whilst the customer centre is closed, and those arrangements will be communicated with all those attending.
People needing help with no other source in place, can email COVID19help@york.gov.uk or phone 01904 551550 and they will be contacted.
Executive Member for Finance and Performance, Cllr Nigel Ayre, said:
As always, the safety of both residents and staff is of paramount importance. It has, once again, become of national importance that we all play our part in reducing the spread of coronavirus to protect our communities.
During this difficult time, we have taken the decision to temporarily close the customer centre while the current Government guidelines are in place.
“With the Governments advice to only leave the home for food, work or exercise, we have seen a marked drop in visits to our customer centre and instead, people have been accessing our services through different means, either by phone or online.
“I’d like to reassure people that the Council is still open for business and residents will still receive the same level of service over the phone or online, we just need to be extra careful to minimise face to face contact to help slow the spread of the virus.”
All of our welfare benefits, including council tax and housing, and emergency schemes are available online with assistance available over the phone.
All services previously provided face to face in the customer centre by appointment, for example revenues and benefits, housing, planning and Citizens Advice York will all be available over the phone.
Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.30pm except on bank holidays. Remember most queries can be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on our website.
The council will closely monitor and follow Government advice and reopen the customer centre when national guidelines allow.