Closing time for venues in the battle against coronavirus & new local advice

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Mayor's message

Update on our Coronavirus response

I write to you this evening following the government's announcement that from tonight, restaurants, pubs, theatres and most large venues will officially close. 

The weekend ahead of us is probably looking quite different from the one we may have all imagined several weeks ago, but it's crucial that we all follow the advice and avoid all unnecessary social contact, events and gatherings.

Now is the time to make real changes to our way of life to protect ourselves and each other, and stop the spread of coronavirus.

People staying at home and venues closing is undoubtedly having a worrying impact on businesses. The Chancellor has announced measures to support businesses, workers and the self-employed, including cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, which you can read about online.

As a council, we will be doing all we can to offer support to our local economy, small businesses, market traders, and those across our community who contribute to making Tower Hamlets the best of London in one borough. 

And finally, while many of us are avoiding social contact and unnecessary travel, there are key workers from a wide range of sectors in Tower Hamlets, including council staff, who are venturing out everyday to help others. I know that all of us have these people in our minds and are truly grateful for their ongoing efforts. 

We are a strong, resilient community and we will get through this challenging time together. It's heartening that so many people are coming forward every day to offer their support to their neighbours through the Tower Hamlets Volunteer Centre.

Stay safe, 

Mayor John Biggs

Brick Lane

Local updates and advice

The council has a dedicated webpage containing the latest health and local advice, which you can visit at

This includes information for residents and business owners alike, and we are adding further details each day on things like:

Housing benefit

Protecting and supporting vulnerable residents who are affected or experience hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is one of our top priorities. We are working with the government on this and working through plans on what this will look like.

We will of course continue our usual housing benefit administration. We are also making changes to our processes to help residents who may have to self isolate, particularly where we need information and evidence from them in support of their claims. 

Support for market traders

To support markets and traders during these difficult times, the council is waving all pitch fees for both permanent and casual market traders from Monday 23 March until Thursday 30 April. During this time priority points will also be frozen.

We will continue to review the situation to extend or provide further support where needed. For more information you can email our markets team.  

Coronavirus and fraud

The Metropolitan Police is warning the public to be vigilant to a number of scams being perpetrated by criminals looking to cash in on people’s fears about coronavirus. The majority of incidents reportedly relate to online shopping scams where members of the public have ordered and paid for personal protective equipment, which has then never arrived. Find out more on The Met website.

When it comes to community safety, please be assured we are in regular contact with the Borough Commander of the Metropolitan Police Service Borough Command Unit for Tower Hamlets and Hackney and his senior team to ensure we're working together with keeping our community safe front of mind at all times.

Transport for London (TfL) changes

To support critical workers, TfL is running a reduced service. Some stations across the network are now closed. Everyone is urged not to use public transport for anything other than essential journeys. TfL has also suspended all road user charging schemes to help critical workers. Keep informed by checking TfL's coronavirus web page

More local advice >

Home work

Update on school closures

With the final 'normal' school day now behind us for some time, we understand many children, parents and families may be feeling worried and uncertain about what the weeks ahead will be like.

The council is working with schools to provide support at this time, including for families who rely on free school meals for their children. Details will be available on our website soon or through your child's school.

What support will be available to parents to help them educate their children at home?

The Department for Education has provided detailed FAQs and will soon be providing more information about support for parents. DfE is also working with the BBC and others to provide resources for children to access while at home. For parents with children under five years old, visit

What about key workers and extra support for those who need it?

If you're a 'key worker' or the parent of a vulnerable child, please be assured that some schools in Tower Hamlets will remain open to support you. All schools have contacted parents and head teachers are working through this difficult time with families. More information is available on our website.  

More info on schools and key workers >

Home delivery groceries

Want to lend a hand?

As the impact of coronavirus spreads across the country, community support groups and residents across the borough are coming together to support vulnerable individuals who need extra help during this difficult time.

The council works closely with the voluntary and community sector in Tower Hamlets. We know many of these organisations are making arrangements to support people who need extra help. To help support this vital work we are letting people know how they can get involved.

How you can help the community >

Coronavirus: useful links

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