Video message: 'we're a community and we need to work together' + Victoria Park to close

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Message from the Mayor

Mayor's plea to shopkeepers: 'we're a community and we need to work together'

Mayor Biggs video message

I am very concerned to hear repeated complaints that some shops have increased their prices just as the coronavirus pandemic has begun to spread and people are feeling worried about buying food and other household goods.

We know that many of our shopkeepers are working hard to support us and provide goods at this vital time. But these stories of price increases have caused a great deal of worry across our community.

We are one of the poorest borough’s in the UK, and our elderly people have the highest rate of poverty of anywhere in the country. We share the widespread community anger about this profiteering, and will not tolerate it.

Report this behaviour:

And, please shop responsibly:

  • Please think before you shop and only buy what you and your family needs so that you leave enough for others. There's more than enough food to go around. Stockpiling is preventing access to food for those who need it, including NHS staff. Supermarkets are implementing measures to help, and our local, independent shops are also playing a key role.

Watch the video message >

Stay at home image

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You can only leave the house for one of the following reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities – for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • any medical need – or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • travelling to and from work – but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.


  • These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

More NHS advice >

Victoria Park now closed

Local advice and services

Victoria Park now closed until further notice

In order to ensure community safety, following the failure of some visitors to follow social distancing guidance, the council and local police have taken the joint decision to close Victoria Park until further notice.

Other parks in the borough remain open for exercise, such as a run, walk or cycle, alone 

At this stage, other parks in the borough remain open for one form of daily exercise, such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with.  

You must stay two metres away from other visitors at all times. And don't forget to wash your hands as soon as you get home.

  • Remember: playgrounds, outdoor gyms, skate parks and tennis courts must not be used at any time.

Read more >

Support from energy suppliers

Working with the government, energy suppliers are in the process of putting in place new measures to help customers who need support around prepayment metres, or for people who are in vulnerable circumstances and may be unable to pay their bills.

You can find a summary of how prepayment suppliers are helping customers along with helpful contact information on the MoneySavingExpert website. This information will be continually updated as more information becomes available.

Community support

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.

It's heartening to see such great community spirit here in Tower Hamlets, with so many residents, businesses and local groups eager to help.

We've put together information on a dedicated webpage, including:

  • How can you volunteer
  • Support local food banks
  • Support with new Universal Credit applications
  • Welfare benefits advice
  • Resident support scheme
  • Keeping yourself safe

Read more >

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Beware fraud and scams during coronavirus pandemic

Please watch out for scams 

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is urging the public to be aware that criminals are using the coronavirus pandemic to scam the public.

Criminals are experts at impersonating, they spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment.

  • Do not give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.

The NCA reports current scams include online shopping (for protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products) where goods never arrive and fake COVID-19 testing kits being offered for sale.

Criminals are also using government branding to try to trick people, including impersonating HMRC to make false offers of financial support through unexpected emails, phone calls and text messages.

Some websites, emails or phone numbers can look like they’re part of an official government service - but they can be fake. If you're unsure, please do not respond.

The advice is that you:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it.

Please read the advice to make sure you don’t become a victim. You can also read more about avoiding and reporting scams on the government's website

How to avoid scams >

Coronavirus: useful links

Government advice is available in multiple languages, including Bengali

If you, your family or someone you know may benefit from accessing the guidance in another language, please share these links:

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