Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and updates

Latest news and information about the ongoing coronavirus situation

This is where we add the latest news and information about the ongoing coronavirus situation. 

The information here includes:

  • latest information about our services if they are affected
  • updates from government
  • any specific or local rules and changes for the New Forest area

On this page:


15 October 2020: Safe events - including Halloween and Bonfire night

We are entering a crucial stage in the pandemic and events and celebrations, such as Halloween and bonfire night, should be a little different this year. 

New Forest is currently in the medium alert level category but data for Hampshire shows coronavirus cases are rising sharply.

The Rule of 6 is a law and no more than six people should meet indoors or out.

The Director of Public Health for Hampshire and Isle of Wight has said: Large public events should not take place - Should event organisers choose to continue with events, they will be referred to the Safety Advisory Group to ensure adherence at all times to the strictest public health precautions, and will be required to demonstrate that the necessary COVID-secure measures are in place.


  • Door knocking is not recommended due to difficulties in adhering to social distancing, risks associated with potential contact, mixing of multiple households and spread of the virus through contact with shared surfaces, including shared buckets of treats.
  • Government guidance applies to any social gatherings of people of all ages both in and outdoors. This includes meeting in groups of six people or less when seeing friends and family and the need to following social distancing rules.
  • You are instead encouraged to celebrate within your own household. 

Bonfire Night

  • Large events to celebrate Bonfire night are strongly discouraged due to the potential for mixing of large numbers of people, the risk of importation of infection from other areas and potential required support from emergency services.
  • Private events must adhere to government guidance around gathering and social distancing, with people encouraged to watch firework displays virtually.

Remembrance Day

  • Hampshire County Council will work with partners to ensure any events taking place are able to go ahead safely and are planned in accordance with government guidelines through the Safety Advisory Group. Where they take place, strict social distancing must apply with public attendance carefully managed by the event organisers.
  • Parades are strongly discouraged due to the potential for mixing of large numbers of people and the risk of importation of infection from other areas.
  • Wherever possible private moments of remembrance and reflection are encouraged.


  • Large events to celebrate Diwali are strongly discouraged due to the potential for mixing of large numbers of people, the risk of importation of infection from other areas.
  • Government guidance applies to any social gatherings of people of all ages both in and outdoors. This includes meeting in groups of six people or less when seeing friends and family and the need to following social distancing rules.

Latest government rules on what you can and cannot do. 


12 October 2020: Local restriction alert levels announced 

The government has announced a three-tier alert system for Coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England.  

The three levels are very high, high, and medium. 

New Forest is in the medium tier and must follow the Covid restrictions for England.  There are no additional local rules. 

You must: 

  • Only meet in groups of up to six people from multiple households, indoors and outdoors.  This includes children, and private homes. You could be fined for breaking these rules. 
  • Work from home if possible. Your employer must make your workplace Covid-secure. 
  • Wear a face covering - over your nose and mouth, - on public transport, in shops, in bars, pubs and restaurants (except when seated to eat or drink) and other settings.
  • Wash your hands regularly and for more than 20 seconds.
  • Keep a distance of 2m from people from other households. (Where 2m is not possible keep a distance of 1m and take additional precautions such as wearing a face covering, limiting the amount of time you spend together, and face away from each other. )

Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm.

You can read more about what you can and cannot do on the government's website.

6 October 2020: Rule of six

Social gatherings or other disturbances that breach Government legislation or the 'rule of six' should be reported as a breach of COVID regulations on the Hampshire Constabulary website or by calling 101.

28 September 2020: Test and trace support payments

From today you are required by law to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace. Those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result will be supported by a payment of £500. 

22 September 2020: Prime Minister's Commons statement on coronavirus

The Prime Minister made a statement today (22 September) on coronavirus to the House of Commons setting out new restrictions. 

The Government will introduce new restrictions in England, carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number with minimum social and economic damage, whilst ensuring that schools and universities stay open. 

To this end the Government will implement the following: 

  • Changing guidance to ask people to work from home where they can
  • Placing new restrictions on operating hours for hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses,
  • Putting more COVID-19 secure guidance for businesses into law
  • Expanding the range of settings where these legal obligations regarding specific COVID-19 secure guidelines will apply
  • Higher fines of up to £10,000 for businesses who break Covid-19 rules and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for a first offence.
  • Reducing the list of exemptions to the 'rule of six'
  • Pausing the planned 1 October changes for a return of business events and socially distanced crowds at sporting events.
  • Expanding the settings in which face coverings are required

21 September 2020: Update from the UK Chief Medical Officers on the coronavirus alert level:
A joint statement was published (21 September) from the four UK Chief Medical Officers recommending that the UK coronavirus alert level move from level 3 to level 4.  Announcement: 

Our services

Some of our services may be running differently as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates about individual services can be found on the service web pages.

Government advice

The advice from Government can change regularly. Check the government website for the latest updates.

Help control the virus

To protect yourself and others, when you leave home you must:

  • wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly
  • cover face - wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • make space - stay at least a metre away from people not in your household

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. Get a test and self-isolate for at least 10 days.

Local COVID alert levels

The New Forest is currently in the medium COVID alert level.

This means:

  • Social contact: the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors in all settings
  • Weddings and funerals: up to 15 guests are allowed for weddings and up to 30 guests for funerals. 15 guests are allowed for receptions, wakes and related ceremonies
  • Overnight stays: subject to social contact rules but are permitted
  • Working: work from home where possible
  • Retail: shops can open but customers and staff must wear face coverings
  • Leisure and gyms: open
  • Hospitality: some restrictions are in place including 10pm closing time and table-service only
  • Entertainment and tourist attractions: open, except nightclubs and adult entertainment
  • Education: schools and FE colleges remain open, universities must reflect wider restrictions
  • Healthcare services: open
  • Residential care: open to external visitors with additional precautions and subject to individual care provider guidance
  • Travel and transport: no travel restrictions within the area but avoid travel within local COVID alert level very high areas where possible
  • Sporting activities: organised sport/licensed physical activity allowed in outdoor settings. Indoor organised sport must follow social contact rules (other than youth or disabled sport)
  • Worship: open, subject to social contact rules
  • Childcare: registered and wraparound childcare open. Supervised activities in private homes and children's groups are permitted. 
  • Youth clubs and activities: permitted

More information about local COVID alert levels  and what each level means is available on the government's website. Details about each level can also be downloaded below. 

Icon for pdf Local COVID alert level - Medium [294.01KB]

Icon for pdf Local COVID alert level - High [291.41KB]

Icon for pdf Local COVID alert level - Very high [337.35KB]

Storing waste if you are self-isolating

This advice is based on guidance from central government, designed to prevent transmission of the virus. 

•    Double-bag all waste that contains tissues.
•    Do not put it out for collection for at least 72 hours.

Double bag

Personal waste (such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloth) should be stored separately to other waste, put in a smaller plastic waste bag and then put into a second bag.  This should be tied and kept separate from other waste in the room/s in which you are self-isolating. You can then place these into your black sack for collection.

Keep aside for at least 72 hours 

Do not put it out for collection for at least three days. As an example, if you have filled/tied a bag on a Monday and your collection is due on a Thursday, that bag can be put out for collection on Thursday morning. However, if you have filled/tied a bag on a Monday and your collection is due on a Wednesday, you would need to hold onto that bag until your collection day the following week.

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal. Find out more about coronavirus changes to waste and recycling services.

Community support

Hampshire Coronavirus Support and Helpline

A helpline to provide information and advice, as well as practical support to Hampshire residents. The Hampshire Coronavirus Support and Helpline can be contacted on 0333 370 4000.

If Coronavirus has had an impact on you or any aspect of your life, including anyone who is self-isolating, please call the helpline for advice and support.

Supporting your recovery after COVID-19

As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.

These changes should get better over time, some may take longer than others, but there are things you can do to help.

Your COVID Recovery from the NHS, helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery.

Scams and anti-fraud

Fraudsters are using the COVID-19 pandemic to scam people. Hampshire constabulary offer advice to make you aware of some of the more common scams:

Email, text and phone call scams:

  • claiming to be from official organisations such as HMRC, World Health Organisation or NHS
  • asking you for money, donations or to pay a fine
  • claiming you are owed money such as a tax refund
  • offering to sell you equipment such as face masks, infection lists, anti-virus kits or home COVID-19 testing kits

Doorstep scams:

  • unexpected callers offering services such as cleaning and decontamination services
  • bogus healthcare workers offering to take your temperature or provide 'home-testing' for the virus
  • criminals offering to do your shopping

Always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails requesting your personal or financial information. Verify the company contact them directly using a known email or phone number.

Useful links

New Forest District Council

NFDC update emails - Sign up to receive the latest updates about our services and government coronavirus guidance

Contact us - Get in contact with us by live chat, email or on the phone

Reporting a problem - Details on how to report issues to us or partner agencies


Coronavirus FAQs - Information about what you can and cannot do

Financial support - Support with universal credit, self employment, furlough and more

Shielding advice - Advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Travelling safely - Walk, cycle or drive alone where possible. Face coverings are mandatory on public transport

Volunteering - How to keep yourself and others safe when helping out


Coronavirus symptoms - Find out more about the symptoms: new continuous cough, high temperature, loss or change of taste and/or smell

Test and trace - How to get a test, understanding results and what to do if you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service

Self-isolation - Understanding what self-isolation means and when you should do it

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