A joint letter from the Lord Mayor of London and Policy Chair to City workers and residents about the national lockdown. Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Dear City residents and workers

We are taking this opportunity to write to you to share some updates on the coronavirus pandemic. 

Firstly, we would like to mention the new restrictions for the City of London as set out by the Prime Minister last week.

We are in National Lockdown which means you must follow these rules: 

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. You may leave home to:

· Shop for basic necessities for you or a vulnerable person.

· Go to work or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.

· Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once a day. You should not travel outside your local area.

· Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary.

· Seek medical assistance or to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).

· Attend education or childcare – for those eligible.

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should follow resumed shielding guidance, and should not attend work, school, college or university. You should limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Staying safe at work

You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home. If you have to go into your workplace, your employer should discuss working arrangements with you, and take steps to help you avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

The risk of transmission in the workplace can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. These are available here:

Remember: Hands Face Space

Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. Please keep following these simple rules:

· Hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds

· Face – wear a face-covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

· Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

And if you do get symptoms which include: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, self-isolate immediately and get tested.

Book a test 

Booking a test is simple and can be done online via the NHS website, by calling 119 or using the NHS COVID-19 app. There are five testing sites based in the City of London and Hackney, including one at Guildhall Yard. 


If your test is positive, you will be advised to continue self-isolating for the full 10 days. You may also be told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or a City Corporation contact tracer if you’ve been in contact with someone else who’s tested positive. 

We understand that this may be a challenge for some of you. If you cannot arrange for food, medication and other essential items to be delivered while you and your household self-isolate, please let the City Corporation know so that we can help. You can do this by emailing, or by calling 020 7606 3030. 

COVID-19: help with food and money

If you live or study in the City of London or live on a City Corporation estate, you can access free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues including help with food, benefits advice and debt.

You can call City Advice, 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday on 020 7392 2919, email them at or visit:

Support to get online

Help is also available for those residents who don’t have internet access and are unable to leave home. The City Corporation has a scheme to provide one-off, pre-loaded dongle devices free of charge that provide data access to the internet. They are available to those who live in the Square Mile, who have been told to shield or self-isolate and who receive help to pay their council tax. We will be writing to every household in receipt of council tax benefit providing a simple application form and pre-paid return envelope.

Domestic abuse: advice and support

If you are affected by domestic abuse and are unable to leave your home to access support due to COVID-19, there is support available. Please call Victim Support on 07944 634946 or (this service operates 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

Call 101 for the police if it is not an emergency. In an emergency call the police on 999.


We can take heart that this year, unlike last, we have a vaccine programme so there is hope on the horizon. Some of you may already have had or are scheduled to have the COVID-19 vaccination but for those who have not yet had a letter, text or call please wait to be contacted. 

Stay healthy

GPs are also keen to reassure residents across the City of London that the local NHS remains ‘open for business’. It is important you must not wait if you need urgent medical help. 

As the Prime Minister said, the weeks ahead will be the hardest yet so we would like to remind you of our counselling and psychotherapy services for residents and workers in the Square Mile. The City Wellbeing Centre is located on Middlesex Street and provides subsidised mental health and wellbeing support for those on low incomes. 

For regular COVID-19 updates, please sign up to our newsletter by emailing

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times and we wish you all a very Happy New Year. If we all work together, hopefully the picture will be more positive later in 2021.

Alderman William Russell, The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor

Catherine McGuinness, Chair of Policy & Resources