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Covid-19 Latest Update

The situation with coronavirus, officially Covid-19, is changing daily. The future situation is unknown but there are resources and advice available which will change as the situation changes.

As of 11th May

The Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy on 11th May with the aim of the plan to “return life to as close to normal as possible, for an many people as possible as fast and fairly as possible in a way that avoids a new epidemic, minimises lives lost and maximises, health, economic and social outcomes.”

More announcements will be made over the coming weeks and restrictions may be tightened if data suggests virus is spreading.

Social contact is still limited and good hygiene practices: hand washing, social distancing and regular disinfecting of surfaces touched by others are still essential.

If you have symptoms or are diagnosed with Covid-19 you must self isolate for 7 days (longer if you still have a temperature). If someone in your household has symptoms must self isolate for 14 days. Read more here.

The clinically vulnerable, those over 70 with pre-existing conditions and pregnant women should take particular care to minimise contact with those outside their household. The clinically extremely vulnerable, anyone who has received a letter from the NHS, their GP or clinician should continue to shield.

From Wednesday 13th May

  • Workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. Workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. People are encouraged to cycle, walk or drive rather than use public transport to get to work.
  • Nannies and childminders can return to work.
  • Garden centres can open.
  • Workplaces should follow the Covid-19 Secure guidelines which have been published for the following sectors:
    • Construction and other outdoor work
    • Factories, plants and warehouses
    • Homes – working in or delivering to other people’s homes
    • Labs and research facilities
    • Offices and contact centres
    • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
    • Shops and branches
    • Vehicles – for drivers working in or from vehicles
  • Social distancing guidance on public transport must be followed (further guidance to be provided this week)
  • People should wear a face-covering (not face mask) in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, eg on public transport or in some shops. 

From 1 June the Government hopes to allow:

  • Non essential retail to open in phases, following COVID-19 Secure Guidelines

From 4 July the Government hopes to

  • Allow hairdressers, beauty salons, restaurants, pubs, accommodation, worship facilities and leisure facilities (eg cinemas) re-open, subject to meeting COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

Read our more detailed summary here.

No change from 23rd March:

  • All non essential shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, night clubs, gyms,  leisure centres libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are to close. Restaurants / bars can offer takeaways. Online businesses can remain open
  • Funerals are allowed but not weddings or baptisms.
  • If people do not follow the rules police have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings

Helpful Links and Resources

Government Support for Businesses
The government has announced a package of measures to support businesses including:
  • a statutory sick pay (SSP) relief package for SMEs who will be able to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. This will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. In addition employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • increasing the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for all businesses regardless of their rateable value in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. Councils will apply this automatically
  • Business Rates Holiday for nurseries (England only). Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year. Find out more
  • the coronavirus job retention scheme will be available to all businesses of any size, including charities and not for profit. Companies can apply for a grant for the wages of staff not working but still on payroll. This will be up to 80% salary and up to £2,500 per month per employee. This is backdated to 1 March and will be available for at least 3 months.
  • businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value under £15,000 have access to a grant of £10,000 and,  for those with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000  £25,000 grants are available. Businesses in Hart can apply for these grants via Hart District Council here.
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance up to £5m with the first 12 months interest free. Find out more here.
  • The next VAT quarter’s payment will be deferred and not due until the end of the financial year.
  • commercial tenants who are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Read more here.
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme – call the HMRC helpline on 0800 0159 559.
  • on 2nd May the Government announced additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. £617m has been made available to councils in England and the fund will be distributed via Local Authorities, in Fleet this is Hart District Council. The government have asked local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. But local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

  • Read more about government support for businesses on their dedicated website here.

Apply for Cash Grants and Small Business Loans

APPLY FOR CASH GRANT

Businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief, Rural Rates Relief can apply for the £10,0000 government grant.

Businesses in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors with a rateable value under £51,000 can apply for one of the the Government’s cash Grant of £10,000 or £25,000.
Apply via Hart District Council’s website here.

APPLY FOR A BOUNCE BACK LOAN

From 4th May businesses can apply for Bounce Back loans, new 100% government backed loan scheme for small business to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. 

The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months.

Apply here.

Support for Businesses

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GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

The Government has a dedicated Business Support website with information on all the  Government Support available to businesses and how to you can access it.

VISIT THE GOVERNMENT BUSINESS SUPPORT WEBSITE

Fleet BID logo

FLEET BID SUPPORT

We have developed new pages on our website to list businesses who offer online ordering, home delivery or click and collect. We can also create a dedicated page for any business who does not have an e-commerce operation but would like to have some products available online. 

You can also access information on suppliers of protective equipment here.

To find out more or to get involved email us.

Resources

Covid-19 Secure guidelines for safe working

Updated 11th May

The Government have published their Covid-19 Secure guidelines to enable workplaces are as safe as possible. Specific guidance is available for the following sectors:

  • Construction and other outdoor work
  • Factories, plants and warehouses
  • Homes – working in or delivering to other people’s homes
  • Labs and research facilities
  • Offices and contact centres
  • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  • Shops and branches
  • Vehicles – for drivers working in or from vehicles

Read the guidance here.

Which businesses must remain closed and what are the exceptions?

Updated 13th May

The government has published more guidance today on businesses which must remain closed with more detailed guidance, for example click and collect is allowed.

Read the guidance here.

Risk Assessment Templates HSE

Updated 18th May

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has published a number of resources including:

  • Risk Assessment Templates – download here
  • Guidance on working safely through the Coronavirus outbreak – read it here 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Updated 20th April

The HMRC portal for businesses to claim for furloughed employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme opened at 8am on Monday 20th April.

The government have published guidance on the Coronavirus Job retention Scheme including detailed guidance on what you can claim and who is eligible, calculating what you can claim and a Step by Step guide on the information you need to make the claim:

  • To Claim click on the Claim Now button on the government website here
  • For guidance on claiming for the Job Retention scheme including ho is eligible read more here.
  • To work out how to calculate 80% of your employees;’ wages, NI and pension contributions use the government calculator here.
  • For the guide on the information that employers need to provide to HMRC to make a claim  Download the guide here.

Letters from Government Ministers

Here are links to Government Letters to specific sectors

  • 8 April: Letter from the Prime Minister to the nation. Read it here.
  • 8 April: Letter from the Business Secretary to those working in the retail sector here.
  • 8 April: Letter from the Minister of State for Crime and Policing to Local Authorities about licensing. This was released by the Institute of Licensing. Read it here.
Online Computer System Disc

Links to other websites

  • Government website with latest information, advice and action plan here.
  • Government dedicated website support for businesses here.
  • Government updates here.
  • Public Health England website here.
  • Advice from ACAS for employers here:
  • Guidance for small businesses from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) here.
  • NHS Poster encouraging people to wash their hands here

Bank Support

The major banks are among the 40 accredited lenders for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Banks are also offering specific support:

  •  have a Working Capital Support Fund for businesses that will see disruption as a result of COVID-19. Read more here
  • Lloyds is offering £2bn of finance with no fees to firms with revenues under £25m that have been hit by the outbreak. Read more here
  • Barclays are offering support for businesses. Read more here.
  • Santander are providing support for customers. Read more here.

Latest Content and Guidance

  • Industry Specific Advice added 29th April: The British Retail Consortium and the Union of Shopworkers, Distributors and Allied Workers have developed guidance on how retailers can implement government advice. Read the guidance document here


Government websites

Hart District Council

  • The Hart District Council information for businesses is here.
  • Hart District Council have created an information leaflet for businesses.  It is at the bottom of the page or download it here.
  • Parking is free in council owned car parks until the end of June.

Hampshire County Council

Hampshire County Council have a dedicate page on their website with information on coronavirus. Read more here.

Ranil Jayawardena MP for Fleet

MP Support

Our local MP,  Ranil Jayawardena, has a specific page on his website with links to support for businesses and individuals, as well as information on school exams and how you can volunteer to support. 

Read more here


Industry Specific Advice

Advice for Food Business Offering Takeaways

Updated 16th April

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health have issued guidance for bars, restaurants and cafes who want to offer a takeaway service and trade safely. Download the guidance here.

For food businesses who want to offer takeaways but do not normally provide this service. If you are already registered with Hart District Council as a food business, complete the food registration form on Hart District Council’s website here . You do not need to  wait for the usual 28 days to start operating but can trade straight away.

Industry Specific Advice

  • Pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels may find the following guidance from UK Hospitality helpful. Read the guidance here.
  • The government announced that planning laws will be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to offer takeaways. Read more here.
  • The Association of Corner shops has produced helpful guidance for retailers looking to set up home deliverhere.
  • (Updated 29th April): The British Retail Consortium and the Union of Shopworkers, Distributors and Allied Workers have developed guidance on how retailers can implement government advice. Read the guidance document here


Crime Prevention

Preventing Crime in Fleet Hampshire

Crime Prevention and Avoiding Fraud

  • The National Business Crime Centre have produced Crime Prevention Tips in relation to Coronavirus – download the Guidance here.
  • The National Crime Agency have issued guidance relating to fraud during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read it here.

Take Five Business Toolkit

Take Five is a national campaign led by the finance industry with advice to preventable financial fraud.

Download their toolkit here.


Support and advice from Businesses in Fleet, Webinars and Training

Kirk Rice Fleet Hampshire

Kirk Rice

  • Kirk Rice, accountants in Fleet have guidance and support on their website covering the Business Loan Interruption Scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Deferred VAT payment and much more. Visit the Kirk Rice website here.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce webinars

A series of four ‘Chamber of Solutions’ Ask the panel sessions:

  • 7th April: Employment issues – Now does the Job Retention Scheme Work and how can I implement it?
  • 14th April: Businesses in distress – available strategies and recovery plans
  • 21st April: Business funding – practical implications and case studies
  • 28th April: Businesses in distress – available strategies and recovery plans 

All sessions are from 9.30am to 11am and are FREE.

Find out more here.

HMRC Webinars

HMRC have a free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Find out more here.

HR Webinar

Our HR Webinar is at 2pm on Tuesday 7th April with Karen Sanders from the HR Dept who will be there to answer questions on furloughing staff (what are the rules, who to furlough, how to furlough), managing staff working remotely, looking after the mental health of your staff at this time and an HR perspective on how you may want to use government grants.

Book now here.

Hart District Council's Coronavirus information sheet for businesses

Hart Distrcict Council Coronavirus Information Leaflet