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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.

Updated 14th July 2021

Changes to government restrictions from 19th July
Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 will be lifted from 19th July. Rather than legal requirements, individuals will be asked to use personal judgement to manage their own risk. The government has also made some recommendations alongside the lifting of legal restrictions.

  • No requirement to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with.
  • No limits on the number of people you can meet. The government recommends limiting close contact with people you do not usually live with, increasing close contact gradually, meeting outdoors where possible and letting fresh air into homes / enclosed spaces.
  • No requirement to wear face masks. (The government recommends they are worn in crowded areas such as public transport and some will require masks to be worn, such as London Transport).
  • No requirement to work from home where possible (although the government has recommended a gradual return).
  • No limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). No requirement for table service at these events and no restrictions on singing or dancing.
  • No restrictions on group sizes for communal worship.

Businesses and venues

  • All businesses can reopen, including nightclubs.
  • No requirement for table service or social distancing in hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars.
  • Capacity limits lifted at sporting, entertainment and business events.
  • It is no longer a legal requirement for businesses to collect customer details for Test and Trace but businesses are encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for customers wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app or collect customer contact details.

NHS Pass

  • The government are encouraging organisations in higher risk settings (eg where there will be large crowds of people from different households) to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry. The government will make the NHS COVID Pass available through the NHS App, nhs.uk, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.
  • The NHS COVID Pass should not be used as a condition of entry for essential services and essential retailers able to stay open throughout the pandemic to ensure access for all.

Working Safely Guidance for businesses
The government’s Working Safely during Coronavirus guidance will be updated on the government website here. At the time of writing these have not been updated.
Employers will still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business and are expected to carry out a health and safety risk assessment which includes the risk of COVID-19 and how those risks will be mitigated. The could include

  • cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
  • increasing ventilation
  • ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue;

Protections remaining in place:

  • Testing when you have symptoms.
  • Targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces. You can order free Lateral Flow tests here.
  • Isolating when testing positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Border quarantine for everyone arriving from red list countries and for people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.their

Helpful Links and Resources

  • VAT reduction for certain sectors

The rate of VAT for hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions has been amended by the government as follows:

  • From 15th July 2020 to 330th September 2021: 5% 
  • From 1st Octobr 2021 to 31st March 2022: 12.5%

Find out more here.

Business Rates

Busnesses in the following sectors are eligible for business rates retail discount:

  • shop
  • restaurant, café, bar or pub
  • cinema or music venue
  • hospitality or leisure business – for example, a gym, a spa, a casino or a hotel

The Business Rates retail discount in England is as follows:

  • 100% off your business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021).
  • 100% off your business rates bills for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021).
  • 66% off your business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) – up to a total value of £2 million.

Business Support

Kicks

Kickstart scheme

The government’s Kickstart Scheme offers fully subsidised 6 month placements for 16-24 year olds claiming Universal Credit.  Hampshire Chamber of Commerce are taking on the role of intermediary to being together groups of businesses who want to take on fewer than 30 people and is supporting them to bid for funding. Find out more here.

NHS COVID-19 app and QR Codes

You can create your personalised QR poster for people to scan and check in here: https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

Covid-19 Secure guidelines for safe working

Updated 14th July 2021

The Government will updated the Covid-19 Secure guidelines to reflect changes from 19th September Specific guidance is available for the following sectors:

  • Close contact services
  • Construction and other outdoor work
  • Factories, plants and warehouses
  • Heritage locations
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation
  • Labs and research facilities
  • Offices and contact centres
  • Other people’s homes
  • Performing arts
  • Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities
  • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  • Shops and branches
  • Vehicles – for drivers working in or from vehicles
  • The visitor economy

Read the guidance here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)

Updated July 2021

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.
  • From 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
  • Employers will top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of wages (up to £2,500) in total for the hours the employee is on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked
  • Find our more and submit your claim here.
Fleet BID logo

FLEET BID SUPPORT

Our Back in Business car packs include posters, hand sanitiser, floor and window stickers. On our website we can 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.

Government Grants from Hart District Council

Hart District Council have opened applications for their Extended Restrictions Grant scheme.
These are designed to support businesses who have been adversely affected by the government extending restrictions beyond 21st June. This includes:

  • Travel companies and agents
  • Wedding venues – venues licensed for civil ceremonies
    Hotels and guest houses
  • Public houses and licensed restaurants which cater for groups
    of 6 or more
  • Community halls which can be hired for events
  • Nightclubs
  • Theatres
    Businesses within event industries
  • Wholesalers to event industries and caterers
  • English Language Schools
  • Breweries
  • Caterers who provide for groups of more than 6 or more
  • Hair-related businesses
  • Other wedding businesses defined in pre-Covid as having more than 50% of turnover attributable to the wedding or events industry
  • Beauty-related businesses such as beauticians, nails and lashes but not businesses which only offer massages
  • Vineyards and wine producers
  • Any other business that can demonstrate through their accounts they are significantly impacted by the extension to the restrictions and are aligned with the scheme definitions and criteria for the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym business sectors.

Hart District Council have emailed businesses they believe are eligible and payments will be made automatically starting 12th July.

The closing date for applications is 22nd July at 5pm. Apply here: 
https://www.hart.gov.uk/grants-funding


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.

What to do if you have an outbreak

Hampshire County Council is leading the Local Outbreak Control Planning and together with District Council Chief Executives and Environmental Health Officers and have set up a business information page which aims to support businesses in Hampshire respond to a case or outbreak of coronavirus.  The page includes:

  • what to do if you have a confirmed case(s) or an outbreak
  • how to report an outbreak to your local health protection team
  • a communications toolkit for smaller businesses who may not have access to this resource.