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Coronavirus - what businesses need to know

Updated 27 October 2020

The government's Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor has announced. Further details can be found on the government's website.

Updated 13 October 2020

Track and trace self-isolation support payment

People on lower incomes or those unable to work from home who have lost income as a result of self isolating will be able to benefit from a new package of government financial support.

The new Test and Trace support payment of £500, which is likely to be in place from 12 October, will ensure those on low incomes will be able to self isolate without having to worry about their finances.

From 28 September it will be mandatory for anyone with symptoms to self isolate, eligible people self isolating from this date will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up.

And please remember, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must self isolate and arrange to have a test.


25 September 2020

The Chancellor has announced the new Job Support Scheme. The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-support-scheme

The NHS COVID19 App launched on Thursday 24 September and is the next step in the fight to stop the spread of Coronavirus in Spelthorne. With multiple functions and using the privacy preserving technology, the App is the fastest way to see if you are at risk from Coronavirus. The quicker you know, the faster you can protect yourself, your loved ones and others. The more Spelthorne residents that download the App, the more we can protect Spelthorne residents.

How to download the app

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.nhs.covid19.production

Apple Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1520427663

What does the NHS COVID19 App do?

  • sends you an alert when you are at risk of infection
  • alerts you when the levels of Coronavirus are rising in your area
  • the built in QR codes makes checking into bars and restaurants super easy, and you will be alerted if you've been near someone with the virus
  • it's the best way to avoid a local lockdown and keep the virus under control
  • it helps you check your symptoms and book a test
  • explains how to isolate and helps you keep track of the number days if you have to
  • remember it tracks the virus - not you
  • the 'check-in' feature provides users with a digital diary and can send you alerts if you have visited a venue where you may have come into contact with Coronavirus
  • the App remembers who you've met, including people you don't know, so you don't have to - that includes on the bus or in a shop queue

Privacy and personal data

It's important to remember that the App tracks the virus - not you, which means all your personal data and information is always safe and protected. Any data shared on the App is held on your phone and the App doesn't use GPS so nobody will know who or where you are.

Some need to know information

To download and use the app you must:-

  • be aged 16 or over
  • live in England or Wales
  • ave a hiOS or Android smartphone with Bluetooth

Checking in using QR codes

Certain types of businesses will have a legal requirement to display a QR poster, ready for customers to scan using the App from 24 September.

  • tourism and Leisure - museums, galleries, gyms, leisure centres
  • local authority buildings
  • places of worship (while not a legal requirement for places of worship, they are strongly advised to do so)
  • close contact services
  • where an event is taking place in a physical location

Look out for an NHS QR code poster when you enter these places so you can easily check-in using the app.

What businesses need to know

There is a bank of resources available, which gives detailed information on the App itself, including how to create and download the QR code that businesses will need to display at every entrance to their premises: 

It was also announced that from 18 September a wider range of businesses will be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff, and that some businesses will now be legally required to enforce 'The Rule of Six', or face a fine of up to £4,000.

Full details of the announcement are available on the government's website.

Love your local area

Lockdown was difficult for many people and we should all do what we can to prevent it. Let's not only protect ourselves and our loved ones but also where we live so we can stop the spread of Coronavirus in our local areas.

Depending on your mobile device, visit the App Store or Google Play Store and search NHS COVID19 App to download. For more information about the app, watch the NHS video or visit the NHS COVID19 App webpage.

21 September 2020

Business and venue managers - New legal requirements

The Government announced that certain businesses and venues will be legally required to display NHS QR posters in their venues by Thursday 24 September, when the NHS Test and Trace app launches.

This includes all venues from the following sectors: hospitality, leisure and tourism, close contact services, places of worship and local authority venues.

There is a bank of resources available, which gives detailed information on the App itself, including how to create and download the QR code that businesses will need to display at every entrance to their premises: https://www.covid19.nhs.uk/information-and-resources.html?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn

It was also announced that from today, 18 September, a wider range of businesses will be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff, and that some businesses will now be legally required to enforce 'The Rule of Six', or face a fine of up to £4,000.

Full details of the announcement are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/venues-required-to-enforce-rule-of-6-nhs-qr-code-posters-and-contact-logs?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn


10 September 2020

Ministers announce new grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns

Businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks.

To find out more visist: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ministers-announce-new-grants-for-businesses-affected-by-local-lockdowns 


14 July 2020

Free advice for businesses

Spelthorne Borough Council is making small businesses aware of free online advice available to help them bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme, which is supported by the government, will be hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, which can be found here: https://www.enterprisenation.com/freesupport/. Small firms will gain access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the pandemic and prepare for a long-term recovery.

Bespoke, specialist assistance is available for a number of sectors and each adviser has offered at least one hour of free advise a month until the end of 2020.

Further information can be found on the government's website: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-of-business-advisers-to-offer-free-services-to-small-firms?utm_source=af1e6d32-33e5-499c-8c32-903801a5c1a3&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily

16 June 2020

Business Support Helpline

The Business Support Helpline is a free advice and guidance service operating across England. They can help all businesses, from those thinking about starting a business, through to those who are already established and trading.

Telephone: freephone 0800 998 1098

Email: enquiries@businesssupporthelpline.org

Twitter: @businessgov

Facebook: @businesssupportgov


1 June 2020

Working safely

Guidance from central government about working safely, CIEH advice on Legionella and a FSA food safety checklist.


20 May 2020

Larger businesses to benefit from loans up to £200 million

The government has announced that businesses will be able to benefit from larger loans under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Under the scheme the maximum loan size available will be increased from £50 million to £200 million. This will help ensure large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England's COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak.

The expanded loans will be available from Tuesday, May 26.

You can find more information by visiting https://www.gov.uk/government/news/larger-businesses-to-benefit-from-loans-of-up-to-200-million


13 May 2020

Business grants payments top £11million

As of Monday 11 May, Spelthorne Borough Council has paid out a total of £11.29million to 856 businesses. We are in regular contact with business groups and last week sent out an eNewsletter with all the key information for local businesses. You can sign up to our eNewsletter to receive regular updates by visiting: https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/article/16475/eNewsletter


12 May 2020

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

From 13 May you can check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.

Find out if you can make a claim

Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October

The Chancellor has announced that the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October.

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website

Working safely during coronavirus Covid-19

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

There are eight guides covering a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through how to keep people safe.

View the guidance for working safely during coronavirus Covid-19


28 April 2020

Bounce back loans for small businesses

A new 100% government back grant has been announced by the government to help small businesses.

Small businesses will be able to able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 through a network of accredited lenders. The loan should reach businesses within days providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible and will be interest free for the first 12 months.

The government will work with lenders to agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May.

For further information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans


21 April 2020 

Coronavirus Support Finder

Find out what government support you are entitled to by visiting their website.


20 April 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications.

Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before 19 March they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system.

Employers can go online to claim cash grants worth up to 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker. HMRC staff will operate the scheme. Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Please note the following key guidelines: 

  • to receive payment by 30 April you will need to complete an application by 22 April as it will take six working days for the claim to be processed, issued and received
  • decide whether you want to make your own claim or if you want your agent to act on your behalf - if you have an agent that has authorisation to act for you on PAYE matters, they can make a claim for CJRS on your behalf
  • only call HMRC if you can't find what you need on GOV.UK - all applications will be processed online and after a claim has been submitted it will take six working days for it to be paid - please do not chase up payment during this time
  • employees should speak to their employers with any questions, not HMRC as they won't be able to answer queries from individual employees

15 April 2020

Business Grants payments

Spelthorne Borough Council has begun making payments to eligible businesses under the Government's Coronavirus business support grants programme.

The Government has made £15 million available to small and medium sized businesses in Spelthorne. As of 14 April, Spelthorne has provided £3.025m to these firms and the total is increasing daily. Grants are available for business ratepayers who are exempt from paying rates under Small Business Rates Relief and to business rates payers in retail, leisure and hospitality sector with a rateable value of less than £51,000. The Council has to go through a checking process before it is able to issue the grants. It commenced issuing grants on 7 April by BACS transfer and will be processing them on a daily working day basis until they are all distributed. There are around 830 businesses in the borough which need to be assessed individually by a small team of our staff.

Payments will go to businesses for which we have bank account details first, so if we do not have your details please visit this webpage: https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/CV19Grant.

Cllr Ian Harvey, Leader of the Council said: "It is essential that we support our local businesses to ensure that, after this pandemic is over, we are able to return to normality as quickly as possible. If your business is eligible to receive a grant you will have received a letter from us confirming it and asking for details. During these challenging times we hope that this will go some way towards providing relief."

Our website is the most up to date place for information about grant payments. Further details on the scheme can be found here: https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/CV19Grant

So that we can prioritise our resources in getting funds paid to you please only call us on 01784 451459 if your business is likely to fold in the next seven days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please note:

  • payments can only be made into a bank account - we cannot issue cheques or advance cash
  • your bank account must have the same details as our business rates record
  • we will need to carry out validation checks to make sure your business qualifies

In the first instance we will be dealing with the government's two grants and this will be followed by the retail discounts.


31 March 2020

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Eligibility: All UK businesses are eligible and must be processed by business not individuals.

How to access the scheme

Your employer will need to:

  • designate affected employees as 'furloughed workers,' and notify employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers
  • if the business needs short term cash flow support, it may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs

Statutory Sick Pay - SSP - and Universal Credit

If you think you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), please read the following information:

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you're too ill to work. It's paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19:

From 13 March, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

Further relaxation of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, ensuring their UC award will increase to reflect their lower earnings.

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay for more information.

When does SSP apply?

The government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to self-isolate caused by COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim. 

Do I need a sick note?

From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an "isolation note" by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a "fit note" after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.

Extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolaters and those in the same household caring for self-isolaters - payable from day 1 not day 4.

Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be now be available from Day 1 not Day 8 for eligible people unable to work because they are directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating.

WHO TO CONTACT :your employer or Jobcentre Plus

What if I am self-employed or not eligible for SSP?

If you are not eligible for SSP - for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week - and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

For more information on how to claim, please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance.

What if I am self-employed and receiving Universal Credit?

If you are self-employed and receiving Universal Credit and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change took effect on 13 March and will last for the duration of the outbreak, to ensure that self-employed UC claimants will receive support. 

WHO TO CONTACT: the DWP - If you need to claim Universal Credit but have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, you will now be able to claim and to access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit for more information.

If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate.

WHO TO CONTACT:The DWP - Please visithttps://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance


27 March 2020

Business Grants

Businesses looking for information or to apply for business grants as a result of the covid-19 outbreak can visit https://www.spelthorne.gov.uk/CV19Grant

Advice for self-employed people

The following links provide advice and support for self-employed people.

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme-faqs/

23 March 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as 'furloughed workers'. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/


What we are doing for local businesses


Guidance for Expanded Rate Relief

To qualify for the relief the hereditament should be wholly or mainly being used for the Icon for pdf qualifying purposes [297.26KB].  This confirms no rateable value limit on relief for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.  Please see the document for detailed information.

Please note, the proposed scheme is provisional until the Government receives approval from EU under State Aid rule.


Business Rates - Covid-19 Business Rates provisions

Due to Covid-19 outbreak the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a number of initiatives including provision for 12 months exemption for Business Rates payers in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors- see the definitions below as to type of businesses which qualify and which do not.

To determine your eligibility please check the official legislation

This authority is now identifying all those eligible for the new provisions whereupon their business rates accounts will automatically be credited and revised bills, confirming businesses' rates liability, will be issued over the next 7-10 days.

Before the new rules can be implemented in full, the Government is awaiting confirmation of approval of the proposals by the EU under the State Aid rules which continue to operate under the EU Withdrawal Agreement period.

Further updates will be published here once official notifications have been received from the Government.


Icon for pdf Coronavirus or COVID-19 update from Surrey Chamber of Commerce [1.11MB]

The websites below provide information and advice from the government that has implications for businesses.

Federation of Small Businesses - https://www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/advice-to-small-businesses-and-fsb-members-about-the-novel-coronavirus-covid-19.html

British Chamber of Commerce - https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/coronavirus?k=30cdfbcf8e205792be8adadf43630166035c27d5

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