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Check out the latest information and advice about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Coronavirus information for businesses

Updates from October 13

Job Support Scheme expanded

The Government has announced an expansion to the Job Support Scheme to include businesses which are legally required to close as part of local or national restrictions.
The Job Support Scheme was announced at the end of last month as an extension to the furlough scheme. It is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.
The scheme opens on November 1 and will run for six months. 

How it works
The company will pay its employees for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer,  the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction) and the employee will keep their job. 
The Government will pay a third of hours not worked, up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third.

Local Restrictions Grant Support Scheme

This scheme provides grants to businesses which are forced to close rateable premises for three weeks or more due to local imposed lockdowns in England. It has now been extended to provide grants of up to £3,000 per month (up from £1,500). Check online here for more information on the Local Restrictions Grant Support Scheme.

More Funding

The Chancellor has set out a package of support for businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. All the various packages and help available is detailed on a new Government Business Support website. Relevant teams at Tamworth Borough Council are busy working through the elements of the measures that will be administered by local authorities. Members of the Economic Development team will then be able to advise further. They can be contacted via business@tamworth.gov.uk.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - Please note that as of 24 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will be extended until 30 November 2020.

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available for applications from small and medium sized businessesThis will help businesses affected by coronavirus to access bank lending and overdrafts. For loans up to £5million, the Government is providing a guarantee of 80% for each loan. To access the Scheme, you should talk to your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.
The lending decision is taken by each individual provider, not by Government. To find the full rules of the Scheme and list of accredited lenders, visit the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

Statutory Sick Pay

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Redundancy and Recruitment Triage Service

The Redundancy and Recruitment Service – co-ordinated and quick-response job-matching service. Are your staff at risk of redundancy because of Covid-19?

Coronavirus is the economic crisis no business could have seen coming. Having to lose much-valued staff can be heart-breaking, and you’ll want to give them the best support you can to support their transition into new work and careers.

The co-ordinated and quick response Redundancy and Recruitment Triage Service is offered free of charge to all Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire businesses who need to restructure, and to individuals at risk of or have been made redundant. Delivered by the National Careers Service, the new service offers professional, bespoke support free of charge to your business. The service is entirely confidential and supported by qualified careers advisors.

If you are a business looking to support your staff transition into new work, contact the National Careers Service on 07879 603635 or find out more here.

For general guidance and links to further information on redundancy for both employers and employees, you can read the DWP Factsheet on Redundancy.

Did you know? The government has recently announced that businesses can claim a £1,000 bonus if furloughed staff are brought back to work and employed through to January, a VAT reduction and other measures.

Advice for food businesses

General Coronavirus Advice for Food Businesses can be viewed and downloaded here
Social Distancing Advice for Takeaways and other food businesses wanting to offer takeaway services during the COVID-19 Emergency - pdf download link

Other useful links:

Updates from September 22

Face Masks

  • Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from September 24).
  • People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.
  • Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law (from September 24).
  • Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.

New business guidelines

  • Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from September 24).
  • In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
  • Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from September 24).
  • Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from September 24).
  • Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from September 28):
    • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
    • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
    • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

Phased return of outdoor sport and recreation

The government has published guidance on a range of issues core to the delivery of outdoor sport and physical activity participation events. See guidance for people who work in grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities.

As well as the general principles around mitigating risks, the rules on gatherings, and taking full responsibility for the safe delivery of a sporting event, organisers/businesses will need to consider:

  • operating strictly within government guidance and ensuring event delivery plans are COVID secure
  • communicating clearly and consistently with all participants and support staff including volunteers
  • being adaptable to change, for example if a local lockdown were to be necessary
  • rules on gatherings
  • test track and trace requirements including recording of participants and officials to facilitate contacting by NHS Test and Trace if needed
  • maintaining physical and personal hygiene
  • keeping participants, officials, volunteers, and staff safe
  • any necessary protective equipment or face coverings for staff
  • access to temporary or permanent toilets and changing facilities or those with special needs and disabilities
  • travelling to and from events
  • use of car parks
  • bars and restaurants, including any food or drink facilities inside a clubhouse can open in accordance with the latest guidance
  • toilets and through-ways may be kept open, but guidance on hygiene should be followed.

Full details are found here: COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

Indoor gyms, swimming pools and leisure facilities can open from July 25. See the indoor facilities guidance.

Retail Reopening

Beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas across England will be able to reopen safely from Monday 13 July under new government plans.

The government has worked with a range of stakeholders in the beauty industry to develop the measures close contact services will need to consider to become COVID-19 secure, including:

  • using screens or barriers to separate clients from each other, and to separate practitioners from clients, such as in nail salons
  • operating an appointment-only booking system to minimise the number of people on the premises at any one time
  • keeping the activity time involved to a minimum
  • increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning, as well as regularly cleaning equipment or using disposable equipment where possible
  • avoiding skin to skin contact and wearing gloves where it is not crucial to the service, such as in nail bars and tanning salons
  • maintaining sufficient spacing between customer chairs
  • not allowing food or drink, other than water, to be consumed in the salon by customers
  • making sure a limited and fixed number of workers work together, if they have to be in close proximity to do their jobs

From Saturday, July 4, the Prime Minister announced that pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines. From the same date, he has set out that two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and that people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

Businesses will only be able to reopen if they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with current Health and Safety legislation.

COVID SECURE: The Government has published new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible. They have also published 12 guides which provide more tailored advice on different types of workplace.

For more information specifically for town centre businesses, please visit our Shop Safe webpage.

FAQs for Tamworth businesses

Q: Can I defer payment of council tax?    

A: You are automatically entitled to pay by extended instalments should you request this (12 instalments April to March).

You can also apply for council tax reduction if you are currently on a low income, working or unemployed and own your own home or rent. The amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances, for example, if you have children, savings, benefits and pensions.

If you are struggling to make payments as requested please call us on 01827 709530 or email counciltax@tamworth.gov.uk where alternative arrangements can be discussed.

For more information on support with paying your Tax visit the following link: https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

HMRC’s Helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.

Q: Can I defer payment of commercial rent?

A: If you are struggling to make payments as requested please call us on 01827 709555 or email sundryincome@tamworth.gov.uk where alternative arrangements can be discussed.

For individual businesses, the first port of call for advice and support is gov.uk. However, businesses in England, of all sizes, can pick up the phone and speak directly to an advisor at the Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or the National Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565

Self-Employed Government Support

Grants are now available for those who work for themselves with the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.