SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES: COVID-19
Please use this link to read our reopening pack designed for businesses in the town centre.
recent update (Monday 19th october)
As you will have heard, Essex (excluding Southend and Thurrock) is moving into Tier 2 – High Alert from 00:01 on Saturday 17th October 2020. This letter will include updates on meeting people outside your household (inside and outside), face coverings for staff and customers, table spacing and restrictions on opening hours.
A letter addressed to business owners from Colchester Borough Council CLICK HERE TO READ
Due to the increasing "R" rate of COVID-19 in the UK, the Government has introduced new laws and help manage the spread of the coronavirus. These new laws and measures, which could be in place for up to 6 months, MUST be followed for business to avoid fines of up to £10,000 and enforced closure.
- Face masks for retail and hospitality staff - Staff working in pubs, bars, restaurants and shops MUST wear a mask.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues to close at 10pm - From Thursday 24th September 2020 all hospitality venues must close from 10pm every day. These venues can continue to offer delivery services after 10pm however not for takeaway or collection.
- Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues to operate with table service - From Thursday 24th September hospitality venues can only serve customers by table service, ordering at a bar or desk is no longer permitted.
- No social gatherings of more than six - The existing "rule of six" continues to apply; groups of no more than six are allowed to congregate indoors or outdoors.
If you have any question, please feel free to contact the BID team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEST AND TRACE
It is a legal requirement for all designated businesses and venues to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters.
The COVID 19 app and the use of the NHS QR code posters are a key part of the COVID 19 response and by supporting the official NHS QR code poster system, you'll be protecting your visitors and your business. You will help to slow the spread of the virus, reduce the impact of any second wave, and help normal life to resume more quickly.
To prepare for this you must use the online tool to create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue or business. Use this service to create a QR code for display in your venue. Get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app.
In England, you must by law wear a face covering in the following settings:
- Public Transport
- Shops and Supermarkets as of 24 July 2020
Measures can be taken if people do not comply with this law. Transport operators can deny service or direct someone to wear a face covering. If necessary, the police and Transport for London authorised officers can issue fines of £100 (halving to £50 if paid within 14 days). Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law (as they would do more generally) and can refuse entry. In both cases, if necessary, the police have the powers to enforce these measures, including through issuing a fine of £100 (halving to £50 if paid within 14 days).
You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Support for Businesses paying sick pay to employees
To help relieve the pressure of paying employees sick pay, the Government will be introducing a scheme for small and medium businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The Government will work with businesses over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for businesses as soon as possible.
How it will work:
- Businesses with fewer than 250 employees (as of 28th February 2020) are eligible.
- The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee absent due to COVID-19.
- Businesses can reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP due to COVID-19.
- Businesses should maintain records of employee absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
Support for businesses paying business rates
The Government has announced emergency extensions to Retail Relief for businesses, providing 100% Business Rates Relief for 12 months from 1 April 2020. All enquiries about the businesses rates holiday should be directed to the local authority (Colchester Borough Council). More information can be found here.
How it will work:
- Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority (Colchester Borough Council) as soon as possible.
- A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value (RV) between £15,000 and £51,000.
There is no need to contact the council to apply for this relief, but if you do have questions you can call on 01206 282333 or email email@example.com.
Support for businesses paying little or no business rates
To help small businesses meet their ongoing business costs, the Government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support those paying little or no business rates (due to Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR)). This scheme is expected to be operating by early April and will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or RRR.
How it will work:
- If your business is eligible for SBRR or RRR, your local authority will contact you directly; however,
- Colchester Borough Council (CBC) is working hard to identify all those who may be eligible but may require anditional information and contact details to be sent to them.
- You will receive a phone call, text or email if CBC already hold your information.
More information can be found here.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ has now launched to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
How it will work:
- The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
- The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
- Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
Support for businesses paying tax
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible for support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s existing ‘Time To Pay’ scheme.
How it works:
- If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. Arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and Government-ordered closures should be covered. Check your existing insurance policy, and terms & conditions, as they are all different; contact your provider is you’re unsure.
How it works:
- Pubs, clubs, theatres, social venues etc can make a claim. This is because the Government advised the public to avoid these businesses on 17th March 2020.
Advice and support from Government is changing daily, therefore we will be keeping this page as up to date as we possibly can, so you have the latest information.
Extra information you may find helpful
- Drinks-giant Diageo has announced a range of new initiatives in a bid to support the on-trade industry. On 17 March, Diageo-owned Guinness pledged £1,000,000 to support bartenders in the free trade across Great Britain.
- Facebook pledged to create new 'virtual training' to support businesses operating during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you would like to share your thoughts or the impacts on your businesses through COVID-19 please complete this form: http://ow.ly/mBfZ50yT5l5