The COVID-19 pandemic brings many challenges
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of key coronavirus resources to help businesses find the information they need.
From supporting employees right through to understanding insurance policies, we’ve supplied links to information and advice that will be regularly updated to reflect any changes.
At the end of this article we’ve also included a round-up of key updates for businesses, sharing daily news and the latest information.
Coronavirus Resources For Employers and Employees
Full guidance for businesses and premises
Government guidance for employees, employers and businesses
ACAS advice for employers and employees
CIPD advice for UK employers
Guidance on social distancing
Accessing support for self-employed workers
Coronavirus Resources For Businesses
Health and Safety Executive Advice
A list of Specialist Partners to help you reduce the risks of reopening
Advice and guidance for small businesses
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme information
How to access government support
Preventing a coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus risk assessment template
Government travel advice
Coronavirus Resources - Insurance
Are you covered if coronavirus impacts your business?
Changes to business descriptions
If there are any changes (either temporary or permanent) to how your business will operate in the coming weeks, months or even years you must let us know. Any changes to your business description must be declared to us so we can update your insurer, and keep your policy accurate to maintain your cover.
Coronavirus Daily Updates
A new three-tier system is announced. This provides greater clarity as to what is expected in each local area. Liverpool have been placed in Tier Three, meaning the city is subject to more strict and stringent regulation. This includes some venues being asked to close once again. You can check your local area and its restrictions here.
The government announces that it will pay two-thirds of staff wages for businesses forced to close due to further upcoming restrictions due to be announced in the near future. Businesses forced to close may also be eligible for business grants up to £3,000 paid every fortnight. More information can be found here.
The government announce a new set of rules and legislation related to COVID-19. This includes:
- Office workers being told to work from home if they are able to
- Increased penalties for those not wearing masks or mixing in large social groups
- All pubs, bars and restaurants must be table service only
- Hospitality venues must close at 22:00
- Retail and hospitality staff must wear masks, and customers must wear masks also aside from when eating and drinking
The latest government guidelines can be found here.
Face masks in supermarkets and shops become compulsory.
Outdoor live performances have been given the green light, with gyms allowed to put plans in place to reopen from 25th July. Businesses are being encouraged to allow employees back to work.
The government announces a 1.57 billion investment package for cultural and heritage organisations.
Many businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry have been able to reopen. The social distancing guidelines have been reduced to one metre plus, though businesses must ensure enhanced safety and security measures have been put in place to protect staff and customers.
All non-essential shops have been allowed to reopen, with additional safety measures in place.
This is the deadline for signing up to the flexible furlough scheme as the current system comes to a close at the end of the month. From next month employers will be able to bring back workers on a part-time basis.
The government launches its new test and trace service. If you develop symptoms and test positive for coronavirus, individuals will be asked to share information about recent contacts. Those contacts may then be advised to self-isolate by the NHS test and trace service. The Romero Group has developed an information document highlighting all the information you need to know. Download it here!
The government announces that all non-essential shops will be allowed to re-open on 15th June, providing they can adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and employees.
Food Standards Agency announce reopening checklists to help food businesses get back to “the new normal” safely. The guidance includes how to prepare for new procedures and implement social distancing.
Where work can only be done in the workplace, the government have set out guidelines for a safe return to work from Wednesday 13th May for businesses within specific industries. Employers should do all they can to ensure the safety of their workers. Complete adequate risk assessments and ensure relevant adjustments are made.
The government announced the UK furlough scheme will be extended by four months.
Government release new ‘Stay Alert’ coronavirus strategy. The new guidelines continue to encourage people to stay at home, limiting contact and keeping 2m apart at all times if possible. However, the new guidelines encourage people who cannot work from home to return to work, following safe social distancing practices. This means businesses such as construction businesses, factories and more should look to reopen and put measures in place to protect employees.
HM Treasury today announced that small businesses will be boosted by government ‘bounce back’ loans. Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. Key takeaways:
- businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
- loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form
- the loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days- providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.
Read more on GOV.UK here.
The government announces new measures to help protect businesses from aggressive rent collection. Landlords are urged to give tenants the breathing space they need. For more information on the new measures, visit the government website.
Engineering inspections must continue during the COVID-19 crisis, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Laws remain in place to ensure that work plant and equipment remain safe to use. The HSE have released guidance on maintaining these examinations and tests whilst in the midst of the ongoing disruption.
In the daily government press conference, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced that the UK lockdown will be extended by a further 3 weeks to avoid a second peak and an increase in the number of deaths taking the UK lockdown through to at least the 7th May.
The Scottish government have announced updates to its small business grant scheme to extend the support for businesses with multiple premises.
Previously in Scotland, small business owners would receive a flat £25,000 grant regardless of how many premises they operate in, whereas in England, the grant will be given to each eligible property.
On 15th April the Scottish government announced they would extend this grant to offer 100% of the £25,000 grant to a business owners first premises, and 75% of the grant for each subsequent premises.
Using the example of a restaurant owner which is one business entity, but with 4 venues:
In England (no change): Business owner gets £25,000 per premises totalling £100k
In Scotland BEFORE: Business owner could get £25,000 as it was limited to ‘per business’
In Scotland NOW: Business owner will get £25,000 for their first venue, and 75% of that for the subsequent 3 (£18,750 x 3) total £81,250.
HSE releases revised Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). This includes RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19.
Businesses must only make a RIDDOR report if:
- an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
- a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
The Chancellor announces unprecedented support for the self-employed, bringing financial benefits to the self-employed in line with those who are employed in response to the crisis.
Self-employed staff with an average annual trading profit of £50k or less, will be able to claim 80% of their profits up to the value of £2.5k per month for three months.
Timing of the payments is still to be finalised, but it is likely that three months will be paid in one lump sum in June for all three months backdated to March.
HMRC will right to all those eligible, outlining how individuals can access the fund.
HMRC has launched a Tax Helpline, supporting self-employed and businesses with tax payment issues caused by COVID-19.
The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice such as:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
You can access the helpline by calling 0800 024 1222.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces strict new measures to protect people from the potential spread of COVID-19.
People should only leave home for one of four reasons:
- To shop for essentials
- To exercise once a day (alone or with people you live with)
- For medical reasons, or to care for a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work where absolutely necessary
The statement also advised the public to stay at least 2m away from people at all times, aside from people they live with. Businesses not providing an essential service were told to close and all social events have been officially stopped (aside from funerals).
To read the Prime Minister’s statement in full click here.
The Chancellor announces a greater extension of support available to businesses and individuals through measures such as:
- Job Retention Scheme
- Deferring of VAT & Income Tax payments
- Statutory Sick Pay Relief Package
- 12 months business rates holiday for SMEs
- Small business grants of £10,000
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality & leisure with a rateable value between £15,001 & £51,000.
- Business Interruption Loan Scheme with loans of up to £5m for SMEs
The full list of measures and how to access them can be found here.
HM Treasury releases how to access the government’s financial support if you or your business has been affected by COVID-19.
Discover how your business can access funding here.
HM Government updates the Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses.
The update includes information regarding healthcare advice for employers and further support for businesses.
Guidance for employers and businesses includes:
- Wherever possible, businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home
- If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, persistent cough or a fever, they should be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home
- Employees should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
- Businesses should frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
- Those who follow advice to stay at home, but cannot work from home, will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their absence from work
- Employers should use their discretion concerning the need for medical evidence for certification for employees who become ill. Those with symptoms of coronavirus, or those who live with someone who has symptoms, can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online
- Employees from defined vulnerable groups should be strongly advised and supported to stay at home, working from home where possible
The Chancellor sets out targeted, temporary measures to support the countries public services, people and businesses through the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Included in these plans are measures to boost business through:
- A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- A year long business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- Launch of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
PM Boris Johnson announces guidance on social distancing measures for everyone in the UK to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms. This includes a high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour
- Work from home, where possible. Businesses were also encouraged to support employees to be able to do this
- Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs
- Do not attend social gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
The statement goes on to say everyone where remotely possible should be trying to follow these measures.
Can we help your business?
If you have any specific questions, please contact your Account Executive.
Have you spotted a key online resource you think should be included in this piece? Get in touch with the team and we’ll happily add it.