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. Use this list to review the with new lockdown restrictions and daily government Covid-19 updates.
From supporting employees right through to understanding insurance policies, we’ve supplied links to coronavirus resource information and advice. This will be regularly updated to reflect any changes in official Covid-19 guidance.
We’ve also included a round-up of key updates for businesses, daily news and the latest information.
Coronavirus Resources For Employers and Employees
National lockdown guidance and up-to-date alert level
Available government grants to support businesses and protect jobs
Full guidance for businesses and premises
Guidance on keeping the workplace Covid secure – featuring the 14 types of workplace
ACAS advice for employers and employees
CIPD advice for UK employers
NHS advice on allowing employees to come to work during Covid-19
Guidance on social distancing
Accessing grant support for self-employed workers
Coronavirus Resources For Businesses
Health and Safety Executive Advice
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
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
Following today’s announcement by the Prime Minister, a cautious roadmap has been outlined looking at how the country will be gradually eased out of lockdown.
These milestones are subject to scientific data allowing them to take place but are currently set out as below:
Step one is in two parts:
On 8 March
- all students return to schools and colleges, and school clubs can resume
- Secondary school students will be required to wear masks in class as well as communal areas
- People can meet one other person outside for recreation, not just exercise
- Care home residents allowed one regular named visitor
- Stay at home order remains in place.
- Outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households allowed, including meeting in private gardens
- Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and outdoor swimming pools allowed to reopen; organised outdoor sports can resume
- Stay at home order ends but people encouraged to stay local wherever they can
- Work from home wherever possible
- No overseas travel.
Will happen no earlier than 12 April
- Non-essential retail, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and museums open
- Outdoor hospitality in pubs and restaurants allowed with households or rule-of-six
- Most outdoor settings reopen such as zoos and theme parks
- Gyms and indoor swimming pools open
- Self catering holiday accommodation and camp sites reopen
- Funerals continue with up to 30 people
- Weddings with up to 15 people.
Will happen no earlier than 17 May
- Outdoors most social contact rules lifted, up to limit of 30 people
- Mixing indoors allowed for two households, but rule-of-six for indoor hospitality and elsewhere
- Cinemas, soft play centres, rest of accommodation sector, hotels, indoor exercise classes return
- Performances and sporting events resume – larger performances with venues 1,000+ or half full will be allowed indoors and outdoors 4,000 capacity or half full (whichever lowest)
- In very largest outdoor seated venues such as football stadiums up to 10,000 people allowed to attend (or 1/4 full whichever is lowest)
- Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes.
The fourth step from 21 June will potentially see all legal limits on social contact removed, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened – such as nightclubs.
The government hopes that – from this date – restrictions on weddings and funerals will also be abolished.
You can read more from the BBC here.
Many forms of funding and business support are to be made available for businesses and to those who are self employed.
The chancellor announces £4.6 billion has been made available to protect jobs, with businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9000. A further £594 million is also being made available for local authorities and the devolved administrations; businesses should apply through their local authorities.
Grants worth up to £3,000 has also been allocated for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen. The cash is overall expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties.
Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available – find out more at gov.uk/business-support.
By law, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
From tomorrow, all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
The restrictions are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improve.
The Prime Minister announces national lockdown and instructs people to stay at home. Four UK chief medical advisors advise the threat level be moved form level four to level five. New restriction s to be in place by the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The deadline for applying for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If you’re planning on making a retrospective furlough claim, don’t miss the deadline to register. More information can be found here.
The government announce the country will once again enter lockdown. Many businesses are asked to close, with employees ordered to work from home if possible.
On 31st October, the current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will come to an end, and be replaced by the Job Support Scheme. This will support employers who are both open and closed, dependent on local restrictions. We are still awaiting final guidance on these schemes which we will publish here when available, but all current information can be found on GOV.UK here.
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.
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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.