Coronavirus (COVID-19) –
Protect yourself and others
The British Chambers of Commerce is working with Government to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on business communities.
IW Chamber is monitoring the situation very closely and following the advice of our partners in the British Chambers of Commerce, the Isle of Wight Council and the NHS. We will provide updates to members as and when they arrise.
“The situation is changing day-to-day and many Island businesses are bracing themselves for difficult situations and difficult choices. Like every other business, the IW Chamber is responding in real-time to an evolving situation. The IW Chamber is the voice of Island businesses and we will continue to represent the voice of our members in this crisis.
“ I am in regular contact with the Island’s MP Bob Seely and IW Council Chief Executive John Metcalfe. Every concern presented to me personally has been passed on to the MP for his response, so he can understand and best press the concerns of Island businesses to government.”
Steven Holbrook, IW Chamber CEO
Reopening of further businesses and venues in England postponed
On 31 July the Prime Minister announced that until 15 August at the earliest, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed, and that indoor performances will not resume.
Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place and wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also not be permitted. Data on the prevalence of the virus in the community in England will continue to be carefully reviewed in order to move forward with the intention to open up these higher risk settings as soon as possible.
Next phase of reopening - announced Thursday 9th July 2020
Next phase of reopening – announced Thursday 9th July 2020
The government has outlined the measures that will allow outdoor pools to reopen from Saturday 11 July and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities to reopen from Saturday 25 July, ensuring millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities.
Further guidance on grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities reopening can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, also outlined that beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services can also reopen from Monday 13th July.
Existing guidance on close contact services will be updated here: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services
Finally, the Culture Secretary highlighted that performing arts can now take place outdoors from Saturday 11 July with a socially distanced audience present. The government will also work with the sector to pilot a number of small indoor performances with a social distanced audience to help inform plans about how best to get indoor venues back up and running.
Further guidance on performing arts reopening can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts
Full details of the statement can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/speeches/digital-culture-media-and-sport-secretarys-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-9-july-2020
Summer Economic Update from the Chancellor - 8th July
The Chancellor delivered his Summer Economic Update in Parliament today (8th July), which outlined a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs.
Key points to note:
- Job Retention Bonus:To help firms keep on furloughed workers, UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
- Kickstart Scheme: A new £2 billion scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
- Employment and support schemes:A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.
- Creating jobs: The plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.
- Eat Out to Help Out:To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government’s new discount scheme will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
- VAT: The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%.
- Stamp Duty: A temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 has been introduced until 31 March 2021.
Full details of the announcement can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/news/rishis-plan-for-jobs-will-help-britain-bounce-back
Help to reopen your business safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
IW Chamber Members can also call the Chamber Advice line for any queries they have.
Links to IW Council
The link to the IW Council Environmental Health pages is below, this is being regularly updated by the team. www.iow.gov.uk/Residents/Environment-Planning-and-Waste/Environmental-Health/Food-Safety-and-Standards/Regulatory-Services-COVID-19-Business-Advice
You can also find the toolkit which has been put together which includes a presentation and FAQs document: www.iow.gov.uk/Council/Council-News/Media-Relations/Campaign-Toolkits
Staying Covid Secure Poster
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published a notice for businesses in England to display, once a risk assessment has been carried out, to show compliance with the guidance on managing the risk of Coronavirus. This has been updated to reflect the change in the 2m social distancing rule. You can find the poster here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb97d30d3bf7f5d364bfbb6/staying-covid-19-secure-accessible.pdf
Updated guidance on working safely during Coronavirus
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- The visitor economy
- Hotels and other guest accommodation
- Close contact services
Working safely during Coronavirus – updated guidance
The workplace guidance has been updated to reflect the Prime Minister’s statement (17 July), which highlighted that the government’s advice on going to work will change from 1 August.
From this date, employers should ensure workplaces are safe whilst also enabling working from home. In order to keep the virus under control, it is important that people work safely. Working from home remains one way to do this. However, the risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely.
Employers should consult with their employees to determine who, from the 1 August 2020, can come into the workplace safely taking account of a person’s use of public transport, childcare responsibilities, protected characteristics, and other individual circumstances. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
When it is decided that workers should come into their place of work then this will need to be reflected in the COVID-19 risk assessment and actions taken to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance. It is vital employers engage with workers to ensure they feel safe returning to work, and they should avoid forcing anyone into an unsafe workplace.
Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
- an FAQ document;
- a toolkit for business; and
- messaging to use with consumers.
Accommodation Providers - what guest should do if they suspect Covid-19
Visit Isle of Wight and the Isle of Wight Council, have created a document for accommodation providers to leave for guests to inform them what to do and how to do it, should the guest feel that they may have Covid-19 symptoms during their stay. There is a space on the form to insert your accommodation postcode, as this will need to be the island postcode that the guest quotes when requesting a test.
Please find the poster below or you can find it along with more information on the visitwightpro.com website
We're Good To Go & the Isle of Wight Welcomes You - the toolkit
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - flexible furloughing & bonus scheme
- claim for periods ending on or before 30 June, by 31 July – this is the last date they can make those claims;
- agree the hours and shift patterns that they want their employees to work from 1 July, if changing; and
- pay their employees’ wages for the time they are in work and apply for a job retention scheme grant to cover the remainder of their usual hours for which they are still furloughed.
Further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s new Job Retention Bonus were unveiled by HMRC today on 31 July 2020
- employers can claim the bonus for all eligible employees who have been furloughed
- it comes as employers set to start contributing to the furlough scheme as staff return to work and the economy reopens
The bonus – announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Plan for Jobs last month – will see businesses receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year.
The scheme is designed to continue to support jobs through the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus by encouraging and helping employers to retain as many employees who’ve been on furlough as possible.
A policy statement published by the HMRC gives employers further details on eligibility requirements and how they can claim the bonus. Under the terms:
- employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
- to ensure the jobs are meaningful well-paid, employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
- those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted for them after the 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
- employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee
Job Retention Bonus
The UK government have today (4 August) published further information on the Job Retention Bonus (JRB), including:
Which employers can claim the JRB, including clarifying the eligibility of employers that have employees who have been transferred under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations or due to a change in ownership;
Which employees an eligible employer can claim the JRB for, including clarifying eligibility for employees returning from statutory parental leave, for military reservists and employees who are on fixed term contracts;
What employers should do now if they intend to claim the Job Retention Bonus.
Please note that full guidance, including on how employers will be able to claim the JRB, will be available by the end of September.
Face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England
The government has announced (14 July) that face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July 2020.
Under the new rules, people who do not wear a face covering will face a fine of up to £100, in line with the sanction on public transport and just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt. The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual.
Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police. The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine. This is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is of course a last resort.
Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
Find out how to register your restaurant or establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. – www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme
Posters, images and other promotional materials for use by establishments who are taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out Scheme are available here – www.gov.uk/government/publications/eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-promotional-materials
Updated guidance on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
A reminder that registration for the scheme is open. Further support from HM Revenue and Customs is available through the webchat service and helpline as well as information on sales that are eligible and how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners.
The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme runs from 3 August – 31 August. You can also use the restaurant finder tool to find out which restaurants near you are participating.
Eat Out to Help Out Scheme update – claims service open (HMRC Information Note – 7 August 2020)
The claims service for restaurants taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme is open.
Outlets can now claim reimbursements from the Government for discounts given to their diners this week (Monday to Wednesday), and payment will be made within five working days.
Businesses must wait seven days from the date of registration to make their first claim, and can only claim for scheme discounts offered on or after the date registered.
Claims can be made weekly and when signed into the service, businesses must select the periods that they are claiming for.
Across the UK more than 73,000 outlets have signed up for Eat Out to Help Out, and businesses can still register to use the scheme online at GOV.UK.
Information on making a claim is available online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-money-back-through-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme
A video is also available which guides users through making a claim: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB7OTL4SNaY
Businesses can register to use the scheme online: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme#register
NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace
The NHS Test and Trace service:
- provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus
- gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had
- alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus
By following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with coronavirus will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.
The guidance on the NHS Test & Trace service for employers, businesses and workers was updated on 22 July. The update includes redrafting for clarity, a new section on collecting customer and visitor data for NHS Test & Trace has been added, and additional information on if a worker develops symptoms and orders a test.
Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus
COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:
- Know how to recognise and report an incident of COVID-19; and
- Are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.
In addition, ‘action cards’ have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.
UK Government Guidance for Employers and Businesses
For the latest guidance from Public Health England and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, click here
To view the government’s COVID-19 Action Plan you can click here
Government Support for Businesses
The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The Business Support website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your business. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available.
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees.
This guidance provides details of support available to businesses including:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery 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
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- 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
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax
Coronavirus business support finder
The Cabinet Office has published a tool for UK businesses to ascertain what support is available to them including loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use the business support finder to help determine what support is available to your business.
HM Treasury response
How to access government financial support if you or your business has been affected by COVID-19
On 17 March, the Chancellor announced an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making available an initial £330bn of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP. The government will take new legal powers in the COVID-19 Bill, enabling it to offer whatever further financial support it thinks necessary to support businesses.
This document sets out further information on how you or your business can access if you are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.
Isle of Wight Council
Island businesses seeking key updates on access to government relief funding are being encouraged to visit a special page on the Isle of Wight Council’s website.
The new page at www.iow.gov.uk/covid19_businessadvice is being updated as further information becomes available from the government over the coming days, including details of accessing business rates support.
If you think your business qualifies for these measures of financial support, please fill in the IW Council online form to provide details to assist them with the processing of payments: Application form for support for businesses affected by Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
To fill in the form you will need the following:
- Account number (as per business rates bill)
- Name of ratepayer
- Company name & number (as per Companies House)
- VAT number
- Your bank details
If you wish to challenge non-payment of a grant please use this appeals form – https://www.iow.gov.uk/iwforms/BusGrApp
New government discretionary grant support
Applications are now open for eligible Island businesses to apply for funding under the government’s additional discretionary grant scheme. The IW council has been allocated £2.96 million to distribute, specifically to those businesses which missed out under the initial government grant scheme, and which qualify under the new criteria. The council can award grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any sum up to £10,000. You can download guidance and access the application form via the IW Council website – https://www.iow.gov.uk/Council/OtherServices/Public-Health-Coronavirus-COVID-19/Businesses-and-employers
(Please note that under this scheme, businesses are required to submit financial and other evidence to support their application. Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 are eligible.)
Business Rates – Local Authority Guidance
For guidance on Business Rates Relief and Business Rates Retail Discount click here:
British Chambers of Commerce
IW Chamber is an accredited member of the British Chambers of Commerce. The Chamber Network is at the forefront of helping businesses across the UK manage the impact of Coronavirus. Visit the BCC’s Coronavirus Hub to keep your business up to date with all the latest guidance and support available. Get the latest from the BCC here
Read the BCC’s FAQs on UK government support measures here
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. HMRC has announced that employers are able to make a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed employees who were on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 instead of 28 February 2020. HMRC has also announced that the claims portal will be available from 20 April 2020.
If you have questions about the Job Retention Scheme you can read the FAQ put together by the BCC and Quest (version 9A) – FAQs here
HMRC has published further support for businesses including:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme recent changes – From 1 July 2020, UK businesses will be given the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. From August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work.
- In June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.
- In August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work – 5% of average gross employment costs of those currently furloughed.
In September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June for new entrants
Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Find out about the SEISS scheme here – https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/
Read the Self-employment Income Support Scheme FAQ page here – https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme-faqs/
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) extended – SEISS will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August. The eligibility criteria remains the same as for the first grant, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by Coronavirus.
The grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. This is in line with changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as the economy reopens.
The first SEISS grant, which opened for applications on 13 May, will close to new applications on 13 July. Eligible individuals will be able to make their claim for the first grant any time until this date, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim.
Review the factsheet on SEISS
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – This scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable small and medium sized businesses to apply for a loan, up to £5m, with the government providing a guarantee of 80% on each loan and with no interest due for the first twelve months. Personal guarantees of any form cannot be taken under the scheme for any facilities below £250k. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. CBILS is now open for applications.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) – Government will provide a guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans to firms with turnover of between £45 million and £250 million of up to £25 million and loans of up to £50 million for firms with turnover of more than £250 million. Facilities will be available from 3 months up to 3 years and will be offered at commercial rates of interest. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. CLBILS is now open for applications.
The government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.
Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from next week.
Changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay. – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/larger-businesses-to-benefit-from-loans-of-up-to-200-million
Bounce Back Loans scheme (BBLS)- Aimed at the UK’s smallest firms, the Bounce Back Loans scheme will offer loans of between £2,000 and £50,000. Businesses can borrow up to the value of 25% of their turnover up to a maximum of £50,000. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. There is a short, standardised online application to apply for a loan. There is no forward-looking test of business viability or ‘complex’ eligibility criteria. Finance should reach businesses ‘within 24 hours’ of approval. The scheme is now open for applications.
Future fund – a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Coronavirus. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis. The scheme is now open for applications and will initially be open until the end of September 2020.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme: – The recently announced Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme went live on 26th May. Small businesses and employers across the UK who have paid Statutory Sick Pay to staff taking coronavirus-related leave will be able to claim back the money from today. Businesses with fewer than 250 employees can find out how to make a claim here –https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-sick-pay-scheme-opens-for-applications
Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
Full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19#who-can-use-the-scheme
Guidance for Retail to reopen in June
The Government has recently updated the COVID-19 secure guidance to help certain shops across England reopen safely from June. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June and all other non-essential retail will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
You can find full guidance on working safely here: https://gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
Food Standards Agency (FSA) checklist for UK food businesses
The FSA has developed a useful checklist to help food businesses in the UK re-open and operate safely during Coronavirus. The checklist covers:
- business activities;
- safetey management and waste;
- food areas and surfaces;
- hand washing and cleanliness;
- raw materials; and
- allergen information
Face coverings on public transport
From 15 June travellers on public transport in England, including buses, trains and aircraft passengers, must, with some very limited exemptions, wear mouth and nose coverings. This will coincide with the re-opening of ‘non-essential retail’. Other than public transport workers, the responsibility for (and cost of) providing coverings will be on the passengers. There is no requirement for a particular type or standard of face mask; indeed, the government asks passengers to not use medical standard ones.
Bob Seely MP
Find out the latest from Bob Seely here – https://www.bobseely.org.uk/covid-19-latest-advice
The Solent LEP are providing a range of on-going support to businesses in the Solent region through their Coronavirus Support Hub. – https://solentlep.org.uk/coronavirus-support-hub/
The latest Coronavirus advice from the NHS can be found here