CORONAVIRUS: GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES, EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

Based on the World Health Organisation’s recent declaration, COVID-19 is now classed as a public health emergency of international concern.

The outbreak has undoubtedly already impacted many businesses and their staff, with much more expected to come. In order to help ensure BID members are fully informed, we have created this useful page to link you to the advice and guidance you may need for your business. We are also advising businesses to build their own resilience by reviewing their business continuity plan, developing an understanding of the potential impacts to your supply chains, customers or other factors critical to your operations.

Government Advice
For the latest information and advice, please regularly visit the guidance for businesses, employers and employees page on the Government website. ACAS have also published information for employees and employers including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.

Public Advice
Please follow the NHS public advice to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
The 2020 Budget (announced on 11 March) contained a series of announcements that will support businesses coping with the economic impact of Coronavirus.

Business rate holiday: Shops, cinemas, restaurants, pubs and music venueswill not pay business rates in the year from 6 April 2020. This will also include art galleries, museums, gyms, nightclubs, theatres and guest houses.

Small business grant funding: All businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief will be able to access grant funding of up to £10,000. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: This temporary loan scheme will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The British Business Bank will guarantee 80% of the value of loans offered by banks to businesses, up to £5 million with no interest due for the first six months.

Time to Pay Helpline: The Government has announced that businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC. The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19. HMRC Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 015 9559 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday, 8am to 4pm).

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 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Private Lenders: A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest.

Business Support Helpline: The Government also a Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm).

For further guidance for businesses, employers and employees click here to visit the Government website.