COVID-19: advice and guidance

Under step two of the roadmap, non-essential retail, gyms, and personal care services (including hairdressers and beauty salons), and outdoor hospitality can reopen. Socially distancing restrictions will remain in place and face coverings should be worn in indoor settings, including shops, and on public transport.
Click HERE for further information.

From 17 May, it is anticipated that cafes and restaurants will reopen for indoor service. Cinemas and play areas could also reopen. The aim is for all limits on social contacts to be lifted from 21 June.

The Government has published a four-step roadmap, including dates, for the easing of the lockdown restrictions. A break down summary is available HERE (full version HERE).

WORKING SAFELY

Businesses need to ensure a safe and well-structured environment for their staff and customers. Please see below to access the latest Covid-19 Secure Government guidance links, which work alongside current health and safety rules:

  • Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services – HERE
  • Guidance for maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace HERE
  • Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your businesswww.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster
  • All retail workers in England need to wear face coverings, or retailers face fines of up to £10,000. Guidance regarding face coverings – HERE


Risk assessment and Covid-19 Secure Poster

Businesses need to carry out a risk assessment and place the COVID-19 Secure Poster on display in their shop window or outside their store, visible to customers and staff.
If you need help with writing a COVID-19 Secure Risk Assessment document, click HERE for some examples.
This generic template, COVID-19 – Returning to the Workplace Risk Assessment, is also available to download.  Please remember to update it for your own business.

 

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Budget 2021: What you need to know (3 March 2021)
Measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget – HERE

Lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs (5 January 2021)
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000. Find out more

Please check the grant summary table HERE.

Bristol City Council is working hard to ensure all businesses get the financial support they are entitled to during this challenging time. If you are registered for business rates and have been told to close at any point since the November lockdown, please make sure you have applied for a grant. Once submitted, Bristol City Council will assess your application for all grant schemes that are relevant to you. Businesses who have already been paid a grant since November do not need to apply again; they will automatically be paid under the later schemes.
Visit the Bristol City Council website Covid-19 page for all information.
If there isn’t a grant that applies to your business, check the page regularly; it will be updated with any future grants when possible.

Please email business@bristol.gov.uk if you have any questions about COVID19, re-opening or businesses challenges. Responses will be as quickly as possible and will take a maximum of 7 days.

Queries about grants? Ask a council officer at the retail- focused monthly webinar

If you have any queries or issues regarding restrictions or financial support, you are welcome to attend the free webinars hosted by Bristol City Council every third Wednesday of the month from 4pm to 5pm, where you will have a chance to talk to a Council Officer. More info and register HERE.

We would also highly recommend that you subscribe to the Bristol City Council business e-newsletters, which are a great resource for insights, ideas and support. Subscribe today.

Other support

Furlough scheme extended to 30 September 2021 – HERE
Business Rate Retail Discount – HERE
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – HERE
NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme (supporting low income workers whose earnings are affected by having to self-isolate) – HERE

Restart Grant – from 1 April 2021: all info HERE

New Recovery Loans Scheme: Replacing the Bounce Back Loan and the Business Interruption Loan Schemes, it will offer loans from £25,000 to £10 million up to the end of the year, with the government providing lenders a guarantee of 80 per cent on eligible loans.

Pay as You Grow: Businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan to help with finance during the Coronavirus pandemic can extend the loans as part of a new scheme called Pay as You Grow. Businesses can pay loans back across a 10 year period, which will reduce the monthly repayments by almost half. More info HERE.

Temporary VAT cut: the temporary VAT cut – from 20% to 5% – for certain sectors like hospitality and tourism, it will remain until the end of September 2021, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022.

Local Restrictions Support & Additional Support Grants

LRSG (Closed):
A grant of up to £1,500 per 14 day period for businesses that are registered for business rates and which have been required to close during Tier 3 restrictions.

Businesses that were forced to close during the November lockdown and are registered for business rates can still apply for a grant known as the ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum’ on the Bristol City Council website. This grant covers the lockdown period between 5 November and 1 December 2020.

Businesses that are still legally required to close due to the current restrictions will also be eligible for an additional grant – the ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed)’ – that covers each fortnight they have to remain closed.
If you received a ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum’, you will automatically receive a ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed)’ – businesses only need to apply once.
If you think you are eligible, apply today HERE.

LRSG (Closed) Addendum:
A grant of up to £3,000 for businesses that are registered for business rates and were required to close during the national lockdowns from:
– 5 November to 1 December 2020
– 5 January to 15 February, closing date for applications is 31 March
– 16 February to 31 March, for new applications the closing date is 31 May
Grant payments are calculated from rateable values, based on three bands:
o Up to £15,000 – £2,096
o £15,001 to £50,999 – £3,143
o £51,000 and above – £4,714
Businesses who have received a payment for the period 5 January to 15 February will automatically receive a top up, and do not need to apply again.

LRSG (Open):

The government will provide Bristol City Council with funding for businesses that are legally allowed to open, but are experiencing decreased demand. This is known as the ‘Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open)’. The Bristol City Council team is working hard to get this grant application process live, and will update us as soon as the application process is ready.

Grants for sole traders and self-employed (and other businesses not forced to close):
The discretionary support grant which covers the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) and Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) is open to applications from the self-employed and sole traders as well as small or micro businesses across all sectors, which have been severely financially impacted by COVID-19 restrictions across Tier 2, Tier 3 and national lockdowns.

The latest round is funded through the Local Restriction Support Grants (Open) and Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) schemes, for the period of 2 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.

Applications received will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and grants will be awarded dependent on the size of the business or the rateable value of the business premises.
Businesses who have already been paid a grant since November, do not need to apply again as they will automatically be paid under the current round.
Businesses that received payment from the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund (LADGF) from May to July 2020 will need to apply for the ARG again.

Bristol City Council are working hard to make sure all our businesses get the financial support they are entitled to during this difficult time. However, funding from the government is unfortunately limited in value. They estimate that the volume of eligible businesses within the region could result in the grant scheme being oversubscribed, so please apply as quickly as you can. The application window will be closed as soon as all the funding has been allocated.

Watch out for scam text messages about business grants
Scam messages are being sent offering grants to businesses – the messages start with GOV.UK and end with govuk.com and include a link to make a claim. Please do not click on the links!
To report any instances, email intel@nafn.gov.uk and the details will be forwarded to the relevant teams.

LIMIT THE SPREAD OF INFECTION

Advice from the NHS can be found HERE.
Official guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers is available HERE.

WELLBEING IN THE WORKPLACE

Businesses continue to face tough challenges and many people are struggling with the uncertainties brought about from the latest restrictions. There are many mental health support tools available to businesses and individuals. More info HERE.

The Thrive at Work programme, developed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), offer free e-learning courses for Managers. ‘Managing Mental Health at Work’ is designed for SMEs (with a maximum headcount of 250) to equip their managers with the confidence and skills to have supportive conversations with their staff about mental health and wellbeing, particularly in these challenging times. Developed in partnership with Mind, the leading mental health charity, the course is free to access (funded by WECA) for SMEs in the West of England.

LEARNING PORTAL – an opportunity to develop your skills for free

For a range of free high quality online courses, from social media to digital marketing and much more, please check the City Centre BID learning portal.

SAFETY

Tips, links and useful contacts from the Police for your businesses during the current lockdown

Crime prevention advice for empty commercial premises

Covid Marshals – more info HERE

Good counter terrorism measures have benefits in deterring crime. The award winning ACT Awareness e-learning course (45 minutes) will equip your business with the information you will need. You can access the course HERE.