Last Updated 3:50pm, 2 June 2020
Support for businesses
The government has introduced a number of schemes to provide financial support to businesses, and have also published guidance on working safely for employers and businesses.
The government is currently hosting FREE webinars for businesses on how to make their workplace coronavirus (COVID-19) secure. Some webinars have already happened, but can be still be viewed as recordings on the government’s You Tube channel. They include webinars on factories, plants and warehouses; restaurants offering takeaway or deliveries; shops and branches; and vehicles.
- Advice is also available on decontamination for businesses, where a possible or confirmed COVID-19 case has spent time while symptomatic.
- Businesses can download and print the government’s coronavirus poster to display within their workspaces.
- To assist with planning, it may be useful to refer to the Cabinet Office checklist for businesses (this refers to pandemic influenza but the checklist may be useful).
- You can find an updated full list of business support provided by the government at Coronavirus Business Support.
- If you have a query that isn’t covered by the government guidance you can contact the Business Support Helpline.
- Businesses (and individuals) should also be aware of an increase in scams linked to coronavirus.
Coronavirus support from business representative organisations and trade associations
Many business representative organisations and trade associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors, including (but not limited to) Agriculture, Hospitality, Maritime, Retail and Tourism.
Financial support for businesses
There have been a number of schemes launched to provide financial support to businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
The coronavirus Business Support Finder tool has been created to help you see what support might be available to you.
Some of the key areas of financial support available are:
- Business rates relief
- Business support grant fund
- Dairy response fund
- Support for the self-employed
- Support for small and medium sized businesses
- Support for large businesses
- Wages and sick pay
- Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill
Additional support available in Devon
In Devon, you can access business support and advice from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.
The Better Business For All partnership has created a toolkit providing information and guidance to help Devon’s businesses reopen. It includes information on what your business needs to do before reopening, where you can get help and how to protect your employees and customers.
The Heart of the South West Digital Skills Partnership has commissioned a range of experienced digital Training Providers to deliver Bounce Back Digital; a series of free, online webinars, short courses and cyber support buddy sessions for small businesses to adapt to new ways of working in light of Covid-19
District Councils in Devon are distributing the following government grants for businesses:
- Discretionary Business Grants: grants for small and micro businesses in Devon that have property-related costs but have not been eligible for other government grants for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant: for small businesses that were eligible for Retail Discount on 11 March 2020 and had a rateable value of less than £51,000
- Small Business Grant: for small businesses that were eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief on 11 March 2020 and had a rateable value of less than £51,000
If you are recruiting into the care sector, please add your job openings (for free) on Proud to Care Devon. If you have other employment opportunities, we would encourage you to get involved with the Heart of the South West Virtual Career Fairs.
To help maintain critical services, and to support our suppliers, Devon County Council is reducing payment terms from 20 days to 5 days until further notice. This will ensure businesses in the supply chain are promptly reimbursed and not disadvantaged by poor cash flow.
Support for social enterprises
Information about funding and assistance for social enterprises.
When can businesses start to re-open?
As part of the government’s plan to return life to as near normal as we can, some further businesses* have been allowed to re-open.
On 31 July, the Prime Minister announced that plans to reopen higher risk settings from 1 August would be postponed for at least a fortnight. This means that, until 15 August at the earliest:
- Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed;
- 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 not be permitted, but ceremonies can continue to take place, in line with COVID-Secure guidelines.
*Businesses will only be able to open once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, 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.
Check the latest information for which businesses and venues must remain closed.
Everyone is asked to comply with the request to close, in order to protect both themselves and others.
Trading Standards and Environmental Health will support and work with companies to ensure they are able to comply with the Regulations before having to resort to statutory penalties. If it was obvious that following the advice there were still issues and the advice had been disregarded then stronger action will be explored.
(Note that as of 26 March 2020 new Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law in England due to the threat to public health.)
Reporting a business that should be closed
We have had reports phoned in identifying businesses that have remained open. After reading the full list of businesses that should be closed, if you are aware of a business remaining open, despite it being of a type listed, then please report to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
Working safely guidance
Guidance for businesses has been developed following a national consultation with input from 250 businesses, unions, industry bodies, the devolved administrations, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. It develops best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy, providing people with the confidence they need to return to work.
5 key points for businesses to consider
- Work from home if you can
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers or trade unions
- Maintain 2 meters social distancing wherever possible
- Where people cannot be 2 meters apart, manage transmission risk
- Reinforcing cleaning processes
Further guidance to help understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic
- Phased opening of schools, colleges and nurseries
- Travelling safely
- How to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
- Cleaning your workplace safely
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October.
Key details to note:
- Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
- From August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
- The employer payments will substitute the contribution HMG is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.
Further details on implementation will be made available by the end of the month.