Coronavirus – business support and advice
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The government has reintroduced a 3 tier local covid alert system, which sets out restrictions residents, workers and businesses must adhere to depending on the alert level in the local area.
From Wednesday 2 December, London has been placed into tier 2 until further notice. Tier 2 restrictions relevant to operating your business:
- no more than 6 people can socialise together in indoor settings and they must be from the same household or support bubble
- no more than 6 people can socialise together outside, including in a garden or a public space
- businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a covid-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
- pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Pubs and bars must be a registered food business to prepare, store, sell or distribute food – please visit food safety and food registration to start this process
- hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
- provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
- stop taking orders after 10pm
- hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive through)
- early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
- public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stone settings
- organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
- organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with) – there are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
The government has produced a series of guidelines to ensure businesses are operating in a COVID-secure manner.
Businesses must implement the working practices set out for their workplace or industry.
You must make sure that the risk assessment for your business is undertaken and addresses the risks of covid-19, using the guidance to inform your decisions and control measures.
If you have fewer than five workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment.
Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to.
There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
If you have any questions about the covid secure and working safely government guidelines please direct these to HSE Covid-19 enquiries on 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 8pm)
Or via their working safely enquiry form.
Downloads and links
- face covering poster A4
- social distancing poster A3
- social distancing poster A4
- social distancing illustrated guide for businesses
- reopening checklist for food businesses
- staying Covid-19 secure poster
- working safely business case studies gallery
Commercial waste services
For enquiries regarding commercial waste services
020 8356 6683 or email@example.com.
Environmental health services
For enquiries regarding food safety, social distancing within premises and other environmental health matters firstname.lastname@example.org.
All food businesses must notify the Council when they intend to reopen. 020 8356 6004 or email@example.com.
The Council provides a range of free advice and recruitment services for businesses looking for employees and apprentices.
020 8356 5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For enquiries regarding licensing matters:
For enquiries from existing and prospective market traders: email@example.com.
Shop front trading
You need a shop front trading licence if you want to sell goods and services outside of your premises.
For enquiries from existing and prospective licence holders: firstname.lastname@example.org
Premises that can remain open must make sure that the government’s social distancing rules are followed.
Social distancing involves reducing day-to-day contact with other people as much as possible, in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible.
If you can’t work from home then you can still travel to work. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer for England’s advice.
The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone and should be followed wherever possible.
Workplaces need to avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) between individuals wherever possible.
This advice applies both to inside the workplace, and to where staff may need to interact with customers.
Staff should be reminded to wash their hands regularly using soap and water for 20 seconds and particularly after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used.
Workers should cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a bin and immediately wash their hands.
The practical implementation of this advice will depend on the local circumstances; see examples for various industries.
A few general indicators will be relevant to the majority of business settings:
- make regular announcements to remind staff and/or customers to follow social distancing advice and wash their hands regularly
- encourage the use of digital and remote transfers of material where possible rather than paper format, such as using e-forms, emails and e-banking
- provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water, hand sanitiser and tissues and encourage staff to use them
- where it is possible to remain 2 metres apart, use floor markings to mark the distance, particularly in the most crowded areas (for example, where queues form)
- where it is not possible to remain 2 metres apart, staff should work side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face if possible
- where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible
- as much as possible, keep teams of workers together (cohorting), and keep teams as small as possible
Additionally, for customer-facing businesses:
- use signage to direct movement into lanes, if feasible, while maintaining a 2 metre distance
- regulate entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
- use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms
- if feasible, place plexiglass barriers at points of regular interaction as an additional element of protection for workers and customers (where customers might touch or lean against these, ensure they are cleaned and disinfected as often as is feasible in line with standard cleaning procedures)
For further information on social distancing including illustrated guidance, case studies and downloadable posters for your business please see ‘Operating as a Covid-secure business’ on this page.
By maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors, and sharing these with NHS Test and Trace where requested, you can help to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus. Containing outbreaks early is crucial to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household.
To manage this risk, establishments in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors:
- hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
- tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
- close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
- facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
- places of worship, including use for events and other community activities
The government has issued guidance to businesses detailing the information they should collect, how this should be recorded and next steps.
Public Health England have released COVID-19 outbreak control actions cards for workplaces which set out the steps businesses need to take if a member of staff, customer or visitor has tested positive for the virus.
The guidance covers the 3 steps involved in controlling the outbreak:
Each step has clear and concise instructions and provides contact details for the authorities you will need to liaise with during the process.
Guidance has also been provided on measures you may need to put in place, although Public Health England will provide you with personalised advice after undertaking a risk assessment for your business in the event of a confirmed case.
The cards are available for download and businesses are advised to print these off and file with your existing COVID-19 risk assessment paperwork so managers and employees have easy access to this information.
Individual actions cards have been created for the following industries:
- arts, heritage and culture
- cinemas, theatres, comedy and music venues
- construction and outdoor work
- dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers
- hairdressing, barbers, beauty and personal care businesses
- food manufacturers and other large processing plants
- shops and branches
- spas, sports and massage therapy and wellbeing centres
Visit the website to download and print action cards.
Outbreak control guidance has been issued by City and Hackney Public Health in a range of different settings.
This guidance provides information for prevention, mitigation and control of Covid-19 as well as explaining how the test and trace system works locally.
The guidance is intended to keep businesses safe and enables key individuals to know what to do in the event of symptomatic cases of Covid-19 in their business.
This is a challenging time for everyone, and is likely to be especially difficult for apprentices, who are often new to the world of work, employed on short contracts, and can be especially reliant on face-to-face support and guidance, and on-the-job learning.
Our guidance sets out the Council’s recommendations and is informed by the approach we are taking with our own Council apprentices, as well as guidance from the government, the Department for Education (DfE)/Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), and Public Health England.
The Government has announced a series of grants for certain businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tier restrictions introduced in London from October and the subsequent national lockdown period from 5 November.
The new grants will be administered by the Council.
Further guidance has now been issued by the Government and we are preparing the grant programmes so they can be launched as soon as possible.
The government has launched a new tool to help businesses find coronavirus financial support. After answering a series of questions, businesses are signposted to a list of support they may be entitled to.
The temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years.
The government will also make a business interruption payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any fees levied by the lender, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.
The Department for Business has launched the new Future Fund scheme to support innovative companies that are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus, you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month.
The self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by coronavirus.
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.
The government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus.
This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus.
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. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.
HMRC are also delivering a programme of webinars to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption.
The webinars will cover topics like:
- the coronavirus job retention scheme
- refunding eligible statutory sick pay costs
- furloughed employees and more
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. UK Registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period.
Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.
The Mayor of London is offering 100% free fundraising to help businesses to secure trade by pre-selling vouchers, goods and services.
Through the Pay It Forward initiative, small businesses can offer customers the option to buy goods and services in advance based on a promise to deliver in the future, helping to secure trade through this difficult time.
This means people can book and look forward to future activities – such as meals, events, hotel bookings etc – while supporting their favourite small businesses to stay afloat.
The Mayor of London’s Back to Business Fund will also offer up to £5,000 in match funding to small and independent businesses through the Pay it Forward crowdfunding platform.
It takes moments to sign up and start a fundraising campaign, allowing the public to pledge funds in exchange for future rewards when this is all over.
We are looking for employers and other partners to work with us to create government-funded work placements for Hackney residents and school leavers aged 16-24.
Government Kickstart funding will cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. On top of the wage subsidy, £1,500 per job placement is paid to employers for setup costs, support and training.
Applications for government funding must be for a minimum of 30 placements, so we are working with employers and other local partners to coordinate and apply for funding for placements across the borough.
Our offer to employers and partners:
- submit a funding application on your behalf, and disburse grant funding to you
- provide a toolkit of best practice and training to create quality work placements
- work with our DWP partners to give you a shortlist of suitable candidates
provide preparation, in-work and progression support for participants
support you to develop progression routes such as apprenticeships
To register your interest, please complete this short form:
You can also email email@example.com with any questions.
Why work with Hackney?
- we have a track record of delivering successful early career schemes. We were named the Top Public Sector Employer at the 2018 and 2019 School Leaver Awards, and the London Employer of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2019
- we have a large talent pool of Hackney 16-24 year olds, with links to local schools, colleges and universities
- we have the expertise and partnerships to ensure young people are prepared and supported through their placements
Our Inclusive Economy strategy focuses on the creation of meaningful, quality paid employment opportunities for Hackney residents and school leavers, ensuring everyone can benefit from Hackney’s economic growth.
Our Hackney 100 and apprenticeship programmes have created hundreds of opportunities for our residents to start or develop their careers, and this new funding gives us the opportunity to build on this work with partners at a critical time.
Global Fund for Children (GFC) and The National Lottery Community Fund are partnering to support the creation and delivery of the Phoenix Fund – an initiative that will provide £1 million in emergency grants to Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities across England.
The Phoenix Fund aims to put racial justice at the heart of COVID-19 pandemic response. The initiative will support a network of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic charities and groups in England that are working in the heart of their communities, providing essential and emergency services, support, and education tailored to the community.
Applications close on 20 October 2020.
Arts Council England will offer individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector new financial support during this crisis, totalling £160 million.
They have repurposed all existing investment strands to be able to offer this support.
London’s funders are working together to provide coordinated funding to support groups responding to the needs of communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The London Community Response – which will be coordinated by London Funders – will be available to organisations facing immediate financial pressures and uncertainty because of the coronavirus. These include increasing demands for services, higher staff absences, fewer volunteers and lower donations.
The Film and TV production restart scheme helps film and TV shows struggling to get insurance for Covid-related risks to get back into production.
The scheme makes direct compensation available to producers that incur costs caused by coronavirus abandonment or delays to eligible pre-existing and new productions.
The funding is available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK.
Shows will receive compensation for costs up to a value of 20% of the production budget, with abandonment covered up to 70% upon agreement with the government.
Love Hackney, Shop Local
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in the borough can receive support through our new shop local initiative and business directory.
If you would like to be part of the Love Hackney, Shop Local campaign email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and a business participation pack.
London Business Hub has brought together essential resources to help your business manage and mitigate its exposure to the impact of coronavirus. This includes:
- one-to-one advice and support to help London businesses face the challenges of COVID-19. Book a call
- factsheets and guides brought to you by the London Growth Hub to help your business respond to the COVID-19 outbreak
- checklists to prepare your business
- external guidance from The British Chambers of Commerce, ACAS, UK Hospitality, The Association of British Insurers and other leading industry experts
- links to sector-specific support