COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Support for Businesses and Employers
Our team of business advisers are available to help your business with the challenges of COVID-19. Access free one-to-one support today.
Support from the London Growth Hub
Hot Topic: Reopening Safely
The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy
The UK Government published its plan for easing coronavirus lockdown measures on 11 May 2020, which includes a three-step approach for easing lockdown restrictions in England:
- Since 13 May, anyone who cannot work from home, such as workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors, should be encouraged to return to work.
- On 1 June, the UK Government started the phased reopening of some areas of the economy. The Government has confirmed non-essential retailers can start reopening from 15 June.
- From 4 July, the Government will reopen some of the remaining businesses that have been required to close, including hair salons, restaurants, pubs and bars, and some leisure facilities. Find out more about the venues that can reopen.
The UK Government has published guidance to help employers and the self-employed understand how to reopen and work safely during COVID-19. The guides cover a range of different types of work.
On 23 June, the UK Government set out further changes to lockdown measures in England from 4 July. Changes include:
- Where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’ while taking mitigations to reduce transmission.
- Certain businesses will be required to capture contact details from customers and visitors for track and trace.
- Provided no more than two households stay together people will be able to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, including hotels, B&Bs and campsites.
- Restaurants and pubs are to open but will be limited to table service.
- Most leisure facilities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do so safely. This includes outdoors gyms, playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, arcades, libraries, social clubs and community centres.
- Hairdressers will be able to reopen with precautions in place.
On 9 July, the UK Government announced the reopening of further businesses and venues in England:
- Sport and recreation: From Saturday 11 July outdoor swimming pools and outdoor water parks are permitted in law to reopen. From Saturday 25 July it is proposed that sports facilities and venues, such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks will be permitted to open. All recreation and leisure businesses and facilities are strongly advised to follow guidance on operating within the visitor economy and guidance for providers of sports and leisure facilities.
- Close-contact service providers: Close-contact service providers, including beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas across England will be able to reopen from Monday 13 July, excluding any services in the highest risk zone. All close-contact service providers are strongly advised to follow guidance on how to work safely.
- Performing arts: Performing arts including outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can resume from Saturday 11 July provided they take place outside and with a limited and socially distanced audience. Guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants is available here.
- Guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services has also been updated with information on entertainment permitted in venues and fire risk assessments for repurposed spaces.
- If your business is reopening soon, you can use our guidance finder to help you find the information most relevant to you. Find guidance for your business.
The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy update (17 July)
On 17 July, the Prime Minister set out plans to further ease coronavirus restrictions in England and move to the next phase of the UK Government’s response. The plans include:
- From 1 August, employers will be able to make more decisions about how they ensure employees can work safely in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This could include continuing to work from home or returning to the workplace. However, employers should consult their employees and only ask them to return to work if it is safe.
- Most leisure settings that have been required to remain closed, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos, will be able to reopen from 1 August.
- Businesses providing close contact services such as beauticians will also be able to resume from 1 August.
- The Government will enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place soon. Find out more.
- Business events, conferences and events in stadia are set to resume in the autumn subject to the successful outcome of pilot events.
- Schools, nurseries and colleges will be able to open on a full-time basis in September.
On 31 July, the Prime Minister announced that the further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England has been postponed.
A number of businesses including casinos, bowling alleys, close contact services and theatres were due to start reopening from 1 August. However, this has now been postponed until 15 August at the earliest. Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will also not take place.
From 8 August, the requirement to wear a face covering will be extended to other indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.
Read the Prime Minister’s announcement in full here.
Support from the London Growth Hub
The London Growth Hub has published a series of factsheets to support businesses across London to reopen and work safely during COVID-19:
- The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy
- Working safely and managing social distancing
- Reopening a retail business safely
- Guidance on the use of face coverings
- NHS Test and Trace – Advice for Employers
- Case study on reopening a retail business
From 15 June, many retailers across the country will be reopening, and the Government is keen to help welcome back shoppers and celebrate the hard work businesses and retail workers are putting in to ensure their workplaces are COVID-19 Secure.
As such, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is encouraging business owners to be part of the #OpenForBusiness campaign.
To support the campaign, please do the following:
- Take a photo of yourself in front of your reopening business, preferably in front of an ‘Open’ sign
- Post the picture on your social media channels
- Use #openforbusiness
- Tag the Department for Business: Instagram: @beisgovuk / Twitter: @beisgovuk / Facebook: @industrialstrategygovuk
BEIS are also looking for short self-shot videos of ‘a day in the life’ of staff in reopening businesses, so we can show the extra measures businesses are taking to keep employees and customers safe. If you or a staff member would be interested in taking part, please contact email@example.com.
Travel guidance for employers
To support businesses with employees returning to work from Monday 15 June, the Department for Transport has developed resources for employers, which you can find here.
Wherever possible, businesses should encourage and allow employees to work from home. If your employees must travel to work, please encourage them to walk or cycle when they can. Transport for London (TfL) has issued guidance around how businesses can support staff to walk or cycle, rather than utilising public transport. If it is essential for them to use public transport, it is mandatory (from 15 June) that they should wear a face covering for the entirety of their journey.
Mandatory face coverings in shops
The Government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory from 24 July when shopping. This is to protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely. Those who do not wear a face covering in shops will face a fine of up to £100. Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose. Further guidance for business will be available on GOV.UK soon.
Guidance on face coverings at work
The UK Government has published guidance on the use of face coverings. It outlines the settings in which face coverings are recommended and how they can be used safely. The guidance also clarifies that it is not compulsory for shop and supermarket staff to wear face coverings in England. However, employers can recommend their use where appropriate.
Due to the wide variety of work environments, there is no universal guidance on the use of face coverings in the workplace. Employers should follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines to manage and reduce contact between employees. The guidelines currently cover 14 different types of workplace.
Reopening the hospitality sector
The following resources provide advice and information to help the hospitality sector navigate the COVID-19 outbreak and prepare to reopen safely:
- Reopening and adapting your food business during COVID-19
The Food Standards Agency has published guidance on hygiene and food safety requirements for food businesses to reopen and operate safely during COVID-19.
- NEXSTART Business and Planning Bill – Alcohol Licensing
Temporary change to alcohol licensing law to allow off sales.
- NEXSTART Group Size, Gatherings and COVID-19 Safe Capacity
This factsheet provides information on group sizes and gatherings (indoors and outdoors).
- Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
The UK Government has published the following guidance for the hospitality sector.
- Safer Sounds – COVID-19 safety measures and licensing best practice checklist
Checklist for reopening hospitality businesses safely during COVID-19.
- NEXSTART Business and Planning Bill 2019-21 Pavement Licences
Guidance on the new pavement licence.
- NEXSTART Toilets Guidance
Use of toilets in premises providing takeaways.
- NEXSTART Conditions Compliance Guidance
Guidance on complying with licence conditions.
- NEXSTART Closure Powers
Scope of closure powers for enforcement officers.
- Transport for London briefing for leisure and hospitality businesses
Latest travel advice for businesses engaged in leisure and hospitality.
- NEXSTART Business and Planning Bill – Pavement Licences
Guidance on the pavement licensing regime.
- NEXSTART Pavement Licence Webinar
Webinar on the pavement licensing regime.
- Guidance on maintaining records to support NHS Test and Trace
Businesses and organisations in certain sectors should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to premises to support NHS Test and Trace.
- NEXSTART The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020
Guidance on the latest coronavirus regulations.
- Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has published guidance to help businesses reopen safely and manage the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.
- Preventing Legionnaires’ disease
The Association of London Environmental Health Managers has published information to help businesses manage their water supplies as they reopen to prevent Legionnaires’ diseases.
- NHS Test and Trace
This factsheet provides advice for businesses about the NHS Test and Trace service.
London Growth Hub webinars
The London Growth Hub is running numerous webinars to support businesses during COVID-19.
COVID-19 Business Help Series
The London Growth Hub has launched the COVID-19 Business Help Series, bringing you highly informative free webinars delivered by expert speakers. The webinars have been carefully designed to guide London’s small businesses across various problem areas, as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. Upcoming webinars include:
To find out more, go to www.growthhub.london/get-support/covid19-business-help-series/.
Webinars for micro-businesses and SMEs from London Growth Hub, LEAP and partners
The London Growth Hub is working with partners to deliver a programme of webinars to support businesses during COVID-19. For information about upcoming webinars, go to www.growthhub.london/covid19-partner-webinars/.
The UK Government has published a series of webinars to help businesses work safely during COVID-19. They cover a range of business settings and sectors including construction, offices, labs, and working in other people’s homes. To watch the webinars, click here.
HM Revenue & Customs is running a series of webinars to support businesses and the self-employed access Government support during COVID-19. For more information about upcoming webinars, click here.
Cross River Partnership is running a series of webinars to support businesses to recover from COVID-19. Past webinars include:
Factsheets and guides
Factsheets and guides brought to you by the London Growth Hub to help your business respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- A guide to financial business support
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughing employees
- Mental health and wellbeing resource pack – support for individuals and businesses
- Lease obligations and lease reviews
- How to engage in discussions with your landlord
- Rent reviews
- How to negotiate a rent holiday
Managing your business during COVID-19:
- Frequently asked questions about managing your business during the outbreak
- Working safely during COVID-19
- Transport for London briefing for retail businesses
- Managing existing commercial contracts
- Business and continuity planning
- Directors, insolvency and personal liability
Funding for businesses:
- Frequently asked questions about financial support
- Government support for business
- Applying for COVID-19 small business grant schemes in London
Funding for the self-employed:
Free fundraising through ‘Pay It Forward London’
We are offering free fundraising to help businesses to secure trade by pre-selling vouchers, goods and services. Find out more at www.growthhub.london/pay-it-forward.
Shared Workspace Support Programme
The London Growth Hub has launched the Shared Workspace Support Programme that will provide free online support to workspaces providers and their tenants on:
- Access Business Rate Relief and other relief schemes
- Have guidance on how to handle future rent negotiations with your landlord(s)
- Have help on how to handle talks with your local authority
- Support your tenant with grant applications
- Network with other workspace providers.
Through webinars and 1:1 advice sessions, this is a fantastic opportunity for workspace providers and tenants to access professional advice and support, to help them through these challenging times. There will also be the opportunity for virtual networking and potentially making contact with local authorities, to discuss the current situation and how they can work together, to simplify the process of applying for business rate relief.
For more information on how to access the project, click here.
Further advice and support
The following pages provide advice and information to help businesses and the self-employed navigate the coronavirus pandemic:
- Government support for business
- Discretionary local business grants
- Government support for the self-employed
- Financial support from banks and lenders
- External resources, support and webinars
- Guidance about commercial insurance
- Cybersecurity and working safely
- Sector-specific support
- Because I’m a Londoner campaign
- News and updates