BUSINESS BRIEFING FROM GOVERNMENT’S COVID-19 PRESS CONFERENCE
Please find below our round-up of essential business information from the government. We hope you find it useful.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed tomorrow’s opening of further leisure businesses by at least two weeks.
Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and other remaining close contact services, along with indoor performances, were due to begin opening tomorrow, however due to rising coronavirus infections across England, this will no longer happen until 15 August at the earliest.
Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will also no longer be permitted and pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres have been paused.
Wedding ceremonies will however be allowed to take place, in accordance with COVID-secure guidelines.
The announcements were made today after Health Secretary Matt Hancock imposed restrictions on gatherings across the north west of England, with data from the Office for National Statistics estimating there were now 4,900 new infections every day, up from around 3,000 per day on 14 July and 2,000 per day at the end of June.
Mr Johnson said: “We can’t afford to ignore this evidence. We know that the steps we are taking will be a heavy blow to many people – to everyone whose wedding plans have been disrupted, or who now cannot celebrate Eid in the way they would wish, I am really, really sorry about that. But we simply cannot take the risk.
“We will of course study the data carefully and move forward with our intention to open up as soon as we possibly can.”
Mr Johnson said businesses in the areas impacted by last night’s announcement should continue as before. The pause on shielding across the country will also continue as planned.
New measures on the wearing of face coverings were also being introduced.
Mr Johnson said: “We will also extend the requirement to wear a face covering 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. We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from 8 August.”
For the full transcript of Mr Johnson’s announcement, go here.
£20 million in new grants to boost recovery of small businesses
Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced.
Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP said: “We have always said that we would stand behind our businesses and communities as we rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic. This new funding does exactly that.
“Businesses will be able to use these new grants to pay for the expertise, equipment and technology they need to adapt, recover and rebuild.
“Small and medium sized businesses are the beating heart of communities; they provide employment and contribute significantly to local economies and we are determined to give them the support they need to continue to thrive.
Today’s announcement builds on a £10m package announced by the Minister earlier this month to help to kickstart the tourism industry and support the visitor economy.
The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.
More information is available here.
ADDITIONAL UPDATES AND GUIDANCE
Further details of the Job Retention Bonus announced
Further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s new Job Retention Bonus were unveiled by HMRC today.
New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments
Government brings in law to ensure furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate.
Extra university places for vital courses announced
More than 9,000 additional places approved at UK universities for courses to deliver vital services and support the economy.
More businesses set to benefit from government loan scheme
Previously businesses which were classed as ‘undertakings in difficulty’ were unable to access CBILS because of EU rules. From today, businesses in this category and which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9m can apply to CBILS. More here.
RESOURCES TO SUPPORT YOUR BUSINESS DURING COVID-19
You can go here to find out all the latest information about what funding and support is available for your business, managing your business during coronavirus and business closures. There is also a new ‘support finder’ tool to help businesses easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic through a quick and simple online questionnaire. You can find out more about the tool here.
The government has also launched a Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp which is now updated with business support advice. Text ‘hi’ to 07860064422 via WhatsApp and there are business support measures highlighted under option 5 with the relevant links to GOV.UK pages.
Contact the government’s business support helpline for free advice
Phone: FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
HMRC have online help set up to help businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus.
The best way to get help from HMRC on any topic is to contact them online. Alternatively, you can call them on 0800 0159 559.
If your business needs more workers as a result of COVID-19, such as those in food logistics, preparation and retail, post vacancies on Find a Job.
Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors.
Thank you to White Label Creative who have been invaluable in passing on relevant information to us on a daily basis and Croydon Council Economic Development Team – we hope that in re-circulating the salient points, we can all work together to help as many businesses as possible.
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