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The Government has placed all of England into a new National Lockdown, expected to last until at least mid-February.

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary.

Businesses that must be closed except for limited exceptions include:

  • non-essential retail, however they can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities

For a full list of which venues can or cannot open, please follow this link for more advice.

All businesses and venues should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

In certain indoor settings, staff and customers must wear face coverings, unless they have an exemption.

Does my business need to close?

Only businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open, except for limited exemptions. Please see above for a list of those businesses ordered to close. Full guidance can be found by clicking here.

Businesses which may remain open include:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds and outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

How do I make my business safe?

All employers should ensure they follow Covid-19 Secure guidelines for the workplace, which can be found by clicking here.

Government has launched a Test & Trace service to help stop the spread of the virus. It provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus.

It gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had. It alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate from 14 days since their last contact with the infected person

For more information, click here.

Employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for coronavirus by following the COVID-19 Secure guidelines. You should encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and support them in self-isolation. For full workplace guidance for employers regarding Test and Trace, click here.

If your business falls into one of the below categories, when not in national lockdown measures, you must get, print out and display a QR code on your property and encourage people to check in on arrival with the Test and Trace app.

  • Hospitality services including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes
  • Tourism and leisure services, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
  • Close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, tailors and mobile businesses
  • Facilities provided by Local Authorities including community centres, libraries and village halls

To create your QR code and for more information, click here

What support is available for my business?

Government has put in place support packages for businesses to help them reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. For information of all the help available, please click here.

£9,000 Top-up Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Government has announced top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000.

The one-off top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Businesses should contact their Local Authority or visit their website for more details on how to apply.

Discretionary Grants

Government is also making £594million available for Local Authorities to support other businesses not eligible for the above grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should contact their Local Authority or visit their website for more details on how to apply.

Kickstart Scheme

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a £2billion Kickstart Scheme which will put young people at the heart of the economic recovery by supporting the creation of six month paid work placements for young people aged 16-24 years of age. This is for any business across all sectors including the private, public and voluntary and community sectors.

For full details of the Kickstart Scheme please click here

Businesses that wish to employ 30 or more young people through the scheme can apply directly to the Government, for more information click here.

To support the many small and medium sized companies in the Tees Valley to access this support and create jobs, Mayor Houchen has pledged to act as a representative for any businesses who wish to offer less than 30 Job Placements.

In addition to acting as a representative for Tees Valley businesses the Tees Valley Combined Authority will also provide extended wrap around support for the young person to access skills training and support to ensure a positive progression once the Kickstart Job placement ends.

For further information, guidance and frequently asked questions, click here.

If you are an employer that wishes to engage with the Combined Authority to act as the representative, please click here.

Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme

This scheme has been extended to the end of April as a result of the further national lockdown measures. For more information and to see if you or your employer is eligible to claim, click here.

The Job Support Scheme, due to come into force on November 1, has been paused until the Job Retention Scheme ends.

Job Retention Bonus

This is a one-off £1,000 taxable payment to you as an employer for each eligible employee you furloughed and subsequently kept continuously employed. As a result of the Furlough scheme being extended until the end of April, this will be redeployed at a more appropriate time.

Statutory Sick Pay Scheme

You may be able to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

This will repay employers up to two weeks of the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees if they have been sick from work with coronavirus.

To see if you are eligible and to apply, click here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million, with the deadline to apply now extended to March 31, 2021.

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

You can apply for a loan if your business is based in the UK and has an annual turnover of up to £45 million.

Further details can be found on the British Business Bank website by clicking here.

A further support scheme, for firms with a turnover of more than £45 million, has also been launched. More details on how to apply can be found by clicking here.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This helps small and medium-sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, up to a maximum of 25% of their turnover, if they have been impacted by the coronavirus. Government will guarantee 100% of the loan, with no fees or interest for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to six years. This has been extended until March 31, 2021.

Businesses cannot apply if they are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Businesses can apply now. See more information by clicking here.

Deferral of VAT Payments

Businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021.

If you are still unable to pay the VAT due and need more time, see the guidance about what to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time you can also contact us by phoning: 0300 200 3835.

I am self-employed, what support is there for me?

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been extended, providing support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who were previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus or temporarily unable to trade.

For more information, click here.

Further mental health and charity support:

The Trussell Trust, working to stop UK hunger.

Mind, the mental health charity. / 0300 123 3393

Samaritans / 116 123

Money Advice Service / 0800 138 7777

National Domestic Abuse Helpline / 0808 2000 247

A Way Out, for vulnerable women, young people and their families in the Tees Valley  / 01642 655071

Can we help your business?

Register your interest here