To ensure our BID members have the latest business guidance we have created this webpage which is being updated regularly.
We monitor all the updates issued by the UK government, NHS, TfL and other organisations that may be of interest for our members.
Check all of our BID updates and digital newsletters here.
- through our personal emails or our general email@example.com
- more updates can also be found on our Twitter or Facebook @StratfordOrig
You can always reach out to us if you need any additional information, help, advice or guidance.
Click on each link below to find out more
From Saturday, October the 17th, the Government moved London into the high-level alert level. Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law. Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues will still close at 10 pm. Customers will still need to wear a face-covering at all times, apart from when seated to eat or drink, and staff will need to wear a face-covering at all times.
Find the updated version of the Covid-19 secure guidelines for hospitality business as of September the 29th.
The three levels will be set at medium, high, and very high.
The “medium” alert level - which will cover most of the country - will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. This includes the Rule of Six, and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.
The “high” alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country.
The “very high” alert level will apply where transmission rates are causing the greatest concern, based on an assessment of all the available data and the local situation.
Non-essential retail, schools and universities will remain open in all levels.
Unless you are exempt, you could be refused travel or face a £200 fine which doubles with every violation up to £6,400.
There are new measures in place across our network to keep everyone safe. Find out what safety measures you can expect to see when travelling, including hand sanitiser, our enhanced cleaning regime and face covering enforcement.
The action cards provide instructions to anyone responsible for a business or organisation on what to do in the event of one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your organisation.
Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from 1 October mean that employers will need to fund 20% of furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours they do not work and continue to pay their National Insurance and pension contributions.
The scheme closes on 31 October and you will need to make any final claims on or before 30 November.
Make sure you have the latest information by joining the live webinar:
The second taxable grant is worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.
Applications for the second grant are now open. Make your claim from the date HRMC give you. If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19 October 2020.
You can claim a grant if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and your business has been adversely affected due to coronavirus.
This webinar gives an overview of the changes to the scheme and more information on:
- changes to the scheme
- the Job Retention Bonus
- flexible furloughing
- who can claim
- making a claim
- Venues should take account of the Performing Arts guidance in organising any performances of drama, comedy, and music.
- All food and drink establishments are strongly advised to follow guidance on how to open and operate safely.
- Wedding receptions and celebrations may take place, but from 28 September only 15 people may attend. See guidance.
- Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can continue beyond 10pm, but only if the performance started before 10pm (food and drink cannot be served after 10pm).
Restrictions and stricter rules on certain food and drink businesses and venues from 24 and 28 September, which must close from between the hours of 10pm and 5am.
- Organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity, and supervised sporting activity (indoors or outdoors) for under-18s can occur in groups of greater than six.
- Organised indoor sport or exercise classes can also take place in larger numbers, provided groups of more than six do not mix.
- Organised indoor team sports for disabled people can take place in any number.
These should not be open, other than for hosting meetings and business events for under 30 people. The planned return of business events and socially distanced crowds in stadia from 1 October and pilot events has now been paused.
Continued opening up of the economy and public services is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to minimise transmission of the virus. In order to ensure that businesses and local services are able to remain open, it will be mandatory that organisations in designated sectors must:
● Ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details.
● Keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.
● Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.
● display an official NHS QR code poster from 24 September 2020, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details.
● Adhere to General Data Protection Regulations.
Any designated venue that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that relevant venues comply with these regulations to help keep people safe and to keep businesses open.
Designated venues will need to keep records of customers, visitors and staff for a period of 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials to help contain clusters or outbreaks.
Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, in line with guidance for their sector, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6 (unless they are all part of the same household or support bubble). It is also important that people from different households (who are not meeting as a support bubble) remain socially distanced.
Businesses should demonstrate to their workers and attendees that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate it, for example by publishing their risk assessment online or making it available at the premises/event.
The Police have the powers to issue a £10,000 FPN to anyone holding or involved in the holding, of an illegal gathering of over 30 people.
From 24 September, staff in retail and hospitality settings will be required to wear a face covering and all businesses must remind customers to wear a face covering where mandated, such as by displaying posters.
- Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bingo halls must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).
- Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September)
- Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law (from 24 September).
- Business conferences, exhibition halls and large sporting events will no longer able to reopen from 1 October.
- Check more business updates following the link below
Today, on September the 24th is the national rollout of the NHS app.
The pilot of the app in London Borough of Newham played a crucial role in indicating some key strategic insights and findings before the national rollout.
NHS, the Central Government and Newham Council are urging businesses to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.
Newham businesses and residents are invited to take part in independent research about the NHS Test and Trace App and receive £30 high street voucher as thanks for their support, a £100 honorarium for organisations.
From October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed Learn more.
Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From Friday 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, which must be kept for 21 days.
From Monday 14 September it will not be possible to meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. Education and work settings are unaffected;
From 1 September HMRC will now pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.
What you need to do now
- Continue to pay your furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant yourself.
- The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. For example, if your employee is furloughed for half their usual hours in September, you are entitled to claim 70% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work up to £1,093.75 (50% of the £2,187.50 cap).
- Continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance and pension contributions from your own funds.
- Small Business Leadership Programme - The 10-week programme – which will be delivered virtually by experts from university business schools – will teach participants how to maximise their business’s potential by improving productivity, organisation and efficiency.
- Peer Networks Programme - will focus on helping business owners improve their problem-solving skills, through a series of sessions where common coronavirus related business challenges will be discussed.
Working safely during coronavirus (updates from August the 12th):
Covid-19 secure advice and risk assessment for hospitality business (updates from August the 11th)
This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees.
As the employer, you will be able to claim the bonus after you have filed PAYE information for January 2021, and the bonus will be paid from February 2021. More detailed guidance, including how you can claim the bonus online, will be available by the end of September.
DEADLINE: 16th August 2020.
London Borough of Newham has now set a deadline for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.
From the 1st August, employers will need to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed employees from their own resources as these will not be covered by future grants.
Join the webinar to learn more about the scheme, including flexible furloughing, examples of how to work out the amount you can claim, and the changes due in September and October.
Face coverings must be worn in additional enclosed public spaces from 24 July in England, as the government takes further steps to help curb the spread of the virus. As well as shops and supermarkets, face coverings must be worn in banks, building societies and post offices.
- Offices and contact centres - Updated guidance on consulting the workforce before returning to work (section 2) and protecting people who are at higher risk (section 2.1)
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services - Updated guidance on gatherings of multiple households (section 2.1), consulting the workforce before returning to work (section 3) and protecting people who are at higher risk (section 3.1)
- Shops and branches - Updated guidance on consulting the workforce before returning to work (section 3), protecting people who are at higher risk (section 3.1) and where to wear face coverings (section 6.1)
These are FAQ from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy webinars on working safely during coronavirus. If you would like to watch the webinars, you can do it on Youtube. You can keep up to date with other government coronavirus webinars for businesses here.
- The daily charge will increase from £11.50 to £15 per day (£17.50 for those paying during the three days after the day of travel)
- Charging hours are extended to 07:00 to 22:00 from the current hours of 07:00 to 18:00, to reflect peak traffic hours during the epidemic.
- Auto Pay and Fleet Auto Pay £1 daily discount will be removed.
- The residents’ discount scheme will close to new applications from 1 August. Existing discount holders will continue to receive the discount.
- NHS patient reimbursement scheme will be expanded.
- The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30 June. The rules of the scheme are changing from 1 July.
- From 1 July, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time, you can decide the hours and shift patterns they work to suit the needs of your business.
- For periods starting on or after the 1 July, the maximum number of employees you can claim for in any period cannot be higher than the maximum number you have claimed for in a previous period.
- From 1 August, you will need to contribute towards the wage costs of your furloughed employees until the scheme ends on 31 October.
From 15th June: All other non-essential retail can reopen as long as the social distance is in place, here is the list of businesses who must remain closed.
Preparation is vital for a smooth transition from lockdown to reopening of your business.
The 8 guides which cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, shop or a takeaway. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis.
The application process is investor-led. This means an investor, or lead investor of a group of investors, applies in connection with an eligible company.
TFL has created a plan to help London and businesses to re-open safely. The service levels are going to be increased, however, will be operated differently due to the national requirement to maintain 2 metres distance between passengers. Hand sanitiser points will be introduced across the transport network, along with special signage and platform stickers as well as restricting entry if the necessary and one-way system.
TFL asks businesses to help them enable social distancing wherever possible by keeping the numbers of people travelling on the network down. It is important for businesses to have discussions with their employees regarding TFL’s plans tips for planning to return to work in the coming weeks and in the longer term.
Save and return option now added
In response to feedback from customers using the service, we’ve added a 'save and return' option. This means that you can now return to a partially completed claim, rather than having to do it all in one go.
On May the 1st additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding was announced for small businesses.
This additional fund was aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs and who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund.
The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.
Thousands of small firms and sole traders – including high street staples like hairdressers, coffee shops and florists – will be eligible for 100% government-backed Bounce Back Loans to help them make it through the coronavirus outbreak.
This scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to apply for loans of up to £50,000.
- 100% government guarantee
- Available from 9am on Monday 4th May 2020
Arts Council England have a number of funding opportunities for organisations and individuals within the arts
The Chancellor has announced a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.
Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail, regardless of their Rateable Value will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.
Businesses do not need to take any actions, the relief will be applied automatically.
Apply for the Coronavirus business grant funds:
➣ Small Business Grant Fund - £10,000 grant payment.
➣ Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant - up to £25,000.
CBILS is financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) who are UK - based, have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million and were disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
What do you get?
- Loans up to £5million (you can apply for a loan between £25,001 and £5,000,000)
- Spread repayments of your loan from 1 to 6 years
- No interest payments for the first 12 months (covered by the UK government under “Business Interruption Payment”)
The scheme applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’.
All UK businesses are eligible.
- HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
- The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.
The Government has launched the website where you can find all the information on the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on your business.
You'll find ALL the schemes (loans, business rates, grants, etc) available for businesses, eligibility and advice.
"The Metropolitan Police Business Crime Hub was created to improve partnership and communication with the business community to reduce the impact of crime".
In the official statement issued by Metropolitan Police, you'll find tips on preventing crime during these unpredictable times created by the Coronavirus, including:
- If your staff fall victim to an assault or witness violence in your premises
- Closed Premises/Venues that have been temporarily shut
- Physical Protective Measures
- Large gatherings/Queuing
Read the full document below for more information.
The phone helpline aims to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
You can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.
The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.
--> HERE you will find out about the support for businesses who:
- are paying sick pay to employees (COVID-19 refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee)
- pay business rates (100% retail discount for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for properties below £51,000 rateable value)
- pay little or no business rates (grant of £3,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief)
- support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (up to 80% covered by the government)
- for businesses and self-employed paying tax (may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs)
will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:
- the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
- how to help prevent the spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
- what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings
- what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas
- actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19
Please stay healthy and follow the basic routine to protect yourself and those around you from the virus.