COVID-19 Guidance for Business

Businesses are advised to keep updated on the latest information and advice to inform their response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The links and information on this page provide advice and guidance around Coronavirus.

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KEY UPDATES:

Working safely during Coronavirus

The government has also updated its guidance for businesses on working safely during Coronavirus. In consultation with industry, this guidance has been produced to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. There are 8 guides which cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

Further guidance for employers and businesses including:

It is important to note that both the roadmap and the guidance are subject to devolved powers and there may be differences in the approaches taken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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🔷 Additional Covid-19 symptoms

The UK Chief Medical Officers have released a statement saying that individuals will need to self-isolate immediately if they develop a new continuous cough or fever or, as of this week, anosmia.

Anosmia is the loss of or a change in the normal sense of smell. It can also affect the sense of taste as the two are closely linked.

🔷 Expansion of testing to everyone across the UK

Everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who is showing coronavirus symptoms is now eligible to book a swab test to find out if they have the virus.

Full details of Matt Hancock's statement to Parliament can be found using the link above.  

🔷 Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.

Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from next week.

Changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay

🔷 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

- Have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms;

- Cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms; or

- Are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

🔷 Future Fund update

Eligibility details for the Future Fund, which was set up to provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors, have been updated. 

 

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CLAIMING FOR FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES: UPDATE

The Government's portal for claiming for the cost of furloughed employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open.

🔷 This is the online calculator to work out how much you can claim: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

🔷 Check if your business qualifies here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

🔷 The Government's Step by Step Guide to claiming is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-step-by-step-guide-for-employers

🔷 The British Chambers of Commerce FAQ guide to the scheme in partnership with Quest is here: https://devonchamber.co.uk/images/uploads/Documents/Quest_JRS_FAQ.pdf

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ACCESSING TESTING FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS

🔷 Employers who need advice on testing for essential workers can find comprehensive guidance here

🔷 A guide to using the self-referral portal can be found here

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SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

🔷 If you’re a small business affected by #Coronavirus, then you could benefit from a Bounce Back Loan between £2k and £50k. More information here

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Stuart Elford, CEO of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce;

"None of us can yet predict how long the current lockdown will continue or the breadth or depth of the economic shock it is causing, but I sense eyes are already turning to the future. That is not to say that businesses aren’t still struggling and we continue to fight very hard to ensure that those businesses that have fallen between the gaps in support are helped. The HMRC portal for applications under the Coronavirus Job Retention ‘furlough’ Scheme (CJRS) opens on 20th April and they say that money can be with businesses six days after that. I know that will be cutting it fine for some, but hang in there, help is on the way. We are also pushing banks to respond swiftly and sympathetically to applications for assistance under the CBILS scheme and for other lending - and the Chamber will shortly be running events to help you access that. Looking to the future, British Chambers of Commerce is pushing government to extend the CJRS scheme beyond May and for it to publish its plans for business post lockdown. Devon & Plymouth Chamber will be pulling together online events to help you manage your business through and out the other side of this crisis so we may all return to business as usual (whatever that looks like) after the pandemic’s peak. I want to end on a few high notes. I have never seen the public, private and third sectors work so well together in a spirit of mutual cooperation that will see us rise out of this as a more unified force for good. I am so impressed at how our members have pulled together to help each other, including the fantastic efforts to provide PPE for the NHS and St Luke’s Hospice, who need our help more than ever. It is at times like these that people realise businesses, councils and charities are people, not faceless corporations – and I for one am grateful for the support of all the people around us at this time. Stay safe and thanks for your continued support."

Please view the video here where Stuart Elford, CEO talks about the support and flow of information members can expect in the coming days and weeks. Any questions, please email Olivia Paterson at the Chamber. 

We have also created an exclusive LinkedIn Group for our members to share and gain advice and support. Please take the opportunity to ask any questions if you are concerned or worried or would like to know how to find information. Click the button below to join. 

LinkedIn Group 

UPDATED: The latest FAQ on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 


Key Business Support

British Chamber of Commerce Support Hub 

Cabinet Office - Business Support

Cabinet Office - Self Employed

Cabinet Office - Home Working

Government Guidance

HM Government Job Retention Scheme FAQ

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