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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed

LAST UPDATED 24.11.20 15:36 | Advice and guidance on reducing the risks from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus to you and your business

 

With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, information and advice from Government can change quickly. For all the latest Government information on COVID-19 and the measures the Government, and Devolved Governments, are taking, please visit the UK Government website, the Scottish Government website, the Welsh Government website or the Northern Irish Government website.

Latest News

Information regarding additional restrictions can be found via the links below 

England | Scotland | Wales | Northern Ireland


23 November 2020

The government has provided its COVID-19 Winter Plan, which sets out a sets out its programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, and keeping education and the economy going.

Read more


23 November 2020

The government guidance for Local restriction tiers for England which will be in place from Wednesday, 2 December.

Read more

What does this mean for my business? Read our guide


17 November 2020

As eleven further local authorities in Scotland move into the highest protection levels, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced additional restrictions to travel for those in level 3 or 4 areas. 

Read more

Financial support for small businesses

COVID IMPACT: Second wave support for second wave restrictions
Article Tue, 10 November 2020

COVID IMPACT: Second wave support for second wave restrictions

Watch our Q & A with senior FSB policy representatives about the second wave of restrictions, how this impacts businesses in England and what support is available nationally and locally

Funding sources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
Article Fri, 11 September 2020

Funding sources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

National grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update to furlough: What you need to know
Article Thu, 03 September 2020

Update to furlough: What you need to know

The furlough scheme has been extended until March 2021. Find out how the extension works and what you need to do as an employer.

Supporting the NHS Test and Trace Scheme

The NHS COVID-19 app launched on 24 September 2020. Find out everything you need to know about supporting the scheme in your premises

Collecting customer data

Collecting customer data

Learn how to collect and store customer data for the Test and trace scheme.

Find out more

How to get your QR code

Create your QR code poster for visitors to use to check in to your premises

Find out more

Downloadable resources

Downloads guides and resources to support visitors to your premises

New ways of working

What do the new COVID alert levels mean for my business?
Article Tue, 24 November 2020

What do the new COVID alert levels mean for my business?

England is returning to a regional, tiered approach after lockdown ends on 2 December. Find out how your business may be affected.

Face coverings: What are the rules for businesses?
Article Tue, 14 July 2020

Face coverings: What are the rules for businesses?

What does the new advice mean for your business? Find out with our guide.

Business beyond lockdown: How to carry out a risk assessment
Article Thu, 21 May 2020

Business beyond lockdown: How to carry out a risk assessment

We’ve covered the basics of what you need to know about risk assessments for your workplace.

Communicating with your customers

COVID-19: A4 Printable we are open signs
Document Tue, 30 June 2020

COVID-19: A4 Printable we are open signs

Printable signs and social media cards to let your customers know that you are open for business.  

How to reassure customers your small business is COVID-19 secure
Article Wed, 10 June 2020

How to reassure customers your small business is COVID-19 secure

Letting your customers know you are COVID-secure is crucial. Learn how you can fuel customer confidence with our tips and advice.

COVID-19: Health and safety checklist
Document Thu, 21 May 2020

COVID-19: Health and safety checklist

Risk assessments have always been a legal part of business for maintaining health and safety, and they’ll now be crucial for preparing your business for the return to work.

Looking after your mental health

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left a deep and lasting impact on the mental health of millions in our country. Research from Mind revealed more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said their mental health deteriorated during lockdown. 

As we head into an uncertain winter which sees the resumption of working from home for some and restriction on socialising for many across the country, finding simple ways to manage your mental health and that of your colleagues, friends and employees is vital.

Key resources

Checklist: Looking after your mental health during COVID-19
Article Tue, 06 October 2020

Checklist: Looking after your mental health during COVID-19

FSB Care share advice for looking after your mental health and where you can go if you need support.

Checklist: How to support your employees’ mental health
Article Mon, 28 September 2020

Checklist: How to support your employees’ mental health

Download our checklist from FSB Care on how you can support the mental health of your employees during COVID-19.

Resources to support your mental health during COVID-19
Article Wed, 29 April 2020

Resources to support your mental health during COVID-19

Resources to help support the mental health of yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic

Managing your staff during COVID-19

As small businesses transition back to work, our new normal brings new ways of doing business. We answer your questions about managing your employees after furlough, supporting employee wellbeing and staying safe in the workplace. 

Key resources

What is the redundancy process during COVID-19? Guidance and advice for small businesses
Article Mon, 22 June 2020

What is the redundancy process during COVID-19? Guidance and advice for small businesses

Losing employees is difficult for any small business. Our guide walks you through the redundancy process and how you can ensure it’s carried out in a compassionate, legal way.

How to bring an employee back from furlough leave
Article Mon, 15 June 2020

How to bring an employee back from furlough leave

Bringing your employee back from furlough? We look at how to recall your staff from furlough leave, including notice periods and flexible furlough.

Back to work: What should I do as an employer?
Article Mon, 01 June 2020

Back to work: What should I do as an employer?

We answer your questions about managing your employees, looking after their wellbeing and managing health and safety in the workplace.

Health and wellbeing: Boosting productivity and resilience in your business

The current pandemic has forced many small businesses to focus on business survival above anything else. Wellbeing may not seem like an important topic at the moment but being actively engaged in improving the health and wellbeing of your staff can help you build a strong, resilient workforce ready to face the challenges of the current climate. 

Physical activity, exercise and movement are vital elements of workplace wellbeing

Research from Sport England has shown 62% of adults currently consider exercise to be more important than ever and 65% of people believe exercise is helping with their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK's Chief Medical Officer has continually stressed the value of physical activity: “Anything that can be done to encourage and to allow people to take exercise is clearly a good thing”.

Individuals who sit less and move more live longer, healthier lives.

Taking steps to include daily physical activity and movement while reducing the sitting time of yourself and your employees contributes to a longer healthier life.

Adults spending eight hours a day sat at a desk are up to 60% more likely to die early from diseases such as cancer and heart disease. This risk is reduced with regular, moderate physical activity

An active workforce leads to a more agile, productive and resilient team

Small businesses and sole traders can be hit hard by business interruption through illness and the costs this incurs

2019 research found that if the recommended physical activity guidelines were met globally, it could make employees up to 5 days more productive each year and boost the world economy by an estimated $100bn a year.

Only 6 in 10 adults currently achieves the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

24.6% of adults in England are currently classed as inactive, this means over 11 million people are currently doing less than an average of 30 minutes activity a week.

Government Guidelines state that being active reduces your chances of Type II diabetes by 40%, cardiovascular disease by 35%, joint and back pain by 25%, colon and breast cancers by 20% and can reduce the risk of mental illness by 30%.

Focusing on employee health and wellbeing creates an attractive workplace culture.

Research by CBRE showed that 80% of employees agree that a company’s culture will be crucial in recruiting and retaining them within the next 10 years.

Developing a wellness based culture doesn't need to be complex and expensive, simple solutions to encourage healthy behaviours such as boosting activity levels can positively impact on how your current and future employees perceive your organisation.

Sources: Sport England covid-19 Physical activity tracker | Government press briefing 15th April | The Lancet, July 2016 – physical activity series | Fitter bodies, fitter economies – Vitality and RAND, 2019. | Sport England Active Lives Adult Survey November 2018/19 Report, published April 2020 | Wellness in the workplace: Unlocking Future Performance – CBRE – occupier survey 2015 –2016

Key resources

Active Travel: A guide for Employees and Employers
Document Thu, 16 July 2020

Active Travel: A guide for Employees and Employers

Squeeze some activity into your daily commute with our guide.

How to have an active working day in three simple steps
Document Thu, 02 July 2020

How to have an active working day in three simple steps

Download our guide to building activity into your working day.

How to hold a moving meeting
Document Fri, 19 June 2020

How to hold a moving meeting

Moving meetings held via phone allow you to catch up while talking a walk

When can my business reopen?

Each part of the UK is following a different aproach for businesses, reopening dates may be subject to reviews and relevant criteria being met. Businesses that are reopening should carry out a risk assessment to ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

This information will be regularly reviewed.

Which businesses can remain open?

On 31 October 2020, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a period of further restrictions for individuals in England. This period cover 5 November 2020 - 2 December 2020. 

Essential business may remain open across various retail sectors. A full list of which can be seen here

When can my business reopen? 

It is expected that on Wednesday 2nd December England will return to the three tier system. We will update as details are confirmed. 

Scotland is currently operating under a five tier COVID protection level model. 

Restrictions vary between levels. Visit the Scottish Government website to find the local protection level for your area and what that means for your business. 

ou may also find the following summary useful: What do the new coronavirus levels in Scotland mean for my business?

The two week "firebreak" ended on 9 November 2020 businesses which were required to close during the period can now reopen. 

The Welsh Government are still encouraging peopel to work from home wherever possible. If this is not possible workplaces should follow guidance on operating in a COVID compliant way. 

The Welsh Government have published general guidance which we expect to be updated in the near future. 

Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, additional restrictions have been introduced for people living and working in Northern Ireland. The regulations were introduced on 16 October 2020 and will be in place for four weeks.

For a full list of current restrictions visit the nidirect website

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