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

LAST UPDATED 25.09.20 16:59 | 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

25 September 

Health Minister Vaughan Gething MS has announced that Cardiff, Swansea and Llanelli will now join other areas in South Wales in local lockdown.

The new measures include restrictions on meeting inside people’s homes, forming support bubbles, the use of face coverings in indoor premises and a restriction on opening hours for licensed premises

For full guidance on the restrictions and the areas they apply to, please visit the GOV.WALES website

24 September 

On Thursday 24 September, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled a Winter Economy Plan including the new Jobs Support Scheme to follow furlough, and a range of measures to support cash flow for small businesses. The next stage of economic support aims to protect jobs and the economy whilst managing the virus.

Read our response 

Read our Guide to funding 


Businesses must display an official NHS QR code poster from 24 September 2020, as part of the new NHS contact tracing app, allowing customers and visitors to check in to a location and support the NHS Test and Trace scheme.

Find out how this affects your business and create your unique QR code poster 

Download information and resources to use in your business


 
 

Financial support for small businesses

Chancellor update marks significant step forward, say small firms, but more help needed
Article Thu, 24 September 2020

Chancellor update marks significant step forward, say small firms, but more help needed

National Chairman Mike Cherry responds to Rishi Sunak's speech on Thursday 24 September 2020

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.

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

End of furlough: What you need to know

As the end of the furlough scheme nears, find out how it will change in October 2020, what you need to do as an employer and how to plan for the end of the scheme.

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 are the new COVID-19 restrictions?
Article Wed, 23 September 2020

What are the new COVID-19 restrictions?

A roundup of the restrictions across the UK which were announced on 22 September 2020

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.

When can my business reopen?

We’ve provided an overview of the changes to expect across the UK over the coming weeks, including expected timelines for businesses reopening and which businesses can and can’t reopen currently.In addition to the current restrictions, further restrictions may be imposed to help reduce infections in high risk locations. 

Each part of the UK is following a different timeline for reopening. 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 open?

All business which have been permitted to open since key dates in June, July and August can remain open and operating in a Covid-secure manner. The Government has produced a set of sector specific doucments offering advice and guidance on operating safely. 

Which businesses can’t open?

Businesses in the sectors below must remain closed currently. 

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
  • Certain entertainment venues and hostess bars

New announcements are being made regularly, so be sure to check the government website for updates. There is a full list of businesses which must remain closed at present.

A list of areas with additional restrictions can be found on the Government website please ensure you follow the guidance for your local area. 

The Scottish Government has set out a roadmap for businesses to reopen as the country moves out of lockdown. All dates are indicative and subject to following physical distancing rules and health advice.  At present Scotland is in phase 3 of the plan.

Businesses that can open
  • Indoor workplaces including factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities, excluding non-essential offices
  • Non-essential retail both indoor and outdoor as well as shopping centres
  • Zoos and garden attractions
  • Outdoor markets
  • Outdoor sports courts
  • Hospitality businesses, both indoor and outdoor
  • All holiday accommodation
  • Hairdressers & Barbers
  • Museums & galleries
  • Cinemas
  • Libraries
  • Childcare providers, subject to individual provider arrangements
  • Personal retail – beauticians, nail salons, tailors and bridal shops
  • Drive-in live events
Open from 24 August
  • Live events (outdoor) – following covid guidance
  • Funfairs
  • Amusements, arcades and casinos
  • Snooker/pool halls/indoor bowling
  • Driving lessons
  • Organised outdoor contact sports
  • Child contact centres
  • Bingo Halls
Open from 31st August
  • Gyms (indoor)
  • Swimming pools
  • Indoor sports courts (including skating and dance studios)
Open from 5 October (indicative only)
  • Soft play (indoor)
  • Live events (indoor)
  • Other indoor entertainment (theatre/live music – not nightclubs)
  • Indoor sports courts
  • Stadia
  • Certain outdoor live events

Non-essential offices and call centres are working towards a limited and phased return not before the 1st October. Indoor live standing events, e.g. standing concerts, are awaiting further review before restarting. 

The following areas currently have additional restrictions in place: 

A list of areas with additional restrictions can be found on the Government website please ensure you follow the guidance for your local area. 

Which businesses can open?

  • Non-essential retail
  • Pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars can reopen indoors and outdoors
  • Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms and leisure centres
  • Indoor and outdoor tourism attractions
  • Beauty salons, tattoo studios, indoor cinemas, museums and galleries
  • Bowling alleys, bingo halls and auction houses
  • Indoor play centres
  • Camping and caravanning
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation

All businesses in Wales must comply with the physical distancing duty. the Welsh Government has created a checklist to help these businesses work within the public health regulations and guidelines.

There is also sector specific guidance available from Business Wales.

A list of areas with additional restrictions can be found on the Government website please ensure you follow the guidance for your local area. 

Which businesses can open?
  • All goods retailers
  • Garden centres and plant nurseries
  • Outdoor markets and auction houses
  • Caravan parks, camp sites and self-contained tourist accommodation
  • Animal care or welfare services, including boarding, stabling, grooming, exercising or training animals
Opening from 3 July
  • Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops
  • Pubs and bars selling food and alcohol on a table service basis
  • Hotels can reopen, including restaurants, bars and outdoor areas, but hotel leisure and spa facilities must remain closed
  • Visitor attractions
  • Guesthouses, guest accommodation, B&Bs, hostels
  • Betting shops (this will remain under review)
Planned reopening dates

The following reopening dates are subject to scientific advice, the ability of the business to meet social distancing and hygiene requirements, and the control of the transmission rate. Check official guidance for updates.

Opening from 6 July
  • Nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers and tanning services, electrolysis or acupuncture
  • Spas
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours
Opening from 10 July
  • Indoor gyms
  • Outdoor leisure playgrounds
Opening from 29 July
  • Cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, bingo halls, concert halls and arcades
Opening from 7 August
  • Indoor sports courts and skating rinks
  • Leisure centres and soft play areas
Opening from 14 September
  • Soft Play
From Monday 21 September (indicative)
  • Non-food pubs without outdoor space
Which businesses can’t reopen?

Full list of businesses which must stay closed at this time.

Working safely during coronavirus guidance

A practical guide to working safely during COVID-19 has been published to support businesses with safer working practices.

Social distancing guidelines

Full guidance on social distancing for businesses in Northern Ireland.

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

Shops are beginning to open, or considering opening. We look at how to recall your staff from furlough leave.

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

Looking after your mental health

During the coronavirus pandemic many people are struggling with their mental health. Small business owners are under pressure to find ways to pivot to new ways of working while others deal with isolation and worries over health of loved ones. We've collated resources to guide you to support and help available across the internet explore more below or visit our list of resources which can help here

Key resources

How to support employee wellbeing during COVID-19
Article Mon, 01 June 2020

How to support employee wellbeing during COVID-19

As we slowly start return to work, looking after the wellbeing and safety of your employees will be essential. Learn how you can best support your team.

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

Resources to support your mental health during COVID-19

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

Just About Coping podcast featuring Mike Cherry
External resource Wed, 08 April 2020

Just About Coping podcast featuring Mike Cherry

Mike Cherry is this week's guest on Just About Coping is a podcast hosted by Simon Blake OBE

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