COVID-19: THE LATEST
Non-essential retail, including outdoor hospitality, hairdressers, beauty and nail salons reopened on April 12. FSB has a range of printable signs and downloadable social media cards to let customers know firms are open for business.
People can meet outside in groups of six from any number of households, or in a group of any size from up to two households.
Businesses across Scotland are set to reopen on Monday 26 April as the whole country enters Level 3 of lockdown. This includes non-essential retail and hospitality, though significant restrictions still apply. The FSB has produced guidance for businesses on re-opening safely and are encouraging people to think local as they’re allowed to travel outside their own local authority.
Close contact services are now permitted to open. From Friday 30 April, non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and gyms can open for individual training. The Large NAV Business Grant is now open for applications.
Wales continues to reopen following the Alert Level 4 lockdown. Retail and close contact services are now fully open, whilst outdoor hospitality and outdoor attractions will reopen on 26 April, and gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will reopen on 3 May.
The First Minister has announced that (pending the results of the Senedd election) indoor hospitality will reopen on the 17 May. FSB Wales continues to engage with Welsh Government and all of the political parties about the support that businesses will need as we continue to move through the process of reopening.
The transition period came to an end on December 31 2020. If you are a UK business which trades with Europe, you will need to change your procedures and complete additional paperwork. See FSB's transition hub for further advice.
NEWS & ADVICE
We’ve worked with the British Services Association (BSA) on a new supply chain guide for businesses which launches today. The intervention comes at a critical moment, with lockdowns exacerbating an already debilitating late payment crisis across the UK. The document highlights some of the challenges faced by smaller firms, identifying routes to collaborative working across areas such as prompt payment, alignment of objectives and relationship building.
Future of high streets
FSB’s National Chair Mike Cherry told the New Statesman how the economy will take some time to “bounce back, even after restrictions lift.” This comes as part of a piece about the way Covid-19 accelerated the decline of traditional high street commerce.
Help to Grow
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is conducting research into small business requirements and priorities in order to further shape the Help to Grow initiative. Please register by Tuesday 4 May.
Join our free virtual event on 29 April to hear about your finance options. We will also touch on the barriers to accessing finance and what steps you can take to be ‘investment ready.’
Access to accounts
The Daily Mail reports how the Treasury has written to NatWest, Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Lloyds and Santander as part of calls to make it easier for small firms to open a bank account. Speaking about the issue, FSB’s Martin McTague said in February that a situation where firms are unable to open accounts will be “extremely damaging” to the economy.
Ahead of local elections next month, FSB is calling on candidates to commit to a three-point plan to spur recovery within the small business and self-employed community: get grants out quickly, get customers back safely and get bills paid promptly.
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