COVID-19 Businesses and Employers Bulletin

This bulletin provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19). All guidance, information and announcements can be found at GOV.UK.The UK Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The Business Support website helps businesses find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the support measures that are available. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available. Some aspects of business support are devolved. Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is available
Contents

  • Further businesses and premises to close – updated guidance
  • Companies to receive a 3 month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19.
  • New Updates and Guidance
  • Requests for business intelligence and assistance
  • New rules on staying at home and away from others
  • Further businesses and premises to close

Further businesses and premises to close – updated guidance

Guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises, as part of further social distancing measures has been updated to include additional details to the list of businesses and premises that must remain closed. Guidance has also been added on work carried out in people’s homes.The guidance is available here.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

Companies to receive a 3 month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19.

Companies House have announced that businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Full guidance on applying for an extension can be found here

New Updates and Guidance

COVID-19 advice for accommodation providers

Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK has been published for the first time here.

Commercial insurance

Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy). Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Further information is available.

Protection from eviction for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Further details are now available.

Extension of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) arrangements

BIDs will be able to extend the maximum duration of their BID arrangements until 31 March 2021 by delaying BID ballots due to take place this year. This enables BIDs, and the local authorities who administer the ballot process, to concentrate on responding to the current emergency.

DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally

The advice for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19 has been updated.

Employers do not have to report gender pay gaps

Enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines are suspended for this reporting year (2019/20) due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The decision means there will be no expectation on employers to report their data.

How to place a Coronavirus (COVID-19) test kit on the market

Forms and guidance on what manufacturers need to do to place test kits on the market.

Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. More information is available here.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility – Now open for applications

Under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible. The scheme is now available for applications. More information is available from the Bank of England.

Business grant funding and business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Additional information on business grant funding guidance, and on the expanded retail discount guidance for local authorities is now available. Businesses do not need to take action. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for grant funding. Business rate holiday changes will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

Apprenticeship programme response

The Education and Skills Funding Agency is taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship and to support providers during this challenging time. New guidance has been published for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations.

Foreign Secretary advises all British travellers to return to the UK now

All British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where commercial flight options are still available. Further instructions for British travellers to return home can be found on the coronavirus travel advice page

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments

This page has been updated with information about the financial assistance scheme for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance

The MHRA have produced guidance for industry covering the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Requests for business intelligence and assistance

Help us reach businesses to urgently raise awareness of available support

We need your help to reach businesses across the UK to urgently raise awareness of the new UK Government Coronavirus Business Support campaign and the assistance available. A new toolkit includes content and messaging for you to share on your social media, websites, internal channels and newsletters to amplify campaign messages. The toolkit will help ensure all businesses have the best and most up to date information on the support that is available to them in a fast-moving situation.

New rules on staying at home and away from others

The single most important action we can all take in fighting the coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The government has introduced three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Gatherings of more than two people in public are permitted where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

Travelling to and from work is permitted, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Further businesses and premises to close

Guidance has been issued on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises, as part of further social distancing measures. A full list of the businesses and premises that must remain closed is available. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal. Retail and public premises which expect to remain open must:

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
  • Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible. Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.

 

Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk.  We are aware that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly.  Please note that this inbox is only for receiving intelligence only and does not provide business advice.

 

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