• Coronavirus advice for businesses

  • We recognise that businesses will have concerns about Coronavirus and have set up this page to provide a central resource for official advice and guidance. This page will be updated on a regular basis as new information is available.

  • Background Background

    Coronavirus, originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is a potentially lethal respiratory disease which has now spread to countries throughout the world. The virus is classified as an airborne high consequence infectious disease (HCID) and bears similarities to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), in that it can cause coughing, high temperatures and, potentially, pneumonia.

    Symptoms Symptoms

    The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

     - new continuous cough and/or
     - high temperature

    For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

    General advice General advice

    View the latest guidance on cases and risk in the UK

    Do:

     - wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
     - always wash your hands when you get home or into work
     - use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
     - cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
     - put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
     - try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

    Don't:

     - do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

    NHS England advice

     - NHS Coronavirus overview

     - NHS common questions about Coronavirus 

    Local Public Health and NHS advice

     - Doncaster Council Public Health
     - Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
     - NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group
     - Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust

    Working safely during Coronavirus Working safely during Coronavirus

    The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

    These eight guides 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.

    View the guides here.

    Risk assessment

    Chamber service provider, Quest, has provided risk assessment guidance and template documentation free of charge, available on these two links.

    Financial support for businesses Financial support for businesses

    The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

    This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
     - a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
     - deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
     - a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
     - a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
     - a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
     - small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
     - grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
     - the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
     - a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
     - the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
     
    For more information see the .GOV.UK support for businesses guidance.
     

    Coronavirus business support finder tool

    Find out which business support you are eligible for via the Governments business support finder tool, available here.

     

    Discretionary Fund - NOW OPEN

    This additional funding is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, prioritising businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and B&B's that pay Council Tax rather than Business Rates. Businesses must be small, with under 50 employees and must be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income due to the Coronavirus restriction measures.

    Businesses operating from domestic properties (except B & B’s) are excluded from this scheme.

    Businesses which are eligible for cash grants from any central government COVID-19 related scheme (apart from Self Employed Income Support Scheme - SEISS) are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund.

    Applications for the discretionary grant scheme will close at 17:00 on 19th June 2020.

    Find out more about eligibility and how to apply here.

     

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Claim portal now open)

    Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    A step by step guide for employers is available here.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is open until the end of June 2020.

    You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.

    Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

    You must have:

    • created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
    • enrolled for PAYE online
    • a UK bank account

    Please note:

    • If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme.
    • Any employees you place on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks. Those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.
    • To be eligible for the grant employers must confirm in writing to their employee that they have been furloughed. A record of this communication must be kept for five years.
    • Company directors can be furloughed but if so, they should not do work of a kind they would carry out in normal circumstances to generate commercial revenue or provides services to or on behalf of their company.

    To prepare to make your claim you will need:

    • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
    • to be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers' 
    • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for: Name, National Insurance number, Claim period and claim amount, PAYE/employee number (optional).
    • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

    **The HMRC portal to make claims is NOW OPEN**

    Apply by 22 April to receive money before the end of the month. Access the service here.

     

    Bounce Back loan scheme

    The government has plans for small firms to get access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans is now open.

    This scheme offers firms loans up to £50,000 within days of applying and requires filling in a two-page self-certification form online.

    The loan terms mean that no capital or interest repayments will be due for one year. Instead, the government will pay the interest for the first 12 months.

    Find out more about the scheme here

     

    Top-up to local business grant funds scheme
    A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. This is an additional 5% uplift to the £12.33 billion funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). The government will confirm the exact amount for each local authority next week.

    Read more details here.

     

    Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Updated scheme)

    The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    CBILS has been significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme’s features and eligibility criteria. The changes mean even more smaller businesses across the UK impacted by the coronavirus crisis can access the funding they need.

    Importantly, access to the scheme has been opened up to those smaller businesses who would have previously met the requirements for a commercial facility but would not have been eligible for CBILS. Insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme.

    This significantly increases the number of businesses eligible for the scheme. The expanded scheme will be operational with lenders from Monday 6 April 2020.

    The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m. This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus.

    British Business Bank operates CBILS via its accredited lenders. There are over 40 of these lenders currently working to provide finance. They include, high-street banks, challenger banks, asset-based lenders, smaller specialist local lenders.

    CBILS gives the lender a government-backed guarantee for the loan repayments to encourage more lending in the form of term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance.

    View the CBILS factsheet or find out more here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme/

    https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/

     
    Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

    The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

    This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

    Claim a grant through the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

     

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

    Find out more about eligibility and how to access the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/

    Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

    The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

    For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

    For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

    Find out more about eligibility and how to access the VAT deferral here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/vat-deferral/

    Find out more about eligibility and how to access the Income Tax scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/deferral-of-self-assessment-payment/

    Paying sick pay to employees

    Legislation is to be brought forward to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

    Find out more about the eligibility criteria for the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay-rebate/

    Support with business rates

    A 100% business rates discount for most retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year will be introduced.

    This is irrespective of the rateable value of the property.

    Find out more about eligibility and access the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/business-rates-holiday-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure/

    **Please note – THERE IS NO ACTION FOR YOU. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

    Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (now known as the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund)

    Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.

    Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

    The Extended Retail Relief Scheme has been extended to also cover bingo halls, estate agents and letting agencies with a rateable value of under £51,000 in scope of the grant.

    **Requests are now open** please complete the online form here to check your eligibility.

    When submitting their request companies should use their postcode and select the address from there in the first instance rather than trying to manually input the address. If you encounter any issues please email Doncaster Council at localtaxation@doncaster.gov.uk with all of your details including business rates reference number and bank account details and their team will pick these up.

    If you do not know your Business Rates reference number you can find it here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/business-rates-find/search

    If you receive a message to say your submission is closed, please note this is not the case and the Business Rates team will contact you.

    Payments are due to start circulating from 3 April 2020.

    We recommend that businesses track their submission via their Doncaster Council My Doncaster account.

    Businesses that pay little or no business rates (now known as the Small Business Grant Fund)

    The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

    **Requests are now open** please complete the online form here to check your eligibility.

    When submitting their request companies should use their postcode and select the address from there in the first instance rather than trying to manually input the address. If you encounter any issues please email localtaxation@doncaster.gov.uk with all of your details including business rates reference number and bank account details and their team will pick these up.

    If you do not know your Business Rates reference number you can find it here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/business-rates-find/search

    If you receive a message to say your submission is closed, please note this is not the case and the Business Rates team at Doncaster Council will contact you.

    Payments are due to start circulating from 3 April 2020.

    We recommend that businesses track their submission via their Doncaster Council My Doncaster account.

    Nursery businesses that pay business rates

    A 100% business rates discount for all properties occupied by providers on the Ofsted Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage for the 2020 to 2021 tax year will be introduced.

    This is irrespective of the rateable value of the property.

    Find out more about eligibility and how to access the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/business-rates-holiday-for-nurseries/

    Support for larger firms - Corporate Financing Facility

    Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

    This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

    Find out more about eligibility and accessing the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/covid-19-corporate-financing-facility

    Paying tax: Time to Pay service

    All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

    These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

    Find out more about eligibility and accessing the scheme here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/time-to-pay

    Arts and Creatives Support 

    The Arts Council are making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and they have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of their funding.

    Find out more here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

    Heritage Emergency Fund

    The £50m fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000.

    It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.

    Organisations which have received funding in the past or are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply.

    Find out more here: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/heritage-emergency-fund-launches-help-sector

    HR support for businesses HR support for businesses

    HR support is available to Doncaster Chamber members via the ChamberHR service, developed by Quest. To access the service telephone 01455 852037 and quote your Doncaster Chamber account details.

    Westfield Health has also produced an employer guide to preparing for COVID-19.

    Chamber members also have access to the Health at Hand service provided by AXA PPP Healthcare.

    If your business is looking to recruit or reduce staff as a result of Coronavirus, the Advance team at Doncaster Council is available to provide support.

    The government has produced guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing aspects of Coronavirus.

    Apprenticeships

    If you are an employer who is unfortunately facing having to reduce your workforce temporarily due to the impact of COVID-19, or if you require additional temporary staff at this time the Advance Team at Doncaster Council can help you. Find out more here: https://www.advancedoncaster.co.uk

    This document sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus.

    Business support organisations

    The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub gives you access to free, impartial, expert business advice and support to help your business.

    Please contact the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub Gateway by telephone on 03330 00 00 39 or email growthhub@sheffieldcityregion.org.uk for more information.

    Additional advice for businesses Additional advice for businesses

    Rapid response webinars

    The Institute of Leadership and Management has created a series free of webinars to support businesses:

     - How to initiate successful homeworking

     - Crisis communication principles and crisis preparedness best practice

    Useful links

    We advise businesses to keep up-to-date daily and follow the official guidance, delivered by the following organisations:

     - .GOV.UK: support for businesses
     - .GOV.UK: guidance for employers
     - Cabinet Office: pandemic flu checklist for businesses
     - Foreign & Commonwealth Office: travel advice
     - ACAS: advice for employers and employees

    The British Chambers of Commerce also has useful information on preparing for and responding to Coronavirus.

    Business Doncaster also has dedicated business support information on their website.

    The role of businesses

    Businesses have a key role to play in helping to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. In addition to putting in place risk assessments and making contingency plans to reduce the risk to staff, there are a number of useful links that businesses can share with their employees:

     - NHS Coronavirus overview

     - NHS common questions about Coronavirus 

    Travel advice Travel advice

    Temporary changes to bus, tram and rail services are in place across South Yorkshire to help combat Coronavirus. For the latest advice please visit the Travel South Yorkshire website, or the websites for specific operators listed below. 

    Travel South Yorkshire 

     - Changes to bus, tram and train services in South Yorkshire

    Rail links
     - Cross Country Trains
    - London North Eastern Railway (LNER)
     - Northern
     - TransPennine Express

    Bus routes
    - First South Yorkshire
     - Stagecoach

    Flights
     - Doncaster Sheffield Airport

    Support from your business Support from your business

    Urgently required PPE - can your business help?

    A range of PPE is urgently required by the NHS and other front line workers, including:

    • Gowns
    • Coveralls
    • Face masks
    • Nitrile gloves
    • Handwash

    View further details here.

    If your company is able to assist please contact Ian Guy at Doncaster Council.
    T: 07881 854703
    E: ian.guy@doncaster.gov.uk

    Could your business help in other ways? 

    Tell government other ways that your business maybe able to assist. Support needed includes things like:

    • medical testing equipment
    • medical equipment design
    • hotel rooms
    • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
    • manufacturing equipment
    • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
    • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
    • social care or childcare

    Submit details of how your business many be able to support here.

    Your experience Your experience

    If your company has been directly affected by Coronavirus please get in touch. We'll use the information to build a picture of business impact across the borough and will also feed it in to the British Chambers of Commerce to assess the wider impact.

  • If you are a Chamber member and would like guidance on accessing your membership support services please get in touch:

    E: chamber@doncaster-chamber.co.uk 

    T: 01302 640100

     

    Last updated 28.05.2020 at 9.30am

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