• Coronavirus advice for businesses

  • As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak escalates we are receiving enquiries from a number of our members asking what steps they should be taking to mitigate the potential impacts.

    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


     - 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


     - 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

    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.

    Financial support - The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), delivered by the British Business Bank, launched the week commencing 23 March to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

    Partners who will be delivering CBILS locally are Finance for Enterprise and banks including Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, NatWest, Santander, RBS and TSB.

    Finance for Enterprise can be contacted by telephone on 0333 014 3455.
    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.

    Find out more about SEISS and how to claim a grant.

    Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund payment

    Businesses can request a payment from the Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

    Eligible Businesses which as of the 11 March 2020 were eligible to:

     - Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR), will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
     - Rural Rate Relief (RRR), will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
     - The Expanded Retail Discounts, and which have a rateable value of less than £51,000, will receive the following levels of grant payment:
     - Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000 will receive a grant payment of £10,000.
     - Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant payment of £25,000.

    Find out more details about the grant.

    Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers 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.

    Find out more about eligibility and how to access the scheme.

    Support for businesses through 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 scheme.

    Businesses 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.

    Support with business rates

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

    Find out more about eligibility and access the scheme.

    **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

    A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

    Ddoncaster Council is currently waiting for further guidance from Government regarding these measures. The council is committed to introducing these measures as soon as possible, the Business Doncaster business rates page will be updated when further information is available.

    **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.

    Businesses that pay little or no business rates

    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 (SBBR). 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.

    Doncaster Council is currently waiting for further guidance from Government regarding these measures and is committed to introducing these measures as soon as possible. The Business Doncaster business rates page will be updated once further information is available.

    **Please note - YOU DO NOT NEED TO APPLY.

    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.

    Financial support for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

    The Arts Council England is making £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. Artists and creative practitioners will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,500 if they have a track record in publicly funded culture. 

    Find out more.

    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.

    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.

    Additional advice for businesses Additional advice for businesses

    Government guidance on businesses and premises to close

    The 'Further businesses and premises to close' document supports the government’s guidance on staying at home. It provides full guidance on the government’s announcement made on 23 March 2020 and the list of businesses and premises expected to close.

    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

    Additional actions businesses can take to prepare include:

     - Carry out a a risk assessment: Consider what is most important to your business continuity
     - Make contingency plans if staff cannot get to work: Download our emergency remote working guide
     - Look at your supply chain: Identify vulnerabilities if supplies are interrupted
     - Consider your cash flow if there’s a risk that trade will be disrupted

    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

     - Doncaster Sheffield Airport

    Support from your business Support from your business

    Could your business help with the response to coronavirus? Tell government how your business might be able to assist.

    The support needed includes things like:

    • medical testing equipment
    • medical equipment design
    • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
    • 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 01.04.2020 at 10.30am

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    Email: chamber@doncaster-chamber.co.uk

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