COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Support for Businesses and Employers

We’re here to support you through COVID-19

Here at London Business Hub, we understand the impact that COVID-19 can have on all aspects of your business.

To help you through, we’ve launched a series of free, dedicated webinars delivered by expert speakers that have been carefully designed to answer your questions and to help guide London’s small businesses through the many challenges presented by COVID-19. We have also brought together a range of resources and information to help you through these difficult times and to help you find the right support. This includes access to funding, including our own grant funds for businesses, as well as support to help you reopen your business safely.

We know these are challenging times. We don’t want this to be any more difficult than it already is for you or for your business.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Support for Businesses and Employers

COVID-19 Grants for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Due to the large volume of applications we received for the COVID-19 Recovery Grants, we have paused accepting new applications at this stage. This will allow us to make an initial assessment of remaining funding.

Should further funding be available, we will provide a week’s notice of the grant reopening dates via our website, newsletter and our social media channels.

Find out more

Recent and important Government announcements

London to move to high alert level from Saturday (15 October 2020)

London’s COVID-19 alert level is due to move from medium to high from Saturday 17 October. Businesses and individuals in London will be required to comply with additional COVID-19 restrictions. Find out more about the high alert level.

Prime Minister’s statement on three-tier alert system (12 October 2020)

The Prime Minister has set out details of the UK Government’s new three-tier COVID-19 alert system for England. Under the system, regions and local areas in England will be categorised as being on medium, high or very high alert. Each tier will set out the COVID-19 restrictions that apply.

Medium

Where the medium alert level is in place, national restrictions will continue to apply.

  • All businesses can continue to operate in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that are required to remain closed, such as nightclubs.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses can continue to sell food for consumption off the premises after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.

High

In areas with a higher level of infections, the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.
  • People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

Very high 

In areas with a very high level of infections, the Government will set a baseline of measures that will apply to any local area in this local alert level. This includes:

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant.
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ area they are in, or entering a ‘very high’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘very high’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘very high’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

The Government will consult with local authorities to determine any additional measures that are required in very high alert areas.

The Prime Minister has also announced financial support for local authorities in areas affected by the new measures.

Find out more about the alert levels.

London Business Hub has brought together previous Government announcements on COVID-19 restrictions. Find out more. 

London Business Hub webinars

London Business Hub is running numerous webinars to support businesses during COVID-19.

London Business Hub has launched the COVID-19 Business Help Series, bringing you highly informative, free webinars delivered by expert speakers. The webinars have been carefully designed to guide London’s small businesses through various problem areas as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19.

Find out more

Match-funding from the Mayor of London through 'Pay It Forward London'

We are offering free fundraising to help businesses to secure trade by pre-selling vouchers, goods and services. Find out more.

Back to Business Fund

The Mayor’s £1m Back to Business Fund will offer up to £5,000 in match funding to small and independent businesses through the Pay It Forward London crowdfunding platform. Find out more at https://payitforward.london.gov.uk/fund.

Hot topic: How to prepare for the NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app launched in England on Thursday 24 September.

The app will allow customers and visitors to check-in on entry with their phone instead of filling out a check-in book or tool specific to a business. This will allow NHS Test and Trace to contact customers with public health advice should there be a COVID-19 outbreak.

Businesses across England that are required to collect Test and Trace data (like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas) are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

In England, using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises.

The government will be supporting businesses and venues to display the QR codes, which can be downloaded via a website to display as posters in premises.

Reopening safely

London Business Hub has published a series of guides to support businesses across London to reopen and work safely during COVID-19:

Government support

Coronavirus restrictions (22 September)

On 22 September, the Prime Minister announced further national measures to address rising cases of coronavirus in England. The measures include:

  • Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings from 24 September.
  • All hospitality venues must operate with table service only, excluding takeaways.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink must be closed between 10pm and 5am from 24 September. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm.
  • Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law from 24 September.
  • Office workers who can work effectively from home should do so.
  • Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure from 28 September.
  • Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings from 23 September.
  • Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will no longer go ahead.

Travel guidance for employers

To support businesses with employees returning to work from Monday 15 June, the Department for Transport has developed resources for employers, which you can find here.

Wherever possible, businesses should encourage and allow employees to work from home. If your employees must travel to work, please encourage them to walk or cycle when they can. Transport for London (TfL) has issued guidance around how businesses can support staff to walk or cycle, rather than utilising public transport. If it is essential for them to use public transport, it is mandatory (from 15 June) that they should wear a face covering for the entirety of their journey.

Mandatory face coverings in shops

The Government has announced that face coverings are mandatory when shopping.  This is to protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely.  Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose. Retail workers are required to wear face coverings from 24 September.

Guidance on face coverings at work

The UK Government has published guidance on the use of face coverings. It outlines the settings in which face coverings are required and how they can be used safely. Retail and hospitality staff are required to wear face coverings from 24 September.

Due to the wide variety of work environments, there is no universal guidance on the use of face coverings in the workplace. Employers should follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines to manage and reduce contact between employees.

Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace

Since 18 September, it is mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced.

NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app launched in England on Thursday 24 September.

The app will allow customers and visitors to check-in on entry with their phone instead of filling out a check-in book or tool specific to a business. This will allow NHS Test and Trace to contact customers with public health advice should there be a COVID-19 outbreak.

Businesses across England that are required to collect Test and Trace data (like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas) are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

In England, using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises.

The government will be supporting businesses and venues to display the QR codes, which can be downloaded via a website to display as posters in premises.

The app will allow customers and visitors to check-in on entry with their phone instead of filling out a check-in book or tool specific to a business. This will allow NHS Test and Trace to contact customers with public health advice should there be a COVID-19 outbreak.

Businesses across England like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas are being urged to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

The government will be supporting businesses and venues to display the QR codes, which can be downloaded via a website to display as posters in premises. Find out more.

Reopening the hospitality sector

On 22 September, the Prime Minister announced new coronavirus restrictions that will impact the hospitality sector. Restrictions include:

  • Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings from 24 September.
  • All hospitality venues must operate with table service only, excluding takeaways.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink must be closed between 10pm and 5am from 24 September. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm.

Read more about the restrictions.

The following resources provide advice and information to help the hospitality sector navigate the COVID-19 outbreak and reopen safely:

Keeping staff and customers safe

Advice and guidance

Shared Workspace Support Programme

London Business Hub has launched the Shared Workspace Support Programme that will provide free online support to workspaces providers and their tenants on:

  • Access Business Rate Relief and other relief schemes.
  • Have guidance on how to handle future rent negotiations with your landlord(s).
  • Have help on how to handle talks with your local authority.
  • Support your tenant with grant applications.
  • Network with other workspace providers.

Through webinars and 1:1 advice sessions,  this is a fantastic opportunity for workspace providers and tenants to access professional advice and support, to help them through these challenging times. There will also be the opportunity for virtual networking and potentially making contact with local authorities, to discuss the current situation and how they can work together, to simplify the process of applying for business rate relief.

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