Support & Updates for Businesses During The Coronavirus Period
To support the businesses in this challenging time, we will have regular updates on this page to provide factual information for businesses.
The Government has published the 'COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021' document, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. You can find the document here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021
The Leader of the District Council has given more information regarding an additional grant they are administerising which relates to businesses who have been able to remain trading during Lockdown but who have nonetheless been detrimentally affected due to the reduction in customers. Find out more, including potentially eligible businesses, on this link: www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business
Please note claims have to be made via their website by 15th February 2021.
The easiest and quickest way for you to identify which grant(s) you are eligible for and where you can get your financial support asap is to click on this link Grants for businesses closed from 2 December (Tier 2) or 26 December 2020 (Tier 4 and lockdown). Scroll down the page to the "How to apply" section and then click on the "online application form" complete this and then the system should identify what grants you are entitled to and take you through the process.
Initial feedback from BID members is that the process is pretty straightforward.
If you have any specific questions about the grants then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01284 757114.
Funding support that is available including three new grants is detailed below:
1. Local Restriction Support Grant
The Local Restriction Support Grant is available for all rate-paying businesses required to close as a result of the Tier 4 and/or national lockdown restrictions. Payments are now available for the period covering 26 December 2020 onwards. Government criteria apply.
2. Additional Restrictions Grant January and February 2021
Alongside this West Suffolk is also reopening the Additional Restrictions Grant (ASG) to many businesses who were not eligible for other grants but who have been required to close, as well as businesses who are part of supply chain for closed businesses. These grants will be paid out of the £3.6m ARG money previously allocated to West Suffolk in November to pay out during lockdowns and restrictions during 2020 and 2021 as well as the subsequent recovery phase. So far around a third of that money has already been paid out under the first phase although we have also heard from Government that this grant pot is to be topped up further.
The ARG Grant is open to:
Market traders selling "non-essential" goods
Small bed and breakfast businesses
Businesses that occupy shared spaces that are required to close
Home based businesses that are required to close
Mobile businesses that are required to close
Businesses in the supply chain for the retail, hospitality, leisure, events and tourism sectors
Community centres attached to places of worship
The closing date for applications for ARG January/February is 15 February 2021.
3. Closed Business Lockdown Payment
The third grant scheme is linked to the national lockdown from 5 January 2021, with the Government announcing a one-off Closed Business Lockdown Payment for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure that have been forced to close.
This is subject to Government critera with grants of £4000, £6000 or £9000 available based on the rateable value of business premises.
Previous grants and a deadline for the Christmas Support Payment
Finally, a reminder that businesses who were open during December, but impacted by the Tier 2 restrictions that were in place, can continue to apply for grant support for that period. Pubs whose main business is serving drinks rather than meals can also apply by 31 January for the Government's Christmas Support payment.
Businesses can check their eligibility for all the above grants and apply at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business
If you think you fit into any of these 4 criteria then please click on this link www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business and click on the other relevant links to see whether your business is eligible and if so how you apply for the grants.
"As you know, we are in Tier 2 which brings with it new sets of Government grants that we will be paying out to West Suffolk businesses, and we would apprieciate your help once again in making businesses aware.
The first is the LRSG Closed December which is exclusively for pubs and bars who do not serve table meals and so have not been able to open under the Tier 2 restrictions. West Suffolk has been given an allocation of just over £30,000 to support these businesses. This is to cover the first 14 days in Tier 2.
The next is the LRSG Open which is for businesses in the hospitality, accomodation and leisure sectors who are open but who are severly impacted by the Tier 2 restrictions on socialising. We have been given an allocation based on the rateable businesses in these sectors of just over £330,000. This is also to cover the first 14 days in Tier 2.
The Open Grant scheme will be open to:
The hospitality trade including restaurants, cafes and pubs serving substantial meals
Hotels and bed and breakfast businesses including smaller B&Bs that pay council tax
Hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses in shared premises - this could apply to a cafe or restaurant which is in a property with a rateable value but which is not the ratepayer
On top of these Tier 2 grants, the Government has also announced a one-off £1000 Christmas support payment for wet-led pubs. We have been allocated £90,000 to support these businesses. More details on how pubs can apply is on our website.
As well as these grants, the LRSG Closed November, for businesses required by the Government to close during the November National Restrictions, remains open to applications.
Businesses can apply for more than one type of grant, meaning for instance, that a restaurant that was closed in November can apply for the LRSG Closed November grant and if they are severely impacted by Tier 2, they can also apply for the LRSG Open Grant.
All of the LRSG grant schemes are subject to Government criteria and are being administered locally by West Suffolk Council.
Please direct businesses to check if they are eligible and apply at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business"
I have circulated emails about additional recovery grants previously but I should emphasise that unlike the grants made available during Lockdown 1 West Suffolk Council will NOT be contacting businesses who might be eligible due to resourcing issues. If you think you might have a valid claim you MUST apply for it. The basic grant relating to the ratable value of your business must be applied for before the 2nd December. The link to this grant is https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support/localrestrictionsbusinesssupportgrant.cfm.
The link to the phase 2 grant for those businesses that weren't able to claim the larger grants in the spring is https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support/additional-restrictions-grant-phase-1.cfm.
If you have any queries regarding the grants or your eligibility and you can't find the information within the above pages on the WSC website then I would suggest you contact the Economic Growth Team at email@example.com or ring them on 01284 757114.
New Information regarding current and additional grants available to local businesses
Please see below letter received from Leader of West Suffolk Council regarding additional grants being made available by the Government, via the Council. The scheme is explained below and links to the two funds are provided for you to apply.
"As you are no doubt aware, we are already paying out under the Government’s Local Restrictions Business Support Grant – so far we have paid out just over £1.1m (approximately 39 per cent of our allocation) and are grateful to you for your continued support in encouraging businesses to apply at https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support/localrestrictionsbusinesssupportgrant.cfm is much appreciated.
The Government has directed that the ARG grant should be targeted at the retail, hospitality, leisure and events sectors. The funding can also provide additional grant support to larger local businesses important to the local economy, and provide support to businesses outside the business rates system, which are required to close.
West Suffolk Council has been allocated £3.6m from Government to pay out to businesses under the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). It is understood that this money is a one-off allocation that will also be used to support local businesses during any further lockdowns as well as recovery in 2021. We have consulted with you all as stakeholders to make sure the scheme is as inclusive as possible.
The first phase of the ARG will be open to:
- Market traders selling “non-essential” goods
- Small bed and breakfast businesses
- Businesses that occupy shared spaces, that are required to close
- Businesses that occupy home-based premises, that are required to close
- Mobile businesses, that are required to close
- Businesses in the supply chain for the retail, hospitality, leisure, events and tourism sectors including those that are still operating but can demonstrate that their business has been severely adversely impacted by the national restrictions
- Local independent businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of £51,000 or over that have been required to close
- Community centres attached to places of worship
The amounts that will be paid to each type of business are detailed in the scheme. The grants are a contribution towards the fixed ongoing business costs and relate to the 28 days of the national restrictions announced by Government.
Further phases of the ARG, to cover other forms of support will be announced at a later date.
Businesses under phase one of ARG have until 2 December to apply. The application form alongside eligibility criteria and evidence required can be found at https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support/additional-restrictions-grant-phase-1.cfm"
West Suffolk Council is asking businesses to complete a claim form online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support/localrestrictionsbusinesssupportgrant.cfm
The Council has been given an allocation of £2.9 million to pay out businesses in West Suffolk. These will be paid as one-off grants to over a 28-day period.
Only businesses that have had to close will be eligible. Businesses that have as a result set up a click and collect service and restaurants providing a takeaway service will still be able to claim.
The amounts that closed businesses can claim are the following:
- Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under who are eligible can claim for a grant of £1,334
- Businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 and who are eligible can claim for a grant of £2,000
- Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 and above and who are eligible can claim for a grant of £3,000
The government has provided us with the official legislation for businesses subject to restrictions. Please read the full document on the link below.
West Suffolk Council will be keeping their website up to date with information regarding business support during the Coronavirus period. Click the link below to be directed to their website.
Please find out more information below regarding the extension of the Furlough Scheme.
Please see below the latest Government Guidance for businesses selling food - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-food-businesses?utm_source=7d679b99-558b-4a1e-af26-664fd6ee8287&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate
Please see below a summary from the Cabinet Office of the new requirements for businesses to comply with from tomorrow, announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.
Also below that please see a reminder from West Suffolk Council for certain categories of business to have created their own QR code for their premises that all customers are required to scan when entering also from tomorrow.
You will have noted that the Government are emphasising that they will prosecute and if necessary close businesses that do not comply with the new measures.
If we, at the BID, can be of any assistance then please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons outlining further measures in England to tackle the spread of coronavirus. The PM's statement can be found at: https://bit.ly/3hUilKl
From today, Wednesday 23 September, office workers who are able to work from home should do so and the requirement for customers to wear face coverings will be extended to all users of taxis and private hire vehicles.
From Thursday 24 September measures including the following will be introduced:
- pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways;
- hospitality venues must close at 10pm (which means closing, not last orders). The same will apply to takeaways, although deliveries can continue;
- the requirement to wear face coverings will be extended to include retail staff and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, expect when seated at a able to eat or drink; and
- covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations in retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors.
Please find a link below to the latest Government information for the "Eat Out, Help Out" scheme and another link to promotional materials for the scheme that the Government have produced.
I have waited until after the weekend, in case the official guidance was altered or updated but at the current time the government guidance for what the above businesses need to do to be able to reopen is all contained within the below link. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services
I suspect many of you will already have existing customers booked in for long overdue appointments over the next fortnight or so but in order to attract additional customers, you might find a short video of the steps you are taking to make your premises safe, will reassure and possibly attract new customers. We would be very happy to circulate these to our tens of thousands of followers on social media.
We are also celebrating Independent businesses for the whole of this week, as part of our Independents Week campaign so again please let us know what you are up to, in preparing your businesses premises for reopening and we will do all we can to spread the word. Just send any videos, photos or text about your business to my colleague Mike.Kirkham@ourburystedmunds.com
Here is a PDF of the guidance that the Government has provided for bars, restaurants, and cafes re-opening within the next few weeks. Read the PDF here
We have created a social graphic for Bury Bouncing Back - download it here
And one for Bury St Edmunds is open - download it here
For clear advice on furloughing staff on the Job Retention Scheme, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
As we are allowed to return to work over the coming months, the Government has released a guide for working safely during Coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
The Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy has now been published and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy
Tourism is the third step in the Government's reopening process and will happen no earlier than 4th July. In the meantime, Bury St Edmunds and Beyond will continue to engage with our audiences online to encourage visitors not to visit at the present time but to plan a future trip.
Starting this Wednesday, applications will be open for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Use the online checker to see if you're eligible and have they money in your account by 25th May.
West Suffolk Council have created a page with updates and support for businesses during this difficult time https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus
Greene & Greene have written a very useful update on furlough leave which you can read here: https://www.greene-greene.com/knowledge/news/furlough-leave-update/
Jacobs Allen have a very helpful dedicated section to their website relating to Coronavirus. Visit their website here
West Suffolk Council would like to reiterate that business DO NOT need to pay anything to access their grant or any advice on COVID 19 business support.
Please be careful of scams such as the following:
ACAS have got in touch with us at the BID to offer advice that our BID members might find helpful.
ACAS advice on Coronavirus -
Government advice on Coronavirus -
We are running regular webinars – details can be found here - https://www.acas.org.uk/webinars as well as live Twitter Q&A sessions every Friday - https://www.acas.org.uk/coronovirus-support-for-employers-and-employees-live-on-twitter.
Suffolk Mind charity have put together a blog to help people who are self-isolating, working from home, dealing with children being off school or those who just need some ways to better meet their emotional and physical needs whilst staying at home. Read their blog here: https://www.suffolkmind.org.uk/covid19blog/
A document was issued by the MOS National Business Crime Centre, please visit this link: https://nbcc.police.uk/news/letter-from-the-nbcc-regarding-covid-19
The government has released an informative and practical guide on COVID-19 and the impact it may be having on mental health and wellbeing - it's available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19
SaveTheHighStreet.org is an industry movement on a mission to ensure diverse and successful high streets, now and for the long term. Yesterday (26 March) they launched the first in a series of short You Tube videos called Idea of the Day for all businesses to view, visit; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdcVKIrcjHJuE5PDkVMzU1g/videos
These short videos are aimed at supporting businesses during coronavirus and the challenges faced by everyone on the High St during this period. The videos aim to provide simple ideas and steps to take to generate sales and grow and strengthen ties in the community. The first video considers the fact that millions are now working from home / stuck at home with an idea to support your customers by creating care packages – watch the vide to find out more!
West Suffolk Council are here to help you keep up with the latest support to business during this difficult time. Please visit http://westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business for the latest or call the team on 01284 757114
The BID is working closely with the Economic Growth Team at West Suffolk Council to provide you access to the most up to date information to assist your business. Please click on this link to see the latest statement from the Council.
I have spoken to 3 local Commercial Agents today about concerns businesses have expressed to me regarding rent payments that are due this month. They have all encouraged concerned businesses to contact them to discuss their individual circumstances.
They have also suggested that this might be prudent to do once more is known about how businesses can access the Government funding that was announced on Tuesday.
You can sign up here to receive email alerts with the latest updates and guidance around COVID-19 from the UK Government. https://www.gov.uk/email-signup?link=/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
If you have questions or concerns about leave, pay, remoteworking and what steps you can take to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, join Acas experts this Friday at 10:30am to chat live on Twitter. Send your questions in advance to @acasorguk #AskAcas.
Acas are also running a number of free webinars to provides practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of coronavirus on businesses. Register here: https://www.acas.org.uk/webinars
For a good guide for business owners in regards of their rights and responsibilities visit ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
For information about support for businesses from the government visit; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses Please note accessing this support will be via the Local Authority and we await details of this process.
Owner of Casa, Maria Broadbent, appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show at lunchtime today to talk about how her business is adapting to the current challenges. A number of Bury St Edmunds restaurants have started to offer takeaways, click and collect and delivery during this period. You can listen to the interview again here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gc92