Guidance and advice on COVID-19

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses in providing advice about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Intelligence Alert

Be aware of COVID-19 scams. We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts relating to COVID-19 Government business grants which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Don't give out private information or reply to text messages, and don't download attachments in emails you weren't expecting. If you would like to report any instances of suspected COVID-19 fraud, please visit Action Fraud and the Suspicious E-mail Reporting Service; launched recently to capture COVID-19 related scams.

Latest News

Grant Schemes Update

Last updated on 22 June 2021.

Discretionary Impact Grant

North Lincolnshire Council has recognised that a number of businesses are still facing challenging times following Step 3 of the Covid-19 Roadmap to recovery.

Although some specific types of business have been able to reopen from 17th May – they still face the challenge that their customers have not fully come back or are able to return to normal levels.

An example would be a wedding related business whereby weddings are allowed to go ahead but with a restricted number of attendees.  Many couples are postponing plans until such a time as they can invite the number of guests they wish to have there.

In response North Lincolnshire Council, using funds from the Assisted Restrictions Grant, is looking to support those businesses that can demonstrate this impact is still critically affecting the viability of their business.

North Lincolnshire based businesses must fall into the below specified business types to be eligible for the grant, and they must be able to demonstrate through clear evidence the continued impact on how business is affected.

Businesses outside of the below types, who can demonstrate a severe impact on business can still put forward an application for consideration.

There is no guarantee of grant funding, all applications will be assessed for eligibility and ongoing impact. Businesses must have previously received Discretionary Funds (or have been eligible for Discretionary Funds) to be eligible for this grant.

If a business has previously been unsuccessful for Covid-19 grant funding or has received other Covid-19 grants (Closed/Open/Restart) they will not be eligible for this grant.

Eligible Business type:

  • Fitness/Leisure
  • Nail or Tattoo Parlour
  • Driving Tuition
  • Kennels/Cattery/Horse Livery
  • Dance/Theatre
  • Mobile disco/PA hire
  • Outside/Mass Gathering Catering (weddings, celebrations, exhibitions, etc)
  • Community groups
  • Wedding Related Businesses (eg: photography/videography/car hire, Cakes, equipment/party hire, specialist products)
  • Sports Clinic
  • Commercial office cleaning
  • Arts and Crafts workshops
  • Marquee Hire
  • Event Management

The deadline for applications is midnight on Friday 18th June 2021.  You will normally be contacted within 3 weeks of your application being submitted.  Please do not contact the email address unless you have not heard back within 4 weeks of your application being submitted.

IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE:

This is not a top-up grant to previous grants and those businesses that are fully open must NOT apply.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for the grant you must not apply.

Due to the high volume of queries - there is no telephone contact number for this grant – all communication MUST be made via the email address: discretionaryimpactgrant@northlincs.gov.uk.

You should wait until 4 weeks after you submitted your application before contacting via the email address if you have not been informed of a decision.

Discretionary Grant (Payments to cover until 31 March 2021)

The Closed Business Grant has now closed for all applications – we will now work to ensure all those that have applied, are notified of an outcome.

Restart Grant (Replaces the closed business grant from 1 April)

The Government have announced two new restart grants which will aim to support businesses when they are re-opening as part of the easing of lockdown roadmap.

The Restart Grants only cover businesses paid under the closed scheme, not the discretionary. The amounts businesses will receive are:

Non-Essential Retail
  • £2,667 for non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value under £15,000
  • £4,000 for non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value over £51,000
Hospitality, Leisure and Personal Care
  • £8,000 for businesses with a rateable value under £15,000
  • £12,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £18,000 for businesses with a rateable value over £51,000

We aim for these payments to be made as soon as possible. Full guidance and eligibility can be found here.

Business lateral flow testing scheme

Testing in the workplace

Businesses can order free rapid lateral flow tests to test their employees twice a week in the workplace, if they cannot work from home. This scheme is available for limited companies and registered charities, with ten or more employees.

Businesses will need to know their companies house registration number before starting this process.

If businesses have 50 or more employees, they will be directed straight to the company house reference number page.

If businesses have less than 50 employees, they will be presented with two options: “Find a local testing site” or “I would still like to register for National Workplace Testing”, they will need to select the register for National Workplace Testing option, and then continue with the form.

The deadline to register for this scheme is 12 April 2021. To register for this scheme please visit Gov.uk.

Employee home testing

This scheme is due to launch in early April and will only be available to businesses with more than ten employees.

Businesses will be able to order rapid lateral flow tests for employees to test themselves, twice a week in their own homes. These tests will be sent to the workplace, for businesses to hand out.

Further information will be available in the coming weeks, so please keep checking Gov.uk.

Furlough Scheme extended

  • The furlough scheme has been extended for 80% of wages for time not worked, up to £2,500 per month until end of September 2021.
  • Employers will be asked to contribute towards this scheme at a rate of 10% from July, and 20% from August.

For more information, please visit gov.uk

Self-employed grant expansion

The self-employed grants will be again extended until the end of September 2021. This will be done via two payments, covering 3 months each. The Chancellor also announced that 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 will now able to claim for the first time.

For more information, please visit the HMRC website.

Business Rates holiday extended

The current 100% business rates holiday has been extended until June 2021, this will be applied to eligble businesses automatically. This will then be tapered to cover 2/3 of business rates (Up to £2mil) for the rest of this financial year. More information can be found on gov.uk.

The Government also announced a range of other measures and investments to support the economy to recover and build back better, including:

  • New recovery loan of between £25,000 and £10mil to be launched
  • Extension to the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions across the UK until the end of September, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022.
  • Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs per employee from the Government.
  • To further support the cashflow of businesses, the government is extending the loss carry back rules worth up to £760,000 per company.
  • Fuel duty will be frozen for the 11th consecutive year.
  • Alcohol duties will be frozen across the board for the second year running saving drinkers £1.7 billion.
  • Capping the amount of SME payable R&D tax credit that a business can receive in any one year at £20000 (plus three times the company’s total PAYE and NICs liability).
  • Beginning April 2021, the new super-deduction will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment. This is worth around £25 billion to UK companies over the two-year period the super-deduction will be in full effect.
  • The £375 million UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.
  • A new Help to Grow scheme to offer up to 130,000 companies across the UK a digital and management boost.
  • Launching a review of Research & Development tax reliefs to make sure the UK remains a competitive location for cutting-edge research.
  • £68 million to fund a UK-wide competition to deliver first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes that will reduce the cost of net zero by storing excess low carbon energy over longer periods.

To read more on these new measures and investments, please visit gov.uk.

£1.3 billion investment to deliver homes, infrastructure and jobs

Funds to deliver up to 45,000 homes, create up to 85,000 jobs and upgrade skills and infrastructure to help fuel a green economic recovery announced.

  • Over 300 shovel-ready projects in England to share £900 million investment to build homes and infrastructure, and create jobs
  • £360 million investment confirmed to deliver 26,000 new homes on brownfield land
  • Strict accreditation rules for tradespeople involved in the £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme to ensure homes are of the highest quality

Further details can be found here.

Quality assurance at heart of new £2 billion green homes grants

Tradespeople are urged to sign up for TrustMark accreditation as part of the new Green Homes Grant scheme.

  • Government urges tradespeople to sign up for TrustMark accreditation in drive to support over 100,000 jobs through a new energy efficiency scheme
  • new Green Homes Grant will give over 600,000 homeowners in England up to £10,000 to install insulation, heat pumps, draft proofing and more to help households cut energy bills
  • strict accreditation rules for tradespeople involved in the scheme, giving households confidence that improvements to their homes will be of the highest quality

Further details can be found here.

New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments

Government brings in law to ensure furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate.

  • New law will ensure that furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate
  • changes will mean those furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are not short-changed if they are made redundant
  • the changes will also apply to statutory notice pay and other entitlements, providing some reassurance during this difficult time

Further details can be found here.

More businesses set to benefit from government loan scheme

Changes to state aid rules as a result of UK Government and industry lobbying mean that more small businesses can now benefit from loans of up to £5 million under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), it was announced on the 30th July 2020.

Previously businesses which were classed as ‘undertakings in difficulty’ were unable to access CBILS because of EU rules. From today, businesses in this category and which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9 million can apply to CBILS.

  • Government expects lenders to make changes in approvals processes.
  • Over 57,000 businesses have benefitted from £12.6 billion of support through CBILS to date.

Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus

New guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus has been published. COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:

  • know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus
  • are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.

Action cards have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face. The cards are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand in your business or organisation.

Employer help from Jobcentre plus

This site offers a range of advice to help your business overcome challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are needing to expand rapidly, or worried about redundancies, you can find advice on next steps and the best ways to support your staff here.

Job help is also available online through Jobcentre plus. If you are looking for work Jobhelp is a good place to start.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

This updated document sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes information on which apprentices should be prioritised for face-to-face training from 15 June, and details of the flexibility for end-point assessments ahead of calculated functional skills qualification results.

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Covid-19 SME Guidance

NCSC has guidance to support businesses moving from physical to digital delivery as part of the ongoing Covid-19 response. The guidance has been created specifically to support businesses who are relying more heavily on IT services to run their business. The NCSC is committed to equipping all UK businesses with the best cyber security advice. The support package includes guidance on home working, video teleconferencing and spotting email scams related to Covid-19. All additional and pre-existing guidance for business can be found on the NCSC website.

Local Enterprise Partnerships

A range of support is available to support businesses with the challenges they face due to the COVID-19 outbreak through the Humber LEP Business Growth Hub and Greater Lincolnshire LEP. This support can be accessed by visiting their dedicated COVID-19 Business Support pages:

Working safely during COVID-19

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced 'COVID-19 secure' guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. Guidance is also available on how to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment and how to clean your workplace safely.

The 8 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 employees safe.

  • Construction and other outdoor work - Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
  • Factories, plants and warehouses - Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses.
  • Homes - Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers.
  • Labs and research facilities - Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments.
  • Offices and contact centres - Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
  • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery - Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
  • Shops and branches - Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
  • Vehicles - Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

Review of Social Distancing

Following the announcement of changes to social distancing measures, the following mitigations should be applied across all settings to reduce risk:

  • Maintain 2 metres where viable
  • Staff must stay home when symptomatic, or if a member of their household is symptomatic, and to get tested to allow contact tracing of positive cases
  • Staff should minimise the duration of contact at less than 2 metres with people outside their household
  • Maintaining hand hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Thorough and regular cleaning of shared areas, including toilets
  • Wearing face coverings when distances of 2 metres cannot be kept in indoor environments where possible
  • Recording staff contact details and working patterns to support test and trace.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is focusing on the key issues surrounding Government measures to protect the public during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Guidance on how OPSS is supporting businesses and local authorities and protecting consumers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can be found here. This is the 2nd version of the guidance for manufacturers and makers of face coverings on complying with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 published, amended to reflect the latest government guidance on when a face covering should be worn.

Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Information and Support

Take a whole systems approach to health and wellbeing using these Business In The Community Toolkits.

North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle Service

North Lincolnshire Healthy Lifestyle Service are offering remote telephone support for weight management, stop smoking support and other lifestyle related areas. Contact: 01724 298212 Email: nlc.healthylifestyles@nhs.net

Production and supply of ventilator components

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking for organisations who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the United Kingdom as part of the government’s response to COVID-19.

You can find more information on the production and supply of ventilator components here.

Useful contacts