Coronavirus (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.

Guidance and advice on COVID-19

Latest News

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open

If you’re eligible for the second and final grant, and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you can make a claim on or before 19 October 2020. You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. If you have different circumstances it can affect your eligibility. If you're self-employed or member of a partnership, find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme. Please see here to understand how HMRC works out trading and non-trading income for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

£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.

£20 million to improve small business leadership and problem-solving skills in the wake of coronavirus

Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been launched yesterday (3 August).

  • Government investment in small business training, management and productivity
  • £20 million commitment at critical time for small businesses dealing with the impact of coronavirus
  • interested small business leaders are encouraged to sign up

The Small Business Leadership Programme will focus on strengthening decision-makers’ leadership skills, so they are able to address management challenges, some of which, such as remote working, have arisen from coronavirus. The programme will equip business leaders with the confidence and leadership skills to plan for the future of their business, and ensure that they are in a great position to recover from the impacts of coronavirus.

Further details can be found here.

£20 million in new grants to boost recovery of small businesses

Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announced on the 30th July 2020.

  • Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announces £20 million new funding to help businesses across England get back on track.
  • Small and medium sized businesses in England can access grants between £1,000 - £5,000 for new equipment and technology and specialist advice.

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 now lockdown restrictions have been eased. The cards are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand in your business or organisation. Find out more here.

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

The 50 page document published by the government on 11 May 2020 can be viewed and downloaded here.

Business support

COVID-19 Toolkit

The Better Business for All (BBfA) partnership has used their knowledge and expertise to bring together resources from trusted organisations to help guide you through the main considerations for restarting your business safely.

Further details click here.

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 package includes support for:

  • Paying your employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The full step by step guide for employers is available here
  • The self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Check if you are eligible to claim here
  • Claiming back sick pay paid to employees due to coronavirus. For more information about eligibility and how employers (or you on their behalf) can prepare to use the scheme, please visit GOV.UK. Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Deferral of VAT payments and Self Assessment payments due to coronavirus
  • Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates
  • Nursery businesses that pay business rates
  • Businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • Small and medium-sized businesses
    • Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    • Coronavirus Future Fund
    • Coronavirus Bounce Back loan
  • Large businesses
  • Trade Credit Insurance guarantees

For full details of of these schemes and up to date guidance visit: Gov.uk financial support for businesses during COVID-19

A Plan for Jobs 2020

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak presented his ‘Plan for Jobs’ to Parliament on Wednesday 8 July 2020 to outline how the government will boost job creation in the UK.

The Chancellor delivered his Summer Economic Update in Parliament, which outlined a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs.

  • Job Retention Bonus: To help firms keep on furloughed workers, UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
  • Kickstart Scheme: A new £2 billion scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
  • Employment and support schemes: A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. 
  • Creating jobs: The plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.
  • Stamp Duty: A temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 has been introduced until 31 March 2021. 

Further guidance on the above points is expected to be published in the coming days.

Full details of the announcement can be found here.

Published Plan for Jobs documents can be found here.

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:

Open 4 Business GRANTfinder

To support you through these challenging times, small and medium sized businesses are able to search for new local, regional and national funding on the Open 4 Business GRANTfinder portal available here:

The Portal is updated regularly and can be easily searched by businesses on the basis of their industry, region and business size, and provides information on how to apply for funding and contact funders directly.

If you are having trouble accessing the portal, please contact sheryle.price-jones@northlincs.gov.uk for technical support.

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