What’s New for Small Businesses This Week? – 11/09/2020

What’s New for Small Businesses This Week? – 11/09/2020

Check out our roundup of the latest updates for the week ending 11th Sepetember 2020 in the small business world, including details of a new grant to support small businesses forced to close due to local lockdown restrictions, and where you can register for a free test and trace platform, after the government announced it is to become mandatory in certain venues.

Contents:

  1. Business owners impacted by local lockdown to receive grant
  2. Back to Work: 7 Key Steps to a Healthy Post Lockdown Workplace
  3. Social gatherings of more than six banned in England
  4. Reimbursements for Eat Out to Help Out go live
  5. Leicester and North of England continue to be impacted by lockdown
  6. Business Toolbox: Free software for small businesses
  7. Test and Trace to become mandatory in England

Business owners impacted by local lockdown to receive grant

Small business owners who have been forced to close their premises due to local lockdown restrictions are set to receive a government grant to support them through the pandemic. With businesses in certain sectors still subject to local restrictions in locations such as Leicester and Bolton, the government has responded to calls for further support with this grant.

See the details below:

  • Small businesses will receive a £1000 grant for every three week period your business is closed
  • To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid 19 restrictions
  • Businesses closed at a national level e.g. nightclubs, are ineligible 
  • Local authorities will be responsible for distributing the grants to businesses

The government states that the scheme provides a safety net to further protect jobs where a business is required to close. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that grants are currently available in the following locations:

  • Darwen
  • Pendle
  • Oldham

If you’re a business owner in one of the above locations, contact your local authority to apply now.

Back to Work: 7 Key Steps to a Healthy Post Lockdown Workplace

If your business has been forced to close due to localised lockdowns or if you are preparing for the return of employees to the workplace, you should take the appropriate steps to limit the risk of the spread of infection before re-opening your doors. 

We’ve listed 7 steps you can take to help make your workplace Covid friendly:

  1. Find out when your business is allowed to open
  2. Make your workplace Covid compliant
  3. Disinfect your premises
  4. Enforce cleaning and hygiene procedures
  5. Implement a safe delivery solution with suppliers
  6. Provide workplace Covid safety training
  7. Provide PPE to all employees

Read the article for an in-depth explanation on each step and a free downloadable checklist to record your progress.

Social gatherings of more than six banned in England

Business owners in the hospitality industry must adapt their premises to adapt to new guidelines, after the government placed a ban on social gatherings of more than six people. The rule, which applies to indoor and outdoor spaces, means adjustments will have to be made to seating arrangements in pubs, restaurants, cafes etc to ensure that groups of 6 maintain social distance from other groups.

Visit here for the full implications for restaurants and pubs.

Reimbursements for Eat Out to Help Out go live

With the Eat Out to Help Out scheme drawing to its close last week, the platform to claim reimbursements for discounts given is now live. With the 57,000 registered restaurants providing 51 discounted meals in England alone, vast amounts of the government is set to reimburse participating businesses. See below for information on how and when you can receive your funds.

  • Participating businesses can submit weekly claims for discounts given on food and non-alcoholic drinks in August
  • You’ll need to provide records of the total numbers of diners who used the scheme, total amount of discount given, and the period you’re claiming for
  • You can make up to 5 claims before the 30 September deadline
  • Once your claim is verified, you should receive your money by BACs within 5 working days

Log on to your government gateway to submit your claim in time.

Leicester and North of England continue to be impacted by lockdown

Small businesses are continuing to be affected by Coronvairus, particularly in The North of England and Leicester where certain sectors are subject to lockdown restrictions.

See below for the guidelines in the two locations:

  • Leicester:
    • The government advises that close contact services, including beauty treatments, such as eyebrow threading should not reopen
    • Casinos, ice rinks, bowling alleys must remain closed
  • The North of England
    • Impacted areas: Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Calderdale, Kirklees
    • Casinos, ice rinks, bowling alleys can re-open in all affected areas, except for in Bolton
    • The government advises that close contact services, including beauty treatments, such as eyebrow threading should not reopen in Bolton

Visit gov.uk for the full guidance, relating to Leicester and the North of England.

Business Toolbox: Free software for small businesses

As small businesses continue to feel the financial impact of Coronavirus, we’ve added to our business toolbox to highlight free digital solutions for your business to help cut your costs. With options available for your website, finance, design and more, check out the article for the digital solution for your business. 

See below for the latest additions:

  • Canva: Graphic design platform Canva, available free of charge, comes with free graphics and images to create social media images, presentations, web images and more
  • Wave Accounting: Business owners looking for software to keep on track of their finances can access Wave’s free plan, which offers facilities for invoicing, accounting, and receipt scanning
  • Mailerlite: Businesses that provide email updates to customers can access email marketing platform Mailerlite, free of charge, allowing you to create bulk emails, collect feedback through surveys and collect the data of customers through lead capture. 

Test and Trace to become mandatory in England

Business owners in the hospitality sector will soon be forced to collect and store the records of visitors to their venue, after the government announced that Test and Trace will become compulsory to certain hospitality businesses in England. Test and Trace stores the contact details of customers, helping to  trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus.

See below for what is currently known:

  • Pubs and restaurants must have a system to collect Test and Trace details and store them for 21 days
  • This rule will come into effect from 18 September

With previous government advice encouraging food venues to support Test and Trace, some hospitality businesses already have a system. If this does not apply to your business, sign up for Sprout’s free platform, where you can register customers, store their details and access records efficiently.

Register here.

 

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