Posted on 2nd November 2020
Category: News

From 00:01am on Thursday 5th November until at least 11:59pm on Wednesday 2nd December, there will be a second national lockdown in England. This will require the majority of businesses in the Humber region to take action. 

New Measures & Restrictions 

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close, and only food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail businesses that remain open should follow Covid-Secure guidelines to protect customers, staff and visitors. 

Businesses that must close are:

  • all non-essential retail
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities
  • entertainment venues 
  • personal care facilities 

Non-essential retail businesses can remain open to operate deliveries to customers and for “click-and-collect” services only. 

All hospitality venues such as pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. The Government has however confirmed that the takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed. 

Accommodation businesses including hotels, B&Bs and hostels should only open for guests who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law. 

A full list of business closures will be published by the government and set out in law in the near future.

Finally, the government have stated that anyone who can work effectively form home must do so. Where people cannot do so – for example in the construction, manufacturing and freight forwarding & logistics industries – they should continue to travel to the workplace.

More information on the new measures and restrictions for businesses can be found on here.

Business Support

The Government has confirmed that a package of financial business support will be made available to assist business through this second national lockdown.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – also known as the Furlough scheme – will remain open until 31st December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the previous scheme, which ended on 31st October.

Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs.

The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to commence on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.

Additional guidance on the extended furlough scheme can be found on here.

Local Restrictions Support Grant

In addition, business premises forced to close in England will receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month.
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month.
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month.

As with the first national lockdown, these grants will be administered via local authority business rates systems, and so a business must be registered for business rates with their local authority to be eligible for the grant.

To be made aware of when these grants will be made available and detail on how to apply, businesses should check their local authority’s website as follows:

Moreover, Local Authorities are being given funding additional to the business rates grants above, to allow them to make one-off payments to other businesses on a discretionary basis. It will be up to each individual council to determine how these grants are allocated.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Government has also announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended and the amount of grant uplifted until January 2021.

To reflect the second national lockdown, the scheme will be made more generous – with self-employed individuals receiving 80% of their average trading profits for November. The grant will be calculated over three months, with 80% of trading profits for November, and 40% of trading profits for December and January being used to calculate the grant amount. The is equivalent to 55% of average trading profits for the three month period November to January, and the maximum grant amount available will be £5,160.

The claims window for this grant will be brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.

Additional guidance on the extended Self-Employment Income Support scheme can be found on here.

Bounce Back and CBILS Loans

Finally the Government has extended the application deadline for the Bounce Bank Loan and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan schemes until 31st January 2021. Any business that has already received a loan can apply for a top-up to their existing loan up until the end of January.

Further Information & Advice

Further information, advice and guidance can be found on the Growth Hub’s dedicated Covid-19 webpage here. If you wish to speak to your local Growth Hub Business Advisor, their contact details can be found here