The Government’s recovery strategy sets provisional dates for the reopening of some shops and businesses.
From 1 June outdoor markets and car salesrooms will be able to reopen once they are able to make their business Covid-19 secure.
From 15 June all other non-essentisl retail shops (clothing, toys, furniture, electronics, indoor markets etc) will be able to open once they have made their business Covid-19 secure.
Businesses where more personal contact with customers is required (hairdressers, nail bars etc) must remain closed for now.
Hospitality and leisure businesses (pubs, cinemas, theatres) must also remain closed but they may be able to open in July. The Government will make an announcement nearer the time.
All these dates are based on the infection rate for Covid-19 continuing to fall. You can read more in the Government’s recovery strategy.
Even if your business cannot open yet now is a good time to start thinking about what you will need to do to make sure you can reopen safely.
Making your business Covid-19 secure
If you want to reopen your business then you will have to produce a risk assessment, taking into account your own specific circumstances.
The information below is aimed at shops and branches. Guidance for other types of business can be found further down this page.
Below is a list of things shops and branches need to consider before reopening.
- A one way system around your business (if possible)
- Appropriate signs at entrances. Download generic social distancing signs.
- Restricting the number of people in your business at any one time
- Asking people to shop alone or with one family member only (this is not required by law)
- Special shopping times for elderly/vulnerable
- You must make sure people queuing are kept 2m apart (socially distanced)
- When busy you may need a staff member to control the number of people coming through the door
- Discourage people from browsing and going back and forth
- Reminder distance markings on the floor or posters.
- Discouraging people from touching goods too much
- Providing hand sanitiser gel at entrances to reassure customers. This also helps minimise risk from people touching items. Schedule appropriate cleaning of any sanitiser containers/dispensers as they can be touched by hundreds of people and could become a hot spot for virus transmission.
- Clothing cannot be tried on.
- You must make sure staff have access to handwashing facilities and make use of them with good handwashing practices
- All staff should have access to sanitisers and use them regularly. Sanitisers should always be seen as complementary to good handwashing.
- Consider use of masks and gloves (both will need several changes a day) by staff and you need to be careful how they are removed or they can spread infections rather than reduce them.
- Discouraging cash sales
- You must make it clear staff with symptoms must self-isolate along with the rest of their household. If this does happen you may need to put extra cleaning procedures in place for the premises to reassure other staff.
- Shoppers do not have to wear face coverings by law, but it is recommended in enclosed spaces.
- Make sure any baskets, trolleys etc are part of cleaning schedules.
- Thorough cleaning and disinfection at the end of each day, especially touch points like handles.
This should not be taken as a comprehensive list. You know your own premises and the particular challenges and risks. There may be other things you need to think of as you do your risk assessment.
The Government has produced some useful documents to help you with your risk assessment.
- Safe working practices for restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- How shops and branches can working safely during Covid-19
Guidance for other types of businesses
- Safe working in construction and other outdoor work
- Safe working in factories, plants and warehouses
- Safe working in labs and research facilities
- Safe working in offices and contact centres
- Safe working in other people’s homes
- Safe working in vehicles
The Government has unveiled a range of financial support to help businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
To receive either of these grants you will need to register by filling in the simple form on our Business Rates Reliefs page.
Discretionary Grant Funding
We have been given £1.5million to help businesses not eligible to receive either the cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses or the small business grant.
Guidance has been issued by the Government and the types of business that are expected to benefit from this new funding are:
- Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment
- Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
- Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
- Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
Businesses must also demonstrate they have been significantly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. We reget we will not be able to help every business not eligible for the original support grant funding.
We recommend you read the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund guidance first before applying.
The deadline for application is 5pm on 19 June 2020.
Business Rates discounts
New discounts on Business Rates have been introduced for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, pubs and nurseries. These discounts will be applied automatically and you will be sent a new bill shortly. Visit our Business Rates Reliefs page for more information.
Loans and other support
There is a range of other financial support available to help you through this challenging time.
This includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years.
You should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme (and not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible to discuss your business plan with them.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is run by HMRC. It allows UK employers with a PAYE scheme to continue to pay part of their employees’ salary to avoid the need to have to make them redundant.
You can use the Government’s online eligibility checker tool to find coronavirus financial support for your business.
You can also find out more about the range of support available to you visit www.businesssupport.gov.uk and follow the links to Business Support.
You can sign up to our business e-newsletter at www.wychavon.gov.uk/email-alerts and we will provide you with the latest updates direct to your inbox.
If you are self-employed you can apply for help through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. This means no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.
The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. It will last until 30 June, with an option for the Government to extend if needed.
Read the announcement on ban on evictions for commercial tenants for more information.