Information, Advice and Guidance on Covid 19
We know that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing concern for businesses. We will be regularly updating information on this page and providing links to information and advice from a range of sources including Public Health England and HMRC.
If your business is feeling the impact of this economic shock, you’re in need of advice of how to prepare and communicate with your staff, or are looking for the latest guidance for dealing with customers in your business please find below a useful guide to current information available:
- The Government has provided guidance on Coronavirus for Accommodation Providers here.
- The Government has listed the businesses and premises that should close due to the current situation here. It states that places providing takeaway and delivery food can continue doing so as well as providing more detail on accommodation businesses.
- The Government has published guidance on essential travel stating that “Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence.”
- Changes to Business Rates announced in the budget on 11 March 2020
- A series of measures were announced in the budget which are designed to help certain smaller businesses and pubs
- If you are a qualifying business that has a rateable value below £51,000 or you are receiving Small Business Rate Relief, Retail Relief of Pub Relief you will be sent a revised bill in due course.
- If your business has a rateable value over £51,000 (with the exception of a pub) the 2020 annual bill is correct and remains payable.
- Guidance for Overseas Visitors The Home Office has produced two guidance documents:
- The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to support businesses and individuals through the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), and the Chancellor has announced new measures to support people, employers and businesses through this period of disruption. The following live webinar provides an overview of the support available to help employers and your employees deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/870782828713010689
Torbay Council Information
- Apply for business grants and funding here: Torbay Council financial support for businesses.
- Torbay Council have an urgent appeal for accommodation providers to help house people finding themselves homeless as a result of COVID19. If you have a property to let they will ensure claims for benefits are submitted, they will pay a deposit and rent in advance even if you qualify for a mortgage holiday, they will also provide a dedicated point of contact for you and can provide on-going support for your tenant.
- Torbay Council have released an update about their operations during this time, including bin collections, libraries, buses, benefits and council meetings.
- Guidance on Grant Schemes – This guidance sets out details and eligibility criteria for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), informing local authorities about the operation and delivery of the two funding schemes: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874772/small-business-grant-fund-and-retail-guidance.pdf
- FSB Advice to Small Businesses: advice and guidance on reducing risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus to you and your business and other funding options.
- Business Interruption Loan Scheme: details on how to apply for the business interruption loan scheme. This will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG); with details being made available over the coming days.
- HMRC Covid-19 Helpline:If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.
- Bishop Fleming – Coronavirus Business Support Services
- HMRC Business Support Helpline – 0800 024 1222. HMRC have opened a dedicated helpline for businesses and the self-employed to answer queries or concerns regarding tax payments and finding solutions including:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
- Coronavirus WhatsApp Information Service – The Govt has started a Whatsapp information service get provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus out to as many people as possible. It will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting via a chatbot. To use this free service, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-coronavirus-information-service-on-whatsapp
- Filing Accounts – the Government has announced that businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts. Further information on how to apply for an extension can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-more-time-to-file-your-companys-accounts
- Advice on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (AKA furlough) from didlaw is available here.
- ACAS Advice to Employers and Employees:practical HR advice and a simple step guide on how to protect the health and safety of staff.
- Coronavirus Guidance to Employers and Businesses: guidance to employers, employees and support for businesses:
- Guidance to Employers: on providing advice to your staff on COVID-19, how to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings and advice on travelling overseas.
- Guidance to Employees:advice to employees on working from home, sick pay, and frequently asked questions
- Support for Businesses: government guidance on what support is being provided to businesses. Including paying sick pay, small business rate relief, and business interruption loan scheme
- Heart of the South West Growth Hub: local business support helpline: 03456 047 047
- VisitBritain website is continually being updated and includes Travel Advice.
Government Updates for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses
We will endeavour to keep this page up to date with the latest government guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses.
Tuesday 17th March
- The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced unprecedented support for business and workers – to protect against the economic emergency caused by the coronavirus – more information here. Read shortened Press Release. Read the full speech here.
- The Chancellor Rishi Sunak launched Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). Read the letter here.
- Accessing these support measures: At this time, we are awaiting guidance from central government on how these support measures can be accessed. We have asked and as soon as more information is available, we will tell businesses. This is high priority and we know that this is extremely important.
Saturday 21st March
- The Enforcement of Business Closures – The legal requirement forcing listed businesses to close (restaurants, pubs etc) came into force on 21st March. Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where businesses do not follow these restrictions. This fines for non-compliance are unlimited. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-plans-to-enforce-closure-of-businesses-and-other-venues–2
- Permission for Pubs and Restaurants to Operate as Takeaways – The government is introducing a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation (negative SI) to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 – drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-grant-permission-for-pubs-and-restaurants-to-operate-as-takeaways-as-part-of-coronavirus-response
- Healthcare: chaired by the Health Secretary to focus on the preparedness of the NHS, notably ensuring capacity in the critical care system for those worst affected, the medical and social package of support for those to whom we will be providing the new shielding regime
- General Public Sector: chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to look at preparedness across the rest of the public and critical national infrastructure, excluding the NHS
- Economic and Business: chaired by the Chancellor, with the Business Secretary as deputy chair, to consider economic and business impact and response, including supply chain resilience. It will also coordinate roundtables with key sectors to be chaired by relevant Secretaries of State. Tourism is represented on Economic and Business sub-committee by the Culture Secretary with the Tourism Industry Council being the roundtable for the Sector that feeds-in.
- International: chaired by the Foreign Secretary, to consider our international response to the crisis through the G7, G20 and other mechanisms, including like-minded groups, and the UK five-point plan
- https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-government-structures-to-coordinate-response-to-coronavirus New Government Structures to Coordinate Response to Coronavirus – COBRA have set up a series of sub-committees to focus on different aspects of the outbreak. These are:
Monday 23rd March
- The Government has just announced that the launch of the business support measures outlined last week: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-business-support-to-launch-from-today
- As part of this they have also launched a dedicated website that collates information on the support available for businesses which you will want to bookmark and send to members: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
Monday 30th March
- Changes to Insolvency and Company Rules: Over the weekend BEIS minister, Alok Sharma, announced that the Government would be introducing legislation to support businesses that would otherwise be operating illegally due to being technically insolvent. There will be a temporary suspension of “wrongful trading” rules which make it a criminal offence for a company to keep trading if they know the business is unable to repay its debts, with new rules allowing companies undergoing restructuring to continue to access supplies and raw materials. This will also remove the threat of Directors having personal liability for their business and will apply retrospectively from March 1.
- Guidance on Mental Health and Wellbeing: While everyone is working hard to deal with the business and employment impacts of Coronavirus, one of the overlooked issues of this is the impact on the mental health of business owners and employees. To help with this, the Government has produced guidance on how to protect people from the psychological impacts.
The English Riviera BID Company’s position
The ERBID Co has been monitoring the situation over the last month and has been looking at the variety of scenarios for the future, which have changed frequently, if not daily.
We have created a coronavirus task group, comprising of members from across different sectors to help us in responding to the crisis and planning for the recovery as well as advising Torbay Council, Kevin Foster MP, Visit England/Britain (VB) and the Government on the situation for businesses in Torbay and feeding back our responses to the measures they may or are planning to make.
The ERBID Co fully supports the Government’s science-based approach to responding to this virus and the recent move to the “delay phase”, but delay will have severe implications for tourism business, as it will also extend the period impact on businesses in the sector and the associated supply chain.
At this time, ERBID Co’s strategy to the coronavirus crisis will be to parallel the Governments phases with appropriate actions and advice to our members and the industry.
Our focus will be to assist our members to:
- Respond and to maximise the financial protection of their business with information and signposting to support measures
- Cope with a fast-moving situation with up to date information and advice
- Recover business as and when the opportunities rise
ERBID Co is adopting a two-phase approach
Phase 1: React, Respond and Communication Phase (the current phase)
As this is very fast-moving situation and ERBID Co is committed to responding and reacting to threats and opportunities and giving the best possible information and support to its members and these will include –
Communicate with our members to
- Gain feedback and data on the impact of coronavirus on the sector and our members
- Gain feedback on how the recently announced business support arrangements are, or are not working and suggest further actions/measures
Communicate with Local, Regional, VB and the Government
- To inform them of the current and forward economic and related impacts on the sector
- To liaise and input into future support measures, public messaging actions and initiatives etc
Information and Advice
The ERBID Co website is being enhanced and will be continually updated with additional sections and pages to assist our members. Please see our latest communications from CEO Carolyn Custerson on 19th March 2020.
Inform and Advise our members with advice/content from experts, ideas, suggestions and best practice from our members.
Please see the links below for resources.
Planning for the Future
- Work with local, regional and national partners to scenario plan and draft recovery plan(s) so that we are in the strongest position and able to move first once the opportunity to recover arises.
Phase 2: Recovery Phase
At this time this may seem premature but is never too early to start planning for the recovery and partial recovery as we will not have to wait until 80% of the population have had this virus before we can start the recovery of tourism.
Recovery planning will start straight away but the plans will be modified as we learn and have a better idea of the timescale and the nature of the markets that will commence the recovery recover soonest etc
For the short term we will adapt our visitor communications and continue to focus on support for local businesses, sustainable tourism to our natural places and connecting visitors to authentic experiences in our Naturally Inspiring landscape.
If you have any concerns, please contact Carolyn – email@example.com