Coronavirus support for businesses, employers and the self-employed

Financial support is available to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

Government advice on social distancing during coronavirus applies to all businesses and employers. 

Find out more about working safely during coronavirus 

We also publish information on general business support and advice including grant programmes 

Local COVID alert levels:

The area covering New Forest District Council is currently at alert level medium

Whilst this is the lowest of the three tier system adopted by government, there are still a number of restrictions which businesses and employees must adhere to. A full list of this information can be found on the government's alert level guidance page.

Please be aware that local alert levels are continually under review so please continue to monitor government communication channels for the latest information which may impact your business.

News and updates:

18 September 2020

NHS COVID app launch - what New Forest businesses need to know

The NHS Covid Test and Trace app launches on 24 September 2020. 

Government have announced that businesses are required by law to display posters with unique QR codes.

From Thursday 24 September certain businesses will be required by law to display NHS test and trace QR posters in their venue.

Business legally required to do this include all venues in the following sectors:

  • hospitality,
  • leisure and tourism,
  • close contact services,
  • places of worship,
  • local authority venues.

Customers will be able to download the NHS COVID-19 app and use the inbuilt QR scanned to record their visit to the venue.

Businesses will also need to have a log book to record details of any visitor who doesn't have the app. People who have signed in using the app will not need to also be manually recorded. Venues will also need to collect this information for each member of staff, including the times and dates they have worked and contact details.

Any business not included in the required list, but where people are likely to gather within groups of more than six for over 15 minutes, are advised to also make use of the NHS test and trace QR poster system.

To create a unique NHS test and trace QR code, visit

Where possible, posters should be printed and placed at the entrance of the venue at a height accessible for all. The poster may also be displayed on a digital screen if preferred.

In the event of a confirmed case of coronavirus for a visitor of member of staff, users of the app will be notified and given instructions about the next steps they must take. The venue in which a case occurred will be kept anonymous.

Read more about this from government:

To keep up to date, follow the NHS app twitter account at for updates. And on facebook at:

Government financial support and guidance

Find the most up to date Government Coronavirus support and guidance for businesses, employers and the self-employed, including an easy to use business support finder at: 

If you are a small or medium-sized business, you may be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to coronavirus. 

Visit the GOV.UK website to check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay

HMRC has produced guidance to help employers find out what equipment, services or supplies are taxable if your employees are working from home due to coronavirus. 

Visit the GOV.UK website to check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home

Other financial support for businesses

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

CBILS is now available through participating lenders. It provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Please note that as of 24 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will be extended until 30 November 2020. 

For further information about CBILS, visit the British Business Bank website at 

The Bounce Back Loan scheme

This loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. 

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won't be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. 

Visit the GOV.UK website to apply for the Bounce Back Loan 

The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility 

This scheme helps large businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) through the purchase of their short-term debt. Visit the GOV.UK website to apply 


Solent LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) has released £600,000 via Crowdfunder, with more available if demand is there. Solent is the first LEP in the country to use this innovative approach to fund SMEs within its region. Find out more about the Solent LEP Crowdfunding Programme: 

Local support 

New Forest Business Partnership (NFBP)
Hosts free weekly business support events. If you cannot attend live, the events can be watched anytime via the NFBP YouTube channel. Future events can be found on the NFBP website where you can pre-register to attend. 

WSX Enterprise
Provide webinars on a range of subjects to help businesses adapt to new trading conditions. Find out more at WSX Events and Workshops. 

Solent LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) 
Solent LEP have developed The Covid-19 Business Support Tool & Self Help Resources. These include a free online diagnostic tool to review the current business position and identify tactics for building greater resilience. 

Additional advice for employers

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides free Employment Law advice for business owners and employers. ACAS offers webinars providing practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of coronavirus in the workplace. 

You can register for webinars in advance on the ACAS website 

Guidance for food and drink businesses

Government guidance for food and drink businesses is available on the GOV.UK website: guidance for food businesses on coronavirus  

This includes information about: 

  • coronavirus and food
  • food hygiene guidance
  • food hygiene guidance
  • maintaining social distancing in specific food business settings

There is also local support and guidance provided by our Health and Safety for Businesses 

Guidance for tourism businesses

Register for 'We're Good to Go' license: Visit England have launched a quality mark 'We're Good to Go' to signal when a tourism and hospitality property has worked hard to follow COVID-19 guidelines and is safe to visit. 

In England, businesses must align with the Government's official guidance for the sector including 'Working Safely during Coronavirus: the visitor economy'. 

Guidance for export businesses

The Department for International Trade has published guidance for UK businesses trading internationally, including a business support helpline. 

Visit the GOV.UK website for support for UK businesses trading internationally 

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