Coronavirus news and support for businesses, employers and the self-employed

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

For financial support schemes administered by us see:

For other support administered by government go to GOV.UK for support for businesses.

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:

From 5 November, new national restrictions will apply. This will mean:

  • you must stay at home, except for specific reasons
  • you can't meet with people you don't live with, except for specific reasons
  • certain businesses and venues will need to close.

For full details of these measures see guidance on the government's website.

News and updates:

2 November 2020: New national restrictions from 5 November

To reduce social contact, the government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. Details of business classifications impacted by this can be found on the government's website.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

Financial support for business:

Following the governments announcement on 31 October 2020 we will be providing more information on support for businesses once we receive further government guidance. Details of proposals announced to date can be found on the government's website.


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: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support 

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 https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/ 

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 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-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 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-covid-19-corporate-financing-facility 

Crowdfunder

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: https://solentlep.org.uk/crowdfunding-programme-pay-it-forward/ 

Business survival guide

We have teamed up with Business South to produce a business survival guide. The guide is designed to business improve their resilience during difficult trading conditions including diversification, future planning and accessing finance. 

Icon for pdf New Forest business survival guide [595.86KB]

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. https://www.wsxenterprise.co.uk/events/ 

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. https://solentlep.org.uk/self-help-resources-toolkits-for-all/ 

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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