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.

News and updates:

From Tuesday 5 January 2021 New Forest District will be covered by National Lockdown: Stay at Home

For businesses and employers this means:

Businesses and venues:

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone's main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people's homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone's main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people's homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Going to work

You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.

Where people cannot work from home - including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing - they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people's homes - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Financial support for business:

Following the governments announcements on 23 December, 30 December and 4 January we will be providing more information on support for businesses once we finalised the related policy. Details of proposals announced to date can be found on the government's website.

For details of grants currently available through New Forest District Council are on our Financial support for businesses affected by coronavirus webpage.


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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