Businesses and employers
This page provides key information for businesses and employers in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic – including about government and other support (grants etc) and operating businesses safely.
This includes measures announced under the current national lockdown from 5 January – and in relation to the period for the easing of restrictions and recovery, as these details become available.
In addition, details of support initiatives announced in the government budget of 3 March (including further grant support) will be provided as they become available.
Please follow the latest advice from the government - for employees, employers and businesses.
Grant support under national lockdown
Government grants are available to eligible Island businesses for the current national lockdown period (from 5 January 2021).
There is also grant support relating to the previous Tier 3 and Tier 4 restriction periods around Christmas and the new year.
A grant support scheme for ‘wet’ led pubs for late December has now closed to applications.
The additional discretionary Winter Business Support Grant scheme is also now closed and currently no further discretionary funding has been announced by the government.
The grant categories are shown below.
Please use the relevant links to make your application(s).
The information you provide in the application forms will help us to calculate your entitlement.
We will make payments as swiftly as we are able (please do not to contact us to chase payments as this may lead to delays).
Please note: The latest payments under the rolling grant scheme (see below) will now be made starting 5 March and will cover the period to 1 April (if you applied previously, you do not need to reapply).
Rolling grant payments (from 5 January 2021) – These are for eligible ratepaying businesses (non-essential retail, hospitality venues, accommodation, leisure and sports facilities, entertainment venues, animal attractions, indoor attractions at venues, personal care facilities, community centres and halls). They are rolling 28 day payments (the initial payment is for six-weeks up to 15 February):
£1,334 for each 28 day period your business is closed - for a business with a rateable value of £15,000 or under.
£2,000 for each 28 day period your business is closed - for a business with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
£3,000 for each 28 day period your business is closed - for a business with a rateable value of over £51,000.
The council has now received guidance from government that the next rolling grant payment to eligible businesses will cover the period up to 1 April 2021.
This will not require businesses to complete a further application form if they have already applied for this funding in January, but internal checks will be made.
The council is due to receive the funding from government next week (week starting 1 March) and payments will start to be made from Friday 5 March.
One-off top up grants (from 5 January 2021) – These are for eligible ratepaying businesses (in retail, hospitality, leisure, sports facilities and personal care sectors) which are legally required to close under the current lockdown and cannot operate effectively remotely:
£4,000 - for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under.
£6,000 - for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
£9,000 - for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.
Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) – This scheme relates to grants that are available to eligible businesses for the period during the earlier local Tier 3 and Tier 4 restrictions on the Island, as follows:
During Tier 3 (26 to 30 December):
LRSG (for businesses that were required to close under the restrictions) - You may be entitled to a pro-rota payment for the five-day period 26 to 30 December 2020. The amount you may receive is based on the rateable value of your property.
LRSG (for businesses that were able to remain open under the restrictions) - This grant supports severely impacted businesses that occupied rated premises but were not legally required to close.
During Tier 4 (31 December to 4 January):
- LRSG (for businesses that were required to close under the restrictions) - You may be entitled to a pro-rota payment for the five-day period 31 December to 4 January. The amount you may receive is based on the rateable value of your property
- LRSG (for businesses that were able to remain open under the restrictions) –You are not entitled to a payment.
Please use this application form for the rolling grant payments, one-off top up grants, and LRSG categories under Tier 3 and Tier 4.
Winter Business Support Grant (WBSG) – The council created this scheme as an extension of the previous Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme, which operated for the previous November lockdown. This discretionary scheme supports businesses severely impacted by the lockdown, including those in the supply chain and not eligible for national lockdown or LRSG support.
The WBSG scheme closed to new applications at midnight on 5 February. Payments will still continue to be made to those being processed. Currently no further discretionary funding has been announced by the government.
If you have any queries please email email@example.com
Christmas support grant for ‘wet’ led pubs - This scheme was for pubs in Tier 3 between 2 December 2020 and 29 December 2020. Eligibility included having less than 50 per cent in revenue from food sales.
This scheme closed to applications on 28 February.
If you have any queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Special ‘support finder’ tool
The government has published a special ‘support finder’ tool to help businesses and the self-employed quickly and easily find out what financial support is available.
Grant support schemes
Restart and Recovery, and Kickstarting Tourism Grant Fund
The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is seeking applications for a share of a new £375,000 grant fund for SMEs.
The Restart and Recovery and Kickstarting Tourism Grants have been created specifically to help those in Solent LEP area to adapt and diversify in response to the impacts of Covid-19, with at least £157,000 ring-fenced to support the visitor economy.
Visit the Solent LEP webpage - restart and recovery for more details on the grants and an online application form.
Round one of the fund will close once 1,000 applications have been received, or one week from its launch on 16 September 2020, whichever is the sooner. Should 1,000 applications not be received, round one will close at 11.59 pm on 23 September 2020. The Solent LEP is expecting application levels to be very high and is strongly encouraging businesses to apply as soon as possible.
Support package for businesses
The government introduced a package of temporary measures to support businesses through the disruption caused by COVID-19, beginning in March 2020.
These have included:
an extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme;
deferring VAT and Income Tax payments;
a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs;
a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England;
grant funding schemes based around business rating qualification (earlier in the year and during the second lockdown);
local discretionary grant funding schemes (earlier in the year and during the second lockdown);
the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank;
a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans;
the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme;
self-assessment income tax payments that were due in July, can be deferred to the end of January 2021;
self-employed people can receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months;
a government-backed Bounce Back Loans scheme for small and medium businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000;
a Future Fund providing government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors - the scheme is open for applications until the end of September 2020.
Small Business Britain introduced ‘The Big Support’ campaign to encourage small businesses to reach out for support during this difficult time.
The resources listed below provide further websites, phonelines and free chat rooms to attempt to resolve issues and uncertainties that people have been facing.
Business Support Helpline - Telephone 0300 456 3565 (England), business support and advice directly from the government.
Government WhatsApp service – Telephone 07860 064422 a free to use service set up by the government to provide official information and advice about coronavirus.
Enterprise Nation - a website providing up to date government information, support schemes and advice for businesses through an online FAQ and live chat service.
BT Skills for Tomorrow - helping families, businesses and communities across the UK widen their skills with the use of online courses in a variety of different topics, such as: managing your money, using email, promoting your business, learning how to use LinkedIn and much more.
The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs Business Survival Toolkit - a free to use small business survival toolkit of support and learning resources that will be available for as long as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Coronavirus Support Hub - the Solent LEP has produced a support hub to allow individuals to have access to relevant information and advice.
WSX Enterprise Free Business Advice - supporting SMEs with 1:1 email and telephone exchanges with advisers and business owners in the region.
COVID-19 Toolkits (NOSYDesign) - free browsing of articles from industry experts on how their businesses are dealing with the current crisis.
Many businesses have needed funding support to help them through this uncertain period. Below is a list of opportunities currently available, including the Rural Business Resilience Fund which is specifically for the Isle of Wight.
Isle of Wight Rural Business Resilience Fund - grants of up to £2,500 for rural, small and medium-sized businesses on the Island looking to develop alternative ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic. For guidance visit IOW Rural business resilience fund - technical guidance. For the application form visit IOW Rural business resilience fund - application form
Sustainable Innovation Fund grants - Innovate UK (IUK), a government agency, is looking to help businesses recover, grow and create new opportunities from the aftermath of the pandemic. From an overall budget of £55 million, applicants can claim a maximum grant of £175,000 against their eligible project costs. Each project's total eligible costs must be between £100,000 and £500,000. Proposals must show evidence of key challenges as a direct consequence of Covid-19, and how the project can help solve them. In addition, IUK expects proposals to ensure that any recovery, growth and opportunity is clean and sustainable.
There is also funding available for innovative and research-intensive businesses that have been impacted.
Mental health support
The resources listed below are all free to use and can support you at this very difficult time.
Other key advice for businesses including COVID-19 related opening advice and guidance
For key advice on other council services affecting your business at this time, please access the relevant information via the links below.
These include areas such as:
Business asset toolkit
A Business Asset toolkit has been developed for use by the retail sector on the Island.
This toolkit provides template advisory posters to assist businesses in becoming COVID-19 secure. Businesses should ensure they have undertaken all steps to risk assess their business activities in line with the government guidance - working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).
Please note: As the situation is changing on an ongoing basis, businesses are advised to continue to check information on the government website for the latest updates.
COVID-19 in the workplace: a guide for employers, businesses and workers
This information sheet is a guide to explain what to do if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
An example review sheet is available to download and use.
As an employer, what is my role in preventing the spread of COVID-19?
As the restrictions have eased and businesses and sectors have reopened, there are a number of considerations for employers around the health, safety and wellbeing of their colleagues and customers.
COVID-19 is still a risk. Critical to success is prevention, which means working together to contain both single cases and outbreaks.
Businesses have responsibilities to undertaken a risk assessment and put in place controls and mitigation to make sure they are COVID-secure following the sector-specific guidance .
The opening of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace . Businesses should support this by keeping a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days, and help NHS Test and Trace if they ask for the data.
There is more guidance about this on the council’s COVID-19 webpages , or contact email@example.com
One of my staff has coronavirus symptoms – what must they do?
As soon as an employee shows coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must go home immediately to self-isolate . The staff member should book a test immediately by visiting the NHS website or calling 119.
As well as people who have symptoms of COVID-19 themselves, this can also include people who are directly linked to someone else who has symptoms:
- Those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms
· Those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government’s test and trace service regardless of whether or not they are showing symptoms.
What must I do if one of my staff has coronavirus symptoms?
This is what to do if there is a single case, if there are two or more cases linked to your establishment then please also refer to the later section and advice on outbreaks.
By following the governments sector-specific guidance , employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff is suspected or even in some cases if they test positive for COVID-19.
Things to do straight away
You need to ensure that individuals who are advised to stay at home following government ‘stay at home’ guidance to stop infection spreading do not physically come to work.
Enhanced hygiene, hand washing and cleaning regimes should take place in line with the COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings guidance.
Employers may need to keep staff informed about suspected COVID-19 cases among their colleagues. But if possible, don’t name the individual. This should be used as a chance to remind everyone about the symptoms and make sure they are aware of the process to follow to isolate and get tested.
Carry out a review of the information and factors in your workplace and the implementation and effectiveness of your control measures. An example review sheet is available. You might decide, going through this review, that there has been a risk of transmission. You may then consider further additional measures to limit the access or a temporary close of the premises. If this is the case please make contact with your Public Health England (Local Health Protection Team) or the council’s Environmental Health, Regulatory Services team for support and advice.
Negative test result
If the test comes back negative, the member of staff will no longer need to self-isolate. Members of their household and support bubble can also stop isolating.
Positive test result
If the test is positive, the member of staff should complete the remainder of their 10-day isolation period and their household/support bubble should complete the 14-day isolation period.
They will then be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service and should provide contact details for people they have been in close contact with in the 48-hours before they started to develop their symptoms. These details will be held in strict confidence and will only be used in compliance with data protection laws.
If a co-worker is at risk because of close contact with the positive case, then they will be notified to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service.
You may be required to complete a RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). Check out HSE guidance on RIDDOR reporting for more information.
How ‘close contact’ is defined
According to the Test and Trace service , close contact can refer to the following:
Having face-to-face contact with someone at a distance of less than 1 metre
Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone.
Travelling in a car or small vehicle with someone – even if it was only for a very short amount of time.
Sitting close to someone on a plane.
If you work in, or have recently visited, a setting where there are other people present – such as a school, doctor’s surgery or place of work.
Interaction between 2 people having taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, will not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact.
However, the wearing of personal protective (PPE) outside health and care settings will not be considered as mitigation when assessing whether a recent contact is likely to have risked transmitting the virus.
What is an outbreak
This is when more than one confirmed case is associated with your premises or business.
We are likely to have an increase in cases in the community as the restrictions have lifted, so early outbreak management and intervention is critical to contain any outbreak and minimise possible wider cases in the community.
You must report to PHE Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection Team who can give support and advice to help you manage the situation.
More details are provided the in National Action Cards , which you should check before any outbreak occurs. Review the cards and download any that apply to your organisation so you are prepared in the event of an outbreak that affects you.
Media guidance in cases and outbreaks
If your businesses is affected by COVID-19 good and appropriate communication is critical to support you staff, reassure customers and the community, in addition to protecting your reputation.
If you are busy handling a difficult situation, media enquiries can add to the challenge, so the Isle of Wight Council’s communications team may be able to help if you need media advice or support as a result of COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.
PHE Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection Team T: 0344 225 3861 and you must select option 2
Business Regulations and Public Protection T: 01983 823000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Isle of Wight Council Communications Team E: email@example.com