Public Health - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Businesses and employers

In relation to the COVID-19 situation please follow the latest advice from the government - for employees, employers and businesses.

This includes updates on safely operating businesses that have reopened or are reopening, grant funding and the full range of other support.

For key information on COVID-19 safe working for your business and other regulatory requirements please visit our Environmental Health pages and our covid secure business web pages.

For advice on what to do if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 in the workplace, see our guide for employers, businesses and workers below.  

New restrictions and support from 5 November 2020

New national restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus came into effect from 00.01 on Thursday 5 November 2020. 

Types of businesses that were ordered to close.

Additional financial support for businesses, including an extension to the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. 

New business grants - November 2020

The Government has given local authorities funding to support businesses that have had to close or that can remain open but are severely impacted by the lockdown.

There are two types of business support grants:

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)

The LRSG is a property related grant for businesses required to close by Government. This includes; non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality, sports clubs and personal care such as hairdressing and beauty.

The grants payable are mandatory and based on the business rates of the property as follows:

  • Properties with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under will receive £1,334 for the 4 week lockdown 
     
  • Properties with a rateable value above £15,000 but below £51,000 will receive £2,000 for the 4 week lockdown.
     
  • Properties with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over will receive £3,000 for the 4 week lockdown.

If your business has had to close, please apply for the LRSG from our business rates web page.

You will need your contact details, property business rates reference number and bank account details to complete the form.

 
Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)  
 
The government has provided funds to each local authority for use as a discretionary grant fund.
 
This grant will help businesses impacted by the restrictions imposed by the national lockdown. It includes businesses that do not have to close but are severely affected.  This could include businesses which supply retail, leisure, hospitality businesses.
 
Read the ARG guidance before applying for the ARG grant. 

To apply complete the ARG application form.

If you have any questions in relation to the ARG please email: ecdev@iow.gov.uk

 

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;

  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief;

  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value of more than £15,000 and less than £51,000;

  • grant funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value of £15,000 and under;

  • an additional discretionary grant scheme for those businesses which missed out under the small business and retail, hospitality and leisure funding schemes;

  • 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. 

 

General support

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.

 

Funding support

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.

 

 

 

Innovation funding

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 eh@iow.gov.uk

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.

Key Contacts

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: eh@iow.gov.uk

Isle of Wight Council Communications Team E: media@iow.gov.uk