Businesses and employers
This page provides key information for businesses and employers in relation to COVID-19 pandemic – including government grants and other support (including Restart Grants from 1 April 2021) and operating businesses safely.
Please follow the latest advice from the government - for employees, employers and businesses.
Government support (including the new Restart Grants)
The government announced Restart Grants for eligible ratepaying businesses in its budget of 3 March.
The Restart Grants are for those in non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors in England who receive a business rates bill.
Payments of these grants are due to begin from the week commencing 5 April.
Those Island businesses which have previously received a government COVID-19 business support grant and are eligible under the new scheme, should automatically be paid via their existing details held by the council. This is the same approach taken by the council for the most recent grant payments made to businesses covering the period up to the end of March. We are seeking further clarification from the government on exactly which previous COVID-19 business support grants and periods qualify.
Those businesses which have NOT previously received a government COVID-19 business support grant, but which are eligible under the scheme, will need to apply. An application form will be available shortly and must be returned by 30 June 2021.
There will also be a discretionary grant scheme run by the council. This will be launched in early April, once the council receives clarification from the government.
The Restart Grant support will take the form of one-off grants:
Up to £6,000 to non-essential retail business premises, to help them reopen safely.
Up to £18,000 to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises, which may open later under plans set out in the government roadmap and will be more impacted by restrictions when they do reopen.
The level of grant will depend on the rateable value in three bands: properties £15,000 or under, those rated £15,001 to £50,999 and those £51,000 or over.
Businesses must have been trading on 1 April 2021 to be eligible to receive funding under this scheme. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-restart-grant
Other grant support under national lockdown
The current position in relation to national lockdown grant categories is as below:
- Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG):
All LRSG grant schemes closed on 31 March including rolling grant payments, the closing date for applications for payments for the first cycle (5 January to 15 February) of these payments was 31 March.
The closing date for the second cycle of the rolling payment (16 February to 31 March) is 31 May. A new application form will be available from 5 April.
- One-off top up grants - the closing date for applications for these payments was 31 March.
We will continue to make payments as swiftly as we are able (please do not to contact us to chase payments as this may lead to delays).
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.
Other support schemes
Small Business Britain introduced ‘The Big Support’ campaign to encourage small businesses to reach out for support:
The resources listed below provide further websites, phonelines and free chat rooms to attempt to resolve issues and uncertainties that people have been facing.
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.
There is also funding available for innovative and research-intensive businesses that have been impacted.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 government's 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
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 one metre.
Spending more than 15 minutes within two 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 two 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: Tel: 0344 225 3861 and you must select option 2
Business Regulations and Public Protection: Tel: (01983) 823000 E: email@example.com
Isle of Wight Council Communications Team: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org