Covid 19 Business Support

Latest updates and business support for Covid 19

In these uncertain times the Worcester BID play a crucial role to support, lobby on your behalf and to promote that our city is still very much #open4business we have just evolved and adapted to allow for Worcester to stay at home and stay safe.

Worcester BID are working closely with Worcester City Council to update on grants as well as working along side British BIDs, ATCM and the Institute of Place Management to lobby on your behalf with the Government to support our city’s recovery.

Small Business, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants

Small Business Grant

In the Budget on 11 March 2020 the Government announced a scheme through which small businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000 and in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief would be eligible for a grant of £3,000. This was later increased to £10,000.
To qualify for the grant, businesses must have been liable for the business rates on their property on 11 March 2020 and be in receipt of small business rate relief.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Government announced that properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000 would be able to receive a cash grant of either £10,000 or £25,000. This is subject to state aid limits.
To qualify for a grant, businesses must have been liable for the business rates on their property on 11 March 2020 and have an entitlement to Expanded Retail Discount. As Expanded Retail Discount doesn’t begin until 1 April 2020, eligibility will be decided based on whether a property would have qualified for the discount had the scheme been in place on 11 March 2020.
View Expanded Retail Discount definition PDF (opens in new window)
Businesses that qualify under the scheme with a rateable value of up to £15,000 will be eligible for a grant of £10,000 and businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £50,999 will be eligible for a grant of £25,000. There is one grant payable per property.

Regisiter for a Business Grant

Social Distancing in Retail Stores

BRC-USDAW Recommended implementation practices for Non-Food Retail Stores A guide for retailers on how to implement Government advice
Version 1 : 2 4 April 2020

Read the latest guidence

Business Operations Updates

Pensions Guidance
The Pensions Regulator has published new Covid-19 guidance for employers.

Business Trading
The Government published updated guidance earlier in the month about which businesses are to close, can remain open and the situation with tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance in homes.

Debt Recovery
The Government has introduced temporary new measures to safeguard the UK high street against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic. Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants are to be temporarily voided and changes made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery.

Making Connections
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership have launched their Making Connections series of videos and podcasts for local businesses. These are updated weekly to provide advice and guidance on useful topics such as HR, finance, insurance and business leadership.

Key Information

Business Support Helpline
The Government has set up a business support helpline on 0300 456 3565. This is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm

Information and advice
Worcester City Council will issue updates on the website here and via Twitter @myworcester

How can businesses help?
Firms who wish to help the community can now easily volunteer their goods, services and time through the Worcestershire County Council #Here2Help campaign.

What is the impact on businesses? Have your say
Worcestershire Business Central is asking local businesses to complete an online survey to assist them in reporting the impact of coronavirus to the government.

Up to date information and advice from the government can be found here

Up to date information and advice from the NHS can be found here

Getting your Business Ready The Essentials 

Shops and BranchesRestaurants offering takeaway or deliveryOffices and Contact Centres

Review your staff policies
Staff and schedule plan
Risk assessments
Internal communications

○ Review safety processes and risk assessments in place for employees in line with national government guidance on COVID Secure business
○ Create a staff plan to reflect working from home, return to work, fixed teams on shift patterns, flexible working and potential support to work from home
○ Prioritising working from home
○ Vulnerable staff
○ Safe commuting available
○ Circulate new policies, health measures and timescales with staff and across the workplace
○ Devise advice on safe commuting
○ Order the necessary PPE for staff to undertake their work safely
○ Check if your staff can apply to be tested.

Check your Venue
Policies review
SLA review
Facility inspections

○ Internal policies to meet with landlord, managing agency and/or head office policies and guidance
○ Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and mechanicals ahead of re-opening
○ Fire/Life Safety systems
○ SLA cleansing services and frequency
○ Security measures for your office

Introduce physical distancing
Health and safety checks
Office traffic management
Access points

○ Identify and control access points for staff, customers and providers, consider one way systems to allow for distancing
○ Work with your local authority, BID and/ or managing agency/landlord regarding support managing potential issues with queueing or access
○ Display health and safety policies in place across the workspace
○ Provide PPE as required by the risk assessment ○ Encourage increasing the frequency of hand washing
○ Limit face to face meetings and use alternative technology

Apply social distancing on:
○ Office space
○ Separation panels, alternate seating spaces
○ Communal areas
○ Reduce maximum capacity allowed and introduce flexible time slot usage
○ Customer facing areas
○ Display social distancing spaces
○ Consider protective measures for employees where necessary

Review Surfaces & Point of Sale
Cleansing plan
Sanitising availability
Minimising risks

○ Review cleansing plan including potential new areas, hot spots, services, frequency and appropriate products recommended by Public Health England
○ Disable touchscreens, consider low-touch or no-touch switches, doors, drawers and other fittings
○ Remove high-touch shared tools such as whiteboard markers and remote controls
○ Consider restocking with food/beverage single-serving items
○ Provide sanitizer and cleansing products
○ Implement a clean desk policy
○ Identify safe storage areas for personal items
○ If possible, designate a specific enclosed room to isolate any person identifying themselves with symptoms


Hardship Funding and Support

The Turn2us charity provides guidance on the help available to individuals who are facing hardship. This includes a guide for the self employed and support for employees who have either lost their job or are in financial difficulties. They were also offering grant funding although this scheme is currently closed. However it is still worth checking their website for updates.

Citizens Advice has some useful guidance on the impact of Coronavirus and the help available. Details of Citizen Advice services in Worcester can be found on the website here.

Heritage Funding

National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50 million Heritage Emergency Fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The fund will address immediate pressures over the next three to six months for those organisations most in need. The £50 million fund will provide grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 to organisations across the full breadth of heritage including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.

Historic England has also launched a £2 million emergency fund to help tackle the impact of coronavirus on the heritage sector. This emergency financial support will run alongside other measures introduced by the Government and other partners in the heritage and cultural sectors. The fund will be used to support third-sector organisations and voluntary groups managing heritage projects, as well as heritage organisations and self-employed contractors who are severely affected by the impact of Coronavirus and who need additional emergency financial support beyond the Government’s measures. Applications are online here and will be open until midnight on Sunday 3 May 2020.

Emergency Funding for Community Sport

Sport England has launched a Community Emergency Fund to help support community sport and physical activity organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. The £20 million fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need. It’s specifically targeted at organisations who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing crisis.

The types of organisations eligible include local sports clubs forced to close at short notice but who are facing ongoing costs around maintenance and utility bills, as well as voluntary and community sector organisations who deliver or enable sport and physical activity. Grants of £300 – £10,000 are available to cover costs such as rent, insurance and utility bills subject to meeting the scheme criteria. Applications can be made online here.