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LATEST NEWS

We'll keep you updated with the latest news as the coronavirus outbreak evolves here in the UK.

Updated daily - COVID-19: track coronavirus cases

The Public Health England dashboard currently shows 92 cases in Bristol, with the total cases in the UK at 22,141 as of 31/03/20.

TRACK COVID-19

30/03/20 - The latest guidance on Grant Funding Schemes

The most recent information released on the small business grant fund and retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund guidance, including:

– How will the grants be provided?
– How much funding will be provided?
– Managing the risk of fraud
– Rating list changes
– Post-event assurance
And more.

GRANT FUNDING

30/03/12 - Coronavirus press conference slides

Press conference slides and datasets used by Sir Patrick Vallance, to accompany the coronavirus press conference that took place on 30 March 2020. The slides include:

– Transport use change
– New UK cases
– Hospital admissions
– Global comparison of deaths

SLIDES & DATASETS

30/03/20 - Grant Funds for small business, retail, hospitality and leisure

In response to COVID-19, the Government has announced two grant funding schemes to support small businesses and businesses working in the retail, hospitality & leisure sectors. Applications are now open via Bristol City Council.

Read more to find information on:
– Who can get a grant
– Types of grant
– How to apply for one

Apply for grant

27/03/20 - Carrying over annual leave rules to be relaxed

Employees will now be able to carry their annual leave entitlement over into the next 2 years so that they don’t miss out due to COVID-19. These new measures will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlement and provides businesses with flexibility at an uncertain time.

RULES RELAXED

26/03/20 - Deferral of VAT payments

Temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020have been announced to help businesses manage their cash flow.

Guidance is available on the following:
– If you choose to defer your VAT payment
– What happens at the end of the deferral period
– What to do if you’re experiencing financial distress due to COVID-19

DEFERRAL OF VAT

24/03/20 - COVID-19 advice for accommodation providers released

The Government has released advice for businesses providing accommodation to take the necessary steps to close as quickly as possible, whilst following social distancing guidelines. These businesses include hotels, B&Bs, hostels, campsites, caravan parks, short term lets and boarding houses.

Read more to find guidance for families in temporary accommodation, for hostels serving food and for residents showing COVD-19 symptoms.

COVID-19 ADVICE

23/03/20 - A new ban on evictions for commercial tenants

There is now extra protection for businesses as commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.  Aiming to help businesses struggling with their cash flow due to worries around eviction, the measure supports the current conversations between landlords and tenants around voluntary rental payment arrangements.

EXTRA PROTECTION

23/03/20 - Business support launched

Businesses will now be able to access support from the Government in order to keep operating during the current crisis. Support available includes:

– Government-backed loans of up to £5 million available to SMEs through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
– The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility will provide a cost-effective way to raise working capital for large firms
– A new business information campaign has launched to ensure people are aware of the support available to their business

AVAILABLE SUPPORT

23/03/20 - PM announces strict lockdown for the UK

Boris Johnson has announced a UK lockdown, saying people can only shop for basic necessities and limit exercise to one form a day. People must also restrict travel only to and from work if it’s essential.

This BBC news article includes:
– The restrictions set out by the PM
– The businesses that will not need to close
– How to stick together, by staying apart
– The current challenge for police forces
– Other key developments

UK LOCKDOWN

22/03/20 - National Crime Agency warning

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned that organised crime groups may try to exploit the coronavirus outbreak to target the UK. Their proactive approach includes:

– Continuing to protect the public and leading the UK’s fight against organised crime throughout the pandemic
– Continuing work to protect children from online abuse
– Identifying that criminals are already looking to exploit the UK by running intelligence assessments
– Recognising and investigating coronavirus-themed malicious apps and websites, as well as email phishing attacks aimed at stealing personal information

NCA WARNING

22/03/20 - Government sets out plans to enforce closure of businesses and other venues

Guidance issued states that the local government will be responsible for enforcing regulations requiring businesses asked to close on 20 March 2020. Regulations include:

– Businesses who do not follow the restrictions will be issued with prohibition notices
– Fines will be issued to businesses who fail to comply
– Businesses could face the loss of their alcohol license
– There will be no limit to the fines of businesses who continue to ignore restrictions

CLOSURE PLANS

20/03/20 - Government announces further measures on social distancing

To limit the spread of coronavirus, measures to close entertainment, hospitality and indoor leisure premises across the country will take place from the end of trading hours on Friday 20 March.

– Social contact will be limited further by new measures taken from scientific evidence
– The public are urged to stay at home and limit travel

FURTHER MEASURES

19/03/20 - Avon and Somerset Police respond to the coronavirus outbreak

Avon and Somerset Police respond to COVID-19 to reassure the public that they’re taking all necessary steps to maintain critical functions, including:

– Expanding the Incident Assessment Unit by increasing the number of supervisors and staff
– Keeping the neighbourhood policing teams in place and safeguarding them to reassure local communities and maintain a visible presence
– Enquiry offices and public-facing police posts remain open to the public but this is under constant review
– Focussing messages to the public on encouraging people to report non-urgent offences online instead of through 101
– Giving daily updates to their officers with the latest advice and guidance from Public Health England and the Government

POLICE RESPONSE

Updated 23/03/20 - COVID-19: Government support for businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of measures to support public services, the public and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

– The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme enables UK employers to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary
– For businesses that pay little or no business rates, there will be an additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding which will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs
– The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SME’s with access to working capital of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years
– Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies

READ MORE

18/03/20 - Business rates: guidance on expanded retail discount

The guidance provided to local authorities on the expanded retail discount response 2020 – 2021, supporting operation and delivery of the scheme. This guidance outlines the criteria considered to be eligible for the scheme and does not replace existing legislation.

RATES DISCOUNT

17/03/20 - Government to grant permission for pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways

The Government will relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak.

READ MORE

17/03/20 - Budget 2020: new rate discounts

Information on the new business rate discounts following the 2020 Budget and the Chancellors Statement 17 March. There will be extra relief available to certain business ratepayers to help alleviate effects from the coronavirus.

Rate discounts are available for:
– Retail rate discount
– Child care providers
– Loans and lending

NEW DISCOUNTS

STAY CONNECTED

During these unprecedented times, it's important that everyone feels supported and everyone stays connected.

Coordinating a business community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have created three Facebook groups for our levy payers to communicate with other businesses within their area. Please use the groups to share experiences, ask questions and pass on any advice that has proved useful.

Click the links below to request to join the group relevant to your business:

Click here to join the Park Street and Queens Road group.

Click here to join the Harbourside group.

Click here to join the Old City group.

Please feel free to invite employees and other members of staff to the group.

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