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Some of our online services will also be unavailable on 24 November due to essential maintenance.

Sort It centre closures for weekends 21-22 and 28-29 November.

Many businesses are now legally required to display the NHS Covid-19 QR code poster. More information is available on the NHS website

We are sending regular updates containing the latest guidance and advice to business owners in South Gloucestershire. You can subscribe for these updates by email.

We also publish news on our Newsroom website. You can subscribe to Newsroom for the latest news by email.

This page was last updated at 13:20 on 6 November 2020.

Government guidance

The Government has published and is continually updating the following guidance:

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (Covid-19)

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19: guidance for employees. You can find further advice on financial support on our information for residents page

NHS Covid-19 app

To help businesses meet the new legal requirement to track and trace their customers, the NHS Covid-19 mobile app has been launched in England and Wales, including QR check-in.

From Thursday 24 September, designated venues in certain sectors will be required by law to display an official NHS QR code poster at their venue. Further information on those venues required to display a poster can be found on the GOV.UK website. This will make it easier for customers with the NHS app to check-in and allow NHS Test and Trace to alert users and provide them with public health advice in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a venue.

You may find this video helpful: QR Codes for businesses – a video explainer

Businesses and venues that are not currently expected to maintain visitor logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes, if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate or sit down in close contact for 15 minutes or more. By using the NHS QR code system, businesses will be helping to protect themselves and their customers from the impact of the virus.

Businesses can generate their QR code on the GOV UK website.

Face coverings

From Friday 24 July it is mandatory for customers to wear a face covering in any shop. Check our information about acceptable face coverings and how to wear and remove postcard. Businesses are welcome to download and print our face covering poster for use in shops.

From Thursday 24 September all staff and customers in hospitality venues, including pubs, restaurants and cafes, must wear a face covering. Customers can remove them when they are seated to eat or drink. Venues can download our posters for hospitality venues for printing.

From Wednesday 23 September passengers in private hire and taxis must wear a face covering.

Car sharing

At the current time, employees should not be car sharing with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble. We are supporting businesses in reinforcing this message. You can download our poster to put up in your premises or flyer to give to your staff.

If car sharing is absolutely essential, make sure everyone in the vehicle is aware of these guidelines:

  • keep apart as much as possible
  • wear face coverings
  • keep windows open
  • limit the number of people in the vehicle
  • wash your hands before and after each journey
  • clean the vehicle, paying particular attention to the door handles, after every journey

Business rates relief

A number of business rates reliefs have been introduced:

Business rates retail relief to be increased from 50% to 100% during 2020/21 and available to all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with no rateable value cap as set out in the government’s expanded retail discount guidance.

Pub relief is available for those with a rateable value below £100,000 during 2020/21 to receive a £5,000 reduction instead of £1,000.

Find out about business rates relief for nurseries during 2020/21.

VAT and tax

You can find guidance on the GOV.UK website on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (Covid-19).

Self Assessment tax payments due in June have been deferred until January 2021. Visit the GOV.UK page on Pay your Self Assessment tax bill.

Business grants for closed businesses due to national restrictions

The Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses closed from 5 November to 2 December 2020 is now open. You should carefully read all of the guidance before applying online.

If your business does not qualify under this scheme there will be a discretionary support scheme, details to follow, which will be published on this page and promoted on our social media accounts.

Additional Restrictions Grant

This is a local authority run scheme to support small businesses (with fewer than 49 employees) more broadly than the Local Restrictions Support Grant and have been severely impacted by the new restrictions. Find out more and how to apply.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The grant funding provides support for those who are self-employed either as a sole trader/freelancer or a member of a partnership and have been trading during the 2018/19 tax year.

Claims for loss of earnings can be backdated from March. The grants will be issued as soon as possible as a single instalment worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits and will cover three months work.

For more information and how to apply for the scheme read the GOV.UK guidance: Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Existing support available

Financial hardship scheme

Any business experiencing financial hardship may make a claim for help with their business rates. In extreme cases of hardship, up to 100% relief can be awarded. This reduction will usually be granted where it is evident that the business is particularly important to the local community.

Financial advice

  • if you are struggling to pay your business rates, call us so that we can discuss alternative options with you on 01454 867700
  • we are applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12 months automatically and will write to you with a revised bill
  • we are awaiting further guidance on the cash grants referenced by the Government for small businesses at which point we will write to eligible businesses
  • we are contacting our commercial tenants and we will provide support to those facing difficulties in paying their rent

Government support

For the central Government information about the financial options available and advice on how to reopen safely visit GOV.UK: Business support

Support for local businesses reopening

We are making our public spaces safer to enable our local businesses to reopen and enable residents to travel to work safely. Check our Making public spaces safer page.

Advice for food businesses

If you run a business that makes or prepares food the council will carry out regular checks on your food business to help you comply with the food hygiene law, to ensure the public is protected and that high standards are maintained.

Following the latest government and Food Standards Agency advice on social distancing, our food safety officers are not currently conducting routine food hygiene inspections in the usual way, to safeguard the businesses and our staff.  However our inspections are resuming but we are working to support businesses by collecting as much information from them as we can from a distance (by phone or email), so that our visits are quicker and we can spend time supporting on COVID controls as well as hygiene.

The lockdown means our programme is delayed.

If you are setting up a new food business, you should register on GOV.UK: Food business registration

The Food Standards Agency have produced guidance for food businesses to operate safely during Covid-19

New rules for businesses selling food or drink

From 24 September businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm. In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.

From 28 September, businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises Covid-19 secure including fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.

For more information visit GOV UK.

Advice for sports clubs and organisations

Support from Sport England

Sport England has announced a £195 million funding package to help sport and physical activity through the Covid-19 outbreak. Supported by the government and the National Lottery, the package is made up of:

  • a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, to which clubs and community organisations are able to bid for grants between £300 and £10,000 to help meet their obligations, such as rent and utility costs
  • a £5 million pot for existing partners of Sport England to bid into if they are facing specific financial difficulty
  • a £55 million pot to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment
  • a £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long term certainty to over 100 well established partners of Sport England, who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity

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