Coronavirus (Covid-19): service updates, support and health advice.

National rules and restrictions during coronavirus can be found on GOV.UK

Due to essential maintenance our online forms, grants system and planning, building control and licensing applications will be unavailable Saturday 19 June from 11am to midday.

We have regular updates with the latest guidance and advice to business owners in South Gloucestershire.

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We also publish news on our Newsroom website.

Government guidance

GOV.UK have up to date guidance on:

Practical guidance

Face coverings

It is mandatory for staff and customers to wear face coverings.

Businesses can download and print our face covering poster to use in shops.

Workplace testing

GOV.UK has information for employers on workplace testing and the different options available.

Rapid testing (lateral flow) can identify positive cases of Covid-19 so that people can self-isolate and break the chain of transmission.

Results are easy to read and available within 30 minutes.

If your business does not have workplace testing in place, you should encourage all staff to take rapid (lateral flow) tests twice a week at home.

The free home rapid testing kits are for everyone over the age of 16 without coronavirus symptoms. They can be collected from various locations, check our testing and self-isolation page for the details.

NHS Test and Trace

Venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services, community centres and village halls must maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.

All customers or visitors over the age of 16 should scan the NHS QR code using the Test and Trace App or provide their contact details.

GOV.UK have information on keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.

Businesses and venues that are not expected to keep records but have indoor areas where visitors may sit in close contact with others for more than 15 minutes are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes.

GOV.UK can help you generate a QR code.

Hospitality

Step 3 of the government’s roadmap is in place (from 17 May 2021).

You can read our Step 3 – quick guide to opening pubs, restaurants, and cafes.

Under Step 3

The rule of six applies indoors meaning a maximum of six people from different households, or more if they are from a maximum of two households, can meet inside.

Outside, the rule of 30 will apply. Venues may not cater for groups bigger than this legal limit.

Table service only is allowed in venues which serve alcohol, both indoors and outdoors, even if no alcohol is ordered. Venues which do not serve alcohol can allow customers to order and collect food and drink from a counter but food and drink must be consumed while seated at a table.

Other indoor locations open in Step 3 with Covid-secure measures in place include:

  • entertainment venues (such as cinemas, bowling alleys, museums and children’s play areas)
  • holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels and B&Bs)
  • organised indoor sports and exercise classes

GOV.UK has the full guidance on Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do (17 May: What’s changed)

Curfews

The government have not specified closing times under their Step 3 guidance.

You must abide by existing permitted hours stated on a licence or certificate for licensable activities within the current licensed premises plan.

Where outside areas are not part of a current licensed premises plan you are only allowed to sell alcohol for drinking on or off the premises until 11pm or the time that your outdoor area closes (whichever is earlier). This will change on 30 September 2021.

Food businesses

We will carry out regular checks on food businesses to help you comply with the food hygiene law and protect the public.

You should register your food business if you are starting a new one.

The Food Standards Agency have guidance on reopening and adapting your food business during COVID-19.

Business grants and rates relief

Local business grants (including business restart grants)

You can still apply for local restrictions grants. Business restart grants became available on 1 April 2021.

Read more and apply for Covid-19 local business grants.

Rates relief 

The government has announced further business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sector and childcare nurseries.

There will be 100% relief to the end of June followed by a two thirds reduction to the end of the year. This will be capped at £2m per business for properties which were required to close from 5 January 2021 and £105k per business for other eligible properties.

Due the complexity of these announcements it is taking longer to issue revised bills. These will be sent out as soon as possible.

Businesses that continue to pay as billed and are entitled to an adjustment will have any payment offset against amounts due for the remaining 9 months.

There will be no reminder notices for businesses that choose to wait for their amended bill while the 100% relief is available.

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.

GOV.UK have guidance on how to 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

Free business advice, support and training services

We have partnered with Cool Ventures to offer South Gloucestershire businesses a range of free advice, support and training. Visit the Cool Ventures website for the range of support and rolling programme of free webinars.

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

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