Updated Information on how small businesses and the self-employed can weather Covid 19 – October 12th, 2020

Earlier today the Prime Minister spoke to the Commons about the new 3-tier alert levels being rolled out across England. Tonight he discussed these tiers with the public in a press conference.

Tier 1 – Medium
The majority of England is under the first tier which is medium.

In this tier people will need to follow the national restrictions that are in place:
– don’t socialise in groups larger than 6 indoors or outdoors (unless a legal exemption applies) – follow the rule of 6
– businesses and venues can continue to operate in a Covid secure manner (unless they are to remain closed as stated in law)
– hospitality venues are required to only serve food and drink to those seated at tables and must close between 10pm and 5am
– any venue selling food for consumption off the premises can do so after 10pm as long as it is through delivery, click-and-collect or drive-through
– schools and universities remain open
– places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
– weddings and funerals can still happen as long as they follow the restrictions outlined the other day
– exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed
– wear face coverings in areas where mandated
– follow social distancing
– work from home where you can
– plan ahead or avoid busy times and routes when travelling; walk or cycle if you can

Tier 2: High
Areas that are already under increased local restrictions will now be under Tier 2

– no mixing of households in any indoor setting – whether your own home or in a public place
– no socialising in a group of more than 6 outside (including in gardens or other spaces like beaches/parks, unless specific exemptions apply) – follow the rule of 6
– businesses and venues can continue to operate in a Covid secure manner (unless they are to remain closed as stated in law)
– hospitality venues are required to only serve food and drink to those seated at tables and must close between 10pm and 5am
– any venue selling food for consumption off the premises can do so after 10pm as long as it is through delivery, click-and-collect or drive-through
– schools and universities remain open
– places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
– weddings and funerals can still happen as long as they follow the restrictions outlined the other day
– exercises classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; indoor classes only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or if it is for youth/disability sport
– can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open for work or education, but reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
– wear face coverings in areas where mandated
– follow social distancing
– work from home where you can
– plan ahead or avoid busy times and routes when travelling; walk or cycle if you can

Tier 3: Very High
At present only Liverpool is under this tier.

Even though there are base guidelines for this tier, the exact restrictions for each area can vary so please check the specific rules for your area by going here. All areas under this tier will be reviewed every 4 weeks.

At a minimum:
– no socialising with anyone you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, indoors, in private gardens, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
– no socialising in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space (parks, beach, countryside, public garden, sports venues) – follow the rule of 6
– pubs and bars MUST close – can only remain open where they are able to operate as a restaurant (they serve substantial meals and can only serve alcohol as part of a meal)
– schools and universities remain open
– places of worship remain open but no household mixing permitted
– weddings and funerals can still happen as long as they follow the restrictions outlined the other day; but no wedding receptions allowed
– exercises classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; indoor classes only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or if it is for youth/disability sport
– avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in, or entering a very-high alert level, other than for work, education, youth services, to meet caring responsibilities, or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
– avoid overnight stays in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert area if you are resident elsewhere
– wear face coverings in areas where mandated
– follow social distancing
– work from home where you can
– can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open for work or education, but reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

The government will speak with local authorities to also agree to add further restrictions which might include:
– restrictions preventing sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (except for takeaway and delivery)
– closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions
– closing leisure centres and gyms
– closing public buildings (libraries, community centres)
– closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting highest-risk activities
– closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

You can read more about the alert levels by going here.

What financial help will I get if I have to close?

If your business has to close due to any of the restrictions, the Job Support Scheme is being extended to cover 2/3 of the wages of the employees for those businesses (up to a maximum of £2,100/month), and the government will pay those amounts. The business will also be able to receive a cash grant of up to £3,000/month instead of £1,500 every 3 weeks. Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and will only be asked to cover NI Contributions and pension contributions. You can read more about this here.

I am continually monitoring the updates that the government and other business-related departments release and will continue to share that information for as long as I feel that it is beneficial to all businesses in the UK.

The information and policies are continually being updated by the government, so I urge you to keep on top of the information by visiting the relevant website for your area.

UK:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
Wales: https://gov.wales/business-and-employers-coronavirus
Northern Ireland: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/

I will be trying to keep myself as informed as possible and will share relevant information on my fb business page: https://www.facebook.com/ihelmenterprises/