Daily Update: 26 March 2020

25th March: COVID 19 Update
March 25, 2020
Daily Update: 27th March
March 27, 2020
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COVID-2019 Updates
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Street Ambassadors

As long as government guidance and circumstances allow, our SIA trained street ambassadors will still be out Wednesday to Sunday. They will be there, keeping an eye on empty units, supporting the police and other security teams, providing advice and helping to keep our town safe.

You can call them direct on 07516 927 052

Please see below the latest update from the Department for Business, Industry and Energy. We expect an announcement tonight about provisions for the self-employed and freelancers. 

We meet regularly with the Local Council, MP and other agencies. If you have a concern that isn't being addressed at present - get in touch

Business Closures and Stay at Home FAQs

To reduce social contact and help stop the spread of coronavirus, the UK Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. A list of these businesses can be found here. With the exception of these organisations, the UK Government has not required any other businesses to close – it is important for business to carry on.

Where businesses continue to open, employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services. If your employees cannot work from home then they can still travel to work, provided they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available). Where that is not possible, and there are many types of job where that will be challenging, the PHE/Chief Medical Officer Advice is that it is okay to come to work.

A list of frequently asked questions alongside the appropriate guidance can be found here.


Further Guidelines Regarding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Chancellor had announced a generous package of financial support to small and large businesses across the UK which included the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). We have sought to make this as easy as possible and are therefore making further clarification on the subject of personal guarantees.

Whether a lender requires a personal guarantee for a loan supported by the (CBILS) is at the discretion of the lender, who is accredited by the British Business Bank. However, a lender is not allowed to take a personal guarantee against a borrower's principle residence under the scheme. So even if a personal guarantee is required under the lender's credit policy, it cannot be taken against the borrower's home.

Some major lenders have announced that they are not going to require personal guarantees on loans under CBILS the scheme (of any size).

If businesses are worried about the specific terms of finance facilities available under this scheme, they should speak to their usual lender. More information can be found here.


New Updates and Guidance

HMRC’s tax helpline is changing
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. The tax helpline number is changing. You can now call them on 08000 241222. Opening hours are from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected automatically.

Business Rates Expanded Retail Discount
Guidance on the operation of expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021 has been updated so that certain properties previously excluded from the relief, but that have been the forced to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions, will now be eligible for the relief. Many high street businesses that have closed due to Covid-19 restrictions will now be exempt from business rates including retail, leisure, and hospitality properties, estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls.

Vehicle owners to be granted MOT exemption in battle against coronavirus
Temporary exemption will enable vital services to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine. Further information can be found here.

Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp
The UK Government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice. To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. Further information can be found here.

Hotel accommodation to support key workers and vulnerable people
Guidance has been updated to clarify the exemption for hotels, hostels, and B&Bs to open so they can offer accommodation to key workers and support rough sleepers to keep them off the streets and in suitable accommodation. Further guidance can be found here.

MHRA guidance on coronavirus
Updates have been made to new guidance on exemptions from Devices regulations during the outbreak.
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