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Business Recovery

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Employers and Businesses

Business Recovery

This page will be updated with information on the guidance and protocols being released to allow businesses to either restart operations or begin preparing to re-open with safety measures in place to protect workers from the virus.

Coronavirus Business Recovery Survey

Business planning, recovery and COVID SECURE operations? Have your say

Take part in our Coronavirus Business Recovery Survey to let us know how you are preparing your business for the next phase of socially distanced and COVID-secure enterprise.

This is an opportunity to ensure that your views directly inform government thinking and their next steps and any future investments and programmes Government or South East LEP may develop, with partners across the South East to support our business communities.

Click here to take our short survey

Easing restrictions on non-essential retail

In line with the government roadmap, on 15 June 2020 significant changes were made to the regulations to ease restrictions on business closures. These changes mean that further businesses and venues can open, in particular non-essential retail.

To reduce social contact, some businesses and venues, including many of those in the leisure and hospitality sectors must remain closed. The full list of business and venues that must remain closed are included in the table below, with exceptions shown in the right-hand column.

Failure to follow the law relating to these closures can lead to the business being issued a prohibition notice or the individual responsible for the business being issued a fixed penalty notice or being prosecuted.

All business and venues that are in operation should follow COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Click here for more information

'COVID-19 secure' guidance

The Government has released its recovery strategy document, Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, as well as ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

The new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance sets out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  1. Work from home, if you can
  2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
  5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

Click here to view the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy in full

Further information

Prime Minister announces additional lockdown easing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed additional relaxations to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Zoos, safari parks and outdoor drive-in cinemas have been added to the list of places able to open from Monday 15th June. Places of worship are also permitted to open for private prayer.

In addition, adults living alone in England, including single parents with children under 18, will be able to form a “support bubble” with one other household, the prime minister announced. The updated guidelines come into place from Saturday and are intended to ease the challenges of social isolation during the coronavirus lockdown.

Boris Johnson said the measures are a “targeted intervention” to help those who are most lonely.

“There are still too many people, particularly those who live by themselves, who are lonely and struggling,” he said.

Members of a bubble can stay overnight at each other’s home, and there is no need to stick to the two-metre social distancing rule. The relaxation of the rules does not include those who are shielding.

The bubbles will allow widowed grandparents to visit family members, or have their grandchildren to stay and will also allow single parents to get help with childcare from others.

Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough

People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the government’s furlough scheme even after the June 10 cut-off date. This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees. This applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave. Find out more here.

Higher education: reopening buildings and campuses

New guidance has been published to help providers of higher education in England to understand how to minimise risk during the coronavirus outbreak and provide services to students. You can find the guidance here.

Recovery Roundtables

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is chairing meetings of new ‘recovery roundtables’ as part of the government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

The roundtables bring together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics to consider measures to support economic recovery. They also explore key domestic and global challenges to support a green and resilient recovery and ensure the UK is at the forefront of new and emerging industries.

The Business Secretary’s recovery roundtables are focused on five key themes; each group will explore how business can work with government to deliver economic growth and jobs:

  • The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development
  • Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions
  • Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business
  • Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
  • The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK

Support for high streets

The High Streets Task Force has announced new training, expert advice and online resources for high streets in England.

The High Streets Task Force will provide access to cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely.

This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

Please find further details here.

Reopening of high streets

Shoppers will be able to return to the high street from Monday, June 15th, Business Secretary Alok Sharma has confirmed.

The Business Secretary has emphasised that in order to make sure staff and visitors felt safe, all re-opening businesses need to complete a risk assessment and display the government’s ‘blue sign’ which confirmed they were COVID-secure.

The Business Secretary added that if a shop re-opened without putting safety measures in place for staff and visitors, it would risk enforcement notices from either local authorities or the Health and Safety executive both of which regularly carry out checks.

The Business Secretary noted that pubs, restaurants, bars, hairdressers and other shops which are not covered by the current release guidance  would remain closed until July 4 at the earliest.

He thanked workers at supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and other essential retailers which had remained open during lockdown, and enabled people to get used to shopping at social distance in the ‘new normal’.

Face coverings compulsory on aircraft, trains, buses and ferries

Face coverings on public transport will be compulsory from June 15 to help stop the transmission of coronavirus as more people go back to work, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has said.

The government will require people to wear face coverings on buses, trains, tubes and other modes of public transport on the same day non-essential shops re-open.

Grant Shapps said “every precaution” must be taken as passenger numbers are expected to increase when lockdown measures are further eased.

The public will have to provide their own face coverings and fines may be imposed for anyone who flouts the new rules.

Guidance on face coverings can be found here and travel guidance for passengers is available here.

NHS Test & Trace

What is the NHS Test and Trace service?

The NHS Test and Trace service:

  • provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to find out if they have the virus.
  • gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had.
  • alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to selfisolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

By following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with coronavirus will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.

Click here to view the Government’s guidance for businesses, including information on the role of employers to ensure workplaces are COVID-19 secure, the risks in the workplace, how to support employers, contact tracing and guidance for self-employed.

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

The government has published guidance on the principles you should follow to ensure that time spent outside your home is as safe as possible. This page sets out key FAQ to inform the public and help you prepare for these changes, including workers’ rights as some sectors start returning to work.

Click here to view the FAQs.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, meaning the furlough scheme is being extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

However, from the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers expected to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July and the changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August.

Click here for more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Working safely during Coronavirus

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

Click here to find out more.

The Government has released its recovery strategy document, Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, as well as ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

The new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance currently covers eight workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  1. Work from home, if you can
  2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
  5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

The eight guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.

Construction and other outdoor work

Click here for guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.

Factories, plants and warehouses

Click here for guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses

Homes

Click here for guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers

Labs and research facilities

Click here for guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments

Offices and contact centres

Click here for guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments

Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery

Click here for guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.

Shops and branches

Click here for guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Vehicles

Click here for guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.

New guidance for Safer Travel and Safer Transport Operations

New guidance published provides advice on how passengers should make journeys safely, urging people to consider cycling, walking or driving to help ensure there is enough capacity for those who need to travel on public transport to do so safely.

The advice sets out that if people who cannot work from home and have to travel for work, they should first consider alternatives to public transport. Those driving their own cars have been asked to avoid busy areas.

Train operators have advised customers to continue to check timetables as they continue to accommodate infrastructure improvement work and may also add further services in the light of changes to government guidance.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators

This guide will help businesses, agencies and others understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus in the transport sector across England.

Guidance for passengers on how to travel safely

This guidance provides advice on how passengers should make journeys safely. The advice sets out that if people who cannot work from home and have to travel for work, they should first consider alternatives to public transport. Those driving their own cars have been asked to avoid busy areas. For those who have to use public transport, the guidance recommends:

  • Keeping 2 metres apart wherever possible;
  • Wearing a face covering if you can;
  • Using contactless payment where possible;
  • Avoiding rush hour travel where feasible;
  • Washing or sanitising your hands as soon as possible before and after travel;
  • Following advice from staff and being considerate to others.

All the latest guidance for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.

Next steps for the phased wider opening of educational and childcare settings

  • Updated information for parents and carers about the wider opening to nurseries, schools and colleges from 1 June is now available here.
  • Guidance is available here on how educational and childcare settings should prepare for wider opening from 1 June 2020, including information on year groups in first phase of wider opening, the latest science, and managing risk and rate of transmission of coronavirus.
  • All the latest guidance and advice about coronavirus in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students is available here.

Rules that have been relaxed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

A list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here.

Details have been added about business rates revaluation postponement, tax cuts to reduce cost of PPE and funding for free childcare entitlements.

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