Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin

23 Mar 2020

 This bulletin provides information for employers and businesses on Coronavirus (COVID-19). All guidance, information and announcements can be found at GOV.UK. Organisations should pay particular attention to the guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

Contents

Coronavirus Business Support

The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The Business Support website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your business. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available.

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. Find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply here.

If you are able to help promote the business support measures to your stakeholders and networks, key information and content is available here.

Information for Businesses & Employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Specific information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is also available.


 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Now open for applications

The new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years. The scheme is now open for applications. To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan. You can find out the latest on the best ways to contact them via their websites. The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website

 

Guidance for businesses and other venues subject to further social distancing measures

The Government has published guidance for businesses subject to further social distancing measures, including the list of businesses and other venues that must close and those now required not to sell food or drink for consuming on the premises. Closures are now enforceable by law. These measures will be reviewed every 28 days to consider their necessity and effectiveness, in light of changing circumstances.  

Critical workers – guidance for parents on school closures

Employers are responsible for identifying key workers within their business. Please think carefully before identifying staff as key workers and please encourage them to keep their children home where possible. Please share the following guidance with your critical workers:

  • If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in a critical sector and you cannot keep your child safe at home, then your children will be prioritised for education provision. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. Many parents working in these sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. You can find more information here.
  • You can also share the following social media posts: Twitter: https://bit.ly/CVSchoolClosureTW LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/CVSchoolClosureLI Facebook: https://bit.ly/CVSchoolClosureFB

 

COVID-19 essential travel guidance

New guidance and advice has been published to avoid all non-essential travel in the UK. Following on from the government’s guidance on social distancing in relation to COVID-19, people should avoid travelling unless essential.

Driving tests and MOTs for heavy vehicles suspended

The DVLA are suspending driving tests for up to 3 months except for critical workers, and MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers are also suspended for 3 months. Further details can be found here. Guidance on drivers’ hours relaxations has also been published.


Requests for Business Intelligence and Assistance

New technology challenge to support people who are isolating

£500,000 of funding is available for technology companies who come up with digital support solutions for people who need to stay at home because of coronavirus. Funding of up to £25,000 per company is available. For more information on the programme and how to apply, visit techforce19.uk.

Ventilator supply specification

The government is looking for businesses who can support the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the UK as part of our response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Specification of the minimally clinically acceptable ventilator is now available. If you think your business can help, please register your details.

Business Intelligence: share the impact Coronavirus is having on your organisation

We welcome information from businesses on impacts across supply, demand and labour markets, actions to address these impacts, and any gaps in the Government response from your perspective. Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk. We are aware that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly.  Please note that this inbox is only for receiving intelligence and does not provide business advice.