Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business support

Ban on more than six people meeting

Social gatherings of more than six people from different households will be banned from Monday (September 14) to halt a steep rise in COVID-19 cases.

The new move will make it illegal for larger groups to meet socially both indoors and outdoors.

It will also apply in people’s own homes and in bars and restaurants.

However, it will not apply to schools, workplaces, COVID-secure venues or places of worship. Up to 30 people will still be able to attend weddings and funerals.

Organised team sports will also be exempt.

Households – including support bubbles – which have more than six people will also be exempt from the new policy.

Those breaking the new law will face fines of £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200.

The ban comes as the figures show the number of under 30s testing positive for the Coronavirus has risen sharply since the beginning of July.

There is growing concern that although younger people are more resilient to the effects of the virus, it will jump to older generations who are more vulnerable and suffer worse symptoms.

You can find the latest information, including further details of what you can and cannot do, from the Government website (external link).

People are again being reminded that even after these new rules come into place they should still:

  • Wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds
  • Wear a face covering, when in a public enclosed space
  • Keep at least two metres from people (socially distance)

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The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy 

The government has set out its COVID-19 recovery plan which aims to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect the NHS. It is still very important that people stay home and work from home if they are able to. For some industries this isn’t possible. Restrictions have now further eased and more businesses can reopen from 13 July onwards

What businesses can reopen?

From 13 July onwards:

  • Spas
  • Nail bars and salons and beauty salons
  • Tanning booths and salons
  • Massage parlours
  • Tattoo parlours
  • Body and skin piercing services

From 25 July onwards (subject to assessment the evidence at the time regarding the rates of transmission):

  • Indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios
  • Indoor swimming pools
  • Indoor water parks

Already open:

  • Retail
  • Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs
  • Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts
  • Museums and Galleries
  • Cinemas
  • Hairdressers and Barbers
  • Children’s playgrounds
  • Libraries, community centres, bingo halls
  • Funfairs and theme parks, zoos, amusement arcades, outdoor skating rinks, social clubs and model villages
  • Places of Worship

Please visit our Reopening Safely page for the latest guidance updates.

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NHS Test and Trace

The NHS Test and Trace service forms a central part of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, which seeks to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible in a way that is safe. Once launched, this service will also play a pivotal role in providing an early warning if COVID-19 activity is increasing locally, regionally or nationally.

It is vital that employers and businesses play their part in the NHS Test and Trace programme to slow the spread of the virus.

Employers are being asked to make their workplaces as safe as possible, encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and support them when in isolation. Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods in lockdown.

The NHS Test and Trace service is designed to support businesses and economic recovery by:

  • Providing testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, so that if they have been tested positive, they and their household member know to continue to self-isolate
  • Helping to stop the onward spread of the virus in the workplace and wider society, so that fewer people develop coronavirus and have to self-isolate
  • Enabling the Government to go further in safely easing or lifting lockdown measures, as far as it is deemed safe to do so, thereby allowing the nation to return to normal as quickly as possible

Read the full Test and Trace guidance (PDF, 160KB)

QR poster for businesses update 

On 18 September, the Government announced that certain venues, including venues run by local authorities, will now be legally required to display NHS QR posters, to support the NHS Test and Trace app, at their venues from 24 September. This includes all venues from the following sectors:

  • hospitality
  • leisure and tourism
  • close contact services
  • places of worship, and
  • local authority venues.

Patrons will not be legally required to download the app but businesses including, but not limited to, cafes, bars and hairdressers, will be legally required to display the QR posters. Businesses will also need to run a logbook for people who either don’t have or are unable to download the app.

For more information for businesses, including guidance on generating the QR code posters, visit the NHS website (external link).

Further guidance is also available at GOV.UK (external link).

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Expansion of COVID-19 testing 

From 18 May 2020, everyone who is showing coronavirus symptoms is eligible to book a swab test to find out if they have the virus. People can register for a test on the NHS website (external link).

Essential workers (external link) are prioritised for testing. If you are an employer of essential workers, then you can offer tests to the following:

  • Any self-isolating members of staff who have coronavirus symptoms
  • Member of staff does not have symptoms, but members of their household do, they can get tested
  • Any of your employees who work in the NHS or care homes, regardless of symptoms

An employer referral portal is available to make the process as easy as possible. Employers can upload spreadsheets containing the details of essential workers who need to be tested into the secure employer referral portal. The system will generate invitations to the essential workers via text and email. Essential workers then log into the system and book an appointment directly. Employers should email to be given access to the employer referral portal.

For more information download the Coronavirus National Testing Programme Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 331KB).

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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

There has been widespread disruption to the supply market due to the unprecedented demand for PPE. Haringey Council has collated information from a number of businesses offering to supply PPE.

We are not endorsing these products and recommend that you look in detail at all the options available to help inform any purchase decision.

Disposing of PPE

New guidance on how to dispose of your personal or business waste (external link), including face coverings and PPE, during the coronavirus pandemic has been published.

Key details include:

  • Provide extra bins for your staff and customers to throw away their waste face coverings and PPE used for social distancing, and any other additional waste, such as takeaway packaging and disposable tableware
  • Make sure that staff and customers do not put face coverings and PPE in a recycling bin as they cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities
  • Make sure bins are emptied often so they do not overflow and create litter
  • You can put used disposable face coverings and PPE in an ‘offensive waste’ collection (yellow bags with a black stripe), if you have one
  • Check with your waste contractor if there is anything else you need to do

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Haringey Business support

If you need business support or advice our dedicated business support team are here to help. They are working closely with trader groups and individual businesses to ensure they are aware of the latest support and guidance. If you have a question, contact the team on

Business impact Survey

The Business Impact Survey is now closed. Thank you everyone that participated and shared their views on what support local businesses will need in the short, medium and long term. You can view the results on the Business Impact Survey page.

Further advice

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Contacting the council

Please keep checking this webpage, which we will be updating regularly with the latest news and guidance on business support.

If you’re experiencing any financial difficulties regarding payments to the council, please contact:

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Business rates and rent protection

All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, as well as nurseries, will receive 100% discount on business rates for 2020/21. This means that they will not have to pay business rates for the coming year. The new bills confirming retail relief have now all been issued.

The Government has announced extra protection for businesses through:

  • A ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments
  • Protection from aggressive rent collection, calling on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it and in recognition of the strains also felt by commercial landlords, see GOV.UK website (external link)

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Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

In response to COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Government announced there would be specific support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This support includes:

  • Small Business Grant Fund - a £10,000 grant will be provided to businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR) - closed 28 August 2020
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund - a £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that have a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 - closed 28 August 2020
  • Discretionary Grant Fund - closed 28 June 2020

For all the latest business grant information visit our dedicated business grants page

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support for employers


The government has introduced a payment to UK employers of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who returns to work and remains with the business through to the end of January 2021.

Employees must be earning above the lower earnings limit of £520 per month between the end of October 2020 (when the furlough scheme ends), and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021 and further details about the scheme will be published by the end of July.

Staff returning to work

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant (CJRS) for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

How to claim 

The scheme is now closed to new entrants. To make a claim, go to GOV.UK website - Job Retention Scheme (external link).

Adjusting your claim

If you’ve overclaimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you can either:

  • Correct it in your next claim
  • Make a payment to HMRC (only if you’re not making another claim)

You’ll need your 14 or 15-digit payment reference number that begins with X. You must contact HMRC to get your payment reference number. For more details visit GOV.UK (external link).

Statutory Sick Pay 

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will go live on Tuesday 26 May. Small and medium-sized employers - with fewer than 250 employees - can use an online claim service to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees.

Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. See the full SSP guidance on GOV.UK (external link).

Further guidance

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Government-backed loan schemes

The Government has announced two loan schemes for businesses who need short-term cash flow support.

The Bounce Back Loan allows small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within a few days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and will be available through accredited lenders, where you can apply through a short standardised online application. For more information visit GOV.UK website (external link).

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) helps businesses access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. Further information on the CBIL is available on the GOV.UK website (external link)

The maximum loan size under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) has been increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak. Visit the British Business Bank website (external link) for guidance on how to apply.

Further guidance

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Other forms of business support

Additional support measures announced by the government are:

  • Businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts, with those citing issues around COVID-19 being automatically and immediately granted an extension
  • VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 can be deferred until the end of the 2020-21 tax year
  • Businesses that are having difficulties paying their tax bill can contact the Government’s Time to Pay service for support

Advice for businesses that trade internationally has been published by the Department for International Trade (external link).

Businesses that have taken out insurance covering both pandemics and government order closure are able to make a claim. Standard business interruption insurance may not be sufficient as it is dependent on damage to property and excludes pandemics. The Association of British Insurers (external link) have produced a guide to coronavirus and business insurance, and businesses should check the terms and conditions of their specific policy.

The London Community Response Fund (external link) are providing grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to enable businesses to change the way they deliver work to ensure it continues to meet the needs of their communities, from switching to digital channels to redeploying staff to boost your capacity at a time of increased demand.

There is a wide range of support and guidance available to businesses, provided by trade bodies, networks and other organisations - please visit:

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Support for self-employed workers


The Chancellor announced on 31 May 2020 that the self-employment income support scheme will be extended. Applications will open in August. The second final grant will be paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of average monthly profits, capped at £6,570 in total.

Self-Employed Income Support scheme

The Government’s Self-Employed Income Support scheme allows self-employed workers to claim a taxable grant of 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether.

The online claim service is now open (external link). Please note, HMRC are contacting those eligible to invite them to apply online. 

The majority of your income must come from self-employment, your trading profits must be less than £50,000, you submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return in the tax year 2018-19, you traded in the tax year 2019-20, are currently trading, and intend to continue to trade in 2020-21 and have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to coronavirus. 

The grant will calculate a monthly amount by taking an average of your tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 (where applicable). It will be paid directly into your bank account in one instalment.

The government is also providing additional help for the self-employed through deferral of Self Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. 

For more information, please visit the dedicated GOV.UK Business Support page (external link).

Further guidance

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Creative businesses

The current crisis has a profound impact on all sectors of the economy, with retail, hospitality, travel and the creative industries hit particularly hard. A third of the creative sector workforce is self-employed, and 95% of all creative businesses are SMEs or micro-SMEs, making it particularly vulnerable.

If you are an arts organisation, business or individual working in the cultural sector, creative industries or night-time economy in London, please visit the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk webpage (external link) to register your details for support, guidance and resources. 

For creative sector specific news, resources and opportunities, you can follow @madebytottenham on Instagram and sign up to the newsletter here (external link).

Further advice and guidance

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Support for employees

Universal Credit

People who are working on zero hours contracts or are self-employed will be able to access Universal Credit and new style Employment Support Allowance. For those on zero hours contracts, their employers or the labour platforms they are using are encouraged to be supportive and provide necessary information. Visit the dedicated Universal Credit webpage (external link) for up-to-date advice.

Job Centres are relaxing requirements to attend appointments in person, but claimants are advised to contact their advisor as soon as possible. 

Connected Communities 

The council’s Connected Communities team are here to help if you are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on your money, accessing essential items or accessing the support you need. You can reach them on 020 8489 4431. This line is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 6.30pm.

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Further advice (external links)

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Page last updated:

21 September 2020

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