Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business support

Government 3-tier restrictions

On 12 October, the Government announced a new three-tier Covid-19 warning system (external link).

At the moment Haringey, as part of London, is at High Alert and Tier 2 restrictions apply.

You can find out more about what this means for your business at our dedicated page:

Tier 2 restrictions ('High' Alert Level)what businesses need to know

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Additional support for businesses - Winter Economy Plan

22 October update

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced key updates to the support available to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Treasury announced that:

  • open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on
  • business grants are expanded to cover businesses in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas
  • grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings

The Job Support Scheme - which will come into effect on 1 November - previously saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33% of their normal hours. Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to 5%, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible.

Read the full announcement and find more detail on the Job Retention Bonus, the self-employed grant and business grants on the government website (external link).

Further information on what the updates mean for business grants in Haringey will be shared on our business pages as soon as we have it.

9 October update

Employees who work for UK firms forced to shut by law, because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, are to get two-thirds of their wages paid for by the government.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and run for six months, with a review in January.

Until November businesses that are asked to close can continue to use the furlough scheme. The grants will be paid up to a maximum of £2,100 per employee a month.

Additionally, for businesses forced to close in England, there will be an increase in business grants - with up to £3,000 a month paid every fortnight.

Find out more about support available to businesses at GOV.UK (external link).

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The Chancellor has announced the government’s Winter Economy Plan, which outlines additional support for businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus across the UK. The package includes a new Job Support Scheme for returning workers, an extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, as well as a further 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors until 31 March 2021, and assistance for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.

The Job Support Scheme sees employers continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work - but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one-third of the employee’s equivalent salary.

Other key updates include:

  • An extension of the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.
  • Up to half a million business who deferred their VAT bills will be eligible for the New Payment Scheme, which gives the option to pay back in smaller instalments.
  • Businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan will have longer to repay, through a new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system.

See the full Winter Economy Plan at GOV.UK (external link).

A guide to the Job Support Scheme can be found at GOV.UK (external link)

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Latest COVID-19 government guidance

5 October update

On 5 October additional guidance relating to all workplaces involved in the manufacturing, processing, warehousing, picking, packaging, retailing and service of food (external link) 

On 28 September the government updated the advice on how to make your workplace COVID-secure with guidance for the following sectors:

  • Heritage locations
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation
  • Performing arts
  • The visitor economy

See more guidance on working safely during COVID-19 (external link)

Specific information for venues hosting weddings and civil partnership receptions and celebrations (external link) is also available.

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22 September 2020 update

Businesses will face new restrictions following national changes that have been announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the Government looks to contain the spread of coronavirus.

With the number of cases increasing across the UK, the Government says the time has come for stronger measures to be implemented. Businesses should be aware of the following:

  • From Thursday 24 September, pubs, bars, restaurants, and all hospitality venues need to close at 10pm.
  • Table service - In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table. Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September), except for takeaways.
  • Office workers are being asked to work from home wherever possible.
  • In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.
  • The requirement to wear face coverings has been extended to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
  • The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.
  • In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
  • Fines of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate will now also be applied to businesses breaking COVID-19 rules
  • The spread of the virus is now affecting the Government’s ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events
  • The rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports

Read the Prime Minister’s full speech (external link)

A guide for Haringey businesses on the new COVID-19 laws

Below you can find a digital leaflet explaining the key changes to the COVID-19 laws which apply to businesses. A physical version of this leaflet is being distributed throughout the borough.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Restrictions Fixed penalty Notices (FPNs)

In the event of non-compliance, you/your business may receive a fixed penalty for:

  • Carrying on a restricted business or providing a restricted service between the hours of 22:00 – 05:00.
  • Failing to implement restrictions on the service of food and drink consumed on the premises.
  • Failing implement a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data and keep this for 21 days and/or display QR Code poster

The penalty charges range between £1,000 to £10,000.

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Ban on more than six people meeting

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

The new move has made it illegal for larger groups to meet socially both indoors and outdoors. It also applies in people’s own homes and in bars and restaurants.

However, it does not apply to schools, workplaces, COVID-secure venues or places of worship. Up to 30 people are still able to attend weddings and funerals. Organised team sports are also exempt.

Households – including support bubbles – which have more than six people are also 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 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, on 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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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, and
  • local authority venues.

See a full list of businesses required to display the QR code posters (external link)

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 

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.

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Early outbreak Action Cards

The Early Outbreak Action Cards have been developed for various businesses and sectors to make sure people who run businesses or organisations know how to:

  • recognise an incident of COVID-19, and
  • how to contain and report it, should an outbreak occur.

Find out more and download your Action Card(s).

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Personal Protective Equipment (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

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 to all those who 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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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.

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 over-claimed 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 went 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 scheme has been extended until 30 November 2020

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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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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Mental health and wellbeing support during COVID-19

Most of us will feel some sort of impact on our mental health and wellbeing as the coronavirus outbreak continues. This is completely understandable, and we want to reassure people in our community that you are not alone.

If you’re feeling restless, stressed, anxious or unable to sleep, there are services available to support you, according to your needs, on a local, regional and national level.

Remember, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious at this time, please reach out and ask for help, you’re not alone and support is available to you.

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Further advice (external links)

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

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Page last updated:

23 October 2020

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