West Berkshire Council

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for Businesses

Further easing of COVID restrictions confirmed for 17 May

From Monday 17 May, indoor hospitality, saunas and steam rooms, indoor sport and exercise classes, and cinemas, theatres and other indoor entertainment can all reopen, as well as all remaining outdoor entertainment. Larger events including business conferences and sports events can also resume, subject to the restrictions on numbers of attendees previously set out. The latest business guidance is available now.

International travel to green list countries can begin to safely resume, and up to 6 people or 2 households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.

Please read the full announcement.

 

You can now receive updates on information, advice and support relating to coronavirus straight to your inbox along with our new Business Newsletter. Sign up to the e-bulletin here.

 

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Grants for businesses

Grant funding is available to businesses who have been directly affected or forced to close by coronavirus restrictions, and some funding is available for businesses who are experiencing particular hardship due to restrictions. 

Please be aware that scammers are attempting to steal personal information under the fraudulent pretence of a grant offer via text. We will not send unsolicited text messages with links to grant offers. 

Local Restrictions Support Grant

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports rate-paying businesses that have been required to close by local or national restrictions. If eligible, you will receive grants covering each period of closure.

Christmas Support Payment

A one-off payment to support wet-led pubs who derive less than 50% of their income from sales of food.

Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary grant that will be administered by West Berkshire Council to support businesses who have been affected by restrictions and who either have not received other grant support, or require further assistance.

Restart Grant - April 2021

Lump sum grants of up to £18,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.

Business rate relief

Business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure properties.


Employees

If you are able to work from home, then under the new rules you must. If you are not able to work from home, then the risk of transmission can be substantially reduced by following the COVID-secure guidelines at work, which can be found here: Working safely during Coronavirus

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. You can claim 80% of an employee's usual salary for hours not worked, in any pattern, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers will still need to pay the pension and national insurance contributions of furloughed employees. Please review the Furlough Scheme for more information.


Business rate payments were deferred for businesses in all industries between March and April. If you have concerns about your ability to pay your business rates going forward, please email businessrates@westberks.gov.uk. It would help us to respond to you more quickly if you include your full business name, address and telephone number in all correspondence.

There is a wealth of support available to businesses in West Berkshire through the Berkshire Growth Hub. This can be accessed free of charge on the Berkshire Growth Hub website. The government has also announced interest-free loans for businesses as well as support for charities struggling with the impact of Covid-19. To find out what your business may be eligible for, you can use this dedicated tool as well as our own FAQs, which can be found below, businesses in need of support can learn more about what is available here.


Lateral flow testing information for businesses

Rapid testing is a tool that we can use to tackle Covid-19 and reduce the spread of this highly contagious virus within the workforce, and from the workforce into people's homes.

Rapid testing using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) will help to identify workers who are infected with Covid-19 but not showing any symptoms of the virus, referred to as asymptomatic. 

If you are a business owner who has registered for free rapid lateral flow tests, you have until 30 June 2021 to order the tests for use in the workplace or for your employees to collect and take home.

Businesses that did not register for free tests before 12 April now have two options available. They can either pay a government-approved provider to provide tests or run a testing site, or they can ask their employees to get rapid lateral flow home testing kits or have twice-weekly rapid lateral flow testing at one of our four testing sites.

Use the link below to find out more about how to get rapid lateral flow testing for you and your employees.

Government advice on ordering and getting tests


How do I find out if I'm eligible for Business Rates retail discount?
Find out about Business Rates retail discount being increased to 100% for one year and expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs).
How do I access the Business Interruption Loan Scheme?
Information about the Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will provide guarantees to lenders, to help support small businesses with loans of up to £5 million.
What help is available business and self-employed people in financial difficulties?
Information about businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities.
What support is there for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees?
Information about support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees.
What advice is there for businesses about the NHS Test and Trace system?
Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers.
Can I make food deliveries from my business premises?
Information for businesses considering making food deliveries from my business premises.
Have planning restrictions which control the hours during which deliveries may be made changed?
Information about planning restrictions which control the hours during which deliveries may be made to and from supermarkets, food retailers and distribution being relaxed.
Will there be a rates holiday for childcare nurseries?
Information on a business rates holiday for nurseries.
What help is available to support larger firms?
Information about what help is available to support larger firms.
Can I claim under my insurance policy for disruption to my business caused by COVID-19?
Information about insurance policies for disruption to my business.
What help is there available to businesses who are struggling to pay their staff?
Information about if you are struggling to pay your staff
What are the arrangements for making my business' VAT payments?
Information about making business VAT payments
When will self-assessment payments be due for self-employed people?
Information about self-assessment payments for self-employed people
What financial support is available for self-employed people?
Information about financial support for self-employed people
What advice is available for employees of affected businesses?
Information about employees of affected businesses
What guidance is there for Early Years providers?
Early Years Service information about support and government guidance to the early years sector
What is the guidance on social distancing in shops?
Information about social distancing in shops
How do I report cases of people profiteering from the COVID-19 situation?
Find out how to report cases of profiteering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How do I report non-essential businesses that are trading illegally during the coronavirus pandemic?
Information about reporting non-essential businesses that are trading illegally
How do I report personal protective equipment (PPE) that I suspect to be unsafe?
Information about reporting unsafe PPE
What should I do if I come across someone trying to sell COVID-19 cures or vaccines?
Information about reporting sellers of cures or vaccines
How do I protect myself from scams?
Information about protecting yourself from scammers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Helping businesses re-open in line with government guidance
Local Restriction Support Grant queries
Frequently Asked Questions
Local Restrictions Support Grant
The Local Restrictions Support Grant will support businesses that pay business rates on their premises, who have been forced to close.
Christmas Support Payment
Local Restrictions Support Grant (open) 3 December onwards
Local Restrictions Support Grant (closed) 3 December onwards
Local Restrictions Support Grant (backdated) 5 November - 3 December
Local Restrictions Support Grant
Restart Grant - April 2021
Business rate relief
Welcome Back Business Grants
£1,000 - £10,000 grants to help businesses drive footfall this summer
Town centres across the district will be opening on 12 April
Grant support for businesses impacted by coronavirus restrictions