West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for Businesses

On 5 January 2021 a further national lockdown was announced to deal with a rapidly rising rate of infections.  

This page provides advice and information for businesses on the grants that were available for the periods of restrictions preceding the new national lockdown on 5 January 2021. 

During the new national lockdown you should stay at home, except in certain circumstances, and the following businesses must close:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing, homeware and electronic goods
  • Hospitality, including cafes, pubs and restaurants, with the exception of offering delivery or click and takeaways.
  • Accommodation, such as hotels, bed & breakfasts and guesthouses.  
  • Leisure and sports facilities
  • Entertainment venues, such as cinemas, museums, bowling alleys, arcades, soft play, zoos and fairgrounds
  • Personal care facilities, such as hair, beauty and nail salons, massage and tattoo parlours.

Everyone who can work from home should do so.

Full guidance and a breakdown of which businesses must close can be found on the Government website:

National Lockdown Guidance 

 

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.

 

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. 

Local Restrictions Support Grant - all periods

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.

National Lockdown Payment

This is a one-off payment which will go to all businesses who receive the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) to provide further support through the 5 January national lockdown. We will be administering this automatically with LRSG payments so you do not need to apply for this grant. Please see the LRSG page for more details.

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.


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.


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.
Additional Restrictions Grant
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 - all periods
Town centres across the district will be opening on 15 June