Table of Contents

Funding and Support

Support for businesses re-opening, diversifying or manufacturing new products

The Better Business for All (BBfA) partnership has produced a toolkit of resources to help businesses become COVID-secure, resume trading safely, and protect their staff and customers as lockdown is eased.

These documents will be regularly updated in line with the latest Government guidelines. Please check back often to ensure you are following the latest version. Some of the guidance may not apply to you directly, but can be adapted to suit your business.

How the rules will change on 12 April 2021

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 12 April. You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England.

From 12 April:

  • non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)

Rapid testing is a vital part of our defence against the spread of Covid

Rapid testing is for people who cannot work from home, and who are without coronavirus symptoms. If that’s you or your employees, people in this category should get into a pattern of having a rapid test every few days.

Slots are available now at the University of Hertfordshire. These can be booked up to two weeks in advance

Around one in three people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus to family, friends, co-workers and into the community without realising. Knowing if you have coronavirus even though you do not have symptoms means that you can protect your loved ones and help to stop the spread of the virus. 

Free rapid tests (also known as Lateral Flow Tests) are available by appointment only.  You’ll need to take your booking confirmation email/text to your appointment and have your mobile phone with you (please ensure it is charged). Results are sent by text and email in 45 minutes.

  • To book a rapid test, please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/rapidtest . Please check the website regularly for updates as several new test centres have opened across Hertfordshire.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus you cannot have a rapid test and must not go to a rapid test centre – instead please book a standard coronavirus (PCR) test at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Please share with your contacts and if you have any queries, email rapidtesting@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Better Business for All COVID Toolkit

In light of continuous high numbers of COVID19 infections and deaths – many attributable to the new variant and its increased transmissibility and the latest Public Health advice, we are advising businesses that they must review their health & safety COVID19 Risk Assessment, along with the effectiveness of all measures/controls in place, to determine which enhanced measures may need to be introduced.

Why: the new variant strain of COVID-19 is more widely transmitted, at least 50% more than the original strain, and therefore risk assessment controls need to be adapted;

Risks: if you do not review your risk assessment to adapt to the new variant COVID-19 virus, the virus can take advantage to infect workers, putting you at risk of serious outbreaks in the workplace.

These enhanced measures include:

  • Staff working from home where possible
  • Increased distancing of at least 2m
  • Improved ventilation rates
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning
  • Reducing the number of staff and customers on the premises
  • Increasing spaces to reduce interactions
  • Online rather than face to face interactions
  • Reducing group sizes within workplaces
  • Use of suitable face coverings in high risk areas rather than reliance on physical barriers alone

Along with implementing the above, here are some questions to ask when reviewing your Risk Assessment AND reviewing how effectively your measures and controls work in practise:

  • Are your staff working from home (if this is possible for your business) in line with government guidance? https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
  • Are the measures you put in place working effectively in reality?
  • How do you know? How do you monitor this?
  • What measures are not working well enough and what additional mitigations can you put in place to rectify this?
  • Do your staff understand the risks in your workplace and measures put in place to mitigate the risks?
  • Have you considered any staff that are exempt from wearing face coverings/masks and staff that are considered vulnerable?
  • You need to ensure that you are able to keep them, other staff and customers safe
  • How do you communicate your control measures and changes in your RA to your staff?
  • Do you provide training to ensure your staff understand what they must do to play their part in your business trading safely?
  • Do you need to provide refresher training? This will help ensure your staff don’t become complacent
  • Do you remind your staff that their interaction outside work could impact on the safety of their colleagues, for example car sharing?:
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Have you asked your staff for feedback on how the measures and controls put in place are working?
  • Have you put staff ‘bubbles’ in place if there is no option but to have your staff work from the workplace?
  • As more people get tested, this may result in more positive tests leading to the need to self-isolate – consider minimum staff levels and contingency plans for business continuity whilst remaining Covid safe
  • Have you installed any new equipment since you wrote/last amended your Risk Assessment?
  • If your business has a head office with other branches, how do you ensure effective regular communication and monitoring of Covid Secure measures working effectively between them?

Enhanced measures, should, where appropriate, be introduced without delay to help to reduce transmission of the virus.

Further information, checklists and templates can be found via the Hertfordshire Better Business for All Partnership’s Covid19 Trading Safely toolkit for local businesses. This includes risk assessment templates, FAQs for re-opening, risk assessment responsibilities, checklists on trading safely and much more.

VisitHerts Covid-19 Business Impact Survey

With many businesses being closed during March, instead of collecting visitor footfall as part of our monthly Business Barometer, Visit Herts invited businesses from across Hertfordshire to complete a short survey, to gain an insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting businesses.

This report aims to summarise the challenges that are currently faced by businesses in the county and identify what support and guidance businesses need. The report also looks to identify which financial schemes businesses are accessing, alongside highlighting any operational difficulties businesses felt they may have with a staggered reopening and with social distancing measures in place.

In addition, the report will also highlight ways in which businesses felt the tourism and hospitality sector could be boosted in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 and what steps the Government should take to boost UK inbound tourism when social distancing measures are lifted.

For serviced accommodation performance, this report presents data provided by hotel benchmarking company STR Global, who was also awarded the contract to provide serviced accommodation data by VisitEngland. 

We would also like to thank all the businesses who took the time to complete the survey during this difficult time. The findings from this survey are valuable not only to help ensure businesses are getting the support they need but also to help build a strategy for recovery.

Click HERE for the full report 

 

VisitEngland Covid-19 Monthly Profile reports

VisitEngland has commissioned a tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the U.K. and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time.

The survey addresses: the likelihood of U.K. residents to travel; when and where they plan to go; specific trip details such as accommodation type and activities undertaken and the type of reassurances they’re seeking from the sector.

The COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker is based on a U.K. nationally representative sample of 1,500 adults aged 16+ with additional boosts for Scotland and Wales.  This initially ran across a consecutive 13 week period between May and August 2020 and was succeeded by a second phase, updated on a fortnightly cadence, between September 2020 and February 2021.  A third phase commenced in March, consisting of 13 additional fortnightly waves extending the tracker through to August 2021. 

Click HERE for full reports

Research into travel behaviour during the COVID-19 lockdown

A Government study into the travel behaviour of people in the UK during the lockdown period aims to identify the social, attitudinal and behavioural effects of COVID-19. The first wave of research took place from 15-22 May in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and from 28 May – 4 June in Wales. This is the first wave in a series of four reports.

Some key findings:

  • During lockdown travel reduced significantly, with 61% of people using cars (either as driver or passenger), 58% taking buses and 56% of people using trains less often or not at all compared to previously. Working patterns changed; four in ten adults, 40%, say they worked at home more during lockdown.
  • Private modes of transport and active travel were the most common ways of getting around during lockdown; 63% drove a car during lockdown, 65% walked or wheeled all the way to a destination and 21% cycled. By contrast, high proportions of people did not get on a bus (82%) or a train (88%). Bus use was higher than train use; but only 6% made journeys by bus once a week or more frequently with even fewer, 2%, doing so by train.
  • Lockdown caused significant disruption to people’s existing travel plans. More than a third of adults said they had plans to fly abroad (35%) or to make a long-distance car journey in the UK (34%) which they had either cancelled or postponed, or had had their plans cancelled by a travel company. One in five (20%) had plans to travel by train for leisure cancelled or postponed in this way too. Smaller proportions had plans cancelled or postponed this way for travel within the UK (12%), coach (9%), ferry (8%) or going on a cruise (6%).

Click HERE for the full report

Resources

If you need resources that are not COVID related, click here

Guidance

COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.

The ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England and sets out how the government will continue to protect and support citizens across the UK.

Community Thank you:

Don't Struggle Alone

The local response to the current crisis has been incredible. But for each day the lockdown continues, someone near you is struggling. We could help.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council created the ‘Don’t Struggle Alone‘ video. The aim of the video is to let people know where they can get help, highlight some important work they have been doing, and thank the community for their effort.

Life Beyond Lockdown

As we learn to adapt to a different world, we can all play our part to help our communities and businesses get back on their feet – safely.