Coronavirus Emergency measures to support your business and protect jobs


What is the Business Support Campaign?

About the campaign

The government has launched a new phase of the Business Support campaign to help businesses across the UK meet the unprecedented challenge the country is facing in dealing with coronavirus (Covid-19).

The campaign aims to help businesses and their employees with a package of measures through this period of unprecedented disruption.

Here are 5 steps to take today: –

1.  Get help with your finances

For small and medium sized businesses, the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available for applications.  For more information and how to apply, visit Gov.UK.

You can also speak to your bank or lender to discuss options.  The Bank of England’s new lending facility for larger firms is also open for applications.  Find out more on their website.

2.  See what you’re entitled to

The government is also making cash grants and additional funding available to certain sectors and smaller businesses.  Find out more about the schemes available and whether you’re eligible here.  If you are eligible for a grant, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council will contact you, you do not need to apply. 

All businesses receiving small business rate relief, or rural rate relief will be entitled to a grant of £10,000.

There will also be grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. If you are in a property with a rateable value of up to £10,000 and eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

3. Support your staff

Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government will pay salaries (at 80% of current pay up to £2,500 a month) for workers who are no longer working and would otherwise be made redundant.

for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 2 weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full.  Find out more on their website.

You will also find messaging in this toolkit that can be used in your internal staff communications.

4. Check guidance on tax

If you are concerned about paying your tax you can talk to HMRC about managing payments.

Upcoming VAT payments  through to June have been postponed, business rates for many sectors have been cancelled and the government has delayed July’s self-assessment tax payments until January 2021.  To find out more visit the Gov.UK website.

5. Follow the latest advice

The Gov.UK website will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.

The Prime Minister’s daily press conference, live streamed on the @10DowningStreet Twitter feed, will also provide the latest updates on health advice, support for businesses and employees, as well as a range of other issues.


Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce Webinar Topic Survey

Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is working with Willmott Dixon, to host a number of webinars on topics that they hope you will find useful.

These could be on anything from Marketing, Networking, People Management, Time Management, to current technology and its potential uses for remote working.

They would like to hear from you to ensure they deliver relevant content and are asking you to complete a very short survey, which should take no longer than two minutes of your time to complete.  Click here to take the survey. 


Coronavirus Q&A for business owners

If you have any questions on what will happen to your business such as: “Can I ask my staff to take a pay cut?”, “What grants can I access?”, “Will my insurance cover me?”, “Where do I stand with redundancies?”, “What are the changes to Statutory Sick Pay and how do I claim it?”, “How do I keep my employees engaged and productive when they’re working from home?”, “How do I manage holiday leave once this is over if nobody is taking it now?”. Click here to view a Q&A session where all these questions and much more have been answered.


Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational

This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers. Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect. People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.

Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their licenses does not already permit.

Click here to read more.


Package of support available from Affinity Water to help those in financial difficulty as a result of Coronavirus

Affinity Water are publicising a package of support which is available from Affinity Water to households in financial difficulty as a result of the Coronavirus. This vitally important support includes access to payment breaks, help to reduce costs and the opportunity to spread bill payments.

From the 23 March 2020 anyone impacted financially by the Coronavirus can get help accessing the support via the Affinity Water website.

In addition, Affinity Water is calling on anyone with existing health issues to register for its priority services so they can access additional support if required.


Local Businesses Crime Prevention Letter

Welwyn Hatfield Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is working closer than ever in these unprecedented times, to continue to keep our community safe and well.

With the recent government guidance proposing changes that are impacting on local retailers/businesses, we wanted to share some advice around keeping you, your business and your staff safe at this time.

If your staff fall victim to an assault or witness violence in your premises

  • Try to remain calm and think of safety: yours, your customers and colleagues are paramount. If the perpetrator has left the premises, consider recording a description and reporting this to police as soon as possible.
  • Trust your instincts and maximise distance between yourself, customers, colleagues and any aggressive parties.
  • Ensure corporate conflict and exit contingency plans are adhered to.
  • Use hold-up/ panic alarms if it is appropriate to do so. If there is a hold-up alarm installed, use it, but only when safe to do so.
  • Consider the use of body worn video technology to capture evidence and positively impact upon the behaviour of those involved in violence on your premises.

Closed Premises/Venues that have been temporarily shut

  • Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational
  • Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. Ensure security gates, bollards and fire exit doors have been secured prior to closure of the premises.
  • Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use.
  • Make sure you have a list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency.
  • Ensure your contact details for staff are up to date.
  • Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view.
  • Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside and are instead with dedicated key holders.
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises / surrounding area.
  • Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging – consider the risk of arson.
  • Review your CCTV to confirm it is operational, provides good quality images and is positioned to cover as much of the stores public and private areas. You may wish to consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder.
  • Ensure that no cash is left on the premises overnight (leave a note on the door stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight) or store them in a security accredited safe bolted to the floor.

Physical Protective Measures

  • Secure by Design products – use security rated products where possible (www.securedbydesign.com)
  • External shutters are recommended but some buildings may be subject to planning approval before installation.
  • Ensure all doors leading from public to staff arteries, e.g. loading areas etc. are kept secure and monitored.
  • Laminated glass or security film can be applied to existing glass to make it more resistant to a physical assault. Shutters and grilles (subject to planning regulations) may also be a consideration.
  • An insurance rated safe should be bolted to the floor. Anti-tamper sensors can be fitted to set off an alarm if attacked.
  • Anti-ram, security tested raider retractable bollards, can be mounted externally to protect frontages but may require planning approval.
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household items.
  • Fogging devices that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be beneficial-you can’t steal what you can’t see.

Large gatherings/queuing

  • Premises should be adequately staffed with prominent management present who can make decisions or be identifiable to emergency services.
  • Consider an allocation system or queuing to provide items that are provided on a limited basis – or possibly keeping these off the shop floor for collection.
  • ‘Meet and Greets’ on main entrances can provide reassurance, customer care and a subliminal message to any prospective thieves.
  • Where possible SIA licensed security officers should have a visible presence on the premises in strategic areas.
  • All prominent household item areas should have a member of staff regulating them and depending on risk assessment, consider deploying security into these areas.
  • Establish queueing contingency plans, including any car parking areas, and ensure there is appropriate security and staff in these areas and the main entrances.

Reassurance to customers, some of whom may be anxious, is key to reduce anti-social behaviour.

  • Ensure that all staff are fully briefed each day on emergency procedures and working practices.
  • All staff should remain vigilant and report any violence or suspicious activity to the police.
  • Consider minimising the number of entry points to your building in concert with fire egress.
  • Ensure building perimeters are clear of any debris, dustbins, ladders or loose tools and equipment that could assist entry.
  • Check that your emergency equipment/grab bags, first aid supplies and radio communication systems are operational.
  •  Check and test your building security and emergency systems.

With the above in mind we would like to remind you to please keep up to date with and follow the latest government guidance on coronavirus, at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.