FAQs

Business Doncaster

Government Advice and FAQs

Below are some of the FAQs regarding business support during the coronavirus outbreak.

You can download two toolkits to help you amplify important messages about the current situation to your colleagues and networks.

The toolkit focussed on business support can be found here.

The toolkit focussed on protecting against the spread of the virus can be found here.

Guidance for employers, businesses and workers on test and trace can be found here.

 

Can my business reopen on July 4th 2020?

From Saturday 4th July 2020 the following businesses can reopen if they can do so safely:

  • Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Hairdressers 
  • Outdoor gyms and playgrounds
  • Cinemas
  • Museums and galleries
  • Theme parks and arcades
  • Libraries
  • Social clubs
  • Places of worship and community centres

 

The following businesses CANNOT reopen:

  • Beauty salons, makeup, nail bars and tanning studios
  • Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Spas
  • Sports and massage therapy
  • Well-being and holistic locations
  • Nightclubs
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys and Indoor skating rinks
  • Indoor play areas including soft-play
  • Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
  • Swimming pools including water parks
  • Exhibition or conference centres must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business or organisation who run the venue.

 

How to work safely during Coronavirus

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 11 workplace settings which are allowed to be open.

The 11 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.

  • Close contact services - Guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.
  • Construction and other outdoor work – Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
  • Factories, plants and warehouses - Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation - Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation
  • Labs and research facilities – Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments
  • Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments
  • Other People's Homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers
  • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
  • Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
  • Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar
  • Visitor Economy Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.

You can also find support information and the actions to take for the following sectors by clicking the links below:

 

Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance

New guidance on social distancing has been published. The guidance includes information on businesses and venues and going to work. This guidance applies in England – people in ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

 

Staying safe outside your home guidance 

New guidance has been published on the principles that should be followed to ensure that time spent outside the home is as safe as possible.

 

Active transport strategy

Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks, as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund to relieve the pressure on public transport. The Government will also be launching a campaign to encourage more people to look at alternative ways to travel, to walk or get on a bike for their commute instead of public transport. E-scooter trials will also be brought forward from next year to next month to help encourage more people off public transport and onto greener alternatives. Find out more here.

 

Public advised to cover faces in enclosed spaces

The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices, and retail, or by those who may find them difficult to wear. Find more information here.

 

New portal for care homes to arrange coronavirus testing

new online portal that makes it easy for care homes in England to arrange deliveries of coronavirus test kits has been launched today.

 

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do

Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have been updated. This guidance applies in England.

 

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance on coronavirus

Guidance and information for industry, healthcare professionals and patients covering the coronavirus outbreak has been updated to include warnings against purchasing fake or unlicensed coronavirus medicines.

 

Recorded webinars are available to help businesses:

 

Requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England

From 8 June 2020, new regulations will be in force requiring transport operators to ensure that passengers travelling to England from outside the common travel area are provided with public health information throughout the passenger journey. New guidance sets out the information that must be provided to passengers, and the manner in which it must be provided.

 

Suspension of evictions from social or private rented accommodation extended by 2 months

The Government has extended the suspension of new evictions in England and Wales until 23 August. Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort. More information is available here.

 

Higher education: reopening buildings and campuses

New guidance has been published to help providers of higher education in England to understand how to minimise risk during the coronavirus outbreak and provide services to students. You can find the guidance here.

The Universities Minister has also set out measures to support international students and the higher education sector including flexibility on visa regulations, and announcing the appointment of Sir Steve Smith as an International Education Champion to boost the numbers of international students in the UK. You can find more information here.

 

Introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services delayed until 1 March 2021

The introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services will be delayed for a period of 5 months from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the construction sector. You can find more information here.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: guidance for research organisations

To support final decisions on furloughing staff before the 10 June deadline for notifications, supplementary guidance for the research sector has been published. It applies to those involved in research, including research organisations in receipt of public funding.

 

PPE portal for healthcare providers

Healthcare providers can order additional personal protective equipment (PPE) through the portal to top up their existing supplies for COVID-19 in an emergency. The PPE portal can be used by  small social care and primary care providers. Providers who can use the service will receive an email invitation to register. Find out more here.

 

Payment deferral from money laundering supervision due to coronavirus

Guidance on money laundering supervision has been updated to explain that you do not need to contact HMRC if you choose to defer payment. If you’re due to renew money laundering supervision get a payment deferral for up to 6 months or deregister if you stop trading due to coronavirus. This applies to all businesses with an annual fee due between 1 May and 30 September 2020. Find out more here.

 

Companies House – changes to strike-off policy and late filing penalties

Companies House have updated information on strike-off policy. From 1 June 2020, there will be an exception to the suspension of strike off activity. In cases where our law enforcement partners have concluded that companies are no longer in operation following an investigation, the registrar will continue with strike off action for those companies. Find out more here.

 

Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in England.

Guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK has been updated.

 

 

Help the government increase coronavirus (COVID-19) testing capacity

The government wants help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK as part of its strategy to protect the NHS and save lives. We want to hear specifically from companies who can manufacture and supply:

  • consumables and equipment for coronavirus testing, in particular test kits (such as nose and throat swabs, transport media and vials) and RNA extraction lab consumables (such as reagents, plates and pipette tips)
  • new or existing types of coronavirus tests for antigens or antibodies.
  • public or private sector organisations that can offer laboratory capacity.

Find out more here.

 

What is CBILS?

CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME (CBILS) is a Government Backed Loan to support SME businesses that will be available through banks and other finance providers from now. Details are available via the British Business Bank.

 

How will the Wage subsidy be paid?

The government will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

It will pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

It is understood that the wage subsidy will apply to firms where bosses have already had to lay off workers due to the Coronavirus, as long as they are brought back into the workforce and instead granted a leave of absence.

The wages cover, which relates to gross pay, will be backdated to the start of March and last until the end of October.

You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.

Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June 2020. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June 2020, in order for the current three week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

**The HMRC portal to make claims is NOW OPEN**

HMRC have produced this step by step guidance on how to make a claim. There is also a calculator to help you work out your claim. The system can process up to 450,000 applications per hour and employers should receive the money within 6 working days of making an application. 

You can access the service here.

 

What happens while I am on furlough?

Once you are on furlough you will not be able to work for your employer. You can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you’re not:

  • making money for your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer
  • providing services to your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer

If workers are required to, for example, complete training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least their appropriate minimum wage (NLW, NMW or AMW) for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

Whilst furloughed your employer cannot ask you to do work for another linked or associated company.

If your contract allows, you may undertake other employment while your current employer has placed you on furlough, and this will not affect the grant that they can claim under the scheme. You will need to be able to return to work for the employer that has placed you on furlough if they decide to stop furloughing you, and you must be able to undertake any training they require while on furlough. If you take on new employment, you should make sure you complete the starter checklist form with your new employer correctly. If you are furloughed from another employment, you should complete Statement C. Any activities undertaken while on furlough must be in line with the latest Public Health guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Your employer can still make you redundant while you’re on furlough or afterwards.

Your rights as an employee are not affected by being on furlough, including redundancy rights.

If your employer chooses to place you on furlough, you will need to remain on furlough for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. However, your employer can place you on furlough more than once, and one period can follow straight after an existing furlough period, while the scheme is open. The scheme will be open until the end of October 2020.

 

I don’t pay business rates; will I automatically receive the £10,000 grant?

The one-off grant of £10,000 will be paid to businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief via the Small Business Grant Fund. The cut-off date to be in receipt of SBRR or rural rate relief is 11/3/2020.

If your business is not registered, then you will not be eligible for the grant.

**Requests are now open** please complete the online form here to check your eligibility.

When submitting their requests companies should use their postcode and select the address from there in the first instance rather than trying to manually input the address. If you encounter any issues please email localtaxation@doncaster.gov.uk with all of your details including business rates reference number and bank account details and their team will pick these up.

If you receive a message to say your submission is closed, please note this is not the case and the Business Rates team will contact you.

 

We are a Leisure, Retail, Hospitality business but our rateable value is less than £15,000, will we be able to get a grant?

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000 via the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

**Requests are now open** please complete the online form here to check your eligibility. 

When submitting their request companies should use their postcode and select the address from there in the first instance rather than trying to manually input the address. If you encounter any issues please email localtaxation@doncaster.gov.uk with all of your details including business rates reference number and bank account details and their team will pick these up.

If you receive a message to say your submission is closed, please note this is not the case and the Business Rates team will contact you.

 

We are a Leisure, Retail, Hospitality business and our rateable value is more than £15,000, will be able to get a grant?

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a property that has a rateable value up to £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000 via the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

**Requests are now open** please complete the online form here to check your eligibility.

When submitting their request companies should use their postcode and select the address from there in the first instance rather than trying to manually input the address. If you encounter any issues please email localtaxation@doncaster.gov.uk with all of your details including business rates reference number and bank account details and their team will pick these up.

If you receive a message to say your submission is closed, please note this is not the case and the Business Rates team will contact you.

 

When will I receive payment from the grant schemes?

Payments are due to start circulating from the 3rd April 2020 for both the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and the Small Business Grant Fund.

A text message will be sent to you once payment has been made.

 

What happens if I am eligible and have submitted a request for a grant?

The Business Rates team will send you a text message when you have been paid. This will be followed up by a letter about eligibility and state aid and a remittance advice. 

 

What should I do if I receive a rejection letter?

Please be aware that there is no appeal process. If you do not agree with the decision, and believe your business does meet the qualifying criteria set out by the Government, you can ask the Business Rates team to look at it again by completing Doncaster Council's online complaint form at www.doncaster.gov.uk/doitonline/complaint

 

Are there any conditions attached to this grant funding?

Any business who accepts this funding must confirm they comply with all the applicable State aid requirements. Businesses who accept this funding must also provide information requested by the Local Authority to support monitoring and assurance.

 

Is this funding taxable?

The default position is that these grants would be liable for tax, as are the business costs this grant is supporting.

 

Do I need a third party to process my submission?

No, submissions are via Local Authority websites at no cost to the business.

 

Can businesses with multiple properties claim multiple grants? (e.g. Can a hairdresser with three shops, each with less than a £15k rateable value, claim three £10k grants?)

Eligible recipients for the Small Business Grant Scheme will receive one grant per property.

Businesses eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure scheme can also claim one grant per eligible property.

 

Will businesses be able to claim support from both the grant scheme for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors and the Small Business Grants fund?

No. If a business receives a Small Business Grant, they will not be eligible for a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant on the same property.

 

It is not clear for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses that receive Small Business Retail Relief whether they fall into the ‘Small Business Grants’ category or the ‘Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme’.

Any properties falling within both the Small Business Rate Relief and Expanded Retail eligibility should be awarded one 10k grant. Businesses cannot be awarded both grants on the same property.

 

Can businesses who are eligible but don’t want or need funding opt out?

A business may decline the grant.

 

We are a large company; what financial support is there for us?

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

Find out more about eligibility and accessing the scheme here.

 

We are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund and are not in the Retail, Leisure or Hospitality industry, but are struggling with our rates payments, what help is there for us?

Doncaster Council is here to support you through this difficult period, please contact our Business Rates team via email: LocalTaxation@doncaster.gov.uk and they will offer you advice.

 

Am I eligible for a 100% Business Rates discount?

Most businesses in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector are eligible for the 100% business rates discount. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. We may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.

 

Do businesses need to register/have additional building control measures for a change of use to takeaway/delivery during the Coronavirus outbreak?

The planning laws have been relaxed for the duration of the this pandemic & any premises that wishes to change to a takeaway then there will be no enforcement.

You can find out more on the Government website here.

 

Is there anything that businesses need to do to move from retail to delivery during the CoVid-19 period? In particular around vehicle specs and insurance for drivers as well as hygiene issues?

Food Hygiene will be taken from the Food Safety and Standards team's last visit to businesses and the hygiene number will remain BUT businesses cannot change premises (e.g. moving the cooking to home), it must be the same premises the inspection was taken.

Check with your insurance company for advice around delivery for Car (delivery) & liability insurance.

 

We’re in the sport and physical activity sector – is there any help for us?

There is various support/funding opportunities available both locally and nationally for groups/organisations involved within the sport & physical activity sector.

They can be found here.

 

Should my business close?

For further guidance on which businesses are to close as part of further social distancing measures please visit the government's website here.

 

Additional guidance on social distancing in the workplace

To support businesses that remain open during this period in England, the government has published additional guidance to assist employers, businesses and their staff in staying open safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). For specific settings please refer to sector specific guidance. Guidance has been published for:

These guidelines are not intended to be comprehensive or to represent every business’s situation, but are illustrative examples. Businesses should also look at the advice being published by trade associations and similar groups on how to apply government guidance in their sector. Read the general guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus

 

Where can I find out more?

Keep up to date with the latest news and advice by visiting our web page and sign up to receive our e-newsletter here.