FAQs

Business Doncaster

FAQs

Updated 10th November 2020 at 15:00pm

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.

We are working tirelessly to process as many payments as possible to help all eligible businesses. Before we can make any payment, we have to check each individual requests and determine a business’s eligibility under the scheme. We ask that you remain patient during these difficult times, as call volumes, grant requests and queries relating to these are extremely high. We hope that the frequently asked questions below may help.

As a result of the additional Covid-19 lock down restrictions, funding of £30m has been allocated to Sheffield City Region (SCR) to help put in place economic support measures.
SCR have agreed a package of support to help local businesses, including those which are not registered for business rates, and have been forced to close or that have not been forced to close but that are severely affected by the latest restrictions.

This will be administered under the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme (ARG), details can be found here.

 

The following exclusions apply:

  • Business properties which are empty are excluded from this scheme.
  • Takeaway businesses are considered essential retail, and are therefore not required to close under national lock down. Such businesses are not eligible to support under this scheme.
  • Businesses in areas outside the scope of the restrictions, as defined by Government, are not eligible for this grant.
  • Businesses that have chosen to close but not been required to are not eligible for this grant.
  • Businesses which have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State aid permitted under the de-minimis and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework are not eligible for this grant.
  • Businesses that were in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made at the date of the local lockdown are not eligible for this grant.

In cases where it was factually clear to us that on the local lock down date that the non-domestic rating list was inaccurate on that date, we may withhold the grant and/or award the grant based on our view of who would have been entitled to the grant had the list been accurate. The decision to award or withhold a grant payment is entirely at the discretion of Doncaster Council. 

Any changes to the rating list (rateable value or to the hereditament) after the first full day of localised restrictions and business closures regulations came into force including changes which have been backdated to this date, are to be ignored for the purposes of eligibility. Local Authorities are not required to adjust, pay or recover grants where the rating list is subsequently amended retrospectively to the local lock down date.

Under the Local restrictions grant scheme - for businesses forced to close under Tier 3 or National lockdown measures

Under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) scheme the following grants are available to businesses forced to closed under either tier 3 restrictions (from 24/10/20) or national lock down restrictions (from 05/11/20):

The grant payable to an eligible business depends on the Rateable Value of the property as entered on the non-domestic rating list on 23 October 2020, and the length of time the business has to remain closed. These are as follows:

Rateable Value (RV)

Grant payable

RV of £15,000 and under

£1,334 for 4 weeks

RV of £15,001, but less than £50,999

£2,000 for 4 weeks

RV of £51,000 and over

£1,500 for 4 weeks

Under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (open businesses) for period under Tier 2/3 payments will be made based on the following levels, pro-rated for the relevant period of eligibility:

Rateable Value (RV

Grant payable      

RV of £15,000 and under

£934 for 4 weeks

RV of £15,001, but less than £50,999

£1400 for 4 weeks

RV of £51,000 and over

£2100 for 4 weeks

Under the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme

The grant payable to an eligible business depends on the level of fixed property costs (as shown below), and the length of time the business has been closed and has to remain closed.

Forced Closures grants (5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020)

Non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, accommodation, entertainment, personal care and community categories

Fixed Property Costs e.g. Rent

Grant payable

£0 to £1,499

£0

£1,500 to £2,999

£500

£3,000 to £15,000

£1,334

£15,001  to £51,000

£2,000

More than £51,000

£3,000


Open Business grants 
(hospitality, accommodation and leisure categories only)

(14 October 2020 to 23 October 2020, Tier 2 Local Restrictions)

(24 October 2020 to 4 November 2020, Tier 3 National Restrictions)

The total grant payable for both Tier 2 and Tier 3 periods is as follows:  

Fixed Property Costs e.g Rent

Grant Payable

£0 to £1,499

£734

£1,500 to £2,999

£734

£3,000 to £15,000

£734

£15,001  to £51,000

£1,100

More than £51,000

£1,650

We aim to make payment to eligible businesses within 10 working days of receiving an application.

We apologise if your grant request is taking longer to consider. This may be because we need to carry out further checks before a payment is made. This is often as a result of a discrepancy between our business rates records and the information you have provided on your e-form. If your grant request is still outstanding, please remain patient. A member of our team will be in contact if further information is required from you.

Yes. If you are an eligible business, once your payment has been processed we will send you an email notification, followed by a letter. The letter will include important information about state aid requirements and your eligibility to a grant payment.

Payments are being made by BACS payment. These can take between 3-5 days to reach bank accounts from the date of processing.

Yes, grant income received by a business is taxable. The Local Restrictions Support Grant will need to be included as income in the tax return of the business. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.

We ask that you do not contact us to follow up on your request or payment. Doing so requires us to redirect limited resources to answer calls and individual enquiries, slowing our ability to check and process payments to everyone as quickly as possible.

If your grant application is still outstanding, please remain patient. A member of our team will be in contact if further information is required from you. If checking the status of your request on MyDoncaster, this may show as 'closed' or ‘pending’. We apologise for this. This does not mean that your request has been dealt with and it may still be outstanding. We are looking to resolve this error and will deal with all requests as soon as possible.

Once your payment has been processed we will send you a letter confirming this.

We thank you for your patience at this difficult time.

If someone has one or more of these specific symptoms they should not be in work. If they are already in work when symptoms develop, you should send them home. At this point, it is advised that they get a coronavirus test.

Other than to get the test done, if not using a home test kit, the symptomatic person should not leave the home until the results of the test are known.

Your employee will need to go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ and pre book an appointment at a test centre. They can also order a home kit if they cannot get to a test site.

Once the employee has ordered the test, they’ll be asked by NHS Test and Trace to provide details of anyone who they have been in close recent contact with.

A close ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they’re infectious to others). 

The contact tracers will not consider the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) as a mitigation when assessing whether a recent contact is likely to have risked transmitting the virus. Only full medical-grade PPE worn in health and care settings will be considered.

If other employees: 

  • have face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (this will include times where you have worn a face covering or a face mask)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane

then they will need to self isolate – this will be advised by the NHS Test and Trace system or Public Health professional.

When someone first develops symptoms and orders a test, they will be encouraged to alert the people that they have had close contact with in the 48 hours before symptom onset. If any of those close contacts are co-workers, the person who has developed symptoms should consider asking their employer to alert those co-workers.

Close contacts at this stage do not need to self-isolate unless requested to do so by NHS Test and Trace or a public health professional, but they should:

  • avoid contact with people at high increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus, such as people with pre-existing medical conditions
  • take extra care in practising social distancing and good hygiene
  • watch out for symptoms and self-isolate if they also show signs of coronavirus

Employers may need to keep staff informed about COVID-19 cases among their colleagues. However, employers should not name the individual. If a co-worker is at risk because of close contact with the positive case, then they will be notified to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Employers should make sure their workplaces are safe by regular cleaning and by encouraging good hygiene practice.

If you think the employee meets the definition of ‘close contact’, you can ask staff to self isolate. You can seek advice from Public Health in doing so.

If the test is negative then they, their household and support bubble no longer need to self-isolate.

If the test is positive, it means coronavirus is confirmed.

They must now stay at home for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started.

Anyone who lives in the same household, and anyone in the household’s support bubble, must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started self-isolating.

If you have one or more of these specific symptoms you should not be at work. If they are already in work when symptoms develop, you should go home. At this point, it is advised that you get a coronavirus test.

Other than to get the test done, if not using a home test kit, you should not leave the home until the results of the test are known.

Yes. The person with symptoms and everyone who lives in that household must self-isolate at home until the results of the test are known.

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and your household. Anyone in your support bubble must also self-isolate until the results of the test is known.

When someone first develops symptoms and orders a test, they will be encouraged to alert the people that they have had close contact with in the 48 hours before symptom onset. If any of those close contacts are co-workers, the person who has developed symptoms should consider asking their employer to alert those co-workers.

A close ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they’re infectious to others). 

Your employer may inform you that there has been a confirmed case of coronavirus at your place of work. NHS Test and Trace will contact you if you have been in ‘close contact’ with the person who has tested positive.

NHS Test and Trace will contact you if you are considered to have been in ‘close contact’ with person who has tested positive for coronavirus and give you the details and dates that you should be self-isolating for.

If your employer thinks that you meet the definition of ‘close contact’, they can ask you to self isolate.

No. Anyone else living in the same house, as well as your support bubble, do not need to self-isolate unless anyone in the household or support bubble starts showing one or more symptoms of coronavirus. If this is the case, that person should get a coronavirus test and everyone in the household and support bubble should self-isolate at home immediately until the results of the test is known.

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

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 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.

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 

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 is open until the end of March 2021.

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 

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

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

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.

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

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

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 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

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