Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 05 January 2021

Please see the most recent COVID-19 bulletin below.


£4.6 Billion in new lockdown Grants to support Businesses
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced today, Tuesday 5 January 2021, that business in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000. This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement last night (see below) that these businesses will be closed until at least February half-term, in order to help control the virus, and, together with the wide range of existing support, provides them with certainty through the Spring period. Detail:

  • One-off top up grants for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property, to help businesses through to the Spring;
  • £594 million discretionary fund also made available, to support other impacted businesses;
  • This comes in addition to the £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme.

The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.
For further information on the Chancellor’s announcement, click here.

National lockdown: Stay at Home
All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol.

Essential shops and garden centres can remain open. Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos must close, but the outdoor areas of venues such as heritage homes and botanical gardens can remain open, to be used for exercise. Playgrounds may also remain open.

Indoor and outdoor sports facilities including sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools, and riding arenas must also close. Elite sport and disabled sport can continue, as can PE lessons for those children attending school.

For more information on the national lockdown measures click here. To view the Prime Minister’s announcement, click here.

Government opens further COVID-19 testing locations for hauliers heading to France
Government has taken further steps to help hauliers get tested before they travel to Kent or any port heading to France, to reduce disruption for drivers as they carry goods across the Channel. The Transport Secretary announced on Saturday, 2 January 2021:

  • 10 new testing centres for HGV drivers to open across the country, with more opening over the course of the week, with the Army deployed to offer support;
  • Additional support for haulage firms to establish their own testing centres at depots, with kits provided free of charge;
  • HGVs using Dover and Eurotunnel will get fast-tracked past queues, if they get tested before arriving in Kent;
  • Hauliers are urged to ensure they have the correct documentation in order, including Kent Access Permits, before arriving in Kent, to ensure they can cross the channel.

To view the statement, click here.

Business Support
Coronavirus (COVID‑19) support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed.

Use the Covid checker tool to find out what coronavirus financial support is available for your business here. A list of financial support measures for businesses during coronavirus is available here.

New Guidance
Guidance for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19): This guidance is for employers and their employees or workers who may not be able to go into work because:

  • they’re self-isolating
  • they’re clinically extremely vulnerable

and sets out the relevant legal framework around absence and the return to work.
For more information, click here.

Business Support Helpline
There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1 January, and you need to take action now.  To help you, a helpline has been set up. For English businesses, the Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take. Similar helplines are available for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

For more information for:

  • businesses in England, call 0800 998 1098
  • businesses in Scotland, call 0300 303 0660
  • businesses in Wales, call 0300 060 3000
  • businesses in Northern Ireland, call 0800 181 4422

For more information, including opening hours, click here.

Updated guidance
Reporting outbreaks of Coronavirus
Guidance is available for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus. This information is contained within ‘action cards’ that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, or a construction site. The action cards are available by sector. For more information click here.

Testing for HGV drivers using the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel before leaving for France.

  • Guidance has been updated to reflect that HGV drivers leaving England for France can only cross the Channel with evidence of an authorised negative COVID test conducted within a 72-hour period before their departure. For more information, click here.
  • Testing at haulier advice sites: Free COVID tests for HGV drivers are now available at some haulier advice sites and will be available at more advice sites soon. Haulier advice sites are at motorway service stations and truck stops. Most haulier advice sites are open between 6am and 10pm, 7 days a week. To check if your nearest haulier advice site is offering free Covid-19 tests for drivers of HGVs, light goods vehicles, and vans, click here.

For more information on testing for HGV drivers click here.

International road haulage: HGV and trailer documents
Check which documents you need to carry if you're the driver or a passenger in a lorry or other heavy goods vehicle (HGV) that crosses international borders. Guidance has been updated to include new sections on the haulage licence and permit documents that you need to carry when visiting the EU including: a section on vehicle and trailer insurance to confirm the rules for carrying ‘green cards’; and a section on GB stickers to conform with the new rules on when they must be displayed. For separate guidance about the HGV driver documents you need for international road haulage, click here.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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