Southwark Council have kindly provided these latest series of updates for businesses affected by COVID-19. For comprehensive information on available support check Southwark’s business pages regularly.
Guidance for re-opening businesses
As more businesses are able to open, it can be challenging to keep track of the latest information. Please check our guidance for reopening businesses, which is regularly updated with information about what you need to do and how we can support you to reopen safely.
To help hospitality businesses reopen while keeping risks low and managing the impact on residents and other users of our streets we have published a Hospitality Activation Plan with specific information about new licensing, noise, street cleaning and social distancing measures.
Please help us to encourage considerate behaviour, and help keep customers and staff safe during reopening by downloading, printing and displaying these posters at your premises.
Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, as well as ‘close contact’ services such as hairdressers, and places of worship should also follow guidance on collecting details of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support NHS Test and Trace.
Keeping customers and staff safe
The government has produced guidance for employers on providing a safe environment for themselves, their employees and customers. The guidance covers different types of workplace including, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers.
This tool helps businesses to carry out a risk assessment and to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make.
TfL has produced guidelines to help Londoners travel safely to and from work.
From 24 July, it was made compulsory to wear face coverings in shops in England.
Summer statement announcements for businesses
In the summer statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a number of additional support measures for businesses affected by COVID-19.
Registrations for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme are now open. Restaurants and other establishments serving food to be eaten on the premises can sign up for the new government initiative aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out. Businesses participating in the scheme can download promotional material online.
From 15 July 2020 until 12 January 2021 a temporary VAT cut from 20% to 5% will come into effect for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions.
The Job Retention Bonus will be a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for furloughed employees who remain continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.
From 1 July, changes to the furlough scheme have started to come into force meaning employers can now bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked. From 1 August, the amount you can claim will start to reduce, month on month. The scheme is due to end on 31 October.
Support for employees who are made redundant
Sadly, people have already lost their jobs because of the pandemic and we know businesses will have to make many more difficult decisions over coming months.
If you are faced with making redundancies, please help to make your staff aware of the benefits and support that they can access. As well as government support, many local authorities offer additional support to their residents. Southwark residents can approach the council’s Southwark Works employment support service for friendly and professional advice on any employment and training needs.
Because I’m a Londoner
As businesses reopen safely, the Because I’m a Londoner campaign helps Londoners to feel confident that going out and spending locally is safe and the right thing to do. You can now use its free assets to promote your business as part of a citywide marketing campaign backed by the Mayor of London through the London Alliance.
Southwark Stands Together
Southwark is one of the most diverse boroughs in the country and it is our rich diversity, and the way our different communities, different ethnicities and different faiths, all live and work side by side, which makes our borough great. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our residents who are from BAME communities, alongside recent tragic events in the USA and the anger they have caused, have been a huge wake-up call. We are asking businesses to join the council in standing together against racism and injustice, and to work with us to take positive action to ensure equality of opportunity and a fairer future for all.
We are carrying out a number of listening exercises with communities across the borough, partner organisations and our staff to hear their concerns and identify solutions to address entrenched, persistent racism and injustice. These sessions will explore a range of issues such as inequalities in employment, business and education.
Thank you for continuing to follow guidance through incredibly difficult circumstances, keeping yourselves, your staff and customers safe. If you have any questions you can get help at SouthwarkBusinessDesk@southwark.gov.uk