You can find the latest coronavirus restrictions on GOV.UK. Everyone without symptoms can access free lateral flow tests






The government have issued coronavirus business support and guidance 

To help find out what support is available for your business, you can use the government's coronavirus support finder tool

There are also other areas of support available from the government that can help businesses.

Restart Grant

This is a grant of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses, and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses.

We have received government guidance on this scheme, and we are currently implementing the processes to make payments.

Eligible businesses will not have to apply for this grant, but if you believe your business is eligible and has not received a Restart Grant, you can check your businesses eligibility on GOV.UK

For more information on this scheme, you can read our restart grant policy (pdf)

If you believe your business is eligible and wish to apply for a Restart Grant please email

Applications close on 30 June 2021.

Additional Business Support

Essex County Council provided Harlow Council with funding to support businesses that have not been included in the existing national and local coronavirus financial support schemes or where income, including financial support, has been unable to cover business costs. 

The funding provided grants of up to £5,000 depending on business size. 

To be eligible for Additional Business Support, your business must:

  • have been trading on 1 January 2020, before the start of the pandemic
  • have been adversely affected by the pandemic (for example, reductions to customer or sale numbers and reduction in cash flow so that meeting day to day working capital requirements has become unaffordable and unsustainable)
  • be located within Harlow in Essex (no requirement to be occupying rateable premises)
  • have been excluded from accessing other coronavirus financial support schemes or income, including financial support has been unable to cover fixed costs

You can find full details on the grant and eligible businesses in our Additional Business Support policy (pdf)

Applications for this support closed on 12pm on 4 May 2021

Essex Business Adaptation Grants

Essex County Council (ECC) have introduced a new grant scheme to support businesses which are impacted by periods of local coronavirus restrictions.

The Essex Business Adaptation Grant scheme will provide capital grants of up to £1,500 for small and medium enterprises to adapt their premises and operations.

The grants will support these businesses to carry out adjustments to premises to enable them to continue to operate, improve or diversify their business and make sure it is COVID-secure.

Adjustments could include purchasing outdoor seating, shelter and lighting to trade outdoors or to provide protective screens and barriers to keep customers and staff safe.

ECC have provided funding to Harlow Council to allow us to distribute grants to eligible businesses. 

The grant is open to micro, small and medium-sized business in Harlow.

To be eligible, your business must have:

  • fixed property related costs
  • been open and trading to visiting members of the public on 4 November
  • been required to close or been severely impacted by the restrictions imposed

You can find full details on the grant and eligible businesses in our Essex Business Adaptation Grant policy (pdf).

Applications for this grant close on 2 July 2021.

Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant

Support for businesses during the national lockdown:

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum - for businesses that have been required to close due to national lockdown from 5 November to 2 December 2020, from 5 January to 15 February 2021 and from 16 February to 31 March 2021.
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) - for businesses in the highest band of local restrictions Tier 3 or Tier 4 which have been required to close during periods of local restrictions.
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) - a discretionary grant scheme to support businesses in Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions that were impacted by the restrictions, but not required to close.
  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector) - for businesses like nightclubs that were required to close on a national basis since 23 March 2020.
  • Additional Restrictions Grant - a discretionary grant scheme to support businesses severely impacted by the national lockdown and coronavirus restrictions.

Applications have now closed for all of these support schemes. The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum for the period 16 February to 31 March 2021, closed on 31 May 2021.

We recently reviewed our Additional Restrictions Grant policy in light of revised government guidance and agreed a new policy with effect from 1 April 2021. Whilst payments are being made directly to those eligible, new applications finished on 31 May 2021.

We started making payments for the extended Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum for the period 16 February to 31 March 2021 on 25 February 2021. Payments were made automatically to all businesses who received a Local Restriction Support Grant payment for the period 5 January to 15 February 2021 and were still trading.

The payments were made to businesses as follows:

  • £2,096 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £3,143 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £4,714 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Business rates relief

Government have announced a new retail discount and nurseries discount from 1 April 2021. We have received government guidance and all eligible ratepayers have been notified.

Previous support schemes

The government announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown payments to support businesses and protect jobs

There was a one-off top up payment for businesses that had been forced (mandated) to close in the national lockdown from 5 January 2021. 

The one-off top-ups were granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Applications closed on 31 March 2021. All payments have been made to eligible businesses.

For more information on how we issued these payments, read our Harlow closed business lockdown payment policy (pdf)

The Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs supported pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food and had been severely impacted over the festive season due to temporary local restrictions.

Eligible businesses were entitled to a one-off cash grant of £1,000 from their local council in areas under Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions.

Pubs were eligible if they:

  • derive less than 50% of your sales from food (before coronavirus)
  • are in an area subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions since 2 December 2020
  • were trading on 30 November 2020

You can find full details of the eligibility criteria in our Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs policy (pdf)

We sent emails to all publicans in Harlow inviting applications from December 2020.

Applications closed on 28 February 2021. 

The Discretionary Business Grant Scheme aims to support small and micro businesses that are struggling due to the coronavirus shutdown, but are unable to access other government grant funding. The scheme follows guidance from government.

The funding will be used to support small and micro businesses such as:

  • small and micro businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
  • market traders with fixed ongoing costs
  • properties which are used as bed and breakfast that pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • charities in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief
  • businesses that service the retail, hospitality and leisure industry but did not qualify for the cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure or Small Business Grant Funding schemes

You can find full details of the eligibility criteria and exclusions in our Discretionary Business Grant Scheme policy (pdf)

The grant application window opened on Friday 3 July and closed at 4pm on Friday 17 July.

We have reviewed all applications and notified you in writing or by email if you are eligible for the grant. We have also notified you if you are ineligible for the grant and the reasons why.

We have administered the two business grant schemes:

  • cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure
  • Small Business Grant Funding

The Small Business Grant Fund provided grants of £10,000 to businesses that had already qualified for small business rate relief. You can get more information on the grant funding scheme on the government website

The cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure provided businesses in these sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property, depending on the rateable value of the property. The grants were only be paid to businesses that were granted extended retail relief and had a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000. You can get more information on the cash grant scheme on the government website

There was no application process for these grants, but from 7 April we contacted all businesses we considered eligible for the grants, either by email (if we have one) or by letter to the billing address we hold on our systems. 

Both schemes closed on 31 August 2020.

For more information, you can read our cash grants and small business grant funding policy (pdf)

The government provided a 12-month business rates holiday to the following businesses in England (the scheme has been expanded to a wider range of businesses with no cap on the property's rateable value):

  • retail, hospitality and leisure
  • nurseries

Eligible businesses will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You can check eligibility for the retail, hospitality and leisure scheme and eligibility for the nursery scheme on the government website.

Businesses do not need to apply for the holiday. We have updated the business rates system and issued new bills to all eligible businesses.

If you want to view your business rates account to see if relief has been granted, register for a My Revenues and Benefits account

When we processed the relief the government guidance did not exclude the possibility that State Aid would apply. However on 2 April 2020 it was confirmed that the relief is not a State Aid. We revisited the relief and applied it to all remaining businesses where the previous assessment was that State Aid may have applied. 

Running your business safely

All businesses and venues should follow national coronavirus guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Use working safely guidance to keep your workplace COVID-safe.

If your business needs help with carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment, you can use our risk assessment template (docx)

If you run a business with a physical location that is open to the public, you should create and display a QR code. Get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app.

Reporting an outbreak

If you run a business, you need to know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus. 

Public Health England (PHE) have produced action cards that provide instructions on what to do in the event of one or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your organisation. You can download the action cards on the PHE website

More advice

Business support providers can also provide help, on top of government support. They can provide advice covering a range of support topics, including access to finance and loans, existing support grants, training, and business planning. Some key providers are:

You can also join the Harlow Business Forum - a monthly online forum, hosted by Harlow Council and Harlow District Chamber of Commerce which is open to all businesses based in Harlow and the surrounding area and offers the chance to hear from local support organisations and business professionals about the latest news and opportunities. To join the forum email, and to keep up to date with this event and the latest local business news and opportunities follow Harlow Business on Twitter and Facebook