Coronavirus

Contents:

Businesses

Running your business safely

All businesses and venues should follow high alert level 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

Support

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.

Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant

The government have announced they are providing additional funding to allow local authorities to support businesses which are closed or impacted by the November to December 2020 national lockdown and periods of local restrictions.

These funding schemes are:

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) - for businesses that have been required to close due to the November national lockdown.
  • Additional Restrictions Grant - a discretionary grant scheme to support businesses severely impacted by the November national lockdown.

You can check if your business is eligible by reading our policies:

You can also get more information in the government guidance for businesses

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 to local businesses experiencing additional pressures due to local coronavirus restrictions.

The grants will support these businesses to carry out adjustments to their premises to enable them to continue to operate, improve their business and ensure the health and safety of staff and customers.

We are waiting for guidance from ECC on the eligibility criteria for these grants. Once we have this, we will be able to finalise the application process.

We will make regular updates to this page in order to help and guide our local businesses.

Previous support schemes

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.

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. 

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: