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Our COVID-19 Business Hub is a constantly evolving resource that will be amended as and when we receive updated information from the UK Government, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do (LATEST ADVICE FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT)

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Read more about what you can and cannot do

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

1. Work from home, if you can
2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
3. Maintain 2 meters social distancing, wherever possible
4. Where people cannot be 2 meters apart, manage transmission risk
5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

The 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory, and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.

Construction and other outdoor work – Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments. (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work)

Factories, plants and warehouses - Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/factories-plants-and-warehouses)

Homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes)

Labs and research facilities – Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/labs-and-research-facilities)

Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres)

Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services. (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery)

Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments. (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches)

Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles)

Guidance for Businesses

COVID19 Guidance Employers and businesses page 001

Be aware of and follow COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses from the Government. This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on:

  • the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer
  • advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19

Support available from the UK Government

The 2020 Budget announced a plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by coronavirus.  Additional support packages have been announced since and are detailed below.  For more information on the support highlighted below please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Key measures

  • Increased Business Rates Relief - the UK government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value.  
    The relief will also be expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors in response to COVID-19.
    Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
    Those businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the new pubs discount may need to apply to their local authority to receive the discount.
    Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your local authority, which if you are based in North Lancashire is Lancaster City Council. Guidance for local authorities on the application of the expanded retail discount will be published by 20 March.
  • Statutory Sick Pay - will be temporarily available to those who are advised to self-isolate and people caring for those within the same household who display coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. A new style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit will be available to those that are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the UK government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
  • £10,000 cash grant to small businesses - there will be a £10,000 cash grant to small firms eligible for Small Business Rate Relief. This will be delivered by Local Authorities and worth a total of £2 billion.
  • Time to Pay upscaled - a dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. For more information CLICK HERE
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - a new scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41m to apply for a loan of up to £1.2m, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees (subject to a per lender cap on claims).This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses. - Please note this may take a few weeks to set up. 

    Extended Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
    The Government has extended the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

    The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

    Please find further details here: https://bit.ly/UpdatedCBILS

  • Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
    Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.  HMRC have published their guidance on payment of furlough employees which is here:
  • Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
    We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
  • Business Rates Holiday - a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • Large Business Support - a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme- The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).  This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.


For more information on the above mention support please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Please note that this information will be updated as and when more guidance becomes available on how to access UK government support. 



  • Local Support for businesses during coronavirus pandemic

A business support team has been set up by Lancaster City Council to provide advice to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The aim of the new team is to provide a dedicated resource for businesses to contact for details of how to apply for funding from a number of support schemes.

The city council has set aside £1million to support businesses in addition to the Government’s own package of measures.

To register with the business support team email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The latest advice and support from Lancaster City Council can be found at  Lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus

Any food businesses that require specific regulatory advice should telephone 01524 582935.

  • Business Support Grants NOW AVAILABLE

Lancaster City Council is delighted to announce that it has launched extra support for businesses located within the district during the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief can now also receive immediate advanced funding from the council, to support with urgent cashflow requirements.

Although government funding is not expected to be released until early in April, businesses who are eligible for the £10,000 grants which were announced in the government budget on 11th March can receive a £2,500 advance on these grants direct from the city council. The balance of the grant will then be paid to businesses as soon as the central government funding is issued to the council.

In order to receive this advanced funding, businesses must apply directly via an online application form and qualify against certain criteria.  To apply please visit http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/sites/business/business-support-grants-fund

  • Businesses urged to apply for discretionary grants
    Businesses which have so far missed out on government coronavirus funding can now apply for new discretionary grants.
    Lancaster City Council has been allocated £1.68 million to distribute to small businesses which have so far been unable to access financial support.
    Eligible business will initially qualify for a payment of £2,000, with the potential for more depending upon the number of applicants and the level of funding remaining.
    Those eligible are:
    • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
    • Market traders with fixed building costs and no business rates assessment
    • B&Bs which pay council tax instead of business rates
    • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief who would have been entitled to Small Business Rate Relief.
    Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “While we’re pleased that further funds have been made available to support local businesses, designing a scheme to distribute a fixed sum to an unknown number of businesses has its challenges.
    “We’ve therefore made the decision to initially cap payments at £2,000, to try and make our allocation stretch as far as we possibly can and ensure as many businesses as possible receive some funding.
    “There are still payments available from the earlier funding streams that haven’t been claimed, and we’d encourage those who are eligible to make their claims as soon as possible.
    “We’d like as much money as possible to stay in the district, so we hope that eventually the government will allow any unclaimed grant payments will be added to this discretionary pot, as I know there are many businesses out there that are in desperate need of financial aid.”
    Detailed guidance on which businesses may be eligible for a discretionary grant can be found on the council’s website at Lancaster.gov.uk/discretionary-grant.
    The closing date for applications is June 30.
    Paper copies of the application form can be posted out to those who are not able to apply online.
    If you would like a paper application, or need help in accessing any of the business funding streams please either email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone Customer Services on 01524 582000.

AskForHelp partner social media title NO number

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on businesses, Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, is refocussing all its efforts from growth support to business resilience support.

They have a dedicated #AskForHelp team ready to assist businesses impacted by the coronavirus.  Their team can offer resilience tips as well as connect you to specialist advisers who can help you manage today’s unique challenges.

Businesses can access the #AskForHelp helpline by ringing 0800 488 0057. They can access the #AskforHelp hub at boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/askforhelp/

Coronavirus business impact to-do list - CLICK HERE


 *Page last updated 26th March 2020*