With so much being announced every day you could be forgiven for switching off due to information overload. So to assist you to navigate your way in these uncertain times, here is a summary of news we feel may be relevant to you and your business.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson sets out a timeline for retail to reopen in June.
Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed today.
The Prime Minister has set out:
- Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
- All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.
Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
The government is taking action to help businesses re-open and protect their staff and customers, including:
Publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches, and stores, after consultation with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
Working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.
The updated guidance considers the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures, storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example.
The vast majority of businesses will want to do everything possible to protect their staff and customers, but tough powers are in place to enforce action if they do not, including fines and jail sentences of up to two years.
As per the roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.
Claiming Back Statutory Sick Pay
The scheme to claim back SSP due to Coronavirus announced in March is now live.
You cannot use the calculator for periods of sickness before 6 April 2011.
Like the job retention scheme, the service is accessed via a government gateway user ID. Tax agents such as Davis Grant are able to make claims on your behalf.
You can claim back from both the coronavirus job retention scheme and the coronavirus statutory sick pay rebate scheme for the same employee, but not for the same period of time for that employee.HMRC Guidance
What is required
- The employer PAYE scheme reference number
- A contact name and telephone phone number
- UK bank or building society account number, sort code, and name of the account, for Bacs payments
- The total amount of COVID-19 SSP paid for the claim period
- The number of employees being claimed for
- The start date and end date of the claim period
Our Pick of Announcements and Government Guidance
Over the Bank holiday weekend, the Government has been busy outlining new funding and changes to legislation. Below is a summary of key announcements.
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and cannot do
The most frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.
Business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities
Guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
Guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation
Guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation.
Staying safe outside your home
This guidance sets out the principles you should follow to ensure that time spent with others outside your home is as safe as possible. If you are clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, you should follow the guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people and you can also get support.
PM confirms schools, colleges, and nurseries on track to begin phased reopening
Schools, colleges, and nurseries across England remain on track to open to more children from 1 June, the Prime Minister confirmed today (24 May 2020).
Primary schools will welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, while nurseries and other early years providers will begin welcoming back children of all ages.
Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will also provide face-to-face contact for Year 10, Year 12 and equivalent 16-19 further education students to help them prepare for exams next year. It is expected this will begin from 15 June, with around a quarter of these secondary students in at any point.
£50 million Funding to support the recovery of high streets
The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to get people back to work and customers back to the shops.
To prepare for the reopening of non-essential retail when the scientific advice allows, the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.
It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses get ready for when they can begin trading safely, not only in high streets and town and city centres, but also in other public spaces like beachfronts and promenades.
Councils will also be able to use this money to develop local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their high streets and other commercial areas are safe.
It is the government’s ambition to reopen non-essential retail in a phased way from 1 June, subject to the scientific advice. The government will set out further detail on how and when these can reopen safely shortly.
Reopening High Streets Safely Fund guidance
Guidance to help local authorities and partners to deliver activities supported through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.
Plans announced for London’s Covid-19 recovery
A new London Transition Board will co-ordinate London’s response as it emerges from the lockdown and begins to reopen its economy while controlling the virus.