COVID-19 - Business Support

Information on the latest support being offered to businesses affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found below. As more information on support, relief measure, grants and loans become available this content will be updated.

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Back to Business: Your council supporting more businesses to reopen

We know that businesses across our district are busy putting in place careful plans to welcome back their customers. Reopening your business will involve new ways of working and also some extra checks. 

Your council is here to help you follow the guidance which helps limit the spread of COVID-19 - and to also offer you useful tools to allow you to provide all important reassurance to your staff and customers.

We have produced two Back to Businesses guides as a useful last minute checklist, or a comprehensive guide if you are still working through a new business model.

Pack one focusses on retail and can be downloaded here Back to Business Guide (pdf, 956kb).

Pack two is aimed at those businesses that the government have confirmed can open from 4 July and can be downloaded here Back to Business Guide 2 (pdf, 1.1mb)


Government guidance – helping businesses reopen.

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has released its ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible

The eight 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.

From 4 July pubs, hairdressers, cinemas and other businesses in England can reopen.

Providing they are 'COVID-secure', hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-contained holiday accommodation, caravan parks, campsites, places of worship, libraries, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, museums, galleries, social clubs, cinemas, bingo halls, hair salons, barbers, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be allowed to reopen with social distancing reduced to one metre where it is not possible to keep to two metres. There’s more information about how you can open here.



Business relief and grants

Business relief and grants are available via Winchester City Council listed below click here.

  • Small Business Grant Funding

    The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

    Find out more from Winchester City Council here.

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here

  • Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

    If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you can apply to receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

    Find out more from Winchester City Council here.

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Discretionary Grants

    A government discretionary fund to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside of the scope of the Small Business Grant Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and the Retail Relief for Business Rates. Businesses need to have fewer than 50 employees, have ongoing fixed property-related costs and demonstrate a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.  

    The fund is now closed whilst we consider the applications received. If the fund is not fully spent and it is appropriate to do so a further application window will open. Check back here for further information.

    Click here for more information.

  • Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

    Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year. Please note that 2020-21 Business Rates bills for ratepayers in receipt of Retail Relief have not been issued.  We are now applying the amended relief to everyone we believe qualifies and a new business rates bill will be issued to you by Friday 27 March.

    Find out more from Winchester City Council here.

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here.

Government support via agencies

Additional support is available from Government via various agencies. These are outlined below.

  • Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

    This scheme will help small to medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

    Click here for more information.

  • Innovation and R&D funding

    The government has announced that a £1.25 billion support package for UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    This fund is targeted and tailored help would ensure firms in some of the most dynamic sectors of the UK economy – ranging from tech to life sciences – are protected through the crisis so they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth.

    This package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

    Click here for more information.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    This scheme assists businesses affected by Coronavirus in accessing bank lending and overdraft facilities. For loans up to £5 million, the government is providing a guarantee of 80% for each loan. 

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here.

    Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available for larger businesses with £200m.

    Find out more click here.

  • Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility

    The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) will see the Bank of England buying short term debt from larger companies.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers operating  a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    On12 May the government extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the end of October 2020.

    A step by step guide for employers is available here.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

    The Government has brought forward legislation to allow small and medium sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • VAT Deferral

    The Government  will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed

    If you are self-employed, your Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme

    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.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Time to Pay

    All businesses and self-employed people in financial difficulty, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.


Additional funding

  • Heritage emergency fund

    The National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced £50 million of funding to help heritage organisations at risk of financial crisis due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Grants will be between £3,000 and £50,000 and will be open to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, museums, libraries, parks and gardens. 

    Click here for more information.

  • Rural Response Emergency Grants

    The Prince’s Countryside Fund is inviting applications for emergency funding from farming and rural community support groups, who are providing assistance to counter the effects of isolation during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Click here for more information.

  • Arts funding

    Arts Council England are making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and they have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of funding from the Arts Council to help alleviate pressure on them.

    Click here to find out more information. .

Support and advice

Supplier relief

  • Information and Guidance for contracted suppliers during COVID-19 (coronavirus). Valid from April until June 2020

    The council is working hard to ensure it is following the latest Government guidance relating to:

    • adopting safe working practices;
    • responding to this major incident;
    • the payment of contracted suppliers during this period of national disruption.

    We recognise the impact the current situation is having on businesses and appreciate the commitment and support from our contracted suppliers to maintain essential services and supplies to the council and its residents. We are working to ensure we can resume normal service delivery when current restrictions are lifted and to assist are utilising Government guidance such Procurement Policy Note 02/20 Supplier Relief due to Covid19

    If you are a contractor or supplier to the council and would like to discuss how we may be able to help, please send your query to in the first instance, stating the name of your normal council contact. There are some commitments and conditions applied to the relief which will be shared with you on application.

Animal-related businesses 

  • Information and guidance

    Information for animal-related businesses such as kennels, catteries, dog walkers, dog groomers, dog and cat breeders, and pet shops here.

  • Should I renew my licence as usual?

    Yes, if your licence is due to expire, please reapply as usual. Although we are not able to carry out an inspection until restrictions are lifted, we will send you a holding letter which allows your licence to continue until an inspection can take place.

    If your licence is due to expire but your business is currently not operating due to lockdown restrictions, you do not have to make an application until your business is ready to start up again.

    For further information on animal licences click here.