COVID-19 - Business support

Information on the latest support offered to businesses affected by COVID-19 can be found below.

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Local updates

  • Am I allowed to open?

    Winchester City Council has put together some guidance to businesses who are undecided whether or not their premises would be classed as offering essential services.

    If you’d like the general government guidance please click here but it’s also worth noting that each business sector has their own detailed guidance which you can find here. For further advice on COVID restrictions and ensuring you are COVID-secure contact the Public Protection Service:

    •          Environmental Health: 01962 848097

    •          Licensing: 01962 848188

    Businesses which ARE allowed to open include:

    • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops.
    • Coffee shops (as takeaways only) 
    • Off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
    • Health services (dentists, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors and mental health)
    • Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
    • Newsagents and post offices
    • Hardware stores, building merchants, and services.
    • Petrol stations, car repair and MOT services
    • Bicycle shops
    • Taxi or vehicle hire businesses
    • Banks, building societies and credit unions
    • Funeral directors
    • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
    • Veterinary surgeons and pet shops
    • Agricultural supplies shop and garden centres
    • Car parks
    • Public toilets

    For more details of who can and cannot open please click here.



Government updates

  • New national restrictions

    The government has set out plans for the end of lockdown in England, and a return to a tougher three-tier system of restrictions.

    The current lockdown will end just after midnight on Wednesday 2 December. After that, the following will apply to all areas:

    • Shops, gyms and personal care services will all reopen
    • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports will resume
    • People will no longer be limited to seeing one other person outdoors
    • The rule of six will apply in outdoor public spaces
    • Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules

    There will be different rules for pubs in the different tiers.

    • In tier one, they will be able to open until 11pm, with last orders at 10pm
    • In tier two, they can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
    • In tier three, hospitality venues must close apart from delivery and takeaway

    The government will announce on Thursday 26 November which areas are in which tiers. This will be formally reviewed every 14 days.

    More details of the plan are here.

  • Restaurants, pubs and cafes takeaway service extension

    The Government announced that restaurants, pubs and cafes will ger automatic freedoms to provide food takeaway services for another year. This was due to end of 23 March 2021 but will now be extended by another year. The measures help give these businesses the confidence they need to continue to serve customers and retain their staff. It will also help them adapt to longer-term changes they may wish to introduce, such as serving their customers from market stalls.

    The announcement can be found here.

  • NHS Test and Trace update

    To ensure that businesses and venues are able to remain open the government is now mandating that certain businesses and venues ask one member of every party to provide their contact details through NHS Test and Trace. You must have a system in place to ensure that you can collect contact information for your customers and keep records of staff working patterns for a period of 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace contain clusters or outbreaks.
    Any designated business that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties.
    A list of sectors affected by these changes can be found here .

  • COVID-19 secure guidance

    Click here for the government's  ‘COVID-19 Secure guidance’.


Business relief and grants

  • Business Rates Relief for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

    Some businesses are eligible for Business Rates Relief for one year from 1 April 2020.

    You may be eligible for the 100% Relief on your Business Rates bill in either of the following circumstances:

    • your business occupies a property in the retail sector
    • your business occupies a property in the leisure or hospitality sectors.

    For more information on this relief click here.


  • National Lockdown Support Grants

    Following the government’s new national restrictions, and a four week lockdown from  Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December 2020, there will be financial support available to help businesses required to close during that time.

    The information provided by government is available here.  Further information on those who will be eligible and the application process is available here.


Government support via agencies

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

  • New 'Pay as you grow' scheme

    The government announced a "pay as you grow" scheme for businesses which took government guaranteed loans during the crisis. Loans can now be extended from six to ten years nearly halving the average monthly repayment. Businesses can also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are "in real trouble" for up to six months, without affecting thier credit rating.

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will also be extended for up to 10 years. The government also annouced that there will also be a new loan scheme in January.

  • The Kickstart scheme

    The Kickstart scheme is grant funding for employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment, with government paying their wages, plus overheads, for the first six months. The first kickstarters will be in their new jobs this November, and there will be no cap on the number of places available. Hampshire Chamber of Commerce will be taking on the role of intermediary in the scheme. Contact them here to receive help with this process. For more information on the Kickstart scheme click here.

  • VAT defferal

    The government annouced a cut in VAT to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sector will be extended until 31 March. Companies that deferred their VAT bill will no longer have to pay a lump sum in March, they will have the option of splitting it into smaller interest free payments over the course of 11 months.

    VAT deferral


  • 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.

  • Job Retention Scheme

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until March 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The policy will be reviewed in January 2021  For further information about the Job Retention Scheme, click 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.

  • 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.

    There will be a third grant (covering November 2020 to January 2021).

    For further information and click 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

  • Restart and recovery grants

    The Kickstarting Tourism and Restart and Recovery Grants have been created, specifically to help SMEs adapt and diversify following the impact of Covid-19. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), eligible SMEs can access grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 (up to £5,000 in exceptional circumstances) for specialist advice. Applications are open now, funding is extremely limited and the scheme is expected to be popular, so expressions of interest should be made as soon as possible.

    Click here to visit the Enterprise M3 website 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