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Covid-19 business support - latest updates (updated 6 July)


We understand the concerns of businesses and self-employed people across the county at this very difficult time. We are here to give advice and support to all County Durham businesses, large and small.

We are processing and making payments under the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. Qualifying businesses will receive grants of £10,000 or £25,000 from us.

Latest news

Notice - Staying Covid 19 Secure in 2020

Source: government, published July 6, 2020 10.30am

Businesses are reminded to display this notice to show you have made your workplace Covid-secure. Once your business has carried out a risk assessment you should display the notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19.

Gov.uk: staying Covid-19 Secure in 2020 notice


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (furlough) - changes to guidance

Source: government, published July 1, 2020 1.30pm

Employers can now submit claims that include days in July and 31 July is the last that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June. From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed staff back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked.


Corporate Insolvency Laws

Source: government, published July 1, 2020 1.30pm

The government introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill in Parliament (20 May), on 25 June it received royal assent and is now an Act.

Gov.uk: Government introduces legislation to relieve burden on businesses and support economic recovery


Easing of lockdown restrictions

Source: government, published July 1, 2020 1.30pm

From Saturday 4 July, more businesses and venues in England can reopen providing they adhere to Covid Secure guidelines. A small number of  'close proximity' venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas must remain closed for now.


Plans to get Britain building

Source: government, published July 1, 2020 1.30pm

New measures to help the construction industry boost building and return to work safely have been announced (22 June).  Planning permission deadlines will be extended, planning appeals will be sped up and builders will be allowed more flexible working hours following agreement.

Gov.uk: new plans to get Britain building in coronavirus recovery


Reopening safely - updated guidance

Source: government, published June 24, 2020 9.35am

The government has announced changes to lockdown measures in England. From Saturday 4 July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to Covid Secure guidelines. 

Accommodation sites, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely - this includes outdoor gyms, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.

The government's guidelines, Working Safely During Coronavirus, for all workplace settings including the visitor economy, and five steps to working safely has been updated.

Gov.uk: working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)


Reopening businesses safely

Source: government, published June 22, 2020 11.00am

The government has published guidance for businesses reopening in England. The guidance helps businesses carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments. Employers reopening their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. If businesses do not carry out a risk assessment, an enforcement notice can be issued.

Gov.uk: Reopen your business safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)


High streets

Source: government, published June 22, 2020 11.00am

The government has announced the extension of measures to prevent high street businesses facing eviction from 30 July to 30 September. This means no business will be forced from their premises if a payment is missed in the next three months. A new code of practice has been developed to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together. 


Dairy response fund - applications

Source: government, published June 22, 2020 11.00am

The dairy response fund is open for applications from dairy farmers in England. Qualifying farmers are entitled to up to £10,000 to cover 70% of their losses across April and May resulting from a drop in price due to the reduced demand for milk from restaurants, bars, and cafes. The deadline for applications is 14 August. 

Gov.uk: Fund to support dairy farmers opens for applications


Self-employed - new parents can claim support grant

Source: government, published June 18, 2020 15.00pm

The government has announced a change to support self-employed parents.  Self-employed parents whose trading profits dipped in 2018/19 because they took time out to have children will be able to claim for a payment under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS).  Details will be set out in July in guidance.

Gov.uk: Self-employed new parents can claim support grant


Job Retention Scheme (furlough) - updated guidance

Source: government, published June 15, 2020 12.55pm

Guidance on the government's Furlough Scheme was updated on Friday 12 June to include details on how the scheme will change from 1 July. The guidance includes details to check if you can claim, which staff you can put on furlough, steps to take before calculating your claim, how to calculate and claim for your employees' wages.

Gov.uk: claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


Job Retention Scheme (furlough) - parents returning to work after extended leave

Source: government, published June 11, 2020 10.15am

Parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months after a long period of absence will be permitted to be furloughed even after the 10 June cut-off date. This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees.

More details of changes to the scheme will be included in updated guidance, due to be published on 12 June.

Gov.uk: Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough


Reopening Shops

Source: government, published June 11, 2020 10.15am

This week the Business Secretary confirmed that shops in England selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June, provided they follow government guidelines at Gov.uk: working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) to keep staff and customers as safe as possible. Retailers will need to take certain steps to protect customers and staff, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.

Businesses should only reopen once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. Employers should also display a notice (which you can download from Google Drive: Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice) visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.  We have also provided information to offer guidance on how to reopen businesses safely at Reopening your business.

Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector remain closed.


Previous news

See our Covid-19 business support - previous news and updates page for previous news and updates.

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