COVID-19 - Business Update

The latest Southend business news

From 8 March, we will see restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap plots a route back to a more normal life. Guidance on business and venue reopening can be found here. We are all looking forward to brighter days, opportunities to meet-up with family and friends and perhaps visiting a favourite restaurant. To ensure we get to enjoy a less restrictive summer please remember:

Hands face space logo

Travelling for work

It is recommended that where people are travelling to or from work together in private transport or are required to travel for work in cars or other vehicles, that they wear Type IIR masks to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission. Type IIR masks offer more protection from COVID-19 transmission, particularly when working in close quarters.

If your staff must leave home for work, please encourage them to go for a regular weekly test for COVID-19 at one of the Southend drop-in Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing sites.

The sites are based at St Aiden’s Church Hall in Leigh/Eastwood, Shoebury Youth Centre in Shoebury and Southend University Square in central Southend. You can book a slot for a test via the links below, or you can just drop-in to one of the centres without an appointment:

New sites are scheduled to open soon, so for the latest information go to www.southend.gov.uk/gettested.

Identifying close contacts

Employers are often best placed to identify where their workers have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that employees who have tested positive, or who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, do not attend the workplace whilst they should be self-isolating. Employees who have been told to self-isolate and who are unable to work from home may be eligible to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment  – but they’ll need to be registered with NHS Test & Trace to prove their eligibility. The NHS Test and Trace in the workplace guidance outlines what employers need to do if someone they employ tests positive for COVID-19 or has been in close contact with someone who has, including how they can register employees with NHS Test & Trace.

Grants

Information about grants available to businesses affected by COVID-19 can be found here. The council is now using a single application form for most grants and you only need to apply once.

The deadline for the Christmas Support Payment (CSP), which supports wet-led pubs ( those not selling food), has been extended to 28 February 2021.  Find more information and an application form here.

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is available now. The ARG has been created to not only support several of the Government suggested priority sectors but also to support a wider number of local businesses that have received no Government financial support in Southend-on-Sea.

The areas this discretionary grant will cover are:

  1. Businesses that have not received previous Government funding with a business rates rateable value less than £15,000 will receive a grant of £2,000 and those with a rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 will receive a grant of £3,000 
  2. *Creative & Cultural Sector – grants up to £2,000 for businesses and freelancers in the creative and cultural sector and its supply chain
  3. Inward Investment – business rates relief for businesses locating to or expanding in Southend
  4. Extension of Tier 2 and Tier 3 grants to 15 February that ceased on 19 December 2020, when we moved into Tier 4 and then lockdown.

Except for the Creative & Cultural Sector and Inward Investment strands, there is a 21-day window for applications, which closes on 2 March 2021.

*Guidance and forms for the Creative and Cultural Sector will be available within the next week; information about the Inward Investment and expansion pots will be available shortly after that.

If you have questions about grants available please direct them to the Business Rates team at the council. If you need to discuss your ongoing grant application and it has been 10 days or more since your submission, please call 01702 215001 or email businessrates@southend.gov.uk.

Workplace Reporting

It is easier than ever to report cases, get support and run workplace testing.  If a member of your staff informs you they have tested positive for COVID-19 you should report this to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. You can do this by calling 01702 212497 or by email.  By reporting cases, you may also be eligible to access COVID-19 tests to screen your staff on-site, to help limit infections in your workplace and support with business continuity. The council can also provide you with help and support that could keep your business trading safely throughout the pandemic.

Published: 26th February 2021