COVID-19 - Business Update 07/04/2021

Latest business update for Southend businesses.

The Roadmap to Recovery adheres to the timetable that the government set out earlier in the year. We are looking forward to a summer with fewer restrictions which is great news. To ensure that we continue to manage COVID-19 and reopen successfully and safely there are a few things to bear in mind.

  • Remember hands – face – space
  • Keep up to date with the latest information
  • Encourage your staff to test regularly and take up the vaccine when offered
  • Consider and manage the risk of your business reopening

Roadmap to recovery - getting ready to reopen

Many businesses are preparing to reopen from 12 April 2021 and some useful information has been published about Working safely during COVID-19 particularly for Heritage locations, Hotels and other guest accommodation, Performing arts and the Visitor economy.

We strongly encourage all businesses, voluntary and community settings preparing to reopen or open more fully to complete a Health & Safety Executive COVID-19 risk assessment. The assessment will help you:

  • Identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • Think about who could be at risk
  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • Act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

You might also seek additional guidance from a trade body, membership or sector leading organisation such as the CITB or UK Hospitality.

The Southend Retail Recover Partnership have issued guidance to support the re-opening of non-essential retail – for the latest information please check here

Testing

Regular weekly testing for everyone leaving home for work is a way of controlling COVID-19. Testing is available at one of the Southend drop-in Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing sites - please check here for the latest information.  LDF test centre locations will change over the coming weeks and months as various community spaces resume their usual functions, so make sure you check the website before setting off for your test.

Businesses can order free rapid lateral flow tests to test your employees twice a week in the workplace.  If you have 10 or more employees you can order tests for your employees to collect from their workplace and use at home twice a week. You must register by 11:59pm on 12 April 2021. If your business is closed or you cannot provide tests now, you should still register so you can order tests in the future.

You can register to order tests if:

  • your business is registered in England
  • your employees cannot work from home

Financial Support

The Chancellor has announced the launch of the Recovery Loan Scheme:

  • Business loans from £25k - £10m
  • Gov will provide 80% guarantee for all load and interest rates will be capped.
  • Scheme will run until 31 December 2021
  • To be administered by the British Business Bank through accredited commercial lenders.

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

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

Travelling for work

Travel exemptions affecting some businesses have changed and you can find out more here.

More information & staying up to date

Information and guidance on COVID-19 changes regularly and it can be difficult to keep up – there are four excellent ways of staying on top of the latest announcements and getting new information about doing business in Southend.

The council’s COVID-19 advice pages for businesses are regularly updated with new advice and guidance from central government.

You can also check out the latest announcements from central government including the latest advice about reopening.

To receive a monthly newsletter with useful information including support available for businesses throughout COVID-19 recovery and beyond, email and ask to be included on the Southend Business Partnership newsletter.

A number of "Community Connectors" are currently helping pass on or signpost people to facts and support about the pandemic. Could this be you? Southend on Sea Borough Council, SAVS and partner organisations are reaching out to those who already share information in their community and could help this way. If you could help, please see this page for more info: http://orlo.uk/1YZJv

Published: 7th April 2021