Updates on the new national restrictions

Here are a few updates for you today on the new national restrictions which apply from Thursday.

The New National Restrictions come into force at a minute past midnight on Thursday (00:01), meaning the restrictions apply from and including this Thursday 5 November.  If you are a business required to close from 5 November you will need to close by midnight on Wednesday

Click & Collect for non-essential retailers

The Guidance for the New National Restrictions states ‘Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.’  There is specific guidance on ‘working safely’ in this regard, however if this is an option for you, things you should be considering are:-

  • Providing an ability for customers to order and pay online, on an app or over the telephone
  • Staggering pick-up times or having them appointment based
  • Asking customers to wait outside or in their cars as appropriate.
  • Limiting customer access to your premises – operating click and collect as a ‘doorstep’ service where practicable – so that customers come to the door or to a counter at the entrance to your premises where they will receive their goods.
  • Counter safety for collection should still be in operation – screens, face coverings, hand sanitiser
  • Setting out clear demarcation for social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) for staff and customers. 

Confirmation of Financial Support

There has been some additional information about the financial support that will apply, though the guidance has not yet been fully updated.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-extended-and-further-economic-support-announced

Mortgage Holidays

Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end on 31st October. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.

Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Job Retention Scheme, which will continue for a further month.  Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs.

The Furlough scheme guidance and claim has now been updated and is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Business Grants

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

We are just awaiting confirmation on the procedure and I will keep you up to date on this.

*** UPDATE ***

The Prime Minister has announced that as part of the financial support package for businesses (and in addition to what we know already):

  • The Self-Employment Income Support scheme will be doubled.  The Government will provide a taxable grant covering 80% of average monthly trading profits for November (instead of 40%), so that it is in line with the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough).
  • Applications for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounceback loans will remain open until the end of December 2020 (instead of end of November 2020).

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