Re-opening your business safely

Latest COVID-19 guidance

The country has now moved to Stage 4 of the Government’s roadmap and many of the national lockdown restrictions we’ve been living with during the pandemic have lifted. This mean businesses and venues that have remained closed can reopen, and hospitality businesses such as pubs, restaurants and bars are no longer required to only provide table service or adhere to social distancing measures.

Find more information on the latest government guidance at: gov.uk/coronavirus

COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise in Camden and across London so we strongly advise you to be cautious and to keep following the ‘hands, face, space, fresh air and testing’ advice as closely as you can.

The Council has developed some more posters [see link below] which we encourage you to print and display inside and outside your premises as a way to welcome back and help reassure customers and visitors.

Download a 'Love Your Camden' and 'Welcome Back' posters here 

NHS Test and Trace

To support outbreak management, businesses must request that all staff, customers and visitors check-in before entering a premises using the NHS Test and Trace smartphone application. If people do not have the NHS Test and Trace app, businesses must have an alternative system in place to collect name and contact details. To find out more and to create a NHS QR code for your business or venue, visit: gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

Download NHS Test and Trace Guide for Businesses here

Other guidance

If your business or venue is open it must follow COVID-secure guidance to protect customers, visitors and staff.  

The Government recommends that you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce.

There are various guides for different types of workplace. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.

Use the Government’s guides to make your workplace COVID-secure

Other help

Keeping your business safe

The National Cyber Security Centre has created a scam reporting service so you can flag any suspicious emails. They also have advice on hosting online video conferences 

You can also find out more keeping aware of fraud and scams on the Business Against Scams website which has some practical steps to reduce the risk of scams and fraud

Business grants

The Government has recently announced further support for businesses summarised below:

  • businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises
     
  • other struggling businesses outside leisure and hospitality can apply to local councils for a different grant under the Additional Restrictions Grant, which will be topped up with £102m nationally
     
  • the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is being reintroduced, meaning business with fewer than 250 employees can claim money to cover sick pay for employees who are affected by Covid
  • an extra £30m for arts organisations through the existing Culture Recovery Fund
  • COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) to provide discretionary rate relief for businesses impacted by the pandemic but ineligible for the Expanded Rate Relief scheme this year

The Council will be responsible for administering the hospitality and leisure grants, the top-up to the Additional Restrictions Grant and the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grants

This is a new grant scheme for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses affected by the latest Covid variant (Omicron). This scheme is more restrictive than the previous restart grants with retail premises along with gyms, hairdressers/barbers and nail salons amongst the businesses not eligible for the latest scheme even though they were able to apply for the previous Restart Grant scheme last April. Full details on the scheme eligibility can be found here: Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant: guidance for Local Authorities (publishing.service.gov.uk) 

If you meet the criteria you can now apply through our grants portal - www.GrantApproval.co.uk

The deadline for applications is 23.59 on 28 February 2022 and all payments must be made by 31 March 2022.

If you are applying for the new Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and receive an error message saying “Error 36” it is because your business does not appear to be eligible for the scheme.  Please check the eligibility guidance on page 18 of the Government guidance for the types of businesses eligible for this scheme as the scheme (gyms, barbers/hairdressers, nail salons, etc. are not eligible this time, for example).

If your business does appear in the list on page 18 of the following link, please contact the business rates team who will be able to update the system to allow you to apply for the grant on 0207 974 6460 

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant: guidance for Local Authorities (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Additional Restrictions Grant

We currently have no discretionary grant schemes open and are awaiting news of any further allocation of grant funding for Camden. You can sign up to our Camden business e-newsletter to receive our latest announcements at London Borough of Camden (govdelivery.com). Or visit Financial support for businesses and employers - Camden Council to check for updates.​​​​​ 

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) 

This scheme aims to provide discretionary rate relief for businesses impacted by the pandemic but ineligible for the Expanded Rate Relief scheme this year.  It is not a grant but rather a reduction in business rate liability for the 2021/22 financial year for businesses that successfully apply and meet the criteria. 

The Council is currently reviewing the Government guidance issued on 30 December and aims to agree and launch our scheme shortly. You can sign up to our Camden business e-newsletter to receive our latest announcements at London Borough of Camden (govdelivery.com)

Previous Schemes

If you have a query about a grant you have received or a decision we have made, we will try and respond within 10 days of your email. 
 
The Government’s business support hub and the financial support finder may help you to identify potential financial support. The London Business Hub is also a useful resource for business support in London.
 

 

Self-employed grant

The Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended to provide an additional grant for the three-month period covering November 2020 to January 2021.

The grant will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering three months of profit up to £7,500.

Find out how to apply

Furlough scheme

Extension to the furlough scheme

The Government has announced that it is extending the furlough scheme until 30 September 2021. This means businesses that previously furloughed employees will continue receiving support to pay wages up to £2,500 per month. You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2021.

Find out more about changes to the Scheme

Coronavirus Business Loan Schemes

The government have announced a number of schemes for businesses affected by coronavirus to access loans more easily. 

Bounce Back Loans: Open to small and medium-sized businesses through a simple application process to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. No fees, interest or repayments to pay for the first 12 months, and loan terms will be up to 6 years. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): access to loans, overdraft, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. No fees, interest or repayments to pay for the first 12 months. 

Applications are no longer limited to businesses that have been refused a loan on commercial terms, extending the number who benefit. Banks will be banned from asking company owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS): aimed at larger firms with a turnover of between £45m and £500m, providing state-backed loans of up to £25m.

What you need to do

More information on the scheme can be found on the government website including how to check if you are eligible.

Rent support for business tenants in council owned properties

Camden Council aims to support business tenants in our commercial properties during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

What we are doing

We are helping businesses renting our commercial properties who are struggling to pay their rent where we can. Although you will still have to pay your rent, we will give you extra time to pay. This will help you stay in your premises and plan ahead. So that we can help you fully, we will ask you some details of how your business has been affected. This could include: 

  • Your drop in trade 
  • Any forced closure 
  • Government grants you have applied for 
  • Reduced staffing  

We are also likely to ask you for proof of finances.  

What you need to do

If you want to talk to us about your rent, phone us on 020 7974 6459 or email us at commercialrents@camden.gov.uk.

Other support available for businesses

There is a lot of extra support for you now. This includes:

Business support finder

The government has launched a Coronavirus Business Support Finder tool to support businesses to find the support they’re eligible for easily.

 

Tackling cash-flow

The Mayor of London has launched the PayItForward campaign, to support London businesses in the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism sectors to pre-sell vouchers, goods and services for delivery once the restrictions are lifted.

 

Paying tax

If you or a member of your workforce are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of Coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. You are now able to choose to defer any VAT payment due between the 20th March and 30th June. Find out more about deferred VAT payments the government website.

 

Support for workers

If you or your staff have concerns on financial support you can find out more via our page on financial support for workers. Camden Job Hub can also provide direct support to any Camden resident on employment matters including links to vacancies, support for CVs and applications and access to financial support. You can register for Camden Job Hub's help via our website.  If any of your employees have a zero-hours contract, please let them know they’ll be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance. More information on zero hours contracts and Universal Credit is on the government website.

 

Statutory sick pay

Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day 1 rather than day 4 and if you employ fewer than 250 people, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government. Find out more about statutory sick pay on the government website.

 

Mortgages

Some mortgage lenders will support customers who are experiencing financial difficulties by giving them mortgage holidays for up to 3 months. Contact your provider for information.

 

Social distancing support and advice

Camden’s frontline presence team are out across Camden 7 days a week providing support and advice to businesses. You’ll recognise our officers as they’ll be wearing Camden high visibility jackets with ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ on them. It’s really important that everyone follows social distancing guidance to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to save lives. As part of their role the team are providing posters (which you can also download here) and advice to local businesses to make sure that they are maintaining 2m distancing to protect customers and their workforce. You can find more information on the teams here.

Culture Recovery Fund

On Sunday 5 July 2020, the government announced a 1.57bn recovery package for the arts, culture and heritage sector, with 1.15bn available for England.

Visit Camden Arts for more information.

Newsletters and email updates

We send regular information for businesses by e-newsletter. Sign up to receive future editions.

Our new frontline presence teams are also out daily supporting businesses on high streets and markets across the borough with advice and support on social distancing. You can see what the teams have been up to on our news page.

We need your help

Laptops and iPads needed to help vulnerable pupils learn at home

We know that times are tough for businesses right now, but we are calling for any businesses who might be able to donate spare laptops and iPads for vulnerable students to get in touch. We are looking to support children who don’t have a device at home to help them to access vital online learning while schools are closed.

The Council is also working with Camden Learning, schools, community groups and local businesses to find ways to ensure pupils have a Wi-Fi connection in their homes.

If your business has any laptops or iPads that you can donate to a school in Camden that are less than five years old and in good condition, we will collect them from you and work with schools to distribute them to children who most need them.

Companies can also make financial donations and sponsor schools to help purchase or repurpose laptops for students.

Use the short form here to tell us about your laptops or iPads.

Can you support young people with virtual work experience?

We are calling on Camden employers to be part of a pioneering Virtual Work Experience Programme, providing local students, with their first experiences of work this June/July.

We know that many Camden students will have had their crucial first experiences of work cancelled. Work experience has a significant positive impact on young people’s outcomes, particularly on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This is why Camden has partnered with Speakers for Schools. It is a national educational charity backed by employers including the Bank of England, BP, Marie Curie and Spotify. We will offer STEAM Pledge employers the opportunity to provide Virtual Work Experience (VWEX).

For further information on how to get involved contact Steampledge@camden.gov.uk

Business survey

The latest iteration of Camden’s annual business survey is now live. We are inviting all Camden businesses to take part in the survey and share their views on their priorities around recovery, renewal, and business support.

The survey will help to inform the council and its partners' future economic plans and support offer to local businesses.  

The deadline to participate is 5th July.

Complete the business survey