Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information and guidance for SMEs
With the ramifications of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) already being felt by businesses’ around the world, from supply chain issues to employee international travel, it is crucial SMEs have access to the right information.
The Government has published guidance for employees, employers and businesses, explaining how to tackle the following:
- How to prevent the spread of coronavirus
- What to do if someone in the workplace becomes ill
- Advice on sick pay and certification of absence from work resulting from coronavirus
- Business support measures on rate relief and loans
The full guidance can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses
The Government has also announced a £330bn package of support to businesses.
A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will launch in the week commencing 23 March 2020. This will cover loans and overdrafts up to £1.2 million and there will be no fee payable to the Government. This is borrowing that must be repaid, these are not grants.
To access the Scheme, you will have to talk to your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments, you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.
The lending decision is taken by each individual provider, not by the Government. To find the full rules of the Scheme and list of accredited lenders, please refer to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.
The South East Business Hub has a dedicated page on latest guidance and support available to businesses across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. https://southeastbusiness.org.uk/coronavirus-guidance-for-employers/
The information includes:
- Latest information and advice from The Department of Health and Social Care
- Support offered to businesses, public services and individuals
- ACAS advice for employees on sick pay
- Bank of England package of measures
- Decontamination in non-healthcare settings
- How to host business events and meetings online
- Business continuity
- Travel advice
If you feel your business has been affected by the Coronavirus, whether you are experiencing supply chain issues, order or booking cancellation, a reduction in sales, or any other challenges, contact your local Growth Hub to speak to one of our business advisers. They offer free support and advice and can help you to access the support measures available.
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