Coronavirus (COVID-19) : advice to businesses and the self-employed



The situation with Covid-19 is changing by the day and we are aware that business owners in Waltham Forest are concerned for their employees, customers and businesses.

Across the Council, we are taking every step necessary to plan for what might come. Find more information on the Council's response to COVID-19 crisis, with more information specifically for businesses below.

New National Restrictions from 5 November to 2 December

The Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close from 5 November to 2 December. This includes:

  • all non-essential retail
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities
  • entertainment venues
  • personal care facilities

A full list of the business closures has been published and set out in law.

See a Council summary of businesses which will need to close.

View the full Government legislation.

Grants for businesses required to close

The Government has announced that Councils will be funded to give grants to businesses affected by national and local restrictions.

We have now received Government guidance on eligibility and how grants should be administered and we are putting the applications process in place as swiftly as possible.

In the meantime, please read full details of these grants.

When the grant schemes go live, an announcement will be made in our business e-newsletter.

Subscribe to the newsletter.

Local Business Recovery Summit

We are excited to be holding an online Local Business Recovery Summit on Wednesday 2 December at 8.30am, to engage with as many businesses as possible about dealing with the impact of Covid-19 and putting you on the road to future success.

This is an uncertain and challenging time for Waltham Forest businesses. We want to hear from you about what we should be doing to support you and how we can help you to succeed in the future.

Please register for the event at this linkOnce you have registered, you will be sent a link to the meeting the day before the event.

We have also been allocated a business recovery package to ensure the survival and restart of local businesses.

Please follow the link below to fill out our survey, which will help us determine how this will best be use. Please fill out the business survey.

We look forward to welcoming you to this hugely important summit and planning for a successful future together.

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Support finder tool Click to get info

  • The government has launched a search tool for businesses and the self-employed to understand what support is available to them, based on their circumstances.
  • The tool asks a series of straight forward questions to provide a summary of coronavirus financial support for your business.

Business rate relief Click to get info

  • All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be exempt from business rates for the 2020-21 year.
  • Nursery businesses will benefit from a business rates holiday for the 2020-21 year.
  • Eligible businesses have had these new reliefs automatically applied and new bills sent.
  • If you have not been notified and think you are eligible please apply online.

Business loans Click to get info

  • The Bounce Back Loan scheme is a fast-track finance scheme providing loans for small businesses,100 per cent backed by government. Loans of £2,000 - £50,000 are available. New applications are being accepted until 31 January 2021. 
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offers loan finance of up to £5m to businesses with a turnover of up to £45m. New applications are being accepted until 31 January 2021.
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme offers loan finance of up to £25m to businesses with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m. New applications are being accepted until 31 January 2021.
  • The Covid Corporate Financing Facility will support liquidity amongst incorporated businesses through the Bank of England.
  • Alternative funds that small businesses and social enterprises may apply for, in order to mitigate their financial losses during the Covid-19.

Help paying staff Click to get info

  • With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers can claim for some of their employee’s wages if they have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The scheme is due to end on 2 December and be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.
  • From December 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be replace by the Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. 
  • Through the Job Retention Bonus employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee they have previously received a grant for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), and who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.
  • Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice: Organisations that take on new apprentices between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021 can apply for an additional payment of up to £2,000, after they add new apprentices to their apprenticeship service account.
  • The Kickstart Scheme provides 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions, for new 6 month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit.
  • Help from our Apprenticeship Team: We offer a free consultation to levy paying employers on how they can benefit from apprenticeships, financial incentives available and advise on the best type of apprenticeship training for their company. Our Apprenticeships Team may be contacted on and we will respond within 24 hrs.

Commercial property Click to get info

Sick pay Click to get info

  • UK employers can access Statutory Sick Pay for all employees advised to self-isolate or are caring for someone else who has, provided the employees earnings are over £118/week.
  • Rules around GP sick notes have also been relaxed and a notification can be obtained from NHS 111 Online.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one, instead of day four, and can be applied retrospectively from 13 March 2020.
  • The government will refund the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for up to 14 days to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has advice for businesses on dealing with a range of employment issues including staff absence, homeworking, staff presenting symptoms, closing premises and staff lay-offs
  • Online resources from a range of other organisations.
  • The government has launched a search tool for businesses and the self-employed to understand what support is available to them, based on their circumstances.
  • Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors.

We have commissioned national organisation to provide a range of free, personalised, hands-on support for independent high street businesses, market traders and local community champions in Waltham Forest.

Together, we will be helping high streets to reopen successfully, recover quickly, and build resilience through the next phase of the Covid-19 crisis.

To get involved for free and to find out more information, please visit our Save The High Street webpage.