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



Reopening Roadmap

The government has announced a three-step route for the reopening of businesses in England. The key dates are:

12 April: non-essential retail such as hairdressers and nail salons, gyms and other indoor leisure facilities. Hospitality venues will be able to serve food and drink outside.

17 May: Most businesses will be able to re-open. The hospitality sector can serve food and drink indoors but cannot cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas will be able to open with social distancing measures still in place.

21 June: Re-opening of remaining premises, including nightclubs and ease of restrictions on large events and performances.

The government have advised that all these dates are provisional and subject to change depending on rates of infection and transmission of Covid-19.

Please visit our re-opening page for full details of what businesses will and won’t be able to do and for information on all the support the Council is offering to businesses.

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 nurseries, retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be exempt from business rates for the 2020-21 year.
  • There will also be a 100% exemption for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021).
  • Thereafter a 66% exemption will be applied until the end of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £2 million.
  • 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 Recovery Loan Scheme supports access to finance for UK businesses as they grow and recover from the pandemic, with loans and other products of between £1,000 and £10m.
  • 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). 
  • 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 employees advised to self-isolate or are caring for someone else who has.
  • 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.
  • The Help to Grow scheme will provide access management training, technology advice and discounted software to improve productivity. The scheme will launch later this year and businesses can register their interest.
  • The Save the High Street – Waltham Forest programme has finished but you can still watch a catalogue of free webinars.

Stay in touch Click to get info