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



On Monday 4 January 2021 the Government announced a further period of national lockdown restrictions in England expected to passed into law on 6 January and likely to last until the Spring.

The lockdown requires some businesses to close and imposes restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services.

The full list of businesses required to close can be found via the link below, but includes:

  • non-essential retail
  • hospitality venues
  • accommodation
  • leisure and sports facilities
  • entertainment venues
  • animal attractions
  • indoor attractions at venues
  • personal care facilities
  • community centres and halls

Other businesses and venues which provide essential goods and services can stay open. A full list of the exemptions and businesses allowed to stay open can also be found on the GOV.UK website

New Government Lockdown Grants

The Chancellor has announced that further grants will be provided for businesses to help them affected by the latest national lockdown restrictions. One-off grants, worth up to £9,000 per property, will be available to rateable businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Discretionary funds will also be made available to councils to support other impacted businesses.

These grants will be administered by local authorities and we are awaiting government guidance, and have the funds confirmed, before we can rollout a new scheme.

In the meantime, we will continue to provide Local Restrictions Support Grants to eligible businesses impacted by earlier tier restrictions.

Read Government grants announcement 

Apply for Local Restrictions Support Grants

Please sign up to the business e-newsletter for the latest information and guidance.

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). 
  • 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.

Stay in touch Click to get info

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.