Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses & Employers
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak presents a significant challenge to businesses around the globe. The UK government and the devolved administrations, including the health and social care systems, have planned extensively over the years for an event like this, and the UK is therefore well prepared to respond in a way that offers substantial protection.
The EM3 Growth Hub team are keeping up to date with developments and are fully prepared to advise businesses in the area, in whatever capacity we can. If you feel your business has been affected by coronavirus, or you have questions about how to prepare or operate, please get in touch.
GOV.UK provides advice on business continuity management. The link below provides details on developing your own plan. It includes a Business Continuity Management toolkit to help you identify all the issues you need to consider and how to make your own arrangements to manage business interruption.
Businesses in the UK who have been affected, or feel they are likely to be affected by Coronavirus, are urged to seek advice and the government has supplied a series of resources to inform employers on the latest developments and advise on protecting themselves and their employees.
The government and health services are currently working to a phased approach. To find out more about this phased approach Click Here.
Business Cash Flow Help
At Budget 2020 on Wednesday 11 March the Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
More details on the ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme' are found on the below link. It was originally said to become available ‘over the coming weeks'. This has been brought forward, and we now expect the new scheme to become available in week commencing 23 March 2020.
Further guidance on the support measures for business can be found on the gov.uk website;
In the Workplace
What to do if an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19
● If the person has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue.
● If someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people. If possible, find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staffoffice. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.
● The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.
● Whilst they wait for advice from NHS 111 or an ambulance to arrive, they should remain at least 2 metres from other people. They should avoid touching people, surfaces and objects and be advised to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when they cough or sneeze and put the tissue in a bag or pocket then throw the tissue in the bin. If they don't have any tissues available, they should cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow.
● If they need to go to the bathroom whilst waiting for medical assistance, they should use a separate bathroom if available.
What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace
● Closure of the workplace is not recommended.
● The management team of the office or workplace will be contacted by the PHE local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.
● A risk assessment of each setting will be undertaken by the Health Protection Team with the lead responsible person. Advice on the management of staff and members of the public will be based on this assessment.
● The Health Protection Team will also be in contact with the case directly to advise on isolation and identifying other contacts and will be in touch with any contacts of the case to provide them with appropriate advice.
● Advice on cleaning of communal areas such as offices or toilets will be given by the Health Protection Team. and is outlined later in this document.
When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
● If a confirmed case is identified in your workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include:
o any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact
o talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic
o anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids
o close friendship groups or workgroups
o any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case.
● Contacts are not considered cases and if they are well they are very unlikely to have spread the infection to others:
o those who have had close contact will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case and follow the home isolation advice sheet
o they will be actively followed up by the Health Protection Team
o if they develop new symptoms or their existing symptoms worsen within their 14-day observation period they should call NHS 111 for reassessment
o if they become unwell with cough, fever or shortness of breath they will be tested for COVID-19
o if they are unwell at any time within their 14-day observation period and they test positive for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated for the infection.
● Staff who have not had close contact with the original confirmed case do not need to take any precautions and can continue to attend work.