Camden Council COVID update
New national lockdown restrictions coming into force on Thursday 5 November
Since the end of September, the numbers of people catching coronavirus has increased rapidly and we are sadly now seeing more hospitalisations and deaths across the country. To help slow the spread of the virus, the Government have announced that new COVID lockdown restrictions will come into force from today (Thursday 5 November). Under the restrictions, many businesses will have to close.
The Government have said these new national restrictions will be in place until Wednesday 2 December at the very earliest, after which they will be under review.
In this letter, we have outlined the new Government restrictions and available support to help you. We know many of you have made great personal sacrifices over the course of this year and we want to thank you for your continued effort to protect our communities despite these challenging and uncertain times.
Businesses and venues required to close
To reduce social contact and help slow the spread of the virus, the Government has ordered certain businesses to close. These include:
- All non-essential retail, such as clothes shops, electronics stores, travel agents, betting shops and vape shops.
- Hospitality venues, such as cafes, bars and restaurants.
- In and outdoor leisure, such as gyms, swimming pools, climbing walls and soft play.
- Entertainment venues, such as cinemas, museums, galleries and theatres.
- Personal care facilities, such as hair salons, nail bars and tanning salons.
Food shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Any business that remains open has a legal requirement to follow the COVID secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and staff.
The Government have released simplified guidance to help you understand what steps are required to become COVID-secure at gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery and click-and-collect services only. You can find a full list of non-essential retail businesses and venues required to close at gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#businesses-and-venues
Restrictions on hospitality services
Under these new national restrictions, hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs and bars must close. Takeaway and click-and-collect services can continue, including the takeaway of alcohol. However, customers for click and collect services cannot enter the premises for their goods. Instead, they must be either handed directly to the customer in their car or via a table in the doorway.
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation can remain open only for those who need to travel for work and a limited number of other exemptions set out in law.
Available financial support
The Government have announced that they are extending the furlough scheme through to March 2021. This means businesses that previously furloughed employees will continue receiving support to pay wages up to £2,500 per month. Employers can also enrol any staff that were added to their payroll before Saturday 31 October. Find out more at gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-furlough-to-march-and-increases-self-employed-support
The Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended to provide an additional grant for the three-month period covering November 2020 to January 2021.
The grant will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering three months of profit up to £7,500. HMRC will provide details of how to claim via gov.uk in the coming weeks. Read more at gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension
Businesses required to close under the new lockdown restrictions will be able to apply for a grant of up to £3,000 for the period 5 November to 2 December. The size of the grant will be based on rateable values:
- Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under would receive a grant of £1,334.
- Properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 would receive a grant of £2,000.
- Properties with a rateable value over £51,000 would receive a grant of £3,000.
You will be able to apply for these grants through the Council. However, we are currently awaiting more information from the Government about grant eligibility and the application process. In addition, we will be receiving funding for a local discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant for businesses but again are awaiting for further details from the Government. We will share this with you as soon as we are able to. We hope that this will be by mid-November.
We understand that many businesses want certainty as to whether they qualify as soon as possible and we are working as quickly as possible to get this information. We will write to you again once we have it and we will continue to update camden.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19 or you can check the Government website gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-local-restrictions-support-grant
Self-isolating and supporting your staff
If you or a member of your staff develop symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate and get tested via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. This can help prevent the spread of the virus, keeping Camden safe and open for business. If a member of your staff does test positive or is told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, we ask that you do all that you can to support them to stay at home.
We also ask that, should a member of your staff be defined as clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, you do all that you can support them. You can read more about who is high risk at nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus
Self-isolating staff may also be able access the Test and Trace Support Payment – a one-off payment of £500 to support people on low incomes to self-isolate. More information is on our website camden.gov.uk/apply-for-test-and-trace-support-payment
We’d like to thank you all for your continued effort to follow the Government guidance. We understand that these are uncertain and frustrating times, but we hope that by adopting the new measures we can help control the virus and come out of lockdown sooner rather than later. We also understand your concerns for the future and want to hear your ideas as to what we can do to help. You can tell us about your area, your ideas and your ambitions at camdenfuturehighstreets.commonplace.is
We know these restrictions will be devastating for businesses already struggling, so we are calling for a wholescale economic support package over the next year to protect jobs, giving you some certainty to help weather this storm.
In the meantime, we are here to help you and your business throughout this challenging period. We will continue to update our website with information, advice and support at camden.gov.uk/coronavirus.