Businesses and employers

Current national restrictions for businesses

On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced an immediate national lockdown and ordered all non-essential retail, leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care businesses to close.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.

Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

View the full list of businesses and venues that are required to close.

Guidance for employers and businesses

Operating a Covid secure business

The government has produced a series of guidelines to ensure businesses are operating in a Covid-secure manner.

Businesses must implement the working practices set out for their workplace or industry.

View the Covid-secure guides.

Risk assessment

You must make sure that the risk assessment for your business is undertaken and addresses the risks of Covid-19, using the guidance to inform your decisions and control measures.

If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment.

Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to.

There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

If you have any questions about the Covid secure and working safely government guidelines please direct these to HSE Covid-19 enquiries on 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 8pm)

Or via their working safely enquiry form.

NHS Test and Trace guidance

Certain establishments are required to collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors and will now be legally required to display NHS COVID-19 app QR code posters in their venues. This includes all venues from the following sectors:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
  • places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

Create your QR code poster for the NHS COVID-19 app

There is also a helpful video explaining how to create a QR code.

Coronavirus disinfection service for businesses

If you need to re-open your business to staff or the public, help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) by booking a deep clean service.

Our experienced Hygiene Services and Pest Control team are now offering a deep clean service for local businesses.

Financial support for businesses and the self-employed

More information on the government measures to support business, employers and the self- employed are available from 

You can also find out what financial support your business is eligible for.


National and local restrictions business grants

The Government has announced a series of grants businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tier restrictions introduced in London from October and the subsequent national lockdowns. Four of the grant schemes are currently open for applications. Find out more about the grants
The Government has announced a new package of business support for the national lockdown starting from 5 January 2021. We will share more information on this funding when we receive it.

Government financial support finder tool

The government has launched a tool to help businesses work out what coronavirus financial support they might be eligible for. Answer a series of questions about your business and you will be signposted to a list of support you may be entitled to.

Business rates holiday

The Government has introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (expanded to include estate agents, letting agents bingo halls and nurseries) in England for the 2020-21 tax year. If this applies to you, there is no need to do anything as this will be automatically applied to your bill.

Find out more about the business rates holiday and if you are eligible for it.

Bounce back loans

The Government has launched a new quick and easy loan scheme for small businesses with a simple online form and the money promised in your account within days.

100% government guaranteed loans between £2,000 and £50,000 are now available with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms are up to six years with no repayments due during the first 12 months. Apply for a bounce back loan

Business interruption loan scheme

The Government has two schemes offering larger loans depending on the turnover of your businesses. These are delivered by the British Business Bank with over 50 lenders participating, including all the main retail banks.

For small and medium-sized businesses

Businesses with a turnover under £45m can apply to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for a 100% guaranteed loan of up to £5m to help with cash flow. See if you are eligible and apply.

For large businesses

Businesses with a turnover over £45m can apply for a 80% guaranteed loan of up to £25m to the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) whilst those with a turnover over £250m can apply for a 80% guaranteed loan of £50m where they are unable to secure regular commercial financing. Find out more and apply

Job retention scheme

If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus, you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 31 March 2021. View the latest guidance and claim.

Statutory sick pay support

If you are a small to medium-sized business, you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay Support (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus if
  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Self-employment income support

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

VAT and Income Tax payment and support

Registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period. The payment deadline will have been delayed (deferred) until 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Get support if you can’t pay your tax bills

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. Call HMRC’s helpline Monday-Friday 8am-4pm on 0800 024 1222.

HMRC also has a Self Assessment Payment Helpline, available Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on 0300 200 3822.

Kickstart scheme in Brent

We are looking for employers and other partners to work with us to create government-funded work placements for young people in Brent aged 16-24. Government Kickstart funding will cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

On top of the wage subsidy, £1,500 per job placement is paid to employers for setup costs, support and training. Brent Works can support all employers get set up on this scheme and find suitable candidates who are eligible for these Kickstart jobs.

To register your interest, please email: or call 0208 937 6295.

If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the Kickstart Scheme, you can apply directly to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Corporate financing facility

The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies if affected by a short-term funding squeeze. Find out more about the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, including if you are eligible.


Most businesses are unlikely to be covered through their insurance policy for coronavirus, as normally business interruption insurance policies take into account things like damage to property and not pandemics. However, insurance policies can differ, so please check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and speak to your provider. If your insurers require a letter from the council advising the closure of your business, please email


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