Bristol Business News: England to enter national lockdown

Message from Bristol City Council:

3 November 2020

Dear Colleague,

We know that this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone across the city and that businesses are under a significant amount of pressure. I fully appreciate that business support and clear guidance is going to be integral to you, as we enter and exit national restrictions.

We all have roles to play in looking after our city, from the council and city partners to businesses and individuals who must play their part in making sure we all do everything we can to limit the spread of infection. There is also a crucial role for Government to play, in providing adequate financial support to those who need it, and assurance that we can exit lockdown in a better place.

We are currently waiting for national guidance on the grants scheme and will work as quickly as possible to confirm the detail of how eligible businesses can apply for these grants. We’ll share an update across our social media channels, website and via this newsletter as soon as information is available.

This is a really challenging time for everyone, and I appeal to you all to show the community spirit you did during the first lockdown, to protect our citizens and businesses.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

National lockdown announced by Government

On Saturday 31 October the Prime Minister announced that England will enter a national lockdown from Thursday 5 November to 2 December to tackle the growing spread of coronavirus.

We know this disruption is difficult and extremely challenging for everyone but we’re all in this together. We have pulled together the key information from the announcement, as well as the economic support measures:

  • National lockdown announced
  • Furlough scheme extended and additional economic support measures announced
  • Business grants

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support, please contact us on business@bristol.gov.uk

These new national lockdown restrictions mean that from 5 November:

  • People will be required to stay at home and are only allowed to leave home for specific reasons including education, work if you cannot work from home, for exercise and outdoor recreation with your household or on your own with one person from another household, for medical reasons or appointments and to escape injury or harm, to shop for food and essentials and to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
  • Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will be required to close –though click and collect services can continue and essential shops will remain open.
  • Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
  • Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.
  • Single adult households can still form exclusive support bubbles with one other household, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.

See guidance on venues which need to close here.

We know that the majority of businesses have been compliant with the restrictions so far. However, anyone found breaching the regulations could face a fine of up to £10,000. We are working closely with the police and have already issued some fixed penalty notices to venues in the city. We need everyone in the city to take this very seriously. We must all really try to do the most we can do, and not seek ways around the rules.

Furlough scheme extended and additional COVID-19 Economic Support measures announced

In Saturday’s announcement, the Prime Minister announced additional financial support in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This package of support includes:

  • An extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) also known as the furlough scheme. This will now remain open until December with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced. Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or furlough them full time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pensions contributions, which for the average claim accounts for just 5% of total employment costs.
  • Mortgage Holidays – Mortgage payment holidays have been extended. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded in their credit file.
  • Business grants – businesses required to close in England due to national restrictions will be eligible for business grants. Bristol City Council is awaiting detailed policy guidance to inform the application process for these grants, and will have a webpage ready soon.

Find out more about these measures and additional information here.

COVID Marshals

Over the national lockdown period and beyond, you may spot COVID marshals in Bristol, particularly in busy areas of the city with a high amount of footfall due to supermarket visits.

Marshals are here to:

  • Encourage social distancing and face coverings
  • Check businesses that remain open in lockdown are COVID-secure
  • Hand out face coverings and hand sanitiser
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

 They cannot enforce compliance or issue fines, but do work closely with Avon & Somerset Police, and will report breaches when necessary.

Please respect our marshals and keep playing your part in protecting our city from coronavirus. More info at www.bristol.gov.uk/coronavirus

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It is in the public interest for us to keep businesses informed about news, updates and information to support Bristol towards a positive recovery and future economic success following the coronavirus.