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Business news: Support grant opening and COVID surge testing

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This information is from Bristol City Council’s Business Bulletin.

A new round of discretionary business grants will go live at midday on Wednesday 10 February.

The discretionary grant is open to applications from all businesses across all sectors, including self-employed and sole traders as well as small or micro businesses, who have been severely financially impacted by COVID-19 restrictions across Tier 2, Tier 3 and national lockdowns.

Applications received will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and grants will be awarded dependent on the size of the business or the rateable value of the business premises.

To apply, businesses must have identification and documentation as evidence of trading such as sales invoices, an active lease agreement and a business bank account statement.

The latest round is funded through the Local Restriction Support Grants (Open) and Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) schemes, for the period of 2 December 2020 to 15 February 2021.

Businesses who received a payment under a previous ARG scheme will automatically receive a top up, and do not need to apply again, though we may contact some for further information.

The council is working hard to make sure all our businesses get the financial support they are entitled to during this difficult time. However, funding from the government is unfortunately limited in value. We estimate that the volume of eligible businesses within the region could result in the grant scheme being oversubscribed so please apply as quickly as you can to avoid disappointment. The application window will be closed as soon as the funding has all been allocated. 

Visit our website for more information and to apply for the latest round of discretionary grants.

 

Additional COVID ‘surge’ testing for some parts of Bristol

Public Health England have recently identified a number of COVID-19 cases in Bristol relating to a mutation of the virus, known as the Kent variant.

We’re providing community surge testing to help us learn more about the mutated COVID-19 variant and help reduce the spread of infection by finding asymptomatic cases (people not showing symptoms) and prompting people to self-isolate. 

We’re only doing this testing in specific postcode areas. If your business is in one of the identified postcodes you and your employees (or a sample of your employees if you are a large employer) can either go to one of the mobile testing units (MTUs) or one of our Collect and Drop sites.

The stock of tests is limited, so please arrange testing of your staff as soon as possible.

Find out more about the community surge testing sites on our website and where you can get a test if eligible.

We would appreciate your support to allow your employees to attend the test centres during working hours.

We strongly urge everybody in the identified areas to continue following the national lockdown rules as normal.

Getting a test

If you or any of your staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, you do not need a test.

People with symptoms should still either call 119 or visit the government website to arrange a free test.

People without symptoms can get a test at one of the MTUs positioned in local areas. You do not need to book an appointment.

At the test site you should wear a face covering and follow social distancing. You do not currently need to bring ID or proof of address.

If you can’t get to an MTU, we have set up Collect and Drop sites at local libraries where you can get a test to use at home or ask someone to collect a test for you.

Once you have collected the test, you can take it home where you can do it safely. You then bring it back to the site you collected it from the same day if you can, or within a few days. The Department of Health and Social Care has a video that explains how to take a test.

After your test

You must register your test on the government website within 24 hours to get your results.
 
Self isolation

Please ensure you are providing clear guidance to your staff about the importance of not coming to work if they have any symptoms of COVID (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). If they do develop symptoms, you should advise them not to come to work and get a test as soon as possible.

Your staff should self-isolate if they’ve tested positive for COVID, if they live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive, or someone in their support bubble has symptoms or tested positive.

You can also help to minimise the spread of coronavirus within your workplace by identifying ‘close contacts‘ of any positive cases as quickly as possible.

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