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26/02/2021 Latest news and advice for businesses on COVID-19 (see more)

Business news - Coronavirus update from Wiltshire Council.
26 February 2021
This newsletter provides updates on help and advice available locally for businesses during the COVID-19 situation.

Read back issues of this business newsletter

Visit our COVID-19 page for our latest updates

Update on business grants

The latest Local Restrictions Support Grant payments, for the period of 16 February 2021 to 31 March 2021, will be paid automatically to all businesses that have previously applied, once funding has been received from government. If you have previously applied, please do not apply again as this will delay the process – all previous successful applicants will be paid automatically if they are eligible for this grant. If you have not already applied, please see the eligibility criteria and how to apply on our website.

Amounts will be paid as follows:

  • Rateable value under £15,000: £2,096
  • Rateable value between £15,000 to £51,000: £3,143
  • Rateable value over £51,000: £4,714

We are still assessing a large volume of Additional Restrictions Grant (also known as discretionary payments) applications. Please do not contact us about this, as our teams will be in contact with you if they have any queries regarding your application. The Additional Restrictions Grant is currently closed for new applications, but for more information about this grant please see our website.

Find out more and apply for a grant
Targeted COVID-19 rapid community testing continues – you can now book appointments at Devizes, Salisbury and Chippenham

Our rollout of the government’s rapid COVID-19 community testing initiative locally to help drive down transmission rates continues, with bookings now being taken for the Salisbury and Chippenham centres.

The programme, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, is specifically aimed at asymptomatic people at small businesses (employees of 50 or less) who cannot work from home, and private (non-maintained) early years settings and childminders. These groups have been chosen because they are not currently involved in any other mass-testing scheme.

You can now book a test at our centres at Devizes Leisure Centre, Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre in Salisbury and now Monkton Park in Chippenham. Another centre will open in due course in Trowbridge but for the time being you can only book a place at Devizes, Salisbury and Chippenham.

The centre cannot accept people dropping in, and everyone must book an appointment and not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Eligible people will take a Lateral Flow Test. The self-administered test should take no more than 15 minutes and results should be known within 30 minutes.

This is not to be confused with surge testing. Surge testing is increased testing (including door-to-door testing) and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations in England and is not currently taking place in Wiltshire.

Free testing continues to be available to everyone in Wiltshire who has COVID-19 symptoms – high temperature, continuous cough or loss of/change in taste or smell. People should visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to book a test in that instance.

Anyone who receives a positive Lateral Flow Test result automatically activates a legal obligation to self-isolate, and may also claim for a Test and Trace payment if they are eligible.

You can book your place at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus-testing, where you will also find additional information and FAQs.

More information on asymptomatic testing for large organisations (over 50 employees) can be found at https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.

Find out more and book a test
Legionella – advice to employers and landlords 

It is essential that while many buildings, retail premises, offices and leisure facilities remain shut down due to the pandemic, that water systems within them are still well maintained to prevent future health issues like Legionella outbreaks.

People who are recovering from COVID-19 are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires Disease. This could be members of your staff.

It is important ensure all water systems are managed safely at this time.

Find out more

Make your workplace COVID secure

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance issued on 10 February covers 14 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:

  1. Work from home, if you can
  2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
  5. Reinforcing cleaning processes
View the guidance

South West Wiltshire event on 2 March

Are you an employer or business owner in the South West Wiltshire Community Area? Join us for a unique online event offering support and solutions to employers, business owners and residents alike on Tuesday 2 March from 10.30am.

This event is part of a programme of work to tackle rising unemployment in the South West Wiltshire Community Area. This event is the first part of the programme where, working with colleagues from our Economic Development team, we will offer information, advice and support to employers struggling because of the pandemic, and we will identify those who are in a position to support local employment and skills opportunities in the near and distant future.

After you register, you will be sent a link to access the meeting using Microsoft Teams 24-hours before the event commences.

Register for the event

Wiltshire COVID-19 Public update – Live!

We will be hosting another COVID-19 public update webinar from 5.30pm on Tuesday 2 March, to provide the latest update on COVID-19 in Wiltshire and to answer your questions.

Wiltshire Council Leader Cllr Philip Whitehead will be joined by Terence Herbert, Chief Executive of Wiltshire Council, and Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health for Wiltshire, to help guide you through the latest information and regulations.

The broadcast will be an opportunity to hear about the latest rates of COVID-19 cases in Wiltshire, the arrangements in place to mitigate the spread of the virus and how the council is continuing to support residents and businesses at this time.

You can submit your questions about COVID-19 and the local response in advance by emailing communications@wiltshire.gov.uk no later than 12 noon on Monday 1 March.

The live briefing will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 2 March.

There is still time to take part in the Wiltshire Local Plan review consultation

There are now less than two weeks to take part in the Wiltshire Local Plan review consultation, and for you to have your say on where future developments may be built in the county in the next 15 years.

All the Local Plan documents and an online form to have your say are on our website, but if you know someone without internet access who wants to have their say, they can call 0300 456 0100 to speak to our Spatial Planning team to discuss the plan in their area and submit their comments. They can also request printed copies of the documents and write to us to submit their comments.

The consultation is open until 9 March, so please have your say.

To find out more about the Local Plan review, view documents and have your say, go to www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planning-policy-local-plan-review

Find out more

Guidance for businesses that trade with the EU

The UK has left the EU and new rules for business with Europe came into force on 1 January 2021. We urge all businesses to visit gov.uk/transition and to get personalised and prioritised actions for their business by using the Brexit Checker Tool.

Webinars and videos
Watch a simple 60-second walkthrough on how to use the “Check How to Export Goods” tool on YouTube.

You can find more information, webinars and watch videos about trading with the EU on the GOV.UK website.

Carrying out international road haulage
The new rules for international road haulage, as well as guidance to help adjust to them. Visit gov.uk/transition-haulage to find our what UK goods vehicle operators need to do to carry out international road haulage.

Check an HGV is ready to cross the border (Kent Access Permit)
HGV drivers must have a KAP to travel through Kent to the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel and on to the EU. The permit helps manage traffic by confirming drivers have the right documents for EU import controls.

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme – online service opens

HMRC has announced that over half a million businesses who deferred VAT payments last year can now join the new online VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay it in smaller monthly instalments.

In order to take advantage of the new payment scheme, businesses will need to have deferred VAT payments between March and June 2020, under the VAT Payment Deferral Scheme. They will now be given the option to pay their deferred VAT in equal consecutive monthly instalments from March 2021.

Businesses will need to opt-in to the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme. They can do this via the online service that opened on 23 February and closes on 21 June 2021.

Eligible businesses that are unable to use the online services can ring the HMRC Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 024 1222 to join the scheme until 30 June 2021.

More guidance and to access the online service
Public consultation on the Future Chippenham road route options closes on 12 March

There are two weeks remaining to share your views on three road route options for a potential new distributor road located to the south and east of Chippenham. The road would provide a high-quality road link connecting the north east and southern parts of the town to the A350 and improvements to Junction 17 of the M4.
The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 12 March 2021.

More details and to have your say
Useful links
We are providing regular updates on the Coronavirus business support page on our website.
You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
For central government updates follow: