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07/04/2021 Latest news and advice for businesses on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council (read more)

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Business news - Coronavirus update from Wiltshire Council.
7 April 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
Advice as lockdown is further eased on Monday 12 April

On Monday (5 April), the Prime Minister confirmed that we can proceed with Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap on 12 April. As this next stage will mean non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality and personal care premises can reopen on 12 April, we have updated and reissued our guidance for businesses once lockdown is eased.

From this date, as well as non-essential retail and personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons, indoor leisure facilities can reopen for use by people on their own or in household groups. Most outdoor attractions, including outdoor hospitality venues, safari parks and drive-in cinemas can also open once again, while self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets may reopen so long as indoor facilities are not shared with other households.

Hospitality venues, including pubs, bars and restaurants, can serve people outdoors and for table service only from 12 April, and there is no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew.

Public buildings such as community centres can also reopen from 12 April, and several of our leisure centres and libraries will reopen from this date. More information on the opening times and specific restrictions at each council-owned site is available on our website:

We also all need to keep in mind that although 12 April is a big day for your business, we must all continue to follow the guidance – everyone should continue to keep washing their hands; wear a face covering where appropriate; ensure they are effectively socially distancing; and, where possible, you should open windows and doors to let fresh air circulate.

People must also stick to the ‘Rule of 6’ and not mix indoors with different households. We don’t want cases to rise once again and to take a step back on the Government’s roadmap.

Guidance and support for reopening safely

You can access up-to-date guidance on safely reopening, complete with health advice, downloadable signage and posters, social distancing guidance and checklists to ensure you are ready for the reopening.

These resources are available on our website: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19

Business Grants

Businesses will be able to apply for Restart Grants when applications open in early April. The grants will support high street businesses and are worth up to £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses, and up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses such as personal care, pubs, leisure and hotels.

For more information about grants, please visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19-grants.

More information and advice for businesses
Find out more about business grants
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:
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02/04/2021 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 and more from Wiltshire Council. New online directory launched to support local businesses

1 April 2021
Latest Wiltshire COVID-19 casesThe number of cases in Wiltshire continues to be below the national average. However, rates have increased slightly this week.

The rate of cases per 100k has increased from 27.4 to 29.2.Please continue to play your part to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

First stage of lockdown eased

Social contact

You are now able to meet outdoors (including in private gardens) in groups of six people (the Rule of 6) or two households, making it easier for you to meet friends and family outside.

Business and activities

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, are now allowed to reopen, and you can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Travel

The ‘stay at home’ rule has ended, but many restrictions remain in place. You should continue to work from home where you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad continues to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The Government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.

Full guidance on the easing of restrictions
Please be cautious over Easter

We’re working with local partners to encourage everyone to be cautious over Easter.

Please continue to follow the Government’s guidance and keep yourselves and  loved ones safe over the Easter break.

Although the ‘stay at home’ rule has now lifted, this has been replaced by guidance that you should minimise travel, avoid making unnecessary trips and not stay away from home overnight at this stage.

If you’re planning to meet up with others over the Easter weekend and the school holidays, please stick to the rules of social distancing and only meet others outdoors, in a maximum group of 6 people (Rule of 6) or two households.

More details on the need to be cautious over Easter
New online directory launched to support local businesses

We have launched a new digital directory to help business owners and managers as they make decisions about the future of their business.

The Business Support Directory is a comprehensive online tool which signposts businesses affected by COVID-19 to local, regional or national support or alternative solutions to help them survive.

We created the tool, in conjunction with partners and stakeholders, to help many businesses who are facing new risks and challenges and may not be aware of what support is available to them or what the best solution may be for their situation. So, whether businesses may be considering growing, changing, downsizing or potentially closing, the tool can help identify the information and support available to help them.

The tool contains information tailored to the size of the business, ranging from self-employed and sole traders to large businesses with over 250 employees. So, if you are looking to grow your business’ online presence but need to upskill yourself or your team, or thinking about future talent but don’t know where to start, or having to make staff redundant and want to support them move on, this directory can help you do that.

View the Online Business Support Directory
Poll cards start to be posted out with elections on the horizon

With the elections a little over a month away, poll cards are starting to be sent out by Wiltshire Council to eligible voters, and will soon land on residents’ doormats.

We are legally obliged to send out poll cards to registered voters. The poll card also contains details of the resident’s local polling station. More than 20 polling stations have changed from previous years, with extra measures being introduced to make them COVID-secure. In total there will be 348 polling stations across the county.

On 6 May, unitary and town and parish council elections take place, as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner election. Given the amount of elections and COVID measures required, the count of the ballots will take place from 7 to 10 May. There are also a number of neighbourhood planning referendums, and those eligible to vote in those will be sent an additional poll card.

You do not need to bring your poll card to vote but it is helpful if you can bring it with you.

Terence Herbert, Wiltshire Council’s Chief Executive and Wiltshire’s Returning Officer has filmed a short video to talk about the poll cards in a bit more detail.

It is not too late register to vote if you haven’t already; visit the GOV.uk website for more information.

To register to vote by post, please go online.

For local information on the elections taking place on 6 May, please visit our website.

Waste collections over the Easter weekend

Our waste teams are collecting as usual this bank holiday, so if it’s your collection day, please leave your bins out as normal.

Check your waste collection dates
Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub taking on additional roleThe Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub, which has proved a lifeline to many local residents during the pandemic, is taking on an additional role from 1 April.

The multi-agency hub has provided support, guidance and signposting helping to provide a community response to assist those who are at highest risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19 – the clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable.

From today (Thursday 1 April) the Hub will take on an additional role of supporting those self-isolating due to a positive test or as a close contact where they don’t have friends and family to help. The Hub will be able to provide advice or support for individuals who are required to self-isolate and need practical, social and emotional support.

More details on the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub taking on an additional role
Census 2021

Each property in England and Wales will have received a Census Pack.

If you own a 2nd home or a holiday let it is likely that due to lockdown you will not have been able to visit the property to pick up your census pack.

You still need to complete a census questionnaire for the property, even if it is empty in terms of you’ve not been able to stay there or let it out for holiday use.

2nd Home
If your second property is a holiday home that is only for your use, you’re responsible for filling in the census form sent to that address as well as the one sent to your other address.

If you can’t get the post from a property, you can complete the census online by requesting an access code for that address to be sent to you by text.

If no one was staying there overnight on Sunday 21 March 2021, you will only need to answer a few questions about that property.

Away from your property
You should fill in a census form for this address if:

  • you’re still in the UK
  • you’re outside the UK for less than 12 months

You don’t need to fill in the census form if you’re away for 12 months or more, and outside the UK.

Find out more about the Census 2021
Online fostering information session

“All we’ve done is make him feel safe, loved and accepted. He can be exhausting, but to see him develop and grow as a person is so rewarding,” Laura, foster carer.

If you’re looking for a change of career and to make a huge difference to a child’s life, come and join us as we host an online fostering information session on Wednesday 7 April at 7:30pm.

Link to join.

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19/03/2021 Latest news and advice for businesses on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council (read more)

View this email in your browser
Business news - Coronavirus update from Wiltshire Council.
19 March 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
Don’t miss your chance to apply for grants ahead of application deadlines

If you have not yet applied for Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG), please do so as soon as you can, as the closing dates for applications are fast approaching.

The deadline for new LRSG applications for the period of November 2020 to January 2021 is 31 March; while the closing date for new applications for the LRSG relating to the period 16 February 2021 to 5 April 2021 is 31 May. This is for new applications only – if you have previously been awarded a LRSG, you will automatically be paid again for these periods, and you do not need to contact us.

In the recent Budget, the Chancellor announced that the LRSG will be replaced by the Restart Grant scheme from 5 April 2021. This new scheme will support high street businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new grants will be worth up to £6,000 for non-essential retail, and up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses such as pubs and hotels.

If you have already received a LRSG, please keep an eye on this newsletter and your email and we will share more details on the Restart Grants as soon as possible.

Find out more about business grants and how to apply
Business COVID-19 information pack

We have updated our pack for businesses, full of useful public health advice, guidance and information on keeping safe and managing COVID-19 in the workplace.

View the business pack
Rapid lateral flow testing programmes for businesses – less than two weeks to register

Just a reminder that you now have less than two weeks to register for the Government’s workplace testing scheme.

As part of the government’s roadmap to cautiously lift restrictions, businesses of all sizes, including now those with fewer than 50 employees, can register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees.

Around one in three people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing. Rapid testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.

Regular testing could be the difference between a workplace being able to stay open and operational, or needing to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It will form a crucial part of the government’s plan to gradually and safely ease restrictions as we get back to a more normal life.

You have until 31 March to register for the government’s workplace testing scheme, which will remain free until the end of June.

If your business has signed up to access the national lateral flow testing programme and you are willing to notify the local authority, please could you complete this form.
It will really help us to identify which businesses are taking part in the testing programme to ensure in the event that you identify positive cases, appropriate support and advice can be provided through the local public health teams, to prevent further onward transmission.

More information on the Government’s testing scheme
Easter holiday childcare for parents

We have worked with local childminders and activity providers to create a childcare directory for parents that need to work during the upcoming Easter holidays. There is a charge for all provision detailed in the directory.

The first option for any parent needing childcare during the Easter school holidays is to consider forming a childcare bubble locally.

The government has said that people who need childcare during the school holidays for a child under 14 can form a childcare bubble with one other household. Ideally this should be with somebody who live locally. Additional guidance on forming childcare bubbles can be found online.

Where a childcare bubble is not possible, parents can use our directory with details of local childcare providers, fees and locations and contact details.

More details on the childcare provision
HMRC £20m SME Brexit Support Fund opens for applications

SMEs can now apply for a £2,000 grant to help them with the new rules when trading with the EU.

This is part of the Government’s £20m SME support package announced on 11 February, that will help small businesses who trade with the EU or move goods between GB and NI.

The grant can be used for training about customs, rules of origin and VAT aspects of imports and exports and to seek professional advice in these areas.

More information on the SME Brexit Support Fund
The Census 2021

The census is coming. By taking part, you can help to inform decisions on services that shape your community, such as schools, doctors’ surgeries and bike lanes.

It’s important you fill in your census questionnaire because the information you share affects the life of every single person living in England and Wales.

Because these things matter to us all, everyone needs to complete the census. Do not worry, your information is protected by law. That means government officials dealing with payments or services you receive cannot see it.

Census Day is Sunday 21 March. You can fill yours in online as soon as you get your access code in the post. If your household circumstances change on Census Day, you can let The Office for National Statistics (ONS) know.

If you need help, you can visit www.census.gov.uk where there’s a wide range of support services available.

These include a contact centre that can give you help over the phone and guidance in a range of languages and accessible formats, including paper questionnaires and large print.

Find out more about the Census 2021
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:
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Budget on 3 March 2021 courtesy of Complete Accounting Services

 

In the Chancellor’s second real Budget on 3 March 2021 he announced that he had to level with people about the state of the UK economy.  Prior to Budget day there were fewer leaks than normal about possible tax changes. There were however announcements prior to Budget day of grants for High Street businesses and the hospitality sector and the widely predicted extension of the furlough scheme.

 

Rishi Sunak has chosen a fine line between raising taxes to start paying down the massive Government borrowings but at the same time stimulate economic recovery and save jobs. He was also mindful of pledges made in the Conservative Party manifesto not to raise income tax, VAT and national insurance. So that leaves corporation tax, CGT and inheritance tax…

 

Maybe he will delay the announcement of significant increases in taxation until later in the year as it is anticipated that there will be a further Budget in the Autumn. By then the economy will hopefully have started to bounce back.

It has already been announced that there will be important consultation documents issued on 23 March which will seek views on future tax changes. That may be when the expected reforms to CGT and IHT will be announced.

 

CJRS FURLOUGH SCHEME EXTENDED TO 30 SEPTEMBER

 

The current version of the furlough scheme that started on 1 November 2020 was scheduled to end on 30 April 2021. In order to avoid a “cliff-edge” with resulting widespread redundancies the chancellor has announced a further extension of the scheme and also a phased reduction in support to employers. The CJRS furlough grant for May and June will remain at 80% of the employees’ usual pay for hours not working but it will then be limited to 70% for July and then 60% for August and September.

 

This phased reduction will operate in a similar way as in September and October 2020 with the employer being required to contribute the remaining 10% and then 20% of an employee’s regular pay so that they continue to receive 80% pay for furloughed hours.

 

In addition to the 10% and 20% contributions employers will continue to be responsible for paying employers national insurance and pension contributions on the full amount being paid to employees.

 

Contact us if you need assistance with your CJRS furlough claims.

 

SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT GRANTS ALSO EXTENDED

 

In line with the further extension of the CJRS furlough scheme for employees the chancellor has also set out further support for the self-employed. We had been waiting for the details of the calculation of the fourth SEISS grant covering the period to 30 April and we now know that the support will continue to be 80% of average profits for the reference period capped at £2,500 a month and can be claimed from late April. There will then be a fifth SEISS grant covering the 5 months to 30 September.

The chancellor has also bowed to pressure to extend the scheme to include certain traders who were previously excluded. Thus, those who commenced self-employment in 2019/20 will now be included provided they had submitted their 2019/20 tax return by 2 March 2021. This is potentially a further 600,000 traders.

Conditions for the fifth grant will be linked to a reduction in business turnover. Self-employed individuals whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,500 a month. Those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £950 a month. We are awaiting further details of this fifth grant.

 

CORPORATION TAX RATES TO INCREASE

TO 25% BUT NOT FOR ALL COMPANIES

 

The UK corporation tax rate is currently one of the lowest rates of the G20 countries and the government states it is committed to keeping the rate competitive.

 

 

That should have the effect of encouraging companies to remain in the UK and companies to set up here. With other countries considering raising corporate tax rates the chancellor has announced that the UK will follow suit and consequently the rate will increase to 25% from 1 April 2023 where profits exceed £250,000. However, where a company’s profits do not exceed £50,000 the rate will remain at the current 19% rate and there will be a taper above £50,000. Businesses will however be able to take advantage of new tax breaks to encourage investment in equipment and an enhanced carry back of losses.

 

SUPER-DEDUCTION FOR INVESTMENT IN NEW EQUIPMENT

 

In order to encourage companies to invest in new capital equipment the chancellor announced a radical new “super-deduction” of 130% where they invest in new plant. This would mean that when a company buys plant costing £10,000 they would qualify for a £13,000 deduction in arriving at business profits. The new deduction, which will run for two years from 1 April 2021, will not be available for motor cars. Certain assets such as fixtures in buildings will only qualify for 50% relief in the first year instead of the normal 6% writing down allowance.

 

THREE YEAR CARRY BACK OF TRADING LOSSES

 

Many businesses will have made a loss in the last year as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and the difficult trading environment.

Trading losses can normally only be set against profits of the preceding accounting period or previous tax year in the case of unincorporated businesses.

 

The chancellor has announced that the carry back period will be temporarily increased to three years thereby enabling the business to obtain a tax refund. For companies this will apply to loss making accounting periods ending in the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2022. For unincorporated traders, the extended loss relief will apply to losses incurred in 2020/21 and 2021/22.

 

The amount of trading losses that can be carried back to the preceding year remains unlimited for companies. After carry back to the preceding year, a maximum of £2,000,000 of unused losses will then be available for carry back against profits of the same trade of the previous 2 years. There will be a similar £2,000,000 limit for unincorporated businesses.

 

NO CHANGES TO INCOME TAX RATES AND PERSONAL ALLOWANCE FROZEN

 

The basic rate of income tax and higher rate remain at 20% and 40% respectively, and the 45% additional rate continues to apply to income over £150,000.

 

The personal allowance and higher rate threshold have been increased in line with inflation to £12,570 and £50,270 respectively for 2021/22. These thresholds will then be frozen until 2025/26 possibly yielding an extra £19 billion for the government.

 

There had again been rumours that the dividend rate might be increased, but dividends continue to be taxed at 7.5%, 32.5% and then 38.1%, depending upon whether the dividends fall into the basic rate band, higher rate band or the additional rate band. Note that the first £2,000 of dividend income continues to be tax-free.

 

NATIONAL INSURANCE RATES

 

The national insurance contribution (NIC) rates and bandings were announced 16 December 2020 to take effect from 6 April 2021.

Employees and the self-employed will not pay national insurance contributions (NIC) on the first £9,570 of earnings for 2021/22, an increase of £1 a week. The employee contribution rate continues to be 12% up to the Upper Earnings limit £50,270, with the self-employed paying 9% on their profits up to the same level. Note that employer contributions will apply to earnings over £170 per week, £8,840 per annum which is also a £1 a week increase.

 

5% VAT RATE FOR FOOD, ATTRACTIONS AND ACCOMMODATION EXTENDED

 

In order to continue to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector, the reduced 5% rate of VAT will continue to apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK until 30 September 2021.

 

The 5% reduced rate of VAT will also continue to apply to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK.

From 1 October until 31 March 2022 the rate will be set at 12.5% and will then revert to 20% from 1 April 2022.

 

VAT REGISTRATION LIMIT FROZEN AT £85,000 UNTIL 1 APRIL 2024

 

The VAT registration limit normally goes up each year in line with inflation but will remain at £85,000 for a further two years. Arguably this makes it easier for businesses to assess whether or not they are required to register for VAT as it is no longer a moving target.

 

MAKING TAX DIGITAL EXTENDED TO ALL VAT REGISTERED BUSINESSES FROM 1 APRIL 2022

 

The government has confirmed that the requirement to maintain accounting records in a digital format and submit the data to HMRC electronically will be extended to all VAT registered businesses from 1 April 2022 regardless of the level of taxable supplies.

 

NEW GRANTS FOR HIGH STREET BUSINESSES AND HOSPITALITY SECTOR

 

Businesses forced to close due to the Coronavirus lockdown will be eligible to apply for grants of up to £18,000 depending upon the rateable value of their business premises. Pubs, restaurants, hotels, gyms and hairdressers will be eligible for a grant of up to £18,000 per premises whilst non-essential retail businesses will be eligible to apply for a grant up to a maximum of £6,000.

 

The grants are intended to be a contribution towards the fixed costs of the business during the period that they have been unable to trade normally. Staff costs continue to be covered by the CJRS furlough scheme.

 

The government will also continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021.

 

Unfortunately, the “Eat out to Help Out” scheme will not be reintroduced this Summer.

 

NEW RECOVERY LOAN SCHEME

 

The government have already announced a longer repayment period for “Bounce-back” and CBIL loans. From 6 April 2021 a new Recovery Loan Scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on eligible loans between £25,000 and £10 million to give them confidence in continuing to provide finance to UK businesses. The scheme will be open to all businesses, including those who have already received support under the existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes.

 

SDLT THRESHOLDS EXTENDED

 

Last March in order to stimulate the housing market the Chancellor announced a temporary cut in Stamp Duty Land Tax for home buyers across England and Northern Ireland which was scheduled to last until 31 March 2021.

 

This has now been further extended until 30 June 2021 so that transactions in progress will continue to benefit from the reduced rates.

 

 

As a transitional measure from 1 July 2021 the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT in England and Northern Ireland will then decrease to £250,000 for 3 months until 1 October 2021 when it will revert to £125,000 for purchases completed on or after that date. There has been no change to the SDLT rates above the Nil Rate Band. The 3% supplementary charge for second and subsequent homes in England and Northern Ireland will continue to apply.

 

Note that there are different rates of tax on property transactions in Scotland and Wales as such taxes have been devolved in those countries.

 

5% MORTGAGE SCHEMES EXTENDED

 

Another measure announced to stimulate the housing sector is a new 95% mortgage scheme guaranteed by the government that will mean that people buying a house will only need a 5% deposit where the purchase price is no more than £600,000.

 

APPRENTICESHIP SCHEMES EXTENDED

 

The current apprenticeship scheme will be improved with payments of £3,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25 and continue to pay the employer £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged over 25. The schemes will now run until 30 September 2021.

 

Starting in January 2022 there will be a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship which will allow individuals to work for more than one company via an agency.

 

The “Kickstart” Scheme announced in the Summer 2020 Plan for Jobs will continue to be available for the 2021/22 academic year to create 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.

 

EIGHT NEW FREEPORTS ANNOUNCED

 

In eight locations around England there will be generous tax breaks to encourage businesses to locate there. These tax breaks include an exemption from SDLT, 100% first year allowances on plant and a 10% per annum structures and buildings allowance.

 

 

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:

15/02/2021 Extended closing date of Additional Restrictions Grant to Monday 15 February. Wiltshire Council Business News (see more)

View this email in your browser
Business news - Coronavirus update from Wiltshire Council.
12 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

Extended closing date of Additional Restrictions Grant to Monday 15 February

We have extended the cut-off date for new applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), to support businesses, to 23:59 on Monday 15 February.

The grant has been reopened since 26 January for new applications only. If you have previously applied and been successful for an ARG grant, you do not need to reapply and you will be paid automatically when you are eligible. If you have previously applied for a Discretionary Grant (running May to September, prior to November) you will need to apply to the ARG scheme separately.

The grant supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) for business premises closed by national restrictions.

Awards will be made as follows:

  • For a sole individual trader, self-employed person or company director paid by dividends, a grant of £1,500
  • For a business with 2 to 9 employees, a grant of £3,000
  • For a business with 10 to 19 employees, a grant of £6,000
  • New: A business with 20 or more employees, a grant of £10,000

If you have struggled to access other forms of support, you are encouraged to apply for the ARG, as the eligibility is different to the Self-Employment or Furlough schemes. Directors paid by dividends and larger firms are all able to apply, and applications will be considered. Please do make sure you submit an application – or you could be missing out on vital funds to support your business.

Find out more and apply for a grant
Local Restrictions Support Grant update

We’re awaiting more information from Government on the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) post 15 February, so please do not contact us for more information about this.

If you have already applied for business grants funding, please do not apply again, as this will just slow down the process. Any businesses that has already applied for funding will be automatically paid any additional grants that they are eligible for, and once we have more information about this grant we will share it in this newsletter and on our website.

Community rapid lateral flow testing

There is a new drive to increase workplace testing in sectors open during lockdown, in order to detect COVID-19 in people who are not showing symptoms.

Businesses can register to order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests for employees if:

  • The business is registered in England.
  • The business employs 50 people or more.
  • Employees cannot work from home.

This service is not intended for use by employees who have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should order an individual test and stay at home.

Businesses should register interest to participate in the scheme here.

For businesses with less than 50 employees, please see article below.

Wiltshire Council-run targeted COVID-19 rapid community testing to launch soon in Wiltshire

We will soon begin to roll out the government’s rapid COVID-19 community testing initiative locally to help drive down transmission rates.

The council’s programme, in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, is specifically aimed at asymptomatic people at small businesses who cannot work from home, and private early years settings and childminders. Eligible people will take a Lateral Flow Test.

With its targeted approach, community testing aims to reduce the prevalence of the virus.

It is expected the first test centre will open on 17 February.

The centres cannot accept people dropping in, and everyone must book an appointment and not have any symptoms of COVID-19. An online booking system will be available soon.

The self-administered test should take no more than 15 minutes and results should be known within half an hour.

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.

Those in smaller businesses (employees of 50 or less) who cannot work from home, and private (non-maintained) early years settings have been chosen because they are not currently involved in any other mass-testing scheme.

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

More information, including FAQs can be found online.

Importing Products of Animal Origin (POAO) from the EU into GB webinars

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced a new webinar series on Importing Products of Animal Origin (POAO) for Human Consumption from the EU to Great Britain.

In April, there will be a further set of changes coming into effect on imports of products of animal origin (POAO) for human consumption, as outlined in the Border Operating Model. These changes affect imports of food and drink containing animal products.

Defra will host the webinar series throughout February and March. The key objective is to ensure businesses are ready to continue importing from the EU.

If you have any POAO queries, please email: SPSanimalimportenquiries@defra.gov.uk. For more information, please see the relevant guidance on GOV.​UK.

View the timetable for all webinars and register
Wiltshire Climate Summit

Wiltshire businesses are encouraged to register for a Wiltshire Climate Summit, hosted by MPs on Friday 19 February from 11am to 4pm.

The conference will include a range of local and national speakers including the former President of COP26 Claire Perry-O’Neill, and the Prime Minister’s business envoy to COP26, Andrew Griffiths MP.

There will be an interactive element to the virtual conference in the afternoon, which will give you the opportunity to input into how we, in Wiltshire, help to reduce the impacts of climate change.

More details and to register
Families urged to keep following the rules and stay safe this half term

We are urging parents, children and young people to continue to follow social distancing guidance during the half term holidays.

During half term, parents can form a childcare bubble for a child under 14, with one other household, ideally who live locally. The childcare bubble is for childcare only and should not be used to mix with another household for social reasons.

childcare bubble is different to a support bubble which is a support network linking two households. You can only form a support bubble if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You live by yourself
  • You have a child under one
  • You’re a single adult living with one or more children under 18
  • You’re the only adult in your household not in need of continuous care
  • You have a child under 5 with a disability who requires continuous care
  • You’re aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
Full guidance for half term
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:
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27/01/2021 Latest news and advice for businesses on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council (see more)

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

Applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant have reopened

We’ve reopened the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG, also known as Discretionary Payments) today (Tuesday 26 January) to help support Wiltshire businesses.

The grant has been reopened for new applications only. If you have already applied for an ARG since November, you do not need to reapply as, if eligible, you will receive any further payments automatically. If you have previously applied for a Discretionary Grant (running May to September, prior to November) you will need to apply to the ARG scheme separately.

The grant supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) for business premises closed by national restrictions.

The application window will be open until 12 February. This window will be extended if the fund is not oversubscribed. We may close the window early if a large volume of applications are received.

Grants range from £1,500 to £10,000, depending on the number of employees a business has, so this is vital funding that can really make a difference during this difficult time.

Businesses who have struggled to access other forms of support are encouraged to apply for the ARG, as the eligibility is different to the Self-Employment or Furlough schemes. Directors paid by dividends and larger firms are all able to apply, and applications will be considered. Please do make sure you submit an application – or you could be missing out on vital funds to support your business.

Find out more and how to apply
An overview of all business grants availableTo help navigate the grants available for businesses, we have produced an overview document outlining each grant, eligibility criteria, funding available, and deadlines for applications.
View the document

Join our COVID-19 business support update webinar on 3 February

We are hosting a live online webinar on Wednesday 3 February at 7pm for businesses in the county to find out more about the latest COVID-19 grants available to them.

The broadcast will explain each of the grant schemes and will also feature some public health information and advice for businesses. There will also be an opportunity for businesses to ask questions – though please note that we cannot answer questions on individual cases. To submit questions about COVID-19 grants, and public health questions that may relate to business, email communications@wiltshire.gov.uk no later than 5pm on Tuesday 2 February.

Sam Fox, Corporate Director for Place and Environment, and Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health, will help guide businesses through the latest information and regulations.

The live briefing will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams – use the link below to access the broadcast. If you’re using a mobile and tablet device, you may need to download the Microsoft Teams app from your app store to be able to access the webinar. The briefing will also be recorded and available via the council’s YouTube channel as soon as possible afterwards (search for Wiltshire Council on YouTube).

Joining link for the webinar on 3 February
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:

08/01/2021 Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub has set up a new business support service to help local businesses (see more)

Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub acts swiftly to get EU Exit business support in place

Since 1 January 2021, new rules apply to businesses trading with Europe.  This follows the end of the Brexit transition period, and the UK’s exit from the EU single market and customs union.

Under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (agreed 24 December) there will be no tariffs or quotas on the movement of goods between the UK and the EU.  However, traders must be ready for new customs and border processes implemented by EU member states from 1 January 2021.

Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub has set up a new service to help local businesses understand what the changes mean for them.  The business readiness team will operate as part of the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub, which has a strong record for supporting local business.

A team of business navigators will be available to firms across Swindon and Wiltshire from 5 January, to provide information and advice, as well as access to specialist support.

Businesses can contact the team via:

Tel:       01249 477 288

Email:   support@swlep.co.uk (mailto:support@swlep.co.uk)

Web:    https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkCBN9W5TZHnM87dFn0W4JJljC726QqMW70Smjh5tLq_hf1HVPN203 (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkCBN9W5TZHnM87dFn0W4JJljC726QqMW70Smjh5tLq_hf1HVPN213 )

Let us know the imapcts to you business
(https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkCBN9W5TZHnM87dFn0W4JJljC726QqMW70Smjh5tLq_hf1HVPN223 )

05/01/2021Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council (see more)

5 January 2021
National lockdown: Stay at Home

Yesterday evening (Monday 4 January), the Prime Minister announced that due to rapidly rising cases of COVID-19, England will be going into a national lockdown, until at least February half term, from today (Tuesday 5 January).

This means you must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow the new guidance immediately and this means you must not leave your home without a ‘reasonable excuse.’ The law has been updated to reflect these new rules.
Find out what you can and cannot do in the national lockdown (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home)

Guidance on shielding

If you are clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The government is advising the clinically extremely vulnerable to begin shielding again, and letters will be sent out to individuals with advice on what this means for them.
More guidance on shielding (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19)
Latest COVID-19 cases in Wiltshire

COVID-19 cases in Wiltshire continue to rise sharply with the case rate per 100k increasing from 158.2 to 245.2 in the last seven days.

It’s vital that we all play our part in protecting ourselves and each other.

Please remember, hands, face, space.

Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Wiltshire COVID-19 public update – Live!

Join us tomorrow (Wednesday 6 January) at 7pm for a half-hour live COVID-19 Public Update.

The online broadcast will feature Wiltshire Council Leader, Cllr Philip Whitehead, Chief Executive, Terence Herbert and Director of Public Health, Kate Blackburn.

They will be providing an update on the Government’s National lockdown:Stay at Home restrictions announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, Wiltshire Council services and our work to continue to support residents and businesses at this time.

The live briefing will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams. Please download the Microsoft Teams app to your device in advance and use this link to join (https://teams.microsoft.com/dl/launcher/launcher.html?url=%2F_%23%2Fl%2Fmeetup-join%2F19%3Ameeting_MjM1MGQyZjAtNGY0Ny00NTQ2LWJlOWItZjM3OGQ5NmQ3YTRi%40thread.v2%2F0%3Fcontext%3D%257B%2522Tid%2522%3A%25225546e75e-3be1-4813-b0ff-26651ea2fe19%2522%2C%2522Oid%2522%3A%25221795bbd5-30bf-4321-ae10-4433b5da467f%2522%2C%2522IsBroadcastMeeting%2522%3Atrue%257D%26anon%3Dtrue&type=meetup-join&deeplinkId=e4a73760-759f-405a-9c13-1bc48cfd3aeb&directDl=true&msLaunch=true&enableMobilePage=true&suppressPrompt=true) .

You will be able to post questions during the event and we will try to answer as many as possible during the update.

The briefing will also be recorded and available via our YouTube channel
as soon as possible afterwards.

How the national lockdown will affect our services

Being in a national lockdown will affect how we are able to deliver some of our services.
Schools

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges have closed for the majority of students and pupils will switch to remote learning.

Schools in Wiltshire will remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children where they can.
View the critical worker guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision)
Early Years settings

Early years settings including nurseries and childminders can remain open.
If your child attends an early years setting – please contact them directly to see if they’re still open.
Libraries

Our libraries will close until further notice.

We will be moving to an order and collect service, which will be in place while the libraries remain closed.

We’ll publish information on this as soon as possible.

eBooks, Audio and eMagazines are still available for members on our website (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/article/1302/eBooks-Audio-and-eMagazines) .
More about our library services (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-news)
Leisure centres

Our leisure centres will close until further notice.

All direct debit members will be frozen and January direct debit payments will be refunded in due course.

Online exercises classes (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-online-classes) are still running.
More information our leisure services (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-covid19)
Household Recycling Centres and waste collection
Our household recycling centres are open as usual, but you must book in advance online.

However, please only visit your nearest HRC if it is essential to do so and the items cannot be stored safely at home.

If you have booked and your journey is not essential, please cancel your booking.
Book or cancel HRC booking (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/household-recycling-centres-book)

Business grants
The Chancellor has announced new support for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.  New one-off grants will be available to closed businesses as follows:
* £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
* £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
* £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

A £594 million discretionary fund is also being made available to support other impacted businesses.
We are awaiting further guidance from the government on these schemes before rolling them out to businesses.

If you have already applied for the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme, you do not need to apply again. If your businesses was closed as a result of the restrictions in November 2020 and  you have not yet applied for a grant, please complete the application form as soon as possible.

***Scam regarding fake ‘COVID-19 government grant’***

A number of scam text messages are being received across the UK, trying to entice people into giving up their card details in order to claim a non-existent government grant.

The text message claims to come from
HM Revenue and Customs.

HMRC will never offer a tax refund by text, email or phone.
Read the Chancellor’s announcement (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/46-billion-in-new-lockdown-grants-to-support-businesses-and-protect-jobs)
Apply for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19-grants)
SCAM ALERT – FAKE NHS COVID-19 VACCINE TEXT

A fake NHS text has been circulating, telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The link in the text message leads to a fake NHS website that asks for your personal details, including your bank/card details in order to ‘check your identity’.

When you are invited for your vaccine you WILL NOT be asked for bank details or payment of any kind.

Vaccine programme

We wanted to make sure that you are aware of how the COVID-19 vaccination programme is being rolled out.

Nationally this programme is led by the NHS and in Wiltshire the Bath And North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are the lead organisation with support from Wiltshire Council and partners.

Residents will be written to directly by the NHS with information on their appointment for the vaccine so there is no need to call NHS in advance.

If you have any queries about the timings of vaccinations or priority groups please find information on the JCVI website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020#vaccine-priority-groups-advice-on-30-december-2020) where all relevant information is held.

Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub

Our Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub remains in place for those who may need additional support.

You can call the hub on 0300 003 4576 or email wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk
It’s open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Those who require help with tasks such as picking up food and other essentials, should ask friends or family or order online.

If they do not have family, friends or a support network that can help, please contact the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub and request help.

Need some mental health support? Below are all the numbers you’ll need.

•    North Team – 01249 468500
•    South Team – 01722432555
•    West Team – 01249 706611
•    Emergency Duty Service for out of hours and weekends – 0300 456 0100 (Option 7 then 1 for Adults)
•    0300 303 1320 – Avon & Wilts mental health care provider (24/7)
•    0808 196 3382 – NHS ‘GoodSam’
•    01380 724833 – Richmond Fellowship Mon-Fri 24 hours

18/12/2020 Christmas Business pack from Wiltshire Council

COVID-19
Christmas Public health advice and guidance For your business and employees

Please use the link below to view the Covid 19 Christmas Business Pack from Wiltshire Council

Contents
Letter from Kate Blackburn
COVID-19 symptoms response – business
COVID-19 symptoms response – employees
COVID-19 key definitions
Information on face coverings
COVID-19 staying safe this Christmas
Social media images
Christmas poster to display
Symptoms poster to display

COVID-19 – Christmas Business Pack [15-12-2020]

17/12/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council (see more)

Wiltshire to remain in Tier 2: High alert

Following a Government review, Wiltshire remains in Tier 2: High alert, which is the same tier it has been in since 2 December.

This means that the following measures continue to be in place:
* you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
* you must not socialise in a group of more than six people outside, including gardens or public spaces
* businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19)  manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
* pubs and bars must remain closed, unless operating as restaurants and alcohol can only be served with substantial meals
* hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises must provide table service and are now required to close between 11pm and 5am with last orders being taken at 10pm

More info on the restrictions (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-2-high-alert)
Latest Wiltshire COVID-19 cases
Wiltshire COVID-19 Cases. Total number of cases – 5,797. Cases in the last 7 days – 335. Rate of cases per 100k in Wiltshire – 67.0. Rate of cases per 100k in Wiltshire in the previous 7 days – 77.8. Rate of cases per 100k in England in the last 7 days – 173.3.

Government confirms Christmas bubbles will remain, but plan carefully and be cautious

The Government has confirmed that three households can still form a Christmas bubble between 23 and 27 December but is urging everyone to be extra cautious.

This means:
* Travel restrictions between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together between 23 and 27 December.
* Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home during this period. When a bubble is formed it is fixed, and must not be changed or extended further at any point.
* Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period.

In addition the Government wants people to:
* think carefully about who is part of their bubble
* limit the amount of people they see in the lead up to, and during. the Christmas period
* be very mindful of seeing anyone particularly vulnerable
* try and limit travel from an area with a high prevalence of COVID-19 to an area of low prevalence
* avoid overnight stays where possible
* avoid crowds
* not gather in groups over New Year

Read the full announcement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family)

10/12/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 and more from Wiltshire Council (see more)

10 December 2020

NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has now formally been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

This week vaccinations started for people most at risk for coronavirus and the NHS will continue their programme of vaccinating priority groups against COVID-19 over the coming months.

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is a huge logistical undertaking and the NHS has been working with partners including Wiltshire Council to plan the delivery of an effective roll out.

In the meantime it is important that everyone continues to adhere to all relevant COVID-19 guidance.

You can follow @NHSEngland  (https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftracking.vuelio.co.uk%2Ftracking%2Fclick%3Fd%3DlIxgWXRUAbX9pGHNI8vqVmiPwO8P1ZPBnJpHiGT4GM5Z_5SOqUk5XjJSqy3wkntmKw3v2IOeL0SSAJh5gccBooVUMbnXLurJ24EuXWN8xZjEK_OWwGJfnTWR7kxcZO5_lzv1VAKkMqG_zhALdO2V2sk1&data=04%7C01%7CJack.Holdway%40wiltshire.gov.uk%7C61288d5f0c024a20c51608d89c66d1a0%7C5546e75e3be14813b0ff26651ea2fe19%7C0%7C0%7C637431312700214061%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=eUpR5yOzqjCbMykLsetJ0xPpAFg%2BoNmJR7%2BpxPbCKEY%3D&reserved=0) on Twitter for the latest developments over the coming days.
find out more information about the roll-out of the vaccine (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-why-you-are-being-asked-to-wait/why-you-have-to-wait-for-your-covid-19-vaccine)

Wiltshire COVID-19 cases
Wiltshire COVID-19 Cases. Total number of cases – 5,429. Cases in the last 7 days – 385. Rate of cases per 100k in Wiltshire in the last 7 days – 77. Rate of cases per 100k in Wiltshire in the previous 7 days – 80.2. Rate of cases per 100k in England in the last 7 days – 148.7. Gov data as of 07/12/2020 at 4pm. #WiltshireTogether
Keep wearing face coverings

We’re reminding people to play their part in protecting each other against spreading COVID-19 by wearing a face covering where required.

Face coverings are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes COVID-19. The majority of people are expected to wear them in certain circumstances but there are some exemptions.

Those who are exempt are able to download and display a card (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own) if they wish to.
More details on where to wear face coverings (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/keep-wearing-face-coverings)

COVID-19 Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

We are urging eligible residents to apply for the Test and Trace Support Scheme, which is in place to help support those who are out of pocket because they are having to self-isolate.

Financial support continues to be available for people on low incomes who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 and will lose money because they are unable to work.

If you are required to self-isolate then it is important you do not delay submitting your form, as the council cannot accept applications made more than 14 days after the end of a person’s self-isolation period.
More information on eligibility and how to apply (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefits-test-and-trace)

Shop local

Shopping local helps support the local economy, creates jobs and boosts local communities.

Whether you are buying a loaf of bread from a local family-run bakery to choosing a quirky gift from an independent shop, by shopping locally people can help local business owners and local communities get back up and running. With the festive season just around the corner, and restrictions still in place, how we shop and where we shop is more important than ever.

To support local retailers and small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis we have put together a Shop Local, Support Wiltshire Directory. Sorted by place, shoppers can find the businesses close to them, many offering the option to buy online or click and collect.

Remember – Shop Safe, Shop Local, Shop Online, Support Wiltshire.
View the shop local, support Wiltshire directory (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/shop-local-wiltshire)

Explore Salisbury with the new Salisbury Trails App

If you’re looking to get out and about to enjoy the fresh air why not download the  new, free, easy to use app, Salisbury Trails, which guides people to Salisbury’s key landmarks, historic sites and cultural and arts venues.

Find the city sights close by and discover the stories behind them, or follow a themed trail to explore the city’s rich heritage and uncover hidden histories.

The app , which is available to download to Apple and Android devices, also includes historic photos, engravings and information from the archives of the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre that show how Salisbury has changed over time.
Find out more about the app (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/News/Salisbury-Trails-App)

Gain new skills with free courses

Tens of thousands of adults will be able to benefit from almost 400 free courses (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/qualifications-in-new-funded-offers)  next year, in the first major development in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

The fully-funded courses (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/qualifications-in-new-funded-offers) , ranging from engineering to healthcare to conservation, will be available to adults without a full qualification at Level 3 (A-level equivalent) from April 2021 to help them gain in-demand skills and open up further job opportunities.

Designed to help our country build back better after the pandemic, the qualifications in this offer have been carefully chosen to help adults improve their career prospects and meet the needs of the economy. They will be reviewed regularly so the courses offered can be updated as the economy changes.
Find out more about the Lifetime Skills Guarantee (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/adults-to-gain-new-skills-on-400-free-courses)
Don’t give COVID-19 for Christmas – keep playing your part. Carefully weigh up the risk of who is in your Christmas bubble. Limit the people in your Christmas bubble. Remember to keep socially distancing, wash hands regularly, wear masks where required. Hopefully next year we can all have a merrier Christmas! #WiltshireTogether

07/12/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 and more from Wiltshire Council (see more)

Wiltshire placed in Tier 2: High alert

Wiltshire is now in Tier 2: High alert, which is one higher than before the recent current period of national restrictions which ended on 2 December.

This means that measures are in place including:
* you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
* you must not socialise in a group of more than six people outside, including gardens or public spaces
* businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19)  manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
* pubs and bars must remain closed, unless operating as restaurants and alcohol can only be served with substantial meals
* hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises must provide table service and are now required to close between 11pm and 5am with last orders being taken at 10pm

Full list of restrictions (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#high-alert)
Wiltshire COVID-19 cases
Support and childcare bubbles

There is separate guidance for support bubbles (https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gov.uk%2Fguidance%2Fmaking-a-support-bubble-with-another-household&data=04%7C01%7CJack.Holdway%40wiltshire.gov.uk%7C43624316f77d4fe727be08d897980f42%7C5546e75e3be14813b0ff26651ea2fe19%7C0%7C0%7C637426026626029868%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=FJVZfCQyRqc8E1A178EKY5fBm6wu%2FG0bzvLM9avHO8g%3D&reserved=0) and childcare bubbles (https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gov.uk%2Fguidance%2Fmaking-a-childcare-bubble-with-another-household&data=04%7C01%7CJack.Holdway%40wiltshire.gov.uk%7C43624316f77d4fe727be08d897980f42%7C5546e75e3be14813b0ff26651ea2fe19%7C0%7C0%7C637426026626039821%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=RQM7hA1KK5GybOKLrTu8oc9JuoRg0giUAKM7ft3hB9k%3D&reserved=0) across all tiers. Support bubbles have
been expanded. You can form a support bubble with another household if any of the following apply to you:
* you are the only adult in your household – any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020 – or are an under-18-year-old living alone
* you live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household
* you live with a child who is under 1, or who was under 1 on 2 December 2020
* you live with a child who is under 5, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, with a disability

Childcare bubbles are separate from support bubbles.

If you’re eligible, you can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households. You must not meet socially with your support bubble and childcare bubble at the same time. Childcare bubbles must be used exclusively for the purposes of childcare.
More information (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-2-high-alert#support-and-childcare-bubbles)
Join Wiltshire Council for a COVID-19 Live Public Update on Tuesday 8 December

We will be broadcasting our second COVID-19 Live Public Update on Tuesday 8 December at 5pm.

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

The broadcast will be an opportunity to hear about the new Tier 2: ‘High Alert’ category Wiltshire has been placed in, the latest number and the rate of positive COVID-19 cases in the county, the arrangements in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, and the work we continue to do 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 (mailto:communications@wiltshire.gov.uk)  no later than 5pm on Sunday 6 December.

The live briefing will be broadcast via Microsoft Teams. Viewers should download the Microsoft Teams app to their device in advance and use this link to join: 8 December COVID-19 public update (https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/ap/t-59584e83/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fteams.microsoft.com%2Fl%2Fmeetup-join%2F19%253ameeting_Nzk3ZmNlYjYtMDljMy00ZjBlLTg4ZDYtNzVhNTk1MjU2M2Zm%2540thread.v2%2F0%3Fcontext%3D%257b%2522Tid%2522%253a%25225546e75e-3be1-4813-b0ff-26651ea2fe19%2522%252c%2522Oid%2522%253a%25221795bbd5-30bf-4321-ae10-4433b5da467f%2522%252c%2522IsBroadcastMeeting%2522%253atrue%257d&data=04%7C01%7CJack.Holdway%40wiltshire.gov.uk%7C8d63de9a1a224866b3c408d896d956e4%7C5546e75e3be14813b0ff26651ea2fe19%7C0%7C0%7C637425207489392423%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=B1KJO2IGfgevpKSHWg0nvqwFCHwNWyY95N3VVMigm%2BI%3D&reserved=0) .

The briefing will also be recorded and available via our YouTube channel as soon as possible afterwards.
Full details on the live public update (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/covid-briefing-december)

COVID-19 Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

We are urging eligible residents to apply for the Test and Trace Support Scheme, which is in place to help support those who are out of pocket because they are having to self-isolate.

Financial support continues to be available for people that are on low incomes who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 and will lose money because they are unable to work, who may be eligible for a lump sum of £500.

There are a number of reasons that ineligible people are applying for the scheme or applications are being refused.
More details on this (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/benefits-test-and-trace)

Give a little time – make a big difference!

We are asking people to consider offering a lifeline to families with children who may have a range of needs, by training to be a carer as part of the Overnight Short Breaks Scheme.

We have a team of carers who are trained and supported to provide regular breaks for children with autism, learning disabilities or physical disabilities.

Families who are bringing up a child with disabilities often find it very difficult to have time to themselves, to spend time with their other children or do everyday tasks people take for granted, and sometimes they need a break.
More details on the scheme (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/call-for-more-overnight-short-breaks-carers)

Have your say on proposed cycling schemes

We have received £681,000 from the second tranche of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Active Travel Fund to progress cycling schemes in the county.

The award is less than the £908,000 that we originally bid for, and so to establish which schemes to take forward, we are holding a consultation on the proposed options, and also consulting on the first tranche of temporary schemes, which are already in place.
To find out more about the schemes (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-road-reallocation-schemes)

We’re good to go

Visitors are once again able to explore Wiltshire’s museums.

Six museums, including Wiltshire Museum, Chippenham Museum and Salisbury Museum have opened their doors so that you can enjoy a COVID-safe visit and catch up with some Christmas shopping.

Check the website for opening hours and pre-booking of each museum before visiting so that your experience is as enjoyable as possible.
More on this (http://museumsinwiltshire.org.uk/good-to-go)

26/11/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council – A return to the tier approach (see more)

26 November 2020
Wiltshire placed in Tier 2: High alert

From 2 December the Government will be reintroducing the tier system where different levels or restriction apply in different parts of the country.

Wiltshire has been placed in Tier 2: High alert, which is one higher than before the current period of national restrictions. This means that from 2 December measures will be in place including:
* you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
* you must not socialise in a group of more than six people outside, including gardens or public spaces
* businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19)  manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
* pubs and bars must remain closed, unless operating as restaurants and alcohol can only be served with substantial meals
* hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises must provide table service and are now required to close between 11pm and 5am with last orders being taken at 10pm

Full list of restrictions (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know#high-alert)
Update from Wiltshire Council Chief Executive

Chief Executive, Terence Herbert provides the latest update and outlines how we will be providing support during this time.
Watch the full video (https://youtu.be/qyQ5XRv9xto)
Wiltshire COVID-19 cases
What impact does this have on our services?

Our libraries and leisure centres (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-covid19) will be able to open their doors to you again and will be operating the same service as before the current national restrictions were introduced.

Leisure Centres are due to open again on 3 December. Some libraries are expected to reopen next week, dates will be confirmed shortly.

Weddings will be able to take place again with up to 15 people able to attend wedding ceremonies. Up to 30 people will be able to attend funerals.

During the current national restrictions, traders at our street markets were only able to sell food, but from 2 December they will once again be able to sell their full range of products and produce.

We will keep our COVID-19 page (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus) as up to date as possible with any other information on our services.
Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub

Anyone can access the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub who may be struggling during this difficult time, this may include those who are self-isolating and don’t have a support network around them or know where to get help.

People can call the hub on 0300 003 4576 or email wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk (mailto:wellbeinghub@wiltshire.gov.uk) Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

People should be aware the opening hours will be regularly reviewed throughout the coming weeks and months.
More on the Wellbeing Hub (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/support-from-wellbeing-hub)

Support for businesses

There is also a range of Government business support schemes to support businesses during the COVID-19 restrictions.

All the details can be found on our website. (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19-grants)

You can also email any queries to covid-19businesssupport@wiltshire.gov.uk (mailto:covid-19businesssupport@wiltshire.gov.uk)

Wiltshire COVID-19 public update – Live!

We are broadcasting our second live public COVID-19 update next month, to provide the latest local information and to answer your questions.

The broadcast takes place on Tuesday 8 December at 5pm.

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

The broadcast will be an opportunity to hear about the latest number of positive cases and the rate of COVID-19 cases in Wiltshire, the arrangements in place to mitigate the spread of the virus, and the work we continue to do to support residents and businesses at this time.
Full details on the live public update (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/covid-briefing-december)

Christmas arrangements

A single set of UK-wide measures to help you come together with your loved ones in a way that is as safe as possible has been agreed.

This means:
* Travel restrictions between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together between 23 and 27 December.
* Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home during this period. When a bubble is formed it is fixed, and must not be changed or extended further at any point.
* Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period.

Read the full announcement (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-on-uk-wide-christmas-arrangements-from-the-uk-government-and-devolved-administrations)
COVID-19 Winter Plan

The government has published its COVID-19 Winter Plan which sets out the approach to ending the national restrictions on 2 December and aims to:

•    suppress the spread of infection;
•    find new ways of managing the virus to return life closer to normal;
•    minimise damage to the economy and to protect jobs and education.
Read the plan now (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-winter-plan)

24/11/2020 New Additional Restrictions Grant scheme opens for applications (see more)

Business news - Coronavirus update from Wiltshire Council.
24 November 2020
This newsletter provides updates on help and advice available locally for businesses during the COVID-19 situation.
New Additional Restrictions Grant scheme opens for applications

We have launched our new Additional Restrictions Grant scheme after receiving over £10 million of additional Government funding to support local businesses.

This new grant scheme is a discretionary scheme that will help those businesses required to close or have been severely affected by the national restrictions that are outside the business rate system, meaning more businesses in the county could benefit from vital funding.

Split into two phases, this scheme will initially provide quick financial support for businesses during the current national restrictions. These businesses could receive a grant worth up to £3,000 to help them cope with the challenges presented by COVID-19. Grants will be awarded on a simple employee ranking:

  • £500 where the grant applicant has 1 or no employees, such as a Director paid by dividends
  • £2,000 where the grant applicant has 2 to 9 employees
  • £3,000 where the grant applicant has 10 or more employees

These grants will be awarded on a rolling basis with successful applicants receiving payments in November and December 2020.

As part of the second phase, a review of the scheme will be carried out in January 2021 to see whether further grant payments could be awarded on a rolling basis in the new year.

Applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 18 December 2020 via the online application form. Applications will then be reviewed and assessed with grants being paid as quickly as possible.

Full guidance and to apply

 

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:

24/11/2020 Latest Update & Support from VisitWiltshire (see more)

 New Grants Available
Updated Guidance 
2021 Publications
Keep Us Up To Date
What’s Open Pages 
Bradford on Avon Points West
PR Update
COVID Business Support Event
Latest Travel Trade Update

 Trade Coverage 
Support Wiltshire Museum
Peer to Peer Networking
Changes to Bounce Back Loans
Queens Platinum Jubilee 
VisitEngland Webinars
Industry Research 
 Great West Way 
Stay Up To Date 
New Grants Available

Since the latest national lockdown was announced a number of grants of now become available for businesses to apply for;

Local Restrictions Support Grant
This new scheme is aimed at those businesses required to close due to the national restrictions which started on 5 November 2020. One-off grants will be awarded to eligible businesses to support them during the four-week closure and help them with the ongoing challenges presented by coronavirus. This grant is available to businesses who pay business rates and the amount they get is determined by their rateable value. You can check your eligibility and apply with Wiltshire Council  HERE

For our partners who fall under Swindon Borough Council you can check your eligibility and apply for both of the above grants HERE

Additional Restrictions Grant
This discretionary grant scheme will support those businesses required to close or have been severely affected by the national restrictions, but which do not pay business rates. Check if you are eligible HERE. Wiltshire Council are currently developing this scheme and will publish details in due course, which we will keep you updated on.

For our partners who fall under Swindon Borough Council you can check your eligibility and apply for both of the above grants HERE

The online tool for finding out what support is available for your businesses has been updated to reflect recent changes and can be found HERE. 

As always, VisitWiltshire is here to help. if you have any issues, or questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will endeavor to help to the best of our ability. If there is anything you would like us to pass on also let us know as we are regularly feeding back to VisitBritain, TIER and DCMS, as well as Wiltshire Council. You can keep up to date via our Partner Advice page and these regular newsletters.

 

Updated Guidance for Restaurants, Bars, Cafés and Pubs

The Primary Government Guidance for Working Safely During Coronavirus has been updated for restaurant, bar, café and pub operators to reflect recent changes in Government rules for these businesses. You can read more HERE. All sector guidance is being regularly updated so if you’re not sure what the latest is for your sector let us know. A great way to find out more about industry guidance is to attend our COVID Business Support Event on Thursday 26 November, more details HERE.

2021 Publications

Work has started on our 2021 digital Wiltshire publications. We will be including new digital content including virtual tours, videos and reassurance messaging for visitors, please contact Fiona if you have any relevant  digital content that we can include. If you placed an advert last year Billy will be in touch with details for this year. If you didn’t place an advert last year but would like to place an advert this year please contact Billy.  
Calling all attraction and town partners – submit your 2021 events

2020 has been a challenging year for running any type of event. We are hopeful that this will change for 2021 and are looking to include an events section in our publications, if you are an attraction or town partner you are invited to submit up to 6 events (virtual or actual events) for possible inclusion within our 2021 digital publications. Ideally, we would like both the name of the event and the exact 2021 date(s) but failing that please send Billy the name of the event and the month in which it takes place.

 

Keep Us Up to Date 

During the second lockdown we are once again promoting our Virtual Trip to Wiltshire page. If you have any suitable content, or are going to be hosting any virtual events please send them to Billy or Helen.

Tell us about your upcoming events! Especially if you have anything coming up for Christmas and New Year. Whether these events are digital or in person, you can add your upcoming events for free by filling out our simple website event form. We will also select events from here to promote in our monthly blogs and on social media.

We will be working hard to update the content on our website to reflect the latest restrictions and messaging, and once again start encouraging visitors to the site to plan a future trip to Wiltshire in the new year. We will also focus on promoting activities and content that are still allowed, such as Walking and Cycling.

If you would like to feature in a VisitWiltshire blog or contribute a guest blog, please get in touch with Helen to discuss possible topics and themes.

As always, please let Helen know if you have any messaging you would like us to promote on the VisitWiltshire social media channels. This could be news, offers or just fresh imagery you want to share! We are also looking for your events and upcoming for 2021, if you have anything suitable please send to Helen and Holly.

 

VisitWiltshire ‘What’s Open’ Pages

We have set up a number of new pages to reflect the latest restrictions and climate, and to showcase our partners who are still operating during this lockdown. You can see the pages here;

What’s Open in Wiltshire: Gardens and Open Spaces
What’s Open in Wiltshire: Food and Drink Takeaways
What’s Open in Wiltshire: Online & Local Christmas Shopping

If you have anything that you feel would fit any of these pages please send the details to Billy or Helen and we can add it to the relevant page and promote through the website, blogs and social media.

PR Update 

VisitWiltshire continues to work hard to achieve local, national and international coverage. You can view coverage achieved this month HERE. This month, we have contributed to the magazine, Wiltshire Life, and written a feature about Walking in Wiltshire. We continue to liaise with media about future PR opportunities and press trips.

If you require any additional help or support with PR, please contact Holly who will be happy to help.

You can see all our press releases HERE. 

VisitWiltshire COVID Business Support Event 

VisitWiltshire is holding a virtual COVID Business Support Event via Zoom from 2pm on Thursday 26 November. There will be a panel of experts providing guidance and details of the different types of support available for businesses during this difficult time. Representatives from Business WestSwindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub, Wiltshire Council and VisitEngland will be in attendance outlining in detail what help and support is available to businesses during the COVID crisis. There will also be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have to the panel.

If you are interested in joining the event please contact Tristan and he will send you the link to join.

 Travel Trade Update

Global European Marketplace (GEM)
We attended a virtual Global European Marketplace (GEM) event on 30 October, where we met with 36 travel trade buyers selling Wiltshire and Great West Way. Buyers are really interested in new Wiltshire tours and experiences and FIT hotel rates for 2021. Please get in touch if you have any trade product you would like us to promote.

UKinbound Destination Update and Virtual Fam Visit
On Thursday, 19 November Visitwiltshire hosted the largest ever Destination Update and Virtual fam visit’ visit with 34 international and domestic travel trade buyers.  The event was run in partnership with UKInbound, supported by Lorna Matthews Keel from Salisbury Chequered History GuidesLongleat and Salisbury Cathedral.  The Wiltshire presentation is available here.

 

Trade PR Coverage 

VisitWiltshire has recently featured in an addition of Group Leisure Travel magazine, showcasing our recent award of Best UK Destination at the Group Travel Awards. You can see the piece HERE. 

Peer to Peer Networking 

Swindon & Wiltshire LEP Growth Hub has set a up a peer-to-peer networking programme for SMEs, which they are hoping will  provide a great opportunity for businesses to learn from each other, get great support, hints and tips on dealing with the challenges faced. There will be a total of 10 Peer Networks set up, one of which will be tourism. The aim is that these groups will meet to discuss strategic and operational challenges, across HR, change management, innovation, succession, planning and much more, while working together to find practical solutions.

You can find out more and register HERE. 

 

Changes to Bounce Back Loans

The Guidance on Bounce back Loans has been updated to people to top up existing loans, extend the loan period, make interest-only repayments, or pause repayments. You can read more HERE. 

 

Queens Platinum Jubilee

The Government has announced that to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, the late May Bank Holiday will be moved to Thursday 2 June and an additional Bank Holiday created on Friday 3 June to create a four-day weekend.

 

VisitEngland Business Support Webinars 

VisitEngland are holding a couple of webinars in the coming weeks to offer support to any businesses who may need it;
Micro-businesses – Building towards recovery
‘We’re Good to Go’ – what we’ve learnt and what’s next

 

Industry Research

The latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain is available

A recent report from Trajectory analyses what pandemic-enforced changes of habit will mean for our values, attitudes and behaviours in both the short and longer term future. Throughout the year they have been measuring and monitoring changing consumer attitudes to the pandemic. You can download the full report for free HERE. 

The latest wave of ONS research on the impact of COVID-19 on UK businesses, which was conducted prior to the second national lockdown, is now available and contains a lot of tourism specific findings. You can see the research HERE. 

 

 

Great West Way in the House of Commons

This week the Member of Parliament for Devizes Danny Kruger raised the topic of Tourism Zones in the House of Commons and made a case for the Great West Way to be one of the first. During his speech and the reply from Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Wiltshire and its many historical landmarks like Avebury and Stonehenge were mentioned and spoken of very highly.

You can see a video of the exchange HERE. 

 

2020/2021 Marketing Plan 

Prior to the latest announcement, we were working closely with the VisitEngland marketing team and Trip Advisor developing content for the Escape the Every Day domestic campaign. Due to the lockdown the activity is currently halted but as and when government restrictions change this will be reviewed. Wiltshire is featured heavily in all Great West Way marketing

Also in light of the lockdown we have amended our content accordingly and refer to planning a Winter holiday on the Great West Way.

You can view our up to date marketing plan here.

 

International Travel Trade Distribution for 2021/2022 programmes

Great West Way has recently been distributed via a number of VisitBritain international offices including Australia, USA, Italy and Scandinavia. The Italian travel trade newsletter was issued on 3 November to 1,544 Italian subscribers and includes a link to the new Great West Way Travel Magazine and new Trade Itineraries. You can see this here. This current trade activity is aimed at Tour Operators who are now in their planning stages for 2021/22 and beyond.

 

 

There is a COVID-19 advice page on the VisitWiltshire website for businesses. The page details the latest government guidance, information from travel authorities and some useful resources. We are regularly updating this page with the latest information.

VisitWiltshire Advice Page 

The page also includes the latest research carried out by VisitEngland/VisitBritain and the details of the various grants, loans and support for businesses being provided by the government. You can also follow us on our @VisitWiltsBiz account for more updates.

If you are still unclear on what support you are entitled to, please don’t hesitate to contact Billy and he will ensure it reaches the relevant channels.

20/11/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 and more from Wiltshire Council (see more)

20 November 2020
Latest weekly COVID-19 figures in Wiltshire (as of 16 November)

Although the number of cases in Wiltshire is still below the national average, rates are continuing to rise and we can’t be complacent.
* Last week there were 469 cases, so an increase of 57 people this week.
* The rate of cases per 100k has increased from 93.8 to 105.2.

We all need to keep playing our part to stop the spread of the virus, so please remember – hands, face, space.
Local test and trace service launched

We’ve launched our local COVID-19 contact tracing partnership, with the aim of contacting positive cases quickly and slowing the spread of the virus.

It will support the NHS Test and Trace service and will step in should the national team be unable to reach a person in Wiltshire who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If the national contact tracers are unable to reach a positive local case they will pass on the relevant details to us and we will use local methods to make contact.

One of our members of staff will send a text message to the positive case first, and then follow this up with phone calls. It is a legal requirement for people to self-isolate when they receive a positive COVID-19 test result.
Full details on local test and trace (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/local-test-and-trace-service-launched)
Could you be a #WiltshireTogether Champion?

We are looking for people to sign up to become a #WiltshireTogether Champion to help keep their friends, families and communities safe.

This network will help us share accurate and factual guidance and advice, which will help counter misleading and inaccurate information being spread through social media and word of mouth.

The #WiltshireTogether Champions will be able to keep up-to-date with the latest national guidance and receive Wiltshire-specific updates, so that they can keep themselves, their families, friends and communities safe. The messages will be created by us, ready for champions to simply share in an easy and quick way.

Once signed up, the champions will receive:
* Regular updates from the council on the latest situation with COVID-19 in Wiltshire
* Key messages and updates that need to be communicated through Wiltshire’s communities
* FAQs to help with myth-busting about COVID-19
* A single point of contact to discuss ideas, offer suggestions and ask questions

More information and to sign up (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/launch-of-wiltshire-together-champions-network)

COVID-19 Community Pack

We have created an updated Community Pack of information to help support communities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the current national restrictions.

Within it you’ll find a list of key contacts, resources and information in one place, which we hope you can share with your community to support each other as much as possible during this time.
View the pack on our dedicated COVID-19 page (http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus#community-pack)
Competition time!

If you have a child aged between 4 and 18, be sure to get them involved with our three new competitions.

Poetry, short stories, posters or creating your own face covering are all part of the competition, and there is a prize up for grabs!

Final judging will take place early December when there will be prizes for the winners of the different age categories.

The competition is split into age groups of  4 – 7, 8 – 11, 12 – 15 and 16 – 18 years.
More on the competition (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/lockdown-competition-time)

People Friendly Salisbury

We’ve taken the decision to suspend the People Friendly Salisbury scheme indefinitely from the end of this month.

The decision follows a meeting with Salisbury City Council where they refused to confirm support for the scheme moving forwards. Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID). has also recently requested the scheme be suspended.
More details (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/people-friendly-salisbury-scheme-suspended-indefinitely)
Drive to encourage more people to consider fostering teenagers

Teenagers and those who have been in care are sharing their experiences of how a foster family can change a life as we’ve launched a drive to encourage more people to consider fostering teenagers.

In Wiltshire dozens of children in care need a loving foster home, but sometimes people can have concerns that fostering a teenager may be too challenging.

As part of a week long campaign, we’ve been sharing teenager’s experiences and providing details of information and support to remind people that older children need support too.
Full details (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/encouraging-more-people-to-foster-teenagers)

18/11/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 and more from Wiltshire Council (see more)

Latest weekly COVID-19 figures in Wiltshire (as of 10 November)

Although the number of cases in Wiltshire is still below the national average, we can’t be complacent. We all need to keep playing our part to stop the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 update from Director of Public Health, Kate Blackburn

Director of Public Health, Kate Blackburn has given an update on the case rates of COVID-19 in the county and announced the most up-to-date figures for this week.

Watch the video update now (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1tCn8rIICY&feature=youtu.be)
COVID-19 testing is available seven days a week

COVID-19 testing sites are open seven days a week including weekends.
Current data shows that testing sites are much quieter at weekends than weekdays.

If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, you must book a test immediately.

Keep playing your part.

More info and to book a test (https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test)
Have your say on the proposed A350 Melksham bypass

We’re exploring options to improve the A350 at Melksham, including the potential for a new bypass, and we’re seeking your views on our progress so far, and the various route options.

Find out more and take the survey (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/highways-a350-melksham-bypass)

New Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme opens for applications

We’ve launched the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme after receiving over £7 million of Government funding to support local businesses.

This new scheme is aimed at those businesses required to close due to the national restrictions which started on 5 November 2020.

One-off grants will be awarded to eligible businesses to support them during the four-week closure and help them with the ongoing challenges presented by coronavirus. Eligible businesses that have:
* properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £1,334
* properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive grants of £2,000
* properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £3,000

More info (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/New-Local-Restrictions-Support-Grant-scheme-opens-for-applications)
Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali! We wish you all a very happy, prosperous and safe year ahead.

Diwali – known as ‘Festival of lights’, is a well-known Indian Hindu festival celebrated worldwide which symbolizes the spiritual ‘victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance’.

The festival falls in either October or November each year and lasts for five days. This year the celebrations began yesterday (12 November) with the main celebrations taking place tomorrow (14 November).
Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Awareness Week (16 to 22 November) is a chance for the UK to get thinking about drinking.

It’s a week of awareness-raising, campaigning for change, and more. The theme for Alcohol Awareness Week 2020 is ‘Alcohol and mental health’.

Around 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, and drinking too much or too often can increase our risk. But many of us are unaware of the link between alcohol and poor mental health, and it’s often the first thing we turn to when we’re feeling low, stressed, worried or unable to cope.

Yet drinking too much or too often can mask or enhance underlying mental health problems – such as anxiety and depression – and prevent them from being properly addressed.

More on this (https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/alcohol-awareness-week-1/about-alcohol-awareness-week)

11/11/2020 COVID-19 – The latest news from the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub (see more)

At the Growth Hub we recognise this is a time of great difficulty and heightened worry, as we head into another period where we cannot see friends and family and many of our businesses are asked again to close their doors.

This has been a long road for all of us but I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your patience, your fortitude, and your indomitable spirit.

We’d like to highlight to you over this period, the sort of opportunities, guidance and support open to our business community. The Growth Hub will remain open with business support available. Please do not hesitate to get in touch (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN203 ) .

I want to thank all of you for your tremendous efforts so far to adhere to the safety advice (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN213 ) to keep each other safe. I ask that you all keep that commitment firmly in mind these coming weeks and continue to respect the measures in place.

Please continue to look after yourselves, keep up to date with the latest government guidance  (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN223 ) and, above all, stay safe.

Paddy Bradley, SWLEP CEO

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Industry Support Networks (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN243 )

Find out about fully funded support for business leaders through peer to peer networks that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success. ​ (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN253 )

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Looking for a Business Kickstart (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN273 )

Funding for employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds. (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN283 )

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COVID Business Support Pages (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2b3 )

Keep up to date with the latest news, advice and funding support. (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2c3 )

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This Way Up Webinar Series (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2f3 )

Here to help local businesses tackle the challenges they face. (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2g3 )

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Self-Employment  (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2j3 )

The Government is increasing its support to the self-employed over the coming months, ensuring people get paid faster than previously planned. (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2k3 )

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Furlough extends to March  (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2m3 )

Workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme into Spring 2021. (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2n3 )

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) (https://hs-3039733.t.hubspotstarter-i6.net/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbkmy34W6xw6-t7XdbX2W64L60l8wnzjHW6tf8N665qF9df1HVPN2p3 ))

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Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership Company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, company number 11766448, Digital Mansion Corsham, Pickwick Road, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9BL, United Kingdom, 01793 698005