The window for new applications for Restart Grants will open on Tuesday 27 April. Restart Grants will be available for rate-paying businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, and if your business falls in these categories we would urge you to apply as soon as possible when the grant window opens, so we can help your business recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To process payments as quickly as possible, we already contacted all businesses that had previously received a Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) for the extra information we needed to process the Restart Grants, and we have now paid £11.618m in Restart Grants to 1,520 Wiltshire businesses that had previously received a LRSG. We are now processing and paying a second batch of LRSG recipients, and then we will move on to the new applications, which is why we’re opening the Restart Grants up for new applications on Tuesday.
If your business has not received a LRSG, we would encourage you to apply for a Restart Grant if you think you are eligible.
The grants are worth up to £6,000 for non-essential retail, and up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses.
The government tool asks for personal and business information and plans for the future (without identifying you) and then provides links to relevant help and advice regarding the new Trade agreements and requirements that may impact your business and personal activities, staff, finances, travel plans and more.
If you need specific EU transition help you can email firstname.lastname@example.org who can sign-post you to support or call 01249 477 288 to speak to an EU transition specialist.
If you’ve not already done so, you can sign up at the Growth Hub, it’s completely free and has a huge range of information available to help your business as well as providing you with a chance to add a free business listing: https://growthhub.swlep.co.uk/
The use of outdoor areas for the hospitality trade
Our Public Protection Officers were busy over the last weekend carrying out observations on our newly re-opened hospitality businesses who can now trade in their outdoor spaces. We were really pleased to see that the majority of those observed were really busy, well-managed and compliant with ongoing Covid restrictions.
Unfortunately in a few cases there remains some confusion over the use of some outdoor structures, particularly marquees and pods, which must have at least half of the sides opened or removed. We recognise that recent evenings have been very chilly and understand the temptation to unroll the marquee sides or close more than half of the sides, but doing this breaches the current Coronavirus Step 2 regulations and compromises public safety.
Outdoor hospitality means outdoor, we are working with non-compliant businesses so that we can hopefully progress to indoor hospitality at Step 3 in May. We are also asking customers to support the licensed trade with the current restrictions, which we all hope will be temporary as we move into the summer.
The vaccination rollout in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire so far has gone better than anyone could have expected, with more than half a million vaccines having already been given over the last few months. There may still be occasions when vaccination sites have a small surplus of vaccines near the end of each day, often because of people not attending their booked appointments earlier in the day.
To maximise every opportunity to use all the vaccines before they expire, BSW CCG (Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group) are asking people in certain groups to come forward if they would like to be placed on a list of individuals who could be contacted to be offered a vaccine at short notice:
Emergency services (police and fire) – those coming into contact with members of the public
Education and nurseries – those in direct contact with students and children
Supermarket workers – those in contact with the public within the shop environment
Skilled traders (for example gas, plumbing and heating engineers) – those going into people’s homes to ensure essential services are provided
Factory workers – those working on manufacturing lines
Additionally to the priority work groups, people coming forward will be prioritised in order of their age, oldest first.
If you have already booked an appointment for a vaccine, or have had a first dose, this opportunity is not open to you – please keep your existing appointment. As with all vaccine appointments, there is no opportunity to select which vaccine you are offered and if you have concerns regarding allergies you should wait for a discussion with your GP practice.
This is no guarantee you will be offered a vaccine through this list and you should still make an appointment when you are able to do so via the normal routes.
In order to collate the reserve list, BSW CCG is asking interested and eligible people in line with the above criteria to complete this form.
Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:
a high temperature
a new, continuous cough
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you get your test result. Only leave your home to take a test.
Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
Free testing continues to be available to everyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, and people who show symptoms must book a test online or call 119. If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19
Anyone can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests without having symptoms. About one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. Getting regular tests is the only way to know if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.
Find out more about rapid COVID-19 testing including where you can get tested or collect lateral flow test kits to use at home on our website.
Scam letter targeting businesses, regarding air purifiers
We are aware of scammers sending Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) headed letters to businesses telling them that, by law, they need to purchase air purifiers to comply with COVID-19 rules. This is not true.