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28/02/2022 Latest news and advice for businesses on COVID-19 from Wiltshire Council (see more)

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25 February 2022
This newsletter provides updates on help and advice available locally for businesses.

Read back issues of this business newsletter

Visit our COVID-19 page for our latest updates

Last chance to apply for our COVID-19 business grants and rate relief

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Applications for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), also known as the Omicron Discretionary Grant (ODG) scheme, close on Monday (28 February) at 5pm.

The OHLG is a one-off grant of up to £6,000 that is available to rateable businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors only, with the value of grants depending on the businesses’ rateable value.

Businesses that can evidence that they have been impacted by the Omicron-wave of COVID-19 can apply for the ARG. This grant is open to both rate-paying and non-rate-paying businesses in sectors that were most impacted by the changes in consumer expenditure in the run-up to Christmas and new year – particularly in sectors such as hospitality, personal care, accommodation, leisure, gyms, sports and travel agencies.

Apply for an Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

Applications for the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) rate relief funding will close on 31 March. Eligible businesses are encouraged to get your applications in as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

The CARF is aimed at rate-paying businesses that have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adapt to that impact. The relief is available to rate-paying businesses that have not yet had any rate relief and meet the eligibility requirements. It is not available to businesses that were eligible for the retail, hospitality and leisure relief or the nursery relief, and it also does not apply to landlords of unoccupied properties.

Apply for the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund

Plan for living with COVID-19 and guidance for businesses

We’re asking businesses and residents to take a cautious approach after the Government has unveiled its living with COVID-19 plan.

The main points are:

  • Until 1 April 2022, people who test positive are advised to stay at home
  • Self-isolation support payments, national funding for practical support and the medicine delivery service are no longer available
  • Routine contact tracing has ended, including venue check-ins on the NHS COVID-19 app
  • Fully vaccinated adults and those aged under 18 who are close contacts are no longer advised to test daily for seven days and the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated has been removed.

This means that the Government is no longer asking venues to:

  • Ask every customer or visitor aged 16 or over to ‘check in’ by scanning the NHS COVID-19 QR code poster using the NHS COVID-19 app, or providing their name and telephone number
  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises, including their shift times and dates, and contact details
  • Keep records of customers, visitors, and staff for 21 days to support NHS Test and Trace.

As people no longer need to check in, please remove any NHS COVID-19 QR code posters or any systems that you use to collect contact details at your venue.

The Government has updated its Working safely during COVID-19 guidance.

From 1 April, the Government will also:

  • Remove the current guidance on voluntary COVID-status certification in domestic settings and no longer recommend that certain venues use the NHS COVID Pass
  • No longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England.
Full details of the Living with COVID-19 plan
View the updated guidance on Working safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Making Connections – Careers Event

We are very pleased to announce that we are now back to supporting our Wiltshire care experienced young people with a face to face Careers Event. Community is so important to us all which is why that is our focus this year. We want our young people to make connections with all of our local Employers, to help us make those connections would you be able to provide a stand at our event?

Cost: Free
Date: 26 April 2022
Time: 4pm to 6pm (Setup from 3pm)
Venue: Salisbury Arts Centre (50 Bedwin Street, Salisbury, England, SP1 3UT)

Refreshments and WiFi will be available.

Register for the event on Eventbrite. If you would like more information please email workwilts@wiltshire.gov.uk.

Register for the event on Eventbrite

Green Business Advice Service

What can your business be doing to meet the Government’s 2050 net zero target?

Businesses must start thinking now about strategies they will put in place to reach this milestone of being net zero by 2050. Acting now gives companies a competitive advantage over slower movers and ensures you’re better prepared for the UK’s net zero economy.

The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Hub are offering one-to-one advice and support with their specialist Business Navigator for the green agenda. They can help:

  • Outline how to widen the impact of your current sustainability practices through climate commitments, reporting tools, and environmental certifications
  • Identify further steps which are suitable to your company on your journey to net zero
  • Assist in developing a short-term strategy to begin your journey to net zero by identifying some of the immediate actions your business can take to reduce emissions
  • Offer ideas for the creation of a longer-term strategy to achieve net zero by 2050, by discussing more complex actions your business can take to reduce emissions, and identifying the steps most appropriate to your company
  • Discuss grants and loans available to help your business achieve specific targets along your road to net zero.

What will your business get from this?

  • Develop strategy for reaching targets necessary to achieve accreditations such as B Corp. These accreditations build a competitive advantage, with customers increasingly looking to buy from sustainable businesses
  • Understanding of relevant financial support, such as grants and loans, to assist the development of your environmental strategy
  • Identify areas your business can improve process efficiency, creating cost savings while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint
  • Futureproof your business: As the country moves towards a net zero economy, the way businesses operate must change and this advice can help you get ahead of the curve.

Businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire are already starting to set out ambitious strategies to become carbon neutral and ultimately achieve net zero. Now is the time to join that movement.

Contact Hugh Williams for your free green advice session on hugh.williams@swlep.co.uk

Inspire Business Awards – open for applications

The Inspire Business Awards are open for applications, with the deadline for entries on 19 April. The awards focus on showcasing the fantastic, ambitious businesses based across the South West of England.

The last 18 months have been tough in one way or another for most businesses and business leaders, and yet many have displayed amazing fortitude, innovation and resilience to emerge from the pandemic period in good shape to continue to serve their customers and provide a livelihood and secure future for their staff.

These awards will be somewhat different from pre pandemic ones in that some of the 11 categories will focus specifically on the achievements of many businesses in responding to the particular challenges faced by us all over the last year and a half, as well as those which will face us in the coming years, such as the need to work towards a lower carbon economy and to have a positive impact our communities.

All businesses entering the awards must be based within the South West of England and employ 10 to 250 employees (or FTEs) or have a turnover in excess of £1 million. Entrant businesses must have been trading for 3 years or more.

Find out more and apply for the awards
View the GOV.UK Coronavirus guidance and latest restrictions
Useful links
We are providing regular updates on the Coronavirus business support page on our website.
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