Coronavirus: What businesses need to know
The government has moved from the 'containment' to the 'delay' phase of infection control. In the last week we have seen the number of people in the UK testing positive for the virus increase substantially. A move to the delay phase means that the disease has become established in the UK, and that further measures need to be taken to reduce the rate and extent of its spread.
As the Coronavirus outbreak escalates to a “delay” phase, Sussex Chamber of Commerce has started to receive enquiries from businesses asking what steps they should be taking to mitigate the potential impacts.
Ana Christie, Chief Executive of Sussex Chamber of Commerce, said: “The outbreak is already affecting businesses all around the world. With some factories on extended shutdown, we anticipate interruptions to shipments of goods. As we enter the 'delay' phase, there is a risk of staff sickness, self-isolation or travel disruption. This could affect our ability to deliver documentation services. Click here for Export Documentation guidance
“Our advice to businesses is strikingly similar to the advice we issued last year for coping with a potential no-deal Brexit. Do a risk assessment. Look at your supply chain, identify vulnerabilities if supplies are interrupted and make contingency plans. Review whether systems are in place to allow staff to work from home.
“You also need to consider cash flow if there’s a risk that your business model will be disrupted. It’s better to discuss these issues with your bank now and make provision if you’re going to need an extended overdraft, for example.”
“There is much to welcome in this Budget for business communities. The Chancellor has listened to our calls for support to help firms overcome cash flow challenges posed by Coronavirus. See the full press release.
As Coronavirus (COVID -19) continues to impact the operations of organisations, we understand its important to take the correct steps in order to support the governments strategy as well as your business. Our advisors can help you and your members. Call the Chamber HR advice line on 01455 852037 or alternatively, contact us here.
Please bear with us during this busy period, we have a large volume of calls on this matter and we would like to thank you for your patience. Don’t forget members also have access to our document library which contains 100s of documents relevant to current situation. This can be accessed through your Chamber website or https://www.questcover.com/chamber-index. You will need your personal login details.
Quest has been issuing news articles on relevant topics such as self-isolation and the job retention scheme. Click here to view their latest news.
“Please keep an eye on our website for further updates in case events or training courses are cancelled or postponed.
If you have a new continuous cough OR high temperature (38 degrees or higher) you should stay at home for 7 days and not attend the training course or event.
Click here to see the announcement on key workers published by the Department for Education. The guidance sets out those whose work is critical to the coronavirus response and keeping crucial public services going. Employers need to be responsible about who needs to be in the office and we encourage them to help their staff find alternative arrangements to support them working from home.
“Below, we outline the advice and best practice from the Government, NHS, and other organisations.
Government will deliver help and financial support during this period of unprecedented disruption. Click here to see their dedicated support page for businesses and employees
Click below for further Government business support and information:
The BCC policy team has put together FAQs on the scheme, this is available now on the BCC Coronavirus Hub. This document is under constant review and will be updated when new information is available. Also, take a look at updated official guidance on the Job Retention Scheme.
The NHS urgently needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equipment including dust masks, vinyl gloves and aprons. If you have any of this equipment going unused during the lockdown, it could be used to tackle the spread of coronavirus. If so, we want to hear from you - contact us at email@example.com
Manufacturers of hand sanitisers and gels will have their applications for denatured alcohol fast-tracked during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Click here for the full article.
We understand that there is confusion for UK businesses surrounding which should close, which should continue to operate and how to protect employee health if you do. Please review further official guidance below including:
• guidance on further businesses and premises to close;
• guidance for employers and employees continuing to operate from UK government and ACAS.
• business support FAQs - providing answers to the following:
• Which businesses are closed?
• Are you asking all businesses to close?
• How long will closures last?
• What can I do to help staff who cannot work from home?
• In a lockdown, how do I keep my company staffed?
The BCC team is continuing to push for further, clear guidance on protecting people at work, particularly in manufacturing and construction. We will update you on further guidance as soon as possible.
Please review the guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) to support all employers, and apprenticeship training and assessment providers, to retain their apprentices and to help them plan with more certainty through this difficult period of disruption. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) has also published new guidance on the delivery of assessment.
Guidance for UK business on VAT Deferral
Please review the important practical notes and UK government guidance regarding VAT deferral:
• VAT returns should be filed as usual.
• In order to ensure payments are not taken automatically, direct debits (DDs) should be cancelled.
We are receiving requests from traders for action in relation to deferment of VAT and duty payments on imports from outside of the EU. We are working to address this issue with colleagues in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and HM Treasury (HMT) and will keep you updated with developments.
As the Coronavirus continues to impact the operations of businesses, the British Chambers team has collated information and resources from the UK government and the Chamber Network in an online support hub. This will be a constantly evolving resource and we will continue to amend guidance as and when we receive updated information.
To support our members managing the impact of the Coronavirus, please email this address: firstname.lastname@example.org