…and another update from the District Council!

Covid-19 advice & support for businesses

Here’s a round-up of some Covid-19 advice, guidance and support for businesses.  There is information in here for all kinds of businesses big and small in your towns and parishes, from community shops and cafes to small businesses people run from their own homes.
Please help us to spread these messages and signpost your businesses to our webpages linked in each of the articles below.
Advice for businesses on new regulations
We are working with other local authorities to help local businesses get up to speed with the new regulations brought in recently to help curb the pandemic.
We’re helping businesses understand their responsibilities around the new “rule of six” regulations, including:
  • food and drink businesses cannot take bookings for a table of more than six people (there are exceptions to this for example where the group is all from one household)
  • they must not allow groups of more than six into their premises, except where one of the exceptions applies
  • they must not allow people to mingle between groups where this would make a group larger than six.
Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, social clubs and other similar businesses must now be closed (i.e. no customers on the premises) between 10pm and 5am. There are also new rules on gathering data as part of Test and Trace and we’re encouraging all businesses to use and promote the NHS Test and Trace app – more on that later in the update.
There are more details including information on the exceptions to the rules on the councils’ licensing page on our websites (South / Vale)
We’re advising all taxi drivers that they should wear face coverings and regulations now state that passengers must wear face coverings. Taxi drivers should remind customers of this at the time of booking.
If a passenger is not wearing a face covering, then drivers can refuse to carry them, taking into account any mitigating circumstances such as any medical condition which may prevent the person from wearing a face covering. Here are some examples of reasons why some people cannot wear face coverings.
You can find more information on Covid-19 rules for taxis and private hire vehicles on our South and Valewebsites
New NHS Covid-19 app
The New NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 app was launched last week and we would urge you and all your friends and families to download it onto your mobile phones.
The app is the fastest way to see if you are at risk from coronavirus. The quicker you know, the faster you can alert and protect your loved ones.
It has a venue ‘check-in’ feature – where you scan a QR code on display at any places you visit like pubs and restaurants. This provides you with a digital diary and can send you alerts if you have visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus. It won’t however tell you the name of the venue.
You must be over 16 to have the app, live in England or Wales and own a smartphone that has Bluetooth. The app will be used alongside traditional contact tracing.
Here’s a video explaining more – you can also head over to the NHS website for more info.
Winter Support Packages
Last week the government announced new measures to support businesses over the coming months as a result of the impact of Covid-19, and we’re making sure businesses in South and Vale are aware of what help is available to them and we’ve updated our Business Support website with more information. Here’s a quick summary of the headlines:
  • The Furlough Scheme will end. In its place and from the 1 November, the Job Support Scheme will protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme extension will support viable traders who are facing reduced demand over the winter months, covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits via a government grant.
  • More than one million businesses that have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme will be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments.
  • Lenders can offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed.
  • The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes – including the future fund – has been extended to 30 November.
  • Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months. Self-assessed income taxpayers can also now extend their outstanding tax bill over 12 months from January.
  • The Government has extended the 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400