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Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information and advice

Help for businesses

Business Grants update

Tuesday 11 Jan 2022

Omicron Grant (Hospitality and Leisure sectors)

From Monday 17 January any existing business rated business who has already been assessed and received a grant in the past and is now entitled to the new Omicron Grant (Hospitality and Leisure sectors) will receive an automated email asking them to verify and update their details and to complete a self-declaration

They will then receive an automated payment once we have received the self-declaration and the payments has been processed.

From Monday 24 January new applications for the Omicron Grant (Hospitality and Leisure sectors) will open. These applications will need to be assessed. A new application form will be updated on this page and will need to be completed. Applications close on Monday 28 February 2022.

ARG Discretionary Grant

This will open on Tuesday 1 February and run until Monday 28 February.

A revised policy and criteria will be updated on this page as soon as it has been finalised. A new application will be required for all applications and these will be assessed against the criteria in the policy.

Our £366,073 allocation of the £102 million Additional Restrictions Grant top-up will not be sufficient to support all businesses. There will inevitably be some businesses who may be deemed as significantly impacted by the Omicron COVID-19 variant, but will not receive a grant because they are not as severely impacted in comparison to other businesses who have applied. The purpose of an application window is to assess all applications at the same time and identify the businesses impacted the most and award grants accordingly to those impacted the most.

Please continue to check our website for key updates, and visit the Invest in Bath website to find other support measures available to businesses. You can also follow them on Twitter: @InvestinBath.

Face covering notice

From Friday 10 December face coverings will be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, including taxis. From Monday 13 December businesses are also being asked to allow their staff to work from home where possible, and from Wednesday 15 December certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over have a valid NHS COVID Pass, or an alternative proof of a negative test result, such as an email or text proof, before allowing entry.

You can find out more about these changes and what they mean for your business, on the GOV.UK website.

To support businesses through the autumn and winter period, the government’s guidance on working safely page will continue to provide advice on sensible precautions employers can take to manage risk in their workplace.

Businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. You can do this by carrying out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and taking reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify.

Businesses should use Working Safely guidance to consider the risk within your premises and decide which mitigations are appropriate to adopt.

Expand the sections below to read the latest guidance available to businesses, and to see national and local resources that have been developed to support businesses to operate safely.

Apply for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant

This scheme provides support to hospitality, leisure, and accommodation businesses, in recognition that the rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant means that some businesses are likely to struggle over the coming weeks.

The closing date for applications for this grant scheme is 28 February 2022, and all payments will be made by 31 March 2022.

Eligibility

Business type

Businesses in the following sectors may be eligible. Please expand a section below, to see if your business type is included.

Hospitality

This means a business with the main function of providing a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink. The following business types are eligible under this category:

  • Cafes
  • Food courts
  • Public houses and pub restaurants
  • Restaurants
  • Roadside snack bars or caterers
  • Wine bars

Leisure

This means a business that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events, days and nights out, betting or gaming. The following business types are eligible under this category:

  • Amusement arcades and theme parks
  • Arenas, concert halls and events venues
  • Casinos and gambling clubs
  • Clubs and institutions
  • Cinemas
  • Indoor riding centres
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Night clubs and discotheques
  • Soft play centres or areas
  • Stately homes and historic houses
  • Theatres
  • Tourist attractions
  • Village halls, scout and cadet huts 
  • Wedding venues
  • Zoos and safari parks

Accommodation

This means a business with the main function of providing a place to stay for holiday, travel and other purposes. The following business types are eligible under this category:

  • B&Bs, guest houses and boarding houses
  • Campsites
  • Canal boats or other vessels
  • Caravan parks, sites and pitches
  • Catered holiday homes
  • Chalet parks
  • Coaching inns
  • Country house hotels
  • Holiday homes, apartments, cottages, or bungalows
  • Hotels and hostels
  • Lodges

Conditions for eligibility

To qualify for this grant, your business must be all of the following:

  • Located in Bath and North East Somerset
  • Providing services in person to customers from your premises in the hospitality, leisure or accommodation sector
  • Trading, and registered for Business Rates, on 30 December 2021

Exclusions

If any of the following are true, your business will not be eligible to receive funding. 

  • You are not within the Business Rates system.
  • You've already received grant payments that equal the maximum permitted subsidy allowances.
  • You're in administration, insolvent, or have had a striking-off notice.
  • You fail to apply by 28 February 2022.

There are also sector-specific exclusions. Please expand the sections below to find out more.

Hospitality business exclusions

Food kiosks and businesses whose main service is a takeaway cannot apply. This means that food and drink takeaway services generate 50% or more of the income of your business.

This exclusion applies to businesses which originally operated as takeaway food suppliers. If your business was not originally a takeaway, but has only adapted to offer takeaways during periods of restrictions, in alignment with previous COVID-19 business grant schemes, then this exclusion does not apply to you.

Leisure business exclusions

These business types are excluded:

  • Gyms and sports businesses where physical exercise or training is conducted
  • Retail businesses
  • Coach tour operators
  • Tour operators

Accommodation business exclusions

These business types are excluded:

  • Beach huts
  • Education accommodation
  • Private dwellings
  • Residential and care homes
  • Residential family centres

How much is the grant, and when will it be paid?

We will make payments to eligible businesses by 31 March 2022. The amount you may get depends on the rateable value* of your premises.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant amounts
Rateable value Grant amount
£15,000 or less £2,667
£15,001 to £50,999 £4,000
£51,000 or more £6,000

* You can find the rateable value of your premises in the top right hand corner of your Business Rates bill (view an example bill), or you can check the VOA website, by searching for your property and locating the Local Authority Reference Number under Valuation Information.

Will grants be subject to tax?

You may have to pay tax on any grant income that your business receives. You will need to include the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant as income in your tax return. Any payments you receive before 5 April 2022 will fall into the 2021/22 tax year. If you make an overall profit, once grant income is included, you may have to pay tax on that profit.

If your business is unincorporated (privately owned, and not registered as a company) your grant will be taxed when you receive it.

Do subsidy allowance conditions apply?

This scheme is covered by three possible subsidy allowances (or limits to the maximum amount of money your business can apply for):

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance
    You’re allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) in Small Amounts of Financial Assistance, over any rolling period of 3 financial years.

  • COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance
    Under this allowance, you’re allowed up to £1,900,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes.

  • Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance
    If you have reached your limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance, you may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £10,000,000 across all COVID-19 Business Grant schemes.

Grants under these three allowances can be combined for a potential total allowance of up to £12,235,000 (subject to exchange rates).

If your business could be subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol, these Allowances may vary under the State aid rules.

Check if you need to apply

If you have received a business grant before

You do NOT need to make a new application for this grant

If your existing business has already been assessed and received a grant in the past, and is now eligible for the new Omicron Grant (Hospitality and Leisure sectors), you will receive an automated email asking you to verify and update your details, and to complete a self-declaration.

You will then receive an automated payment, once we have received the self-declaration and processed the payments.

If you have not received an email from us but believe you are eligible for an Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant, please email Covid19_Grants@bathnes.gov.uk.

If you have never received a business grant

If you haven't received a business grant before, you will need to make a full application for the Omicron Grant (Hospitality and Leisure sectors), so that we can assess the circumstances of your business.

Before you apply

Please have the following documents and information ready before you start completing the online application:

Personal identification

  • A copy of your passport OR driving licence

Company identification

  • Business Rates account number
  • Company number (if the company is registered with Companies House)
  • High level SIC code (if the company is registered with Companies House
  • Charity number (if applicable)
  • VAT registration number (if applicable)

Finance details

  • Bank details for the account you want the grant paid into
  • Details of any subsidy allowances you have received in the last three years
  • A recent bank statement, dated in the last three months (corresponding to the grant payment details you have provided)

It should take around five minutes to complete the form.

Apply online

Next steps

We will review your application as quickly as possible and let you know if you are entitled to a payment. We will then make a payment by BACS transfer to the bank account that you have provided.

Controlling COVID-19 transmission in the workplace

The government has published guidance on how to safely operate in different workplaces and sectors during the pandemic, including how to effectively maintain COVID-secure measures in these settings. It is very important that businesses follow this guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe.

There are no limits on the number of people allowed into a business, but you should still consider whether any of your practices make it easier for COVID-19 to be transmitted on your premises. Employers still have responsibilities under Health and Safety law to protect workers and non-workers as far as reasonably practicable, including from the transmission from COVID-19.

You should consider:

  • how you will ventilate your premises. Can you keep a regular flow of clean air into the business?
  • how groups will sit in your premises. Keeping tables distanced may reduce the number of people who the virus can be transmitted to if an infectious customer or employee is present
  • how often you need to clean surfaces, based on how often different people may touch them. Antiviral cleaning products should be used
  • limiting the amount of cash being handled on-site, and if possible, try to use a contactless payment system for transactions
  • encouraging customers to ‘check in’ to your venue using an NHS Test and Trace QR code for your business
  • having antibacterial hand sanitiser or gel available for customers to use when they enter and leave your business

NHS Test and Trace Service in the workplace

The NHS Test and Trace service does the following:

  • provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to find out if they have the virus
  • gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had
  • alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate (unless exempt) to help stop the spread of the virus

It is no longer law to display the NHS Test and Trace QR code, but it is recommended you continue displaying one. This is so customers scanning in can be alerted when another customer, they’ve come into contact with, has tested positive for COVID-19. You can generate an NHS Test and Trace QR code for your business on the GOV.UK website.

It is recommended that you take contact details for customers where possible, so you can pass these to NHS Test and Trace or our Contact Tracing team if requested as part of an outbreak investigation. If you are already taking bookings with customer details, then these details should include a time the customer arrived on-site. Any records/contact details of customers and visitors should be stored securely in accordance with GDPR requirements for 21 days.

Visit GOV.UK for further information on how the NHS Test and Trace service works.

Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, workers and for the self-employed

What to do if a staff member, customer or supplier gets coronavirus

As a business, you are not just responsible for the welfare of your staff, but also the customers and suppliers you come into contact with. It's highly important to follow the steps below if anyone who works for you, or comes into contact with your workplace, reports a suspected, or confirmed case of COVID-19.

If a member of staff, customer or supplier becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (or develops them within two days of visiting your business)

They MUST self-isolate as soon as symptoms start.

They should get tested by applying through GOV.UK or calling 119

They should contact anyone they have been in close contact with in the last 48 hours before developing symptoms. 

Members of their household should self-isolate (unless exempt – see below) until the ill person has a virus test result.

Household members will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • you are under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you are taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Wider contacts do not need to self-isolate at this stage, but they should take extra care to practise social distancing and good hygiene.

As an employer, you may need to assess if any of your staff and customers have had close contact with the ill person

If the ill person's test is negative

They can return to daily activities once they feel well again, and their household can stop self-isolating.

If the ill person's test is positive

The ill person must self-isolate. The self-isolation period includes the day symptoms started (or the day the test was taken, if no symptoms are present) and the next 10 full days.

The ill person can leave self-isolation before the 10-day period is over if they:

  • Take two lateral flow tests on subsequent days, at least a full 24 hours apart, with the first test on at least the sixth full day of their self isolation (not counting the 'onset day')

  • Obtain negative results on both these days and do not have a high temperature

The ill person should expect contact from NHS Test and Trace to ask them about recent close contacts. This contact may be via text, email or phone.

Where the positive case has been in close contact with others in a work setting, employers should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as they are made aware that any of their workers have tested positive (regardless of whether they have symptoms or not).

Employers will need to provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts. This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary public health advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate where required.

If NHS Test and Trace are involved
The Test and Trace service will text, email or phone everyone that the ill person identifies as a close contact. This may take 24 to 48 hours from the time that the test result is received.

The ill person's identity will not be revealed to contacts.

If NHS Test and Trace inform you that you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 case

You must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your contact with the case (unless exempt – see below), as you could develop COVID-19 at any time during this period. You are advised to take a free PCR test. Please be aware that if the PCR test comes back negative, you are still required to isolate for the full 10 days as you may be incubating the virus.

You do not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • you are under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you are taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

If any of the above apply to you, you are advised to take a rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days and limit social contact. If the test comes back positive, you must self-isolate. The self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

If NHS Test and Trace need helping identifying contacts
If a COVID-19 case has been to a pub, hotel, workplace or been part of a communal event, such as playing team sport, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) will become involved.
They will complete a risk assessment process. If necessary, they will contact you as an employer, and ask you to supply information which could identify contacts, such as staff rotas or visitor records. It may take 24 to 48 hours for UKHSA to contact you to request this information.
If you're not sure what to do
Email us at Public_Health@bathnes.gov.uk at any time for advice about what you need to do.
If there is a localised outbreak (2 or more confirmed cases)

You must phone South West Health Protection Team on 0300 303 8162.

Please also email our Public Health Team at public_health@bathnes.gov.uk

Managing an outbreak

If you have multiple positive cases of COVID-19 in your staff or customers over a period, you may be contacted by an officer in our Public Protection or Contact Tracing teams. This is so the officer can ask you about:

  • whether you are aware of the cases raised – if you are the owner or manager, the officer will be able to confirm if any staff have tested positive and give their initials
  • how you are dealing with the cases, including how you are making sure staff complete any required self-isolation
  • what COVID-secure measures are in place at your business. The officer may make suggestions on how to improve your measures

The officer may give you advice on self-isolation and testing, including whether certain staff should take a PCR test.

You should be aware that if a member of staff is instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or a member of our Contact Tracing team, they must do this by law. It is against the law for an employer to make a member of staff go to work when they must be self-isolating.

COVID-19 vaccinations

As an employer, you are in a unique position to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme by encouraging staff to get their first and second doses, and if eligible, their booster dose, to ensure they have maximum protection.

Supporting your employees to get vaccinated comes with several benefits. Having the COVID-19 vaccine means:

  • your employees can better protect themselves and those around them
  • lower risk of your employees catching and spreading COVID-19 to colleagues, therefore reducing the negative impact on your workforce
  • protecting your customers when using your services
  • bringing your staff back safely into the workplace sooner

To find out more about how you can support vaccination of your workforce, please see COVID-19 vaccination: guide for employers and view Public Health England's Vaccination Employer's Toolkit.

If there is something you are not clear about, the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group website has answers to many commonly asked questions.

COVID-19 testing

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, don’t realise they’re infected and may, therefore, spread the virus around their workplace without knowing it.

Regular testing plays a critical role in safer working, stopping the spread of the virus, and is key to breaking the chains of transmission. Regular testing alongside the vaccine will ensure we can continue to ease our way out of lockdown.

Rapid testing is free for everyone and particularly important for those who cannot work from home and those who are working in the community.

As employers, encouraging your workforce to take up the offer of regular rapid testing is one of several measures that can help to provide a safe and secure workplace that protects the health of your workers and customers. Your workforce regularly accessing rapid testing will help to limit any future impact of COVID-19 cases in your workplace, reducing disruption to your business.

You can find information about how to access free rapid tests for your employees on our web page.

Anyone with one or more of the following symptoms should take a different test called a PCR test.

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Book a free PCR test on GOV.UK or call 119.

Local Outbreak Management Plan

The B&NES Local Outbreak Management Plan defines the majority of employment sites as places. A list of high risk places is listed in appendix 1 of the plan.

Risk assessments

Employers must carry out a risk assessment and take reasonable steps to protect their workers and others from COVID-19.

You will also need to consider whether any changes made to your business’ operations to reduce COVID-19 transmission have introduced other risks. The Health and Safety Executive have published guidance on carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment and talking with your workers about working safely during the outbreak.

Registration for food businesses

If you are starting a new food business, or you are an existing food business who changed its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic (including starting to offer food takeaway or delivery), you must let us know by submitting a new business registration.

You can submit your registration online on the GOV.UK website.

If you are a new food business, you must register at least 28 days before you begin trading or before food operations start. If you are already trading you should register as soon as possible.

If you are unable to complete the form online or have any questions about whether your business requires registration, please email public_protection@bathnes.gov.uk

Get help from Invest in Bath

Our Invest in Bath service is co-ordinating support services to local businesses in light of the COVID-19 public health situation. If you have specific concerns, questions or needs at this time, please email info@investinbath.co.uk and the team will respond directly.

Complaints and advice

If you have concerns about COVID-19 transmission at a business in the Bath and North East Somerset area or you would like further advice on how to put safe working practices in place for your own business, you can email public_protection@bathnes.gov.uk.

Keep updated

Social media is a valuable tool at a time like this, but it can also contain misinformation and rumour, which isn’t helpful. The following Twitter accounts will be regularly posting the latest factual advice and information related to COVID-19.

For updates about Bath & North East Somerset Council services during the crisis, visit our Coronavirus web page. You can also contact us through our dedicated email address Covid-19incidentcomms@ bathnes.gov.uk

Resources for staff and employers only

COVID-19 vaccinations – national resources

To find out more about how you can support vaccination of your workforce, please see COVID-19 vaccination: guide for employers and view Public Health England's Vaccination Employer's Toolkit.

COVID-19 staff risk assessment

The COVID-19 staff risk assessment tool has been developed by Bath and North East Somerset Council using national government guidance and information provided by the National Health Service. It is intended as a guide for employers, to use to assess any staff member's risk of developing serious illness, if infected with COVID-19. The tool offers actions that employers and staff can take to reduce this risk to as low as is reasonably practicable.

Download the COVID-19 staff risk assessment tool

Isolation - local resources

This isolation poster has been developed by Bath and North East Somerset Council to describe the different social, financial, and emotional support that is available to help people to self-isolate.

Download the Support to isolate poster

Isolation - national resources

Public Health England has a poster resource pack for self isolation to help people understand when to self-isolate.

It contains the following elements:

  • Self isolation poster
  • Self isolation Cobrand poster
  • Self isolation Q&A poster
  • Self isolation Boxes poster

Testing - national resources

Public Health England has a variety of posters, flyers, and social media statics available to download for businesses to use to encourage their staff who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 to test regularly using a lateral flow test.

Each pack contains PDFs and JPEGs in the following formats:

  • Hi res and web friendly print assets in A3, A4 and A5.
  • Social statics in 1x1, 4x5, 9x16 and 16x9 dimensions

They cover the following employment sectors:

Public Health England also have explainer guides on how to do a rapid Covid-19 test:

Working Safely Business Toolkit

Public Health England has created a Working Safely Business Toolkit that includes autumn and winter resources for businesses.

The Toolkit includes Safer Working guidance resources, posters, newsletters and images for social media platforms, which stress the importance of ventilation and face coverings.

The Toolkit is available as a ZIP file, which contains PDFs, PPTs and JPGs.

Download the Working Safely Business Toolkit 7

NHS COVID-19 App national resources

Public Health England have created a resource pack for employers who are using, or want to use, the NHS COVID-19 App/NHS Test and Trace QR code in their premises. The resources in the pack include:

  • Social media assets including an animation to explain when and how to pause the app
  • App privacy poster
  • Fact sheet for parents
  • Introduction to the app
  • Introduction poster
  • Positive test results poster
  • Types of app alert poster
  • Staff room poster
  • Venue alerts poster
  • Venue alert vs contact tracing poster (A3)
  • Venue check-in benefits and process poster (A3)
  • Storing phone in locker poster
Download the resource pack

Resources for staff and members of the public

Plan B social media assets - national resources

The following resources to communicate new guidance in relation to Plan B can be found on the Public Health England website:

  • Static PNG posts for social media platforms (1x1, 9x16, 16x9)
  • Posters PNG and PDF in large print and web version
  • Social animations in MP4 for social media platforms (1x1, 9x16, 16x9)
  • Suggested Post Copy Word document

Get vaccinated - national resources

A4 Posters are available to help encourage vaccine uptake amongst staff and members of the public.

Download posters encouraging Covid-19 booster vaccination.

Visit the Public Health England website to download the following resources, targeted for use with different audiences, and in different public contexts.

  • Target audiences: Couples, families, teens
  • Target public contexts: Bus (two alternatives), cafe, GP surgery

Each poster is available in both a hi-res version to print, and a smaller web version.

Download the resource pack

Get vaccinated and tested - local resources

We have produced an A6 postcard with information about COVID-19 vaccination and testing which businesses can give out to their staff or members of public. The A6 postcard is available in PDF format.

Download the COVID-19 vaccination and testing information postcard

Social media toolkit for nightlife and hospitality

We've compiled a social media toolkit for nightlife and hospitality. We've provided assets that you can download as a zipped file, and a suggested social media campaign, including which assets to use, when to use them, and some suggested wording. The toolkit is to help hospitality and nightlife businesses promote Covid-19 vaccination for 18- to 30-year-olds.

Rapid testing

The following resources are available:

Let's look after each other - local resources

We have produced some council branded posters for businesses, designed to encourage people to look after each other and to remind them of some basic principles for keeping each other safe.

You can download posters for the following disease prevention measures: