COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Support for Businesses and Employers

Our team of business advisers are available to help your business with the challenges of COVID-19. Access free one-to-one support today.

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Coronavirus or COVID-19 is an illness that can affect people’s airways and lungs. With cases of coronavirus reported around the globe, including in the UK, governments and health organisations are taking steps to contain the spread of the virus and support businesses to protect themselves.

To support London-based businesses, the London Growth Hub has brought together essential resources to help your business manage and mitigate its exposure to the impact of coronavirus. We will keep this page up to date with the latest developments and support, so your business has access to all the information it needs.

Please complete our short survey via the link below to help us, and our partners, understand your needs in order to develop business support activities to support your business.

Support from London Growth Hub

One-to-one support

If you have any queries or concerns about the potential impact COVID-19 may have on your business you can speak to one of our business advisers. To book a one hour telephone appointment click here.

Checklist to prepare your business

Businesses should take the following steps to reduce their risk of exposure to coronavirus, as well as to prepare for any potential disruption:

Plan

☐ Assess your business’ level of exposure to disruption due to coronavirus.

☐ Identify business-critical activities and the resources you need to deliver them.

☐ Identify the relevant policies, procedures and documents your business will need.

☐ Assess the potential impact of coronavirus on your supply chain.

☐ Stay up to date with the latest developments and best practice covering coronavirus.

Communicate

☐ Make sure emergency contact details for employees are correct and up to date.

☐ Keep all employees up to date with the steps you are taking to minimise risks of exposure in the workplace.

☐ Encourage employees to let you know as soon as possible if they will not be able to come into work due to coronavirus.

Managing risks

☐ Encourage workers to wash their hands regularly and provide clean washing facilities.

☐ Make sure you and your employees know how to spot coronavirus symptoms.

☐ Plan for potential staff absences and develop flexible working options where appropriate.

☐ Review your business’ travel plans, particularly to affected areas and countries.

☐ Make sure you understand any obligations you may have as an employer, such as the rules covering sick pay.

To download a copy of the checklist, please click here.

Government support for business

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has launched to support businesses to access finance.

Scheme features
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.

  • Up to £5m facility: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m, available on repayment terms of up to six years.
  • 80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.
  • No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: No fee for smaller businesses. Lenders will pay a fee to access the scheme.
  • Interest and fees paid by Government for 12 months: The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
  • Finance terms: Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.
  • Security: Insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme. For all facilities, including those over £250,000, CBILS can now support lending to smaller businesses even where a lender considers there to be sufficient security, making more smaller businesses eligible for finance. No personal guarantees for facilities under £250,000. Personal guarantees may still be required, at a lender’s discretion, for facilities above £250,000.
  • The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.

The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

For more information about the CBILS, please click here.

How to apply?
The decision on whether to offer finance is taken by each individual lender, not by government. Businesses remain responsible for repaying any borrowing that they take out. In order to access the scheme, businesses should contact their finance provider, not the British Business Bank.

For more information about how to apply, visit the British Business Bank website, or click here.

For more information about eligibility criteria, please click here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying their employees’ salary for those who would otherwise have been laid off due to COVID-19.

To access the scheme, employers need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and submit information to HMRC, which will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs up to £2,500 per month.

Go to  www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses for more information.

Support with statutory sick pay

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be refunded by the Government for the cost of providing 14-days’ statutory sick pay for employees who can’t work or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19 for more information.

Relief and support for the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors

The following reliefs have been introduced to support smaller businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors:

  • The Business Rates retail discount has been increased to 100% for the 2020/21 tax year, meaning that businesses will be entitled to a business rates ‘holiday’.
  • Grants of up to £25,000 to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000. Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of up to £10,000.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses for more information.

Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The Government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses for more information.

Deferring VAT payments

The Government has confirmed it will defer VAT payments for three months to support businesses. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses for more information.

HMRC helpline

HMRC has introduced a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to support businesses in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive help with their tax affairs.

Contact the helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Call the HMRC COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559 for more information.

Extension to file accounts

Businesses can apply for an additional three months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of coronavirus.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-to-receive-3-month-extension-period-to-file-accounts-during-covid-19 for more information.

Measures for landlords and tenants

Residential landlords will be able to claim a three-month mortgage payment holiday if their tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus, meaning that they cannot pay their rent.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/news/complete-ban-on-evictions-and-additional-protection-for-renters for more information.

Ban on evictions for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Under the measures, no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments for more information.

Guidance for exporters

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has published guidance for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad, and have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. It covers financial support for businesses trading internationally, as well as support available from the DIT.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses-trading-internationally for more information.

Support for larger firms via the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility provides support for larger firms. Under the scheme, the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies.

This will support companies that have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow them to finance their short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19 for more information.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced in April 2020.

Read more about the scheme at www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-strengthens-support-on-offer-for-business-as-first-government-backed-loans-reach-firms-in-need.

Financial assistance for redundancy payments

Employers that cannot afford to pay their employees’ redundancy pay can apply for financial support.

The Redundancy Payments Service makes statutory redundancy payments directly to employees on their employer’s behalf (subject to approval).

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-assistance-for-employers-unable-to-pay-statutory-redundancy-payments/financial-assistance-for-employers-unable-to-pay-statutory-redundancy-payments for more information.

Enforced business closures

The Government has published guidance about the businesses and premises that must close. Businesses that do not follow the rules will be subject to prohibition notices, and fixed penalties.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close for more information.

Government support for the self-employed

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme will provide financial assistance to self-employed people who have lost income due to coronavirus.

Under the scheme, the self-employed can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months.

To be eligible, self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income must come from self-employment.

Go to www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme for more information.

Self-Assessment payments deferred

Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred until January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businessess for more information.

Claiming Universal Credit

The Government has temporarily made changes to how it calculates Universal Credit entitlements to support self-employed people on low incomes.

Call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 or go to www.gov.uk/self-employment-and-universal-credit for more information.

Delay to IR35 tax reforms

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the extension to the private sector of the requirement to decide whether the IR35 rules apply to freelance workers and contractors they hire have been delayed until 6 April 2021 to help protect contractors’ livelihoods.

Go to www.gov.uk/government/news/off-payroll-working-rules-reforms-postponed-until-2021 for more information.

HMRC helpline

HMRC has introduced a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to support self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive help with their tax affairs.

Contact the helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Support paying taxes

Self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Call the HMRC COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559 for more information.

Financial support from banks and lenders

Barclays

Barclays has launched a free telephone helpline offering support and information to its business banking customers. It is also providing repayment holidays for personal banking customers on overdrafts and mortgages.

Go to https://home.barclays/news/2020/03/supporting-our-customers-and-clients-impacted-by-coronavirus–co/ for more information.

HSBC

HSBC has announced a £5 billion package of support for businesses. Support includes repayment holidays, reviewing overdrafts and trade loans, and providing trade finance solutions to support customers with their supply chains.

Go to www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/gb/campaign/coronavirus for more information.

Lloyds

Lloyds has launched a £2 billion package to help minimise disruption to business operations. Support includes repayment holidays, no arrangement fees for new or increased overdrafts, invoice discounting and finance facilities.

Go to www.lloydsbank.com/business/coronavirus.html for more information.

NatWest

NatWest has announced a £5 billion fund to support small and medium-sized firms to deal with the impact of coronavirus. Support includes the provision of working capital, loan repayment holidays and temporary emergency loans with no fees.

Go to www.rbs.com/news/2020/03/natwest-pledges-p5bn-working-capital-support-for-smes-during-cor.html for more information.

Santander

Santander has provided details of the support it is offering to customers impacted by coronavirus. It includes a dedicated helpline and advice on managing finances.

Go to www.santander.co.uk/about-santander/media-centre/press-releases/santander-uk-outlines-support-for-customers-during-coronavirus-outbreak for more information.

External resources, support and webinars

Guidance for businesses and employers

The following guidance sets out the steps businesses and employers should take to protect themselves and their staff:

ABI has produced a Q&A to support businesses to understand their insurance cover during the coronavirus outbreak. Read the Q&A at www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/#a.

Acas has published new guidance to help employers understand their obligations and protect the health and safety of their staff. It covers sick pay, dealing with incidents of coronavirus in the workplace, and employers’ obligations concerning workers who need to self-isolate or do not want to come into work. Read the guidance in full at www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus.

Acas has published new guidance for employers and their staff about homeworking. It covers health and safety, equipment, setting expectations, staying in touch and pay. Read the guidance at www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has launched the Coronavirus Hub to bring together sources of support and information. Visit the hub at www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/preparing-and-responding-to-coronavirus.

CIPD has published coronavirus advice for UK employers, which sets out how they can respond to the coronavirus threat. Read the information in full at www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law/health-safety/coronavirus-factsheet.

Edwin Coe LLP has published a blog about practical considerations for employers, including self-isolation and sick pay. Read the blog at www.edwincoe.com/blogs/main/coronavirus-practical-considerations-for-employers/.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed. Read the guidance at www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html.

Google has created a site with free resources to help people work, run their business, learn or teach from home. Find out more at https://grow.google/intl/europe/remote-work.

Google My Business is a free resource which allows users to keep customers up to date with any new information about their services – with some automatic changes. Find out more at  https://support.google.com/business/answer/9773423?p=covid_19.

Google has launched a dedicated online resource to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This site contains guidance on communicating with customers and employees, working remotely, modifying advertising, and more. Find out more at https://smallbusiness.withgoogle.com/news/resources-for-smbs-impacted-by-coronavirus/#!/.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance for employers about how to protect homeworkers. Read the guidance at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg226.pdf.

LinkedIn has published a blog about how to use the platform to stay connected and work in new ways. Read the blog at https://blog.linkedin.com/2020/march/10/staying-informed.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has updated their homepage so that it acts as a one-stop-shop for the latest advice and guidance for businesses. Find out more at www.londonchamber.co.uk.

London Growth Hub has published a blog on Remote collaboration: tools for small organisations and businesses. Read the blog at: https://www.growthhub.london/remote-collaboration-tools-for-small-organisations-and-businesses/

Maternity Action has an updated Covid-19 FAQ page outlining rights and benefits during pregnancy and maternity leave. Find out more at https://maternityaction.org.uk/covidmaternityfaqs/.

NatWest has published practical advice about the steps SMEs can take to minimise disruption from the coronavirus outbreak. It covers business travel, how to communicate with staff, preparing the workplace and paying staff. Read the advice in full at https://natwestbusinesshub.com/content/coronavirus-practical-advice-for-smes.

Pinsent Mason has published a comprehensive guide on managing the business impact of Covid-19. The guide sets out practical advice including checklists of things to do including: contracts and supply chain, employment and immigration, facilities – health & safety obligations, public disclosure requirements, event staging and insurance obligations. You can download a copy of the guide at www.pinsentmasons.com/coronavirus.

UK Bioindustry Association has launched a page on its website providing key information for the life sciences sector. Visit the page at www.biacovid19.org/?utm_campaign=11417572.

The UK Government has published support for self-employed people via the self-employment support scheme. Find out more information a www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

The UK Government business support website has a coronavirus specific page with FAQs for employers & businesses. Find out more at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-advice/.

The UK Government has issued healthcare advice for employers and businesses. It provides information on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and how to respond if someone suspected of having the virus has been in a workplace setting. Read the advice at www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses.

The UK Government has published a page for businesses to register interest in supporting the government on the coronavirus (COVID-19). Find out more information at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business

The UK Government published guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Visit the page here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding?5432

White & Case has published guidance for businesses about legal considerations related to coronavirus. It covers contracts, leveraged finance and employment. Read it in full at www.whitecase.com/sites/default/files/2020-03/COVID-19-Legal-Issues-and-Considerations-Brochure.pdf.

Health and wellbeing

The following resources provide advice and information to help businesses, the self-employed and employees look after their health and wellbeing.

Mind has published information to help businesses, the self-employed and workers take care of their mental health and wellbeing. Read the information at www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/.

NHS England has published guidance to help people look after their mental wellbeing while staying at home. Read the guidance at www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/.

 

Webinars

The following webinars are taking place to help businesses respond to  coronavirus:

Guidance about commercial insurance

Commercial insurance

Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19.

However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy).

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

Notifiable diseases

Notifiable diseases are certain infectious diseases that registered medical practitioners have a statutory duty to notify the ‘proper officer’ at their local council or local health protection team about when they come across a suspected case.

The Government keeps an updated list of notifiable diseases. On 5 March 2020, the government added COVID-19 to its list of notifiable diseases.

Many insurers use diseases on this list as triggers for the activation or exclusion of insurance cover. For example, insurers’ policies that cover notifiable diseases will typically only cover a specific subset of notifiable diseases (such as Cholera or Anthrax) that the insurer will reference in the policy documentation. These policies will exclude any notifiable disease not on the insurer’s list, as well as future/unknown diseases (such as COVID-19). The price that the insurer charges for the policy is modelled against the risk posed by this setlist of diseases.

Unspecified notifiable diseases

Some businesses will have purchased add-ons for their insurance that cover for ‘unspecified notifiable diseases’. These policies effectively cover any disease listed as a notifiable disease, enabling the business to claim for losses for all notifiable diseases as well as from diseases that are unknown at the point the policy is written.

The effect of the Government adding COVID-19 to its list of notifiable diseases is to ensure that businesses with unspecified notifiable disease cover are able to make a claim – subject to the terms and conditions in their policy. For example, someone infected with COVID-19 may need to have been on the premises.

Government ordered closure

The Government asked a number of different businesses and venues to remain closed from 21 March onwards.

Insurers have agreed that this advice is sufficient for businesses covered for COVID-19 losses to make a claim (if the only barrier to them making a claim was a lack of clarity on whether the government had ordered businesses to close). As such, intervention by the police or any other statutory body is no longer required to trigger cover in the current circumstances.

However, most businesses’ commercial insurance policies (including for denial of access) are unlikely to offer cover for COVID-19. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.

Event coverage

Businesses with event cancellation policies that include unspecified notifiable disease extensions should be able to make a claim for the necessary and unavoidable cancellation, abandonment, curtailment, postponement and disruption of their event for reasons beyond the control of organisers and participants (subject to the other terms and exclusions of their policy).

Insurance for major events is often bespoke to the specific event, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their insurer or broker.

Sector-specific support

Hospitality

The UK Government has relaxed planning rules to allow pubs, restaurants and bars to alter their mode of operation and trade as hot food takeaways without making a change of use planning application. Find out more at www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-grant-permission-for-pubs-and-restaurants-to-operate-as-takeaways-as-part-of-coronavirus-response.

UK Hospitality has created a page specifically about coronavirus, which provides advice, information, daily updates and a weekly newsletter. Visit the page at www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/coronavirus.

HMRC has introduced a temporary measure to help brewers and publicans in the destruction of spoilt beer while coronavirus social distancing restrictions remain in place. Find out more at www.gov.uk/guidance/destroying-spoilt-beer-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

PPL PRS Ltd has announced that many hospitality businesses will not have to pay music licensing fees while they are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It has also made its payment policies more flexible and suspended late payment surcharges. Find out more at https://pplprs.co.uk/business-update/.

Retail

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has published new guidance for retailers in the convenience sector about providing home delivery services. Read the guidance at www.acs.org.uk/news/acs-launches-new-guidance-retailers-home-delivery.

Bira (British Independent Retailers Association) has launched a Coronavirus Hub to support the independent retail sector. Visit the Hub at https://bira.co.uk/coronavirus/.

The British Retail Consortium has a dedicated page on its website to support the retail sector to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more at https://brc.org.uk/priorityhub/.

Childcare and education

The UK Government has published advice for schools and other educational settings about COVID-19. Read the advice at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19. 

The UK Government has announced a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020/21 tax year. Find out more at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19.

Ofsted has suspended all routine inspections of schools, further education, early years and social care providers in England as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more at www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update.

The Department for Education has published guidance for early years settings and childminders about childcare provision following the coronavirus outbreak. Read the guidance at www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Transport, logistics and distribution

The UK Government has published guidance on COVID-19 for staff working in the transport sector. Read the guidance at www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-staff-in-the-transport-sector.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that all road user charging schemes will be temporarily suspended across the capital to help supply chains keep moving, and to support critical workers and emergency vehicles. Read more at https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2020/march/tfl-suspends-all-road-user-charging-schemes-to-help-critical-workers?intcmp=62502.

The Freight Transport Association has confirmed that the expiration dates for the Safe Loading Pass Scheme (SLPS) have been extended to support hauliers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The SLPS identifies the vehicles and trailers that meet the safety standards required for admittance to fuel and gas loading terminals. All vehicle Safe Loading Passes, which expire between 25th March 2020 and 25th June 2020, will now remain valid until 25th July 2020. Find out more at https://fta.co.uk/media/press-releases/2020/march/updates-to-the-safe-loading-pass-scheme-in-wake-of.

The Government has announced a temporary relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules in England in order to ensure that vital supplies of food and medicine can continue to be delivered. The relaxation applies to drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food and other essential items. The relaxation will apply until 16th April 2020 and does not include drivers undertaking deliveries directly to consumers. Read more at www.gov.uk/government/publications/temporary-relaxation-of-the-enforcement-of-eu-drivers-hours-rules.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced that all MOT testing of lorries and trailers will be suspended for three months from 21 March 2020. Find out more at www.rha.uk.net/news/press-releases/2020-03-march/lorries-exempted-from-mot-testing-for-3-months.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance about arrangements for driver access to welfare facilities and hours of work. Read the guidance at www.hse.gov.uk/news/drivers-transport-delivery-coronavirus.htm.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has produced a new document, endorsed by Public Health England, to keep drivers safe. Read the document at www.rha.uk.net/getmedia/88b345e4-cd73-4437-88a9-0b84dd944272/Keeping-Drivers-Safe-Endorsed-by-Public-Health-England.pdf.aspx.

The Department for Transport has published guidance for the freight transport industry on international travel. Read the guidance at www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-freight-transport.

The UK Government has published guidance on COVID-19 for shipping and sea ports. Find out more at www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-shipping-and-sea-ports-guidance.

Life sciences

UK Bioindustry Association has published a page on its website to keep the life sciences sector up to date with the latest developments related to coronavirus. Visit the page at www.biacovid19.org/?utm_campaign.

Tourism

VisitBritain has published advice and information to support tourism and events businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more at www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/advice-tourism-and-event-businesses-affected-covid-19.

The Government has published COVID-19 guidance and advice for businesses providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK. It sets out the circumstances under which an accommodation provider is able to remain open, such as if they are part of the response to support vulnerable groups. Find out more at www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers.

Charities and social enterprises

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has published guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more at www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/information/coronavirus.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has published guidance and information to help charities during the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more at www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector

Creative and cultural industries

Arts Council England has announced it is making £160 million of emergency funding available to support arts organisations and individuals affected by coronavirus. Read more about the support at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid-19.

The Creative Industries Federation has published a roundup of the support available for the creative industries. Find out more at www.creativeindustriesfederation.com/news/covid-19-sector-specific-support.

The Film and TV Charity provide grants of up to £500 for people working in the film and TV sector. The grants can cover urgent and immediate needs, such as general living costs, urgent repairs or medical costs. Find out more about the grant at https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/we-can-help/financial-support.

Construction

Build UK provides advice and information about the support available for construction firms affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more at https://builduk.org/coronavirus/.

CITB (the Construction Industry Training Board) has announced a package of measures to support construction employers through the coronavirus crisis. Find out more at www.citb.co.uk/urgent-messages.

Property letting and management

The Government has confirmed that residential house moves into vacant properties can continue while social distancing rules are in place. Where the property is occupied, moves should only take place if contracts have been exchanged and it is impossible to postpone. Find out more at www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The Treasury has confirmed that estate agents and letting agencies in England that are closed due to COVID-19 measures will be exempt from business rates in 2020/21. Find out more at www.naea.co.uk/news/march-2020/business-rates-exemption-make-sure-you-receive-your-nil-bill/.

The Home Office has announced temporary changes to right to rent checks. Under the changes, landlords will not be required to see original documents during the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more at www.gov.uk/government/news/temporary-changes-to-right-to-rent-and-right-to-work-checks.

The Government has confirmed that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Under the measures, no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months. Find out more at www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments.

News and updates

Press releases and news articles