Across the UK
The implementation of public health measures to control the spread of COVID-19 is a devolved matter, therefore while the UK Government makes the rules for England, in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland their own Governments have the power to make and enforce their own rules. All four nations are currently operating at some of their highest alert and restriction levels.
However, throughout the UK the Hands. Face. Space. Approach applies at all times.
- Hands – Wash your hands regularly for 20s
- Face – Wear a face covering when you enter an indoor area where face covering is likely to be difficult.
- Space – You should be 2 m from non-household members wherever possible or 1 m with precautions.
This guidance is continually changing therefore we would advise that you check the website of your relevant Government. All re-opening workplace must be COVID Secure and have plans in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The UK Government guidance on this can be found here and the UK Government endorsed music industry guidance can be found here. This applies to England only.
Travellers to the UK (other than from the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) should self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, however each UK Government has its own list of countries that are excepted from this.
General support schemes for businesses are the same across the UK and are set out below, however additional support may be available at a devolved and local level, you must be based in the devolved nation to be eligible for devolved support packages.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
With the introduction of a new national lockdown the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30th April 2021. This is a grant to businesses of up to £2,500 per employee with your employer contributing to pay for 80% of your wage for hours not worked. You can still come in to work a limited number of hours. You can check further details and eligibility here.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
If you are self-employed you may be able to claim a SEISS grant of up to £7,500 or 80% of your average monthly profits (whichever if lower) if your business has been adversely affected by COVID-19, and you meet other eligibility criteria including trading in the 2018-2019 tax year, full details are here. This grant will cover the period of November 2020 to January 2021. Further information on eligiblity can be found here.
Business Rate Holiday
If you are a business in Retail, Hospitality or Leisure in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you will be eligible for a full Business Rate Holiday for 2020/2021. This specifically includes live music venues and if your Local Authority deems you eligible they will contact you in due course. If you believe you are eligible and have not been contacted you should get in touch with your Local Authority. This does not apply to businesses with a rateable value of above £500,000 in Wales.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will provide up to 80% cover for loans of up to £5 million from commercial banks to small businesses, interest on these loans will not be due for 12 months. For businesses with a turnover of over £45 million Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme can provide up to £25 million in finance or £50 million for companies with a turnover of over £250 million. This scheme is now open until 31st March here.
COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
Debt support for larger firms will be provided through the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, through which the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This scheme is now open, you can find the eligibility criteria and an application form here.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Support for small businesses that might not meet traditional lending guidelines may be available through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, this scheme will provide 100% Government guaranteed loans of up to £50,000 for eligible small, to find out more about how to apply please visit here.
Statutory Sick Pay Refund
Small and Medium Businesses will be eligible for a refund for Statutory Sick Pay, if you have fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020, this refund will cover 14 days sick pay for any eligible employee affected by COVID-19 from the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force, you should keep a record of absences, but you will not have to provide a GP’s sick note for the employees. This scheme is now open and you can find full application details here.
Even if your company is now insolvent the Government can cover Statutory Sick Pay for your employees if they have or are self-isolating due to Coronavirus. The advice is for the employee to call the Statutory Payment Disputes Team Telephone: 03000 560 630, more details can be found here.
If you are likely to struggle with tax payments due to coronavirus, HMRC is offering help and support for businesses, including payment plans, suspending debt collection and cancelling penalties and interest when administrative issues arise they can be contacted on 0800 0159 559 (8.00 – 20.00 Mon – Fri, 8.00 – 16.00 Sat, closed Bank Holidays). Find out more here.
Small Business Grant Fund
If you are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief you will be eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 from the Small Business Grant Fund, or the relevant devolved fund for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is for businesses with a rateable property value of up to £15,000 in England and Northern Ireland, £12,000 in Wales and £18,000 in Scotland.
Future Fund & Innovate UK
If you are a high growth firm, or focused on research or development in an innovative area of the UK economy you may eligible for additional help either through the Future Fund, that will be open until 31st January, or Innovate UK. You can find out more information about the Future Fund eligibility criteria here and the Innovate UK funding here.
For more information about other UK Government supported resources such as webinars and Growth Hubs, please click here.
England has now entered a national lockdown. You should only go to work if you cannot work from home, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care facilities will be closed. You will not be allowed to mix with other households indoors or outdoors, other than for work, educational and care purposes. Hospitality businesses are allowed to operate a takeaway service for food and non-alcoholic beverages only. School, colleges and universities are closed to face to face learning other than for those who need to attend school or are the children of key workers. Recording studios may continue to operate, and musical performances not to audiences for work purposes may continue. But live performances and amateur performances should not take place. You can find the list of restrictions here.
On 22nd February the UK Government set out how England would emerge from lockdown this is planned in 4 stages (here).
8th March – Stage 1: Part 1
- All children and students will return to face to face education in schools and college.
- Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE.
- Face to face teaching to return at universities for practical subjects.
- You may meet with 1 other person outdoors for socialising.
29th March – Stage 1: Part 2
- Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed including in gardens.
- Formally organised outdoor sport will be allowed.
- “Stay at Home” legal requirement will end.
No Earlier than 12th April – Stage 2
- Non-essential retail will open including hair dresses and beauticians.
- Outdoor attractions like zoos, performances will be allowed outdoors only as drive-in.
- Hospitality to open outdoors.
- Weddings of up to 15 people allowed.
- Self contained holiday accommodation allowed to open to single households.
No Earlier than 13th May – Stage 3
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 30 allowed.
- Outdoor performances to audiences allowed.
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
- Larger performances allowed to audiences of 1,000 people or half capacity (whichever is lower), out doors the limit will be 4,000 or half-capacity (whichever is lower). Out door seated venues that allow people to spread out can allow up to 10,000 people or 25% capacity (whichever is lower).
No Earlier than 21st June – Stage 4
- Removal of legal limits on social contact.
- Removal of audience limits on performances.
- Night clubs reopen.
- Decision on removing limits on life events.
A formal decision to moving to the next stage will be made 1 week before the scheduled date.
The Cultural Recovery Fund
The Cultural Recovery Fund Second Round is now open to applicants. This can supply grants of between £25,000 and £3 million for constituted cultural organisations who are either based or can prove they conduct the majority of their work in England. This money is to support organisations to transition back to a viable business model in April-June 2021. The Deadline for applications is midday 26th January 2021.
National Lottery Project Grants are available year round to those who engage the public in arts and culture in England, you can find out how to apply here.
National Restrictions Support Grant
You may apply for up to £3,000 per month of national restrictions per business dating from 5th November if your business is based in England and legally required to close due to national restrictions. Additionally, if you were forced to close due the national restrictions introduced on 5th January you may be eligible for an additional £9,000 grant (here).
Local Restrictions Support Grants
This is a grant for businesses that been required to close for at least 3 weeks under local restrictions. Your business may be eligible if it:
- Has property that pays business rates.
- Has been required to close by the formal publication of local lockdown restrictions.
- Has been unable to provide an in-person customer service from is premises.
You can find more information here.
If your business has not been required to close and is in area of local restrictions you may still be eligible for up to £1,050 for every 2 weeks where restrictions have applied (here).
London Culture at Risk – Business Support Fund
If you are a creative workspace or grassroot music venue in London you may be eligible for a grant through the Culture at Risk – Business Support Fund or you can get tailored service support with applications or mediating disputes through the Culture at Risk Office you can find out more here.
All of Wales is currently at Level 4 COVID Alert Level. If you are in Wales you must;
- Stay at home.
- Only meet the people you live with indoors or outdoors (you may also meet your support bubble outdoors inc. private gardens).
- Not travel or travel internationally without reasonable excuse.
Only the below may open;
- Schools, colleges and childcare providers (informal childcare should only be essential only). School for 3 – 7 year olds have fully reopen.
- Higher Education Institutions (mix of in-person and remote learning).
- Places of worship.
- Community centres – limited opening (for example, for essential public services).
- Playgrounds and public parks.
- Weddings, in venues that are allowed to be open, and funerals (ceremony limit set by venue).
- Up to 4 people from 2 households may meet to exercise.
- 1st March – Wedding venues to reopen for limited sized weddings.
- 12th March – Review of restrictions.
- 15th March – Possible return of some non-essential shops and more schools.
- 4th April (Easter) – tourism return aimed for with self-contained holiday lets allowed.
Arts Council Wales is a key funding point for pandemic arts funding, please check the Arts Council Wales website (here) for further updates.
ERF Restrictions Business Fund
This fund is aimed at hospitality, tourism and leisure related supply chain sectors, eligible applicants will receive up to £5,000.
Businesses must be on the non-domestic rates (NDR) rating list for their local authority on 1 September. Businesses not eligible for non-domestic rates will be able to continue to apply to local authorities for a Discretionary Grant of up to £2,000.
You can find more information and full eligibility criteria here.
For applying for business grants in Wales, please apply through the Business Wales website which you can accessed here.
You can also get additional help, advice and support through the Business Wales, you can find more about the support available for the cultural sector in Wales here, and they can be reached via phone at 030 006 03000.
If you have a loan from the Development Bank of Wales you will not have to make any capital repayments for 3 months.
Mainland Scotland is under Level 4 COVID Restrictions, some of the islands are at Level 3, check which level applies to you here. By law you are required to remain in your house (including garden) unless you are leaving for an essential purpose. Up to 2 people from 2 separate households can meet outdoors for sport, exercise or social interaction.You may only enter someone else’s home for caring responsiblities, essential work or if you are in a support bubble. All leisure and entertainment premises must be closed (except for use in limited circumstances). Hospitality outlets should close, takeaway services are allowed to remain open (you can find more information about the restrictions here).
The Scottish Government has set out a framework for reopening, some school years have already returned.
- 5th March – Up to 4 people from 2 households allowed to meet outdoors. Possible return of all Primary and S4 – S6 pupils.
- 15th March – Phased return of universities and colleges.
- 5th April – Stay at Home restrictions lifted, click and collect from non-essential retail allowed, some communal worship, 6 people from 2 households will be allowed to meet outdoors.
- 26th April – All of Scotland to enter level 3 restrictions. Opening of non-essential retail and hospitality allowed. Gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres to reopen.
You can find the full framework for returning here.
Strategic Framework Business Fund
This covers grant funding for businesses affected by COVID regulations. You can apply for either;
- A temporary closure grant – £2,000 or £3,000 if you are required to close.
- Business restrictions grant – £1,400 or £2,100 if you are allowed to open but are legally required to modify your business.
Grants will be paid every 4 weeks in arrears as long as restrictions last. You can find more information here.
Due to the national restrictions introduced in January Scottish businesses can apply for a one off top up grant, you should apply as soon as possible at your local authority, if you are in receipt of the Strategic Framework Business Fund the top up payment should be made automatically with the next trance of payments on 25th January. You can find more information here. The payment amounts are below;
- £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses
- £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses
- £9,000 for larger retail and leisure businesses
- £6,000 for smaller retail and leisure businesses
Business Rate Relief
For more information on how to apply for the Business Rate relief and grant schemes in Scotland, please see the Scottish Government website here.
All properties in Scotland will receive 1.6% in rate relief, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.
Creative Scotland Open Fund for Organisations
If you are looking at new ways of working or sustaining your business Creative Scotland may be able to help through the Open Fund for Organisations, this is not an emergency support fund but intended to support innovation in the Scottish creative sector through the pandemic, more details can be found here.
Events Industry Support Fund 2
This fund is for Scottish based businesses in the events sector to provide grant funding to help them weather the current restrictions to deliver events in Scotland in the future. This is not open open to businesses who received a grant in Events Industry Support Fund 1.
This fund will be open from 12.00 pm Thursday 18th Feb – 5.00 pm on Friday 26 February 2021.
Full information and application form are here.
Scottish businesses should contact the Scottish Government Business helpline on 0300 303 0660. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Find out more here.
Lockdown UpdateUntil at least 1st April the following restrictions are in place.
- No household mixing indoors (besides bubbles).
- Up to 6 people from 2 households may meet outdoors.
- No overnight stays outside of your household/bubble.
- Community events are allowed indoors and outdoors with up to 15 people – providing distancing is maintained.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
- Hospitality is closed other than for takeaway services.
- Leisure and entertainment venues should remain closed.
- Indoor and outdoor sport is not permitted other than at elite level.
You can find the full restrictions here.
You can find general guidance on re-opening the arts here.
Northern Ireland has received £33 million for the arts (here).
Updates will be posted on the Northern Ireland Executive website here.
Localised Restrictions Support Scheme
This fund is for certain Northern Irish businesses required to close or have had their trade restricted under COVID restrictions since October, this covers a range of businesses and payment brackets therefore we would advise you check the full eligibility criteria here.
COVID Restrictions Business Support Scheme (Part A)
This fund is for businesses that are required to close under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 but are not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Scheme. You can check full eligibility criteria here.
COVID Restrictions Business Support Scheme (Part B)
This is a fund for businesses that supply a business that has been forced to closed due to COVID regulations, the grants are for up to £800 per week. You can check full eligibility criteria here.
Business Rates Relief
The Northern Ireland Executive, in addition to the support outlined above, has decided to reduce Business Rates in Northern Ireland for all businesses by 12.5% and freeze domestic rates.For the latest updates on the actions of the Northern Ireland Executive please check here.
The Limited Company Director’s Support Scheme
If you are a Company Director resident in Northern Ireland for a company based and operating in Northern Ireland before March 2020 with a projected renumeration reduced by 40% or more due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for a taxable grant of up to £1,000, you can check the full eligibility criteria here.
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has announced that the planned rent rise of 2.7% for the homes they run will be delayed until October 2020. More info here.