Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for businesses

A useful guide to the latest advice and guidance for businesses 


Dear Business owner,

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing concern for businesses across the country, and although there have been no confirmed cases in Okehampton as of yet, the government advice is to be prepared and to prevent the spread of any potential airborne viruses as much as possible. 

If your business is feeling the impact, you're in need of advice of how to prepare and communicate with your staff, or are looking for the latest guidance for dealing with customers in your business please find below a useful guide to information available. 


Guidance and advice: 

  • Coronavirus Government response Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. Find out the latest government advice and NHS guidance on how to protect yourself and others

  • FSB advice to small businesses Advice and guidance on reducing risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus to you and your business

  • Coronavirus information for the public: Find out the number of cases and risk level in the UK, what to do if you’re a returning traveller and what the government is doing about the virus

  • Coronavirus guidance to employers and businesses This guidance will assist you In providing advice to your staff on COVID-19, how to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings and actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19

  • British Chamber of Commerce in China Coronavirus outbreak information page: Information sourced and updated daily from UK and China government, news outlets, schools and businesses including useful information for UK nationals in China


Simple steps you may wish to take: 

  • Refresh your business continuity plan and ensure clear communication of processes should self isolation be required

  • If staff are able to work from home ensure that they have the necessary equipment and tools to be able to do so should they need to self-isolate

  • Ensure staff contact details are up to date should people need to work from home

  • Increase messaging around hand washing, make sure toilets have soap available and that antibacterial wipes are available to clean down desks and working areas regularly

  • Communicate clearly with your customers the steps that you are taking to reduce risks


Budget 2020 COVID-19 Response 

Yesterday the government announced a number of measures in response to COVID-19 to support businesses, including: 

  • Business rates will be abolished this year for firms with a rateable value below £51,000. The rates relief will be expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors. 

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available to anyone advised to self-isolate. They will be able to get a sick note through 111 

  • The minimum income level will temporarily be removed from universal credit.

  • There will also be a £500m hardship fund for local authorities

  • The cost of a business having to have someone off work for up to 14 days will be refunded with £2bn allocated to cover firms that lose out because staff are off sick. This will apply to firms that employ fewer than 250 staff.

  • A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be introduced to support up to £1 billion

  • A £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses 

  • A dedicated helpline has been set up by HMRC for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities

As more information becomes available about these measures we will share and continue to communicate with you.