How to reopen your business safely

If your business can reopen, you must follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. We have put together this guide and poster to help you to open your business safely. The reopening your business safely guide steps you through the safety measures that need to be in place both inside and outside your business. This includes: social distancing and how to manage queues, signage, planning and licensing guidance, as well as information on NHS Test and Trace and what you need to know, both as an employer and a worker, to help protect yourself and others.

The Government recommends that you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. You can use the Government’s COVID-secure risk assessment tool.

Listed below are the current key resources that all businesses should refer to:

  • New planning and licensing guidance to assist businesses in Camden to reopen can be found here..
  • Can your business reopen? Check the instructions on the government website.
  • New guidance helping employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. There are 12 new guides for different types of workplace. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
    1. Close contact services: Guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.
    2. Construction and other outdoor work: Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
    3. Factories, plants and warehouses: Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses.
    4. Heritage locations: Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.
    5. Hotels and other guest accommodation: Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation.
    6. Labs and research facilities: Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments.
    7. Offices and contact centres: Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
    8. Other people's homes: Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes.
    9. Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services: Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes or takeaways.
    10. Shops and branches: Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
    11. Vehicles: Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
    12. The visitor economy: Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.

Additional resources:

Keeping your business safe

The National Cyber Security Centre has created a scam reporting service so you can flag any suspicious emails. They also have advice on hosting online video conferences .

You can also find out more keeping aware of fraud and scams on the Business Against Scams website which has some practical steps to reduce the risk of scams and fraud.

Culture Recovery Fund

On Sunday 5 July 2020, the government announced a 1.57bn recovery package for the arts, culture and heritage sector, with 1.15bn available for England. 

Visit Camden Arts for more information.

Coronavirus Business Loan Schemes

The government have announced a number of schemes for businesses affected by coronavirus to access loans more easily. 

Bounce Back Loans: Open to small and medium-sized businesses through a simple application process to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. No fees, interest or repayments to pay for the first 12 months, and loan terms will be up to 6 years. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): access to loans, overdraft, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. No fees, interest or repayments to pay for the first 12 months. 

Applications are no longer limited to businesses that have been refused a loan on commercial terms, extending the number who benefit. Banks will be banned from asking company owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS): aimed at larger firms with a turnover of between £45m and £500m, providing state-backed loans of up to £25m.

What you need to do

More information on the scheme can be found on the government website including how to check if you are eligible.

Rent support for business tenants in council owned properties

Camden Council is committed to supporting business tenants in our commercial properties during this difficult time.  

What we are doing

We are contacting commercial tenants in Camden Council-owned properties and will provide support where we can to those who are facing difficulty in paying their rent.
For those businesses in our properties who have contacted us (or wish to contact us) about their rent, we are proposing to defer collection and are speaking to tenants over the course of the next few days and weeks to discuss individual circumstances.
 
Whilst business tenants will still be liable for this rent, this will give you time to plan ahead and ensure the future continuation of your business in the premises leased to you by the Council. In order to ensure we provide a coherent business support package, when we call we will be asking for some further information around how your business has been affected, for example, your drop in trade, any forced closure, reduced staff and what government grants you may have applied for etc. We are also likely to ask for the provision of supporting financial documentation.

What you need to do

If you are a business tenant in a Camden property and would like to talk to us about you rent you can get in touch via 020 7974 6459 or email us at commercialrents@camden.gov.uk

Business grant support

There were two grant funding schemes available until 28 August 2020:

  • the Small Business Grant Fund; and
  • the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

Unfortunately, applications received after this date cannot be processed as we do not have discretion to make payment to late applications once the scheme ended.  

If we received your application by 28 August 2020, we will be in touch regarding the outcome shortly.

More information on the two grants is available on the government website.

What we are doing

As of 23 August 2020 we have issued 3,850 awards to eligible businesses under the two government business grant schemes, totalling £72.4m, with more processed in the final week and we will continue to process those received before the deadline of 28 August 2020.  We have exceeded our original funding by £1.26m to date.

Throughout the duration of the scheme attempts were made to contact potentially eligible businesses to apply through letters to the property, any forwarding address or registered office, emails sent inviting application where we held email addresses and our property inspectors visited a number of properties to try encourage applications face to face.

Discretionary grant fund

The application window for Camden Council’s Discretionary Grant Fund scheme was open from 9 June to midday on 19 June. We received a significant number of applications and we are currently reviewing and prioritising the cases for payment.

If you have any related general queries on doing business in Camden please direct them to the economic development team.

Wage support - the Job Retention Scheme

The government are offering support for employers to furlough staff at 80% of their wages has been extended until the end of October. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of June. From the 1st July businesses can bring furloughed employees back part time. From August the level of government grant support will start to be tapered with employers paying more but employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary. Claims can be made for any employees on PAYE payroll on or before 19 March. Employees that were employed as of 28 February, but were subsequently made redundant can also be reemployed and placed on furlough. 

What do I need to do

The government set a deadline of 31 July for applications to the Job Retention Scheme. More information on the scheme and how to claim can be found on the government website, with claim amounts backdated to 1 March: coronavirus job retention scheme. The government announcement on changes to the furlough scheme can be found here 

Support for the Self-Employed

If you are self-employed and your business has been affected by coronavirus you might be able to get support from the government. You could get 80% of your average profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month from the government. If your business is still affected by coronavirus in August, you’ll be able to apply to the scheme again. You’ll be able to apply even if you didn’t apply for a first payment. You won’t have to pay the money back, but you’ll have to pay tax on it.

Who can apply?

You can use the scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership. Your self-employed profits must not be more than £50,000 per year and they must make up at least half of your total income. The government will look at your tax returns to see if you’re eligible - if you’re not sure you can check the rules on GOV.UK.
You’ll also have to:

  • have been affected by coronavirus - you won’t need to give evidence of this when you apply
  •  have submitted your tax return for at least 1 of these tax years: 2016-17, 2017-18 or 2018-19
  • have earned self-employed income in the tax years 2018-19 and 2019-20
  • be planning to trade in the tax year 2020-21

You can apply for the scheme on GOV.UK You have until 19 October 2020 to apply for the second and final round.

Business resilience - free online courses

The last few months have been a difficult time for business in Camden. As part of our ongoing support for local business and workers we’ve partnered with the Pop-up Business School to deliver two free pop-up business courses.

  1. Camden online business resilience course 10-12 August

  1. Camden online business start-up course 7 – 18 September

Both courses are free and will be of particular interest to those who want to start or restart their own business, or who are looking to build on their business skills as an owner or employee.

The courses will be tailored specifically for the post-COVID-19 business and working environment. Topics include:

  • starting a business with no money
  • sales
  • building a website,
  • social media
  • search engine optimisation
  • tax and accounting,
  • motivation & networking

Registrations are open now.

Other support available for businesses

There is a host of additional support available during this time including the following:

  • Social distancing support and advice: Camden’s frontline presence team are out across Camden 7 days a week providing support and advice to businesses. You’ll recognise our officers as they’ll be wearing Camden high visibility jackets with ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ on them. It’s really important that everyone follows social distancing guidance to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to save lives. As part of their role the team are providing posters (which you can also download here) and advice to local businesses to make sure that they are maintaining 2m distancing to protect customers and their workforce. You can find more information on the teams here.
  • Finding support: The government has launched a Coronavirus Business Support Finder tool, to support businesses easily find the support they’re eligible for
  • Tackling cash-flow: The Mayor of London has launched the PayItForward campaign, to support London businesses in the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism sectors to pre-sell vouchers, goods and services for delivery once the restrictions are lifted
  • Paying tax:  If you or a member of your workforce are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of Coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. You are now able to choose to defer any VAT payment due between the 20th March and 30th June. Find out more about deferred VAT payments the government website.
  • Support for workers: If you or your staff have concerns on financial support you can find out more via our page on financial support for workers. Camden Job Hub can also provide direct support to any Camden resident on employment matters including links to vacancies, support for CVs and applications and access to financial support. You can register for Camden Job Hub's help via our website.  If any of your employees have a zero-hours contract, please let them know they’ll be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance. More information on zero hours contracts and Universal Credit is on the government website.
  • Statutory sick pay: Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day 1 rather than day 4 and if you employ fewer than 250 people, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government. Find out more about statutory sick pay on the government website.
  • Some mortgage lenders will support customers who are experiencing financial difficulties by giving them mortgage holidays for up to 3 months. Contact your provider for information

We need your help

Laptops and iPads needed to help vulnerable pupils learn at home

We know that times are tough for businesses right now, but we are calling for any businesses who might be able to donate spare laptops and iPads for vulnerable students to get in touch. We are looking to support children who don’t have a device at home to help them to access vital online learning while schools are closed.

The Council is also working with Camden Learning, schools, community groups and local businesses to find ways to ensure pupils have a Wi-Fi connection in their homes.

If your business has any laptops or iPads that you can donate to a school in Camden that are less than five years old and in good condition, we will collect them from you and work with schools to distribute them to children who most need them.

Companies can also make financial donations and sponsor schools to help purchase or repurpose laptops for students.

Use the short form here to tell us about your laptops or iPads.

Can you support young people with virtual work experience?

We are calling on Camden employers to be part of a pioneering Virtual Work Experience Programme, providing local students, with their first experiences of work this June/July.

We know that many Camden students will have had their crucial first experiences of work cancelled. Work experience has a significant positive impact on young people’s outcomes, particularly on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This is why Camden has partnered with Speakers for Schools – a national educational charity backed by employers including the Bank of England, BP, Marie Curie and Spotify – to offer STEAM Pledge employers the opportunity to provide Virtual Work Experience (VWEX).

For further information on how to get involved contact Steampledge@camden.gov.uk

Our Business Survey

We have commissioned Public Perspectives, an independent research organisation, to conduct telephone interviews with local businesses for the fourth iteration of the Business Survey. The research is taking place in June and July.

In 2012, the council commissioned its first Business survey. The findings of the survey were used to provide baseline evidence on the local business community and inform policy and service plans. Similar surveys followed in 2014 and 2017, each addressing additional topics relevant to social and economic developments.
 
The council is commissioning a revised fourth iteration of the Business Survey that looks at the changed context in light of COVID-19.
 
The key objectives are to understand impact of COVID-19 on local businesses, get insight in approaches and challenges to re-start and recovery, and understand how the council may support with this.
 
The outcomes of this research will help us inform a broader economic renewal strategy and shape future policy making.

As an independent organisation, Public Perspectives can guarantee that all responses are treated in the strictest confidence.

For information on the support available to businesses at this time and all the latest information on getting businesses ready to reopen visit our dedicated webpages.

For questions please contact the Economic Development Team via economicdevelopment@camden.gov.uk