Latest Advice on Covid-19
The coronavirus pandemic is firstly a health emergency, but secondly an economic emergency. In order to help ensure our BID levy payers are fully informed, we have created this page to keep businesses up to date with the latest advice and information for businesses.
If Penrith BID can do anything to support your business then please get in touch. We are part of a great business community and we will all work together to get through these challenging times.
Updates and Guidance (updated 13/01/2022)
Penrith BID created a number of resources which are free for businesses to download. Find them all here
Test and Trace update
What has changed
The advice for people who have a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result has changed. They are no longer required to have a follow-up polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and they should stay at home and self-isolate immediately.
People who have a positive LFD test result should only have a follow-up PCR test if:
- they wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
- they have a health condition that means they may be suitable for new coronavirus (COVID-19) treatments
- they are taking LFD tests as part of research or surveillance programmes, and the programme asks them to do so
- they have a positive day 2 LFD test after arriving in England
- support workers if they are required to self-isolate
- support workers to follow the wider stay at home guidance to keep themselves and others safe
- continue targeted asymptomatic testing in high-risk workplaces
- display an NHS QR code poster and have a system for non-digital users, so that people can be notified if they may have been exposed to the virus
- improve ventilation
- advise those who have tested positive to identify close contacts, so they can follow the relevant public health guidance
Guidance for employers
It is critical that employers take steps to keep workers and visitors safe. By following the working safely guidance and keeping your workplace clean guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers contracting COVID-19.
Employers should include a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk from COVID-19.
If any of your workers display symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive
If a worker tests positive on a self-reported LFD test, they should report the result, self-isolate and follow the stay at home guidance. They do not need to take a follow-up PCR test.
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.
Employers should 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 should include any co-worker who has been in close contact with the worker who has tested positive, regardless of their vaccination status, age or any other factor which may exempt them from self-isolation.
This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can be informed that they are a close contact and provided with necessary public health advice – including which test to take and whether they need to self-isolate. It also helps those required to self-isolate to access support.
In the event of an outbreak in the workplace, employers should follow their established outbreak processes and seek advice from their local health protection team as appropriate. Further information on the thresholds for notifying outbreaks and who to contact is available from your local authority.
Identifying if any of your workers is a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
A close contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Workers can be a contact anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, or before the date of their LFD or PCR test if they did not have symptoms, and up to 10 days after. This is when the virus can be passed to others.
A workplace risk assessment may be undertaken to determine this, but a contact can be anyone who:
- lives in the same household as another person who has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19
- has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
- face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
- been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
- been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
A person may also be a close contact if they have travelled in the same vehicle or plane as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
NHS Test and Trace will not usually consider someone to be a contact if their interaction with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 took place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen – as long as there has been no other contact such as those in the list above.
The wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) will not be considered as a mitigation when assessing whether a recent contact is likely to have transmitted the virus. Only full medical-grade PPE worn in health and care settings will be considered.
Ensuring your workers self-isolate where necessary
Requirement to self-isolate
If one of your workers is told that they are legally required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and is due to work somewhere other than their place of self-isolation, they have a legal duty to inform you as soon as possible before they are next due to work. Failure to do so could result in the worker being issued with a fixed penalty notice of £50.
It is an offence for you (as an employer) to allow a worker to attend the workplace or to work anywhere other than the place they are self-isolating, if you are aware that the worker is legally required to self-isolate. Your firm may be issued with a fixed penalty notice, starting from £1,000 if you do not comply.
These rules apply when NHS Test and Trace notifies a worker that they have either:
- tested positive for COVID-19
- been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are not exempt from self-isolation such as if they are not fully vaccinated
If a worker has received a notification from the NHS COVID-19 app advising them to self-isolate, they are not legally required to inform their employer. If they do, employers are strongly encouraged to support staff to self-isolate.
This NHS guidance explains how long an individual must self-isolate for.
Exemptions from self-isolation
Workers do not need to inform you if they are a contact of a positive case but exempt from self-isolation. Employers are not expected to check whether an individual is exempt from self-isolation.
Individuals identified as contacts are not required to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- they are fully vaccinated
- they are below the age of 18 years
- they have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- they are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
These contacts are strongly advised to take a daily LFD test for 7 days after they are notified of the contact.
If the worker who has been identified as a contact has a negative LFD test result at the start of the day, they can go to work or school and undertake other daily activities in accordance with national guidance. However, as part of additional risk reduction they are strongly advised to:
- limit close contact with other people outside their household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces
- work from home if they can
- wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces and where they are in close contact with other people
- limit contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19
- follow the guidance on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread
This means many workers who are exempt from self-isolation will be able to go to work, but this could depend on the circumstances of the individual employer and workplace. In certain workplaces, for example, health and social care settings, employers may ask workers to take additional precautions.
The worker should be advised to follow the guidance for people who live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or the guidance for non-household contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
If a person tests positive during this process or develops symptoms, then they should self-isolate from the date of the positive LFD or PCR test result and follow the advice for people who have received a positive COVID-19 test result.
If a worker is legally required to self-isolate and cannot work from home
If a worker is legally required to self-isolate and cannot work from home, employers:
- should pay contractual sick pay, where appropriate
- must ensure they receive Statutory Sick Pay as a minimum, provided they meet the eligibility criteria, see Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide
- should make workers aware of the support available to help them to self-isolate
Employees that are legally required to self-isolate because of COVID-19 are entitled to SSP for every day of work missed for their self-isolation period, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.
If you are self-employed, you must continue to work from home if you can. If you cannot, you should follow the sector-specific advice to find out whether you are eligible to apply for support.
Workplace daily contact testing (DCT)
The Workplace DCT scheme offers an alternative to self-isolation for unvaccinated contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases in some sectors and workplaces. There are specific protocols for this scheme.
It is only available to workplaces that have been approved to take part in the Workplace DCT scheme.
Staff working in these workplaces can choose to take part in daily contact testing, rather than self-isolate, if they are unvaccinated and have been identified as a close contact of someone outside their household who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Workplace DCT involves taking a lateral flow test each day for 7 days at an approved testing site within the workplace or, for days on which they do not get tested at an approved testing site, self-isolating at home.
Where the daily test result is negative, staff can attend work and undertake essential activities for the next 24 hours such as buying food if no one else can do it for them, exercise in an outdoor space, and respond to medical emergencies. If the test is positive or they develop symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately. Staff are asked to follow a range of other measures to minimise the risk of onward transmission, such as avoiding poorly ventilated public places.
Employers taking part in the workplace DCT scheme receive training to ensure they are able to provide daily contact testing safely and effectively.
The daily testing for contacts of COVID-19 scheme (DTCC) is for those who are fully vaccinated and identified as close contacts and are under no legal duty to self-isolate.
- Omicron variant – Changes are being made to the rules on self-isolation for close contacts in England:
- Face coverings – From 4:00am Tuesday 30 November face coverings will be compulsory in England in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport, unless individuals are exempt from doing so. The Government has published the new legislation regarding face coverings.
- International Travel – The Government is also bringing in measures to prevent new cases from abroad. All travellers arriving into the country from 4am on Tuesday 30 November will be required to take a PCR test on day 2 and self isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests can be purchased from private providers. The guidance on day 2 PCR test requirements for all travellers entering the UK from 4:00am 30 November has been updated – please see the updated guidance for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. (The guidance for Wales is yet to be updated).
- A number of countries have been added to the red list. UK residents arriving from these countries must isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8.
- Self-Isolation – Those who do test positive with the suspected variant and their high risk contacts will have to self-isolate for 10 days, including children, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
- These new measures will be reviewed in three weeks. Please note, this is not an implementation of Plan B.
- Vaccine Update – The Omicron variant contains a large number of spike protein mutations and has double the number of mutations of the delta variant. Urgent work is ongoing internationally to fully understand how these mutations may change the behaviour of the virus with regards to vaccines and transmissibility. We will update you when we have more information.
- Vaccines continue to remain the best line of defence. The government has good reason to remain confident that our current vaccines will provide protection against the new variant but the extent of this continues to be investigated.
- All adults who have not yet received their first or second dose of the vaccine, or those who are eligible for their booster are encouraged to come forward to help protect themselves and others.
- At this afternoon’s news briefing (29 November), the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) issued new advice on COVID-19 booster vaccines for some age groups. JCVI now advises:
- All adults aged 18 to 39 years should be offered a booster dose, in order of descending age groups, to increase their levels of protection.
- Booster doses should be given no sooner than three months after the primary course.
- All severely immunosuppressed individuals should be offered their booster dose no sooner than three months after completing their primary course of 3 doses.
- Young people aged 12 to 15 years should receive a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, no sooner than 12 weeks after their first dose.
- JCVI previously advised that those aged over 40 years and those at higher risk from COVID-19 should be offered a booster. This new JCVI advice means those aged 18-39 will also be eligible for a booster when the NHS calls them forward.
- The booster will be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. This will accelerate the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and raise levels of protection across the population.
- JCVI will continue to review the programme and consider further evidence to ensure that health benefits are maximised alongside the rapidly evolving data on the Omicron variant.
- Working Safely Guidance –To support businesses throughout the autumn and winter period, the Working Safely guidance continues to provide advice on sensible precautions employers can take to manage risk in their workplace.
- Public Guidance Updated – The primary Covid guidance for the public has been updated in line with Government announcements.
Details of all government advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here.
Lockdown 3 (January 2021)
Roadmap out of Lockdown information can be found here
Restart Grant application form can be found here
Additional Restrictions Restart Grant application form can be found here
For full details of what you can and cannot do, please check here.
Eden District Council are responsible for issuing the government grants. Check here for their information on support for business.
Guidance and Support for Businesses is available at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae
If you believe you are entitled to the next government grant, but have not had an email from EDC, you need to apply for the money via the EDC website. Full details and application link available at: https://www.eden.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/support-for-businesses/#Local
Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out the programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping the NHS and the economy going and providing a route back to normality.
From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following action:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
- Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Closing certain businesses and venues.
Updated guidance for business flowing from the Prime Minister’s statement of 22 September outlining new measures to help control the spread of coronavirus is available at: https://bit.ly/3fDy2Gd
A page outlining what has changed, with links to further advice on social distancing and a FAQs page that you may find helpful can be found at: https://bit.ly/3k
Track and trace: create a QR code to display in your venue here: https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster
Updated Workplace Guidance – https://bit.ly/3fDy2Gd.
Hands Face Space – https://bit.ly/2Zt7BwI.
Launch of the NHS Test and Trace App – following a successful pilot, it has today been announced that the app will launch in England and Wales on 24 September. The NHS Test and Trace app will provide users with local risk information, alert them if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and has a built-in QR scanner to check-in at venues. As such, local businesses will be required to display NHS QR posters so visitors and customers can start checking in safely and securely to venues from 24 September.
Bounce Back Plans – on 8 September, the Dept for International Trade announced a series of new measures to support businesses in the consumer and retail industry to export overseas as part of efforts to help the sector recover from Coronavirus. More information is available at: https://bit.ly/3mbyIGc
Support for Restaurants and Tourism Based Sectors
Guidance for hotels, B&Bs etc: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/
Business Reopening Online Help: https://www.gov.uk/
‘We’re Good to Go’ Accreditation Scheme from Visit Britian – https://goodtogo.visitbritain.
Cumbria Tourism Recovery Hub – https://www.cumbriatourism.
Covid-19 Secure Status | Working Safely through Covid-19
Before shops and businesses can reopen, the government has laid out guidance you must follow to make your business ‘Covid-19 Secure’ and to keep yourself, your staff and your customers safe.
For help with getting your business Covid-19 Secure, see the link below or contact us at email@example.com and we will be happy to share best practice.
Mandatory wearing of Face Coverings in Retail premises: https://bit.ly/FaceCoveringsUpdate
Disposing of Business Waste: https://bit.ly/CV19Waste
Advice by Business Sector
Read through the advice for your business sector (eg retail shop / office) and work through the guidance. Once you have everything in place, you should then print off the ‘Covid-19 Secure’ poster below to display at the entrance to your shop or business.
Poster staying-covid-19-secure – to download, sign and display in your shop window to give customers confidence to shop with you
Our Reset and Restart Resources are available here: https://penrithbid.co.uk/resources-for-businesses-to-use-coronavirus-covid-19/
Form to fill out and send back to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the restart marketing: 04.07 Reopening Business Template (for hospitality and hairdressers) or Business Reopening Details and Check – general shops
If you have more than 50 employees the guidance says you must have your risk assessment online. If you have more than 5 employees the guidance says you must have a written risk assessment. Guidance we have received from national organisations suggests that a written risk assessment is good practice for all businesses, no matter the number of employees. They are a good way of giving your customers confidence to shop with you and a good way of communicating with your employees. So, we recommend all businesses complete a written risk assessment and share it online if you have a website.
Once you had your ‘Covid-10 Secure’ blue poster in your window, why not snap a photo and send it through to us to share to Discover Penrith. Again, it is a great way of showing that you have taken all the necessary steps.
Reset | Restart | Recover
Penrith BID are working with key stakeholders in the town to ensure there is a full recovery plan in place. Details of this plan, and the associated actions can be found below:
From 15 June, businesses that are COVID19-Secure and comfortable managing the requirements that will keep customers safe are able to reopen their premises.
26.05.2020: Guidance for reopening can be found here: https://bit.ly/UpdatedRetailGuidance.
21.05.2020 BEIS working safely webinars
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme: https://bit.ly/CLBILSUpdate
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme: https://bit.ly/SSPLaunchDate
Future Fund launch: https://bit.ly/CV19FFLaunch
Fast Start Competition: https://bit.ly/CV19FastStart
15.05.2020: Roadmap Taskforces: https://bit.ly/RoadmapTaskforces
Trade Credit Insurance: https://bit.ly/CV19TradeCreditInsurance
Holiday entitlement and pay: https://bit.ly/HolidayEntitlement
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: https://bit.ly/SelfEmployedSupport
– Phased opening of schools, colleges and nurseries: https://bit.ly/SchoolsReopening
– Travelling safely: https://bit.ly/CV19SafeTravel
– How to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment: https://bit.ly/CV19RiskAssessments
– Cleaning your workplace safely: https://bit.ly/CleaningWorkplaces
29.04.2020: DfE Skills Toolkit
28.04.2020: Bounce Back Loan Scheme (launches 4th May)
27.04.2020: Rent Collection On Business Premises
20.04.2020: Government Tool to Find Business Support
14.04.2020: Guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, has been updated:
As of yesterday, Cabinet Office have provided further clarifications including:
- Confirmation of what should form the basis for furlough pay for employees furloughed on return from (maternity/paternity/shared parental/ adoption/ sick/ parental bereavement) leave;
- Confirming employees subject to TUPE transfer/ business reorganisation/ payroll consolidation can be furloughed
- Confirming position for contractors in scope of IR35 in the public sector
- More information on what information employers need to claim the grant
- Clarifying circumstances where an employee shouldn’t be furloughed by multiple employers
08.04.2020: Government Business Support Page
03.04.2020: Eden District Council have asked that businesses complete a short online form to confirm eligibility for each business before they release payments. They are responsible for distributing £27m of grant funds and they need to ensure this money goes to the right businesses, so please go to the following link for full details: Link to Apply for Small Business, Retail/Leisure Grant
04.032020: HMRC Webinars
26.03.2020: Self-employment Income Support Scheme
26.03.2020: FAQ Section for Business Support
23.03.2020: Full Press Release from Home Office
Following the Chancellor’s business support announcement relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, we are keen to ensure that you have access to Gov.uk business information as soon as it is available. The relevant Gov.uk page can be found at: GOVERNMENT ADVICE LINK
Financial help for the self-employed
HMRC help line for the self employed and businesses 0300 456 3565
HMRC number (0800 0159 559) for anyone with any tax worries
Tourism Related Businesses
Our friends at Dodd Accountants are updating their website on a daily basis – Dodd Accountants advice for clients
We have also produced some resources for businesses. These are free to download and share. Click the link to go to the page: Resources for Businesses