Government has ordered all non-essential businesses, premises and public places to close. To check if you are affected or exempt, please click here. If you are continuing to operate, ensure a distance of two metres between customers and shop assistants; let people enter the shop only in small groups to ensure that spaces are not crowded; and queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

Government has announced it is bringing forward legislation to allow small- and medium- sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for sickness absence due to Coronavirus. It will increase the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for all businesses regardless of rateable value in the leisure and hospitality sectors. It will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief. Businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector with a rateable value of £15,000 to £51,000 will have access to grants of up to £25,000. No businesses in that sector will pay business rates for the next year.

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has launched to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. This is being extended to to small- and medium-sized businesses providing loans of up to £5million with no interest due for the first six months, up from £1.2million. This is being facilitated by the British Business Bank and more details can be found here.

Government has also introduced its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This will allow all UK employers with employees on a PAYE scheme to designate those employees as ‘furloughed workers’. The employer will have access to government support to continue paying part of these furloughed employees’ salaries and protect the employees from redundancy.

Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training. Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages (see National Minimum Wage Section for more details).

Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train while furloughed. However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.

Full guidance for businesses can be found here.

Government has announced a scheme to allow the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. Self-employed individuals or members of a partnership can claim if they submitted a self-assessment in 2018/19, traded in 19/20, are currently trading (or would be but for coronavirus), intend to continue trading in 20/21 and have lost profits due to coronavirus. Profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half their income. If the self-employed in question has not been operating for three years, as long as they have been operating for one year, HMRC will assess them based on this. The three-year assessment is to give a fairer outcome for those operating for that length. For more information, click here.

All businesses and self-employed in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC on a case-by-case basis. Call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

The Charity Commission has produced guidance to help running a charity during the outbreak at

Arts Council England is making £160million of support available for cultural organisations and individuals. More information can be found at

For full details of current information on Government support, please click here or see this document here.

  • The Government has put out a call for manufacturers of ventilators and companies that may be able to assist in their production to contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The secondment of skilled workers for this purpose may be helpful. If you can be of assistance please call the BEIS Business Support helpline on 0300 456 3565 or email
  • Government is also seeking businesses to support the response in other ways, including medical testing equipment; medical equipment design; protective equipment for healthcare workers; hotel rooms; transport and logistics for moving goods and people; manufacturing equipment; warehouse or office space for medical use or storage; expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications; social care or childcare. To offer support, businesses should visit
  • We are working to make warehouse and manufacturing space across the Tees Valley available for the Government’s response. If you are able to offer suitable space please contact us at
  • If you are a business in the medical supply chain, or in any other sector of strategic importance to the Coronavirus response, and would like to discuss support from the team at Tees Valley Business please contact us at or call the Business Support Helpline on 01642 662 777

If you are a business who requires support during this difficult time, please fill out the form below.


For information on healthcare advice for employers, employees and business support, click here.