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Supporting Your Business – We’re Stronger Together 

23 March 2020 - Update #3

This is our latest email bulletin relating to the COVID-19 outbreak - for all the latest information about our services, how we can help you and links to national and local updates, please visit our dedicated webpage.

Latest Government Announcements

The Government's daily media briefing last Friday (20 March) included significant announcements for businesses.

Firstly, entertainment, hospitality and indoor leisure venues were instructed to close by the Government from the end of trading on 20 March until further notice, to help delay the spread of coronavirus. The instruction applied to all pubs, bars and restaurants – although they can continue to offer hot food takeaway services – as well as theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres. For more details and for the full list of premises affected, click here.

To help mitigate this and the wider economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, further measures were announced to help support businesses and employees, including:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowing businesses to claim up to 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month (per employee). The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and will run for at least three months
  • VAT payments deferred for the period from 20 March to 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer for all UK businesses, with no applications required
  • The interest-free period for loans taken by SMEs through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme extended to 12 months (previously 6 months)
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans

These measures are in addition to previous announcements - you can view the full package of available support for businesses here.

You can watch the full press conference from 20 March here (briefing starts at approx. 1hr19min).

Keep Us Informed

Please let us know of any current changes to your business operation. For example if you're now offering home delivery/a takeaway option, gift cards for purchase or a virtual experience for your customers we'd love to promote via our Visit Southampton channels (email

Likewise, if you've decided to amend your opening hours or temporarily close (not because you were obligated to) please make us aware via the same email address.


We're liaising with the organisers of some of the city's major events to understand their plans. We're also finalising changes to our own business events programme and we aim to send another email towards the end of the week to update you on both.

Useful Links  

  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here
  • Sign up for government updates here
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here
  • For helpful advice from ACAS on employment issues go here
  • For NHS coronavirus advice and information go here

Our Contact Information  

You can reach the BID team via Contact details for individual team members are on our website here.

If you have any queries at all, or if you think we might be able to help you with something specific, please do not hesitate to contact us.