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16 July 2020 - Update #25

This is our latest weekly business and COVID-19 bulletin. If you need more information on reopening guidance, our city centre recovery plan or the Southampton Inside Out scheme you can find dedicated pages on our website.

In this bulletin, you will find the latest updates from Government focusing on the next phase of reopening, new guidance on wearing face coverings, how businesses can take advantage of the Help Out to Eat Out scheme as well as other local and BID news.

National News

Next Phase of Reopening

Last week Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP announced the next tranche of businesses set to reopen in the coming weeks. Updates are as follows:

  • As of 11 July, performing arts can take place outdoors with a live, limited and socially-distanced audience. Updated guidance including the five-stage roadmap in bringing back the industry safely is available here
  • From 13 July, beauty salons, tattoo and massage studios, nail bars and spas were able to open with some services. High-risk face to face services such as face waxing, eyelash treatments or facials are not permitted – find more information in the updated guidance here

  • Indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres will be able to open from 25 July providing measures are put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the virus - the working safely guidance has been updated to reflect this

Face Coverings in Shops 
This week the Government has revealed that face coverings will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets from Friday 24 July to help protect shop workers and encourage consumer confidence whilst shopping. Employers can refuse entry to anyone who isn’t wearing a face covering and will be able to call the police if needed. The police have the authority to fine anyone who doesn’t comply up to £100. We encourage businesses to share information with customers on when to wear face coverings and how to make your own using this guidance. Please note that there are exemptions to wearing face coverings, including children under 11 years, people with disabilities, people who communicate through lip readings or if wearing one causes someone severe distress. 

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
The Government's Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme aims to support the hospitality sector during the pandemic by increasing covers on quieter days. Full guidance on the scheme is available here, we have highlighted key points for businesses below.
About the Scheme

  • Valid all day Monday – Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020
  • Businesses can offer a 50% discount of up to £10 per head
  • Only valid on food and non-alcoholic drinks to eat/drink in 
  • No limit to the number of times a business can use the offer
  • Businesses will need to claim the money back from the Government
  • Registered businesses cannot offer discounts before 3 August
  • Businesses must have an area for dining, sell food for the purpose of eating in the establishment and be registered as a food business on or before 7 July
  • Businesses who only sell takeaway food/drink, hotels that only provide room service, mobile food vans and dining/catering services are not eligible for this scheme
  • Businesses can still use the scheme if they have used other Government coronavirus schemes i.e the Job Retention Scheme

Registering your business

  • To register, businesses will need their Government Gateway ID and password, the name and address of the establishment and bank name, account number, sort code and the address on the bank account for the business
  • To register your business go here, registration closes on 31 August 2020
  • Once businesses have successfully registered they can use the promotional toolkit to help promote the initiative to customers

Making a claim

  • Businesses can make a claim using an online service from 7 August 2020
  • The service will close on 30 September 2020
  • HMRC will pay successful claims within 5 working days
  • More guidance on how to make a claim is set to be released

BID News

We have been working on ways to promote our businesses through our consumer channels (Visit Southampton) to encourage visitors into the city centre and customers into your premises. Below we have highlighted two ways in which businesses can connect with their audiences through our channels. 

Eat Out to Help Out

As mentioned above in our National news section, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme aims to increase footfall in the city as well as drive customers into your businesses during quieter days. We are currently working on a new Visit Southampton webpage which will point consumers to all the participating businesses in the city, making it easier for visitors to search and choose. We encourage businesses who are taking part in the scheme to get in touch with us so we can add you to the page. The page will work on a tagging system of current business listings. If levy payers do not have a listing, they can claim theirs for free here.

'Good to Go' Mark
Working with our website developers we have enabled businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector to display the official ‘Good to Go’ mark on their listing if they have successfully applied for one. In addition, any consumer-facing business will be able to include information about specific measures they have implemented to help keep customers and staff safe. 
By doing this we hope to boost consumer confidence in the city and give a platform for shoppers to plan their visit and understand how businesses are operating safely. If your business has either of the above get in touch with us so we can update your listing. 

Southampton Inside Out 

GO! Southampton is continuing to work with Southampton City Council, Balfour Beatty and local business traders on our Southampton Inside Out initiative to support businesses by exploring ways to open up outdoor spaces for trade. Feedback is still welcome from businesses in the Bedford Place region regarding the pilot schemes to pedestrianise areas that will enable outdoor dining - please fill out the short survey here. The Business and Planning Bill, which includes the new draft guidance for pavement licences, is set for further discussion in Parliament next week. We will provide updated information in our next bulletin.

Local News

Virtual Jobs Fair 

Southampton City Council is hosting a Virtual Jobs Fair on 29 July to help people who have been made redundant, have been placed on furlough or are currently unemployed by offering free virtual training and support before connecting them with potential new employers. If your business is looking to recruit in July and August and wants to get involved with the virtual fair you can contact to find out more or to exhibit.  

Transfer to Transform 

The Solent Apprenticeship Hub has launched a new initiative which aims to help SME’s across the Solent region acquire new apprentices and train up current staff. Larger businesses will pledge their unspent apprenticeship levy funds to smaller businesses which can cover costs in a bid to support small businesses during the pandemic and through the recovery stages. Find out more information about the program on the Solent Apprenticeship Hub website.

Useful Links 

  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here
  • View our city centre recovery plan here
  • View our COVID-19 reopening guidance here
  • Use sector-specific working safely guidance on your reopening here
  • Sign up to the free Engagement & Leadership webinar hosted by Stellamar here
  • Read how new planning rules are protecting cultural venues here

Our Contact Information 

If your business has any questions please get in contact with us on the following: