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18 June 2020 - Update #21

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

Southampton has started to slowly open its doors again and we are focused on both supporting those businesses who are open/reopening as well as helping those who remain closed prepare for the next steps. This bulletin includes a summary of our actions and measures as part of our recovery plan, as well as an update on the Local Authority Discretionary Fund. 

BID News

Hospitality Survey 
As we start to look ahead to the next tranche of businesses who may be able to reopen in July (TBC), we want to understand how businesses in the hospitality sector are responding to COVID-19 and preparing to trade again. We know this industry faces particular challenges when reopening around social distancing and its impact on capacity, and we are keen to support however we can. We are currently working with Southampton City Council and Balfour Beatty Living Places to explore potential opportunities to extend the tables and chair license. We have put together a short survey to see whether this would be of interest to our levy payers and to help us understand the needs of the sector. Please fill out the survey here, closing date 30 June.

Southampton’s Recovery Measures
Below we have summarised the measures that have been or are being put in place to help with the recovery of the city centre. You can also read the news story regarding the measures we have jointly implemented/are implementing to support the city's reopening. 
  • As you may have already seen in the city centre, social distancing floor markers have been placed outside businesses to help with managing queues. These currently sit 2m apart from one another but we will review with the Council if and when the Government revises the distance. If you have any questions or queries about these please get in touch with Rebecca Handley at

  • A series of digital assets created by a local artist are being produced to help communicate to visitors and residents how the measures work and what they should do. A physical poster will also be created for businesses to put in their window to display guidance for customers.

  • This week, security presence in the city centre has increased to make sure non-essential businesses can safely reopen. This joint operation between our security team, Hampshire Constabulary and Southampton City Council will ensure visitors feel safe and are able to have an enjoyable experience in the city as it begins to reopen. The teams will look to support businesses where they can as well as dispersing anti-social behaviour and crime in the city.

  • On Monday we sent an email to all our levy payers linking to a digital copy of our business guidance letter. If you did not receive this, you can view it here. This included guidelines for businesses on customer queue management in the city centre, COVID-19 risk assessments and how to work safely.  

Southampton From Your SOfa 
We are continuing to promote Southampton’s cultural offering through our ‘Southampton from your SOfa’ campaign. Working with the cultural organisations within the city, this page aims to act as a digital hub of online events, exhibitions, activities, concerts, clubs, courses and resources. We are now looking for local artists to create a series of digital artwork to be used on the website and across our platforms for the campaign. If you know someone who may be interested, please share the EOI brief with them or on your channels, closing date 22 June.

Urban Lecture Series
After another successful virtual event at the beginning of June, the final instalment of our Urban Lecture Series takes place on Tuesday 7 July via Zoom. Hear from Carl Turner (Principal Turner Works) plus more speaker announcements to follow as we explore 'A Meanwhile City'. Spaces are limited, register for free here.

Local News 

Local Authority Discretionary Fund 
Southampton City Council has announced that applications for the Local Authority Discretionary Fund will be live from Thursday 25 June until Wednesday 1 July, provided that the scheme is accepted at a Council meeting on 24 June. Read the full story here. This funding aims to give small and micro businesses who are not eligible for other cash grants the support they need, with up to £10,000 available depending on turnover, number of employers and fixed property costs. Stated in a supporting document from the Council, the following businesses will be prioritised:
  • Businesses with a greater number of employees to protect employment and reduce unemployment if the business were to close
  • SMEs linked to the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors being more impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and ineligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • SMEs providing a service benefitting the community and residents of Southampton such as day nurseries, nursery schools or those supporting disadvantaged or vulnerable groups
  • SMEs in the digital, cultural and creative industries impacted by the on-going Covid-19 restrictions and ineligible for the Small Business Grant 
  • SMEs providing learning opportunities for all sections of the community
  • SMEs that continue to be unable to trade and do not have an online presence 
  • SMEs within or that support leisure, community and cultural facilities
  • SMEs that cannot access Small Business Rates Relief because they occupy a second property with a combined rateable value below £15,000
It is advised that businesses check back this page for more updates on eligibility and to find the online application form once live next week.

National News

Face Coverings On Public Transport
A reminder that as of Monday 15 June, face coverings have become mandatory to wear on all modes of public transport which includes train, tube, bus, coach, aircraft and ferry. Additionally, from this week (15 June) all NHS staff, visitors and outpatients must wear face coverings in all areas of a hospital to help minimise the risk of spreading the disease. Read the press release here. See guidance on how to wear and make your own face covering here.

Open For Business Campaign 
The #OpenForBusiness campaign has been developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) aiming to encourage employers to promote their businesses by taking photos in front of their ‘open’ signs and post on social media using the #OpenForBusiness hashtag and tagging the BEIS account. They have also reiterated the importance of displaying the official COVID-secure poster in your shop, to let customers know you are compliant.

Useful Links 

  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here
  • Sign up for the Government’s specific business support email bulletins here
  • Sign up for general Government coronavirus email updates here
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here
  • Check if your business can reopen here
  • Read HSE’s short guide to working safely during the coronavirus outbreak here
  • Read how to clean your workplace safely here
  • Read the Governments COVID-19 Action Plan here
  • Read the 'Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus' from HSE here
  • Apply for the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme here
  • Read the letter to the retail sector from the Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets Paul Scully MP here

Our Contact Information 

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