Print Icon

09 July 2020 - Update #24

Welcome to our latest weekly bulletin. In line with the gradual easing of lockdown, the focus of our updates is shifting to the recovery period for our city centre and its businesses, and how we can continue to support you through these coming weeks and months (you'll find links to our newly published city centre recovery plan below).

Of course we’re also aware that there are sectors that remain unable to open, and we’ll continue to share national updates on policy and funding measures, such as this week’s much needed announcement of financial support for cultural, arts and heritage venues (see below).

Now more than ever, we need to continue to support each other through these challenging times as we all adapt to life post-lockdown. We’re stronger together.

National News

Support for Arts, Cultural and Heritage Venues

On Sunday 5 July, the Government revealed a new £1.57 billion support package to help protect the UK’s cultural, arts and heritage venues. Organisations such as theatres, independent cinemas, museums, galleries and live music venues will have access to emergency funding through a number of loans (totalling £270m) and grants (totalling £880m). Within this pot of money, £120m will contribute towards restarting heritage construction projects which were paused due to COVID-19. Further decisions on allocation will be made by the Government who will be working closely with the Arts Council England and other industry bodies. More information is set to be announced in the coming weeks, read the full press release here.

Chancellor Announces Mini-Budget

Yesterday Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new set of measures as part of his Summer Economic Update to further support businesses in the UK. A summary of the measures is listed below:

  • Eat Out to Help Out scheme: Customers will receive 50% discount off their bill (up to £10 per head) throughout August when they dine in participating restaurants, cafés or pubs from Monday to Wednesday, which businesses will claim back from the Government. Businesses will be able to register from 13 July, check back this page. You can read more details on how the scheme works here.

  • VAT reduction: VAT rates in the hospitality and tourism sector will be reduced from 20% to 5% from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021. This applies to businesses such as restaurants, cafes and pubs, hotels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan sites, cinemas, theme parks and zoos.

  • Job Retention Bonus: Employers will receive a £1,000 bonus for every employee they bring back from furlough and who are still employed as of 31 January 2020. 

  • Kickstart Scheme: A £2 billion initiative creating thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of unemployment. Government will cover 100% of National Minimum Wage based on a 25 hour a week, 6-month placement. 

To read the full set of measures to help secure jobs across the country go here.

Data Collection for Businesses

After the opening of the hospitality sector last weekend, the Government has released more specific guidance on how businesses can help the NHS Test and Trace system. Businesses are being asked to support the new system by keeping a record of customers and visitors for 21 days and provide data to the NHS if required. The following sectors are asked to keep records where possible:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
  • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
  • Places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

The new guidance details which information to collect, how to store records, GDPR compliance and how the NHS Test and Trace system will contact a business for information. Read more here.

COVID-secure Poster

The official COVID-secure poster has now been updated to reflect the revised social distancing guidance. As a reminder, workplaces/businesses should adhere to the 2m rule, but if not possible 1m + is acceptable if procedures are in place to mitigate the risk of transmission (i.e protective screens). If you haven’t done so already, we encourage businesses to display this poster in their shop windows to let customers know they have put the appropriate safety measures in place.

In addition, we are also producing some COVID-secure posters in partnership with the Council, as part of our Be Smart, Stay Apart materials, which will be supplied to consumer-facing businesses shortly for display. These are designed to complement the official posters, not replace them.

BID News

Return of the Rangers

We are delighted to announce that our Ranger team is back in Southampton, 6 days a week, to help support businesses and patrol the BID area. Debbi and Gabriela will be working on a part time-basis and may visit your business during the coming weeks. If you have any issues you can contact them at

Recovery Plan

We have now published our city centre recovery plan which highlights our response through the crisis and pre-recovery phases, how we’re journeying with our businesses through the current recovery period, and our plans for transforming the city in the future. Head to our recovery webpage to view the projects and initiatives we have been working on. A printed version has also been produced and will be delivered to levy payers over the next week or so (PDF available online here)

Bedford Place Survey 

As a continuation of our Southampton Inside Out initiative we are working with Southampton City Council to look at areas in Bedford Place/Carlton Place where more outdoor space can be utilised for hospitality businesses to trade as part of an initial pilot scheme. We are asking businesses on Carlton Place, Bedford Place and the surrounding areas to give us feedback on the proposed pedestrianisation. Please take the time to fill out our short survey, deadline 17 July. To find out more about Southampton Inside Out –  our outdoor dining initiative – including how to apply for the required licences, click here.

Welcoming New Businesses 

We are always pleased to see new businesses open in the BID area especially during these difficult times and would like to take this opportunity to welcome D&G Hardware store on London Road and Funky Flamingo Lounge & Roof Garden in Bedford Place. We wish you all the best on your opening and welcome you into the city as new BID members.

Local News

Flexible Working Survey

Southampton City Council and My Journey want to understand how businesses have been working more flexibly during COVID-19 and how they can further support this now and in the future. Please take the time to complete a short survey by 17 July here. Your response will provide the local authority with valuable insights into the trends around flexible ways of working and inform future strategy and available support. 

University of Portsmouth Seeking Business Feedback

The University of Portsmouth, on behalf of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum, is working to support the region’s economic recovery and has launched a new survey to help understand the challenges faced by businesses due to the pandemic. Please take a few minutes to share how your business has been affected and what future support is required here.

Useful Links 

  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here
  • Sign up for the Government’s specific business support email bulletins here
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here
  • Use the employee return to work tool here.
  • View our business guidance here
  • View our city centre recovery plan here
  • View our COVID-19 reopening the city guidance here
  • Use the Government tool for reopening your business safely here
  • Use sector-specific working safely guidance for your your reopening here

Our Contact Information 

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