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25 June 2020 - Update #22

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.

This week we focus on guidance for the next tranche of businesses allowed to reopen (from 4 July), including news on revised social distancing guidance, outdoor seating for pubs, restaurants and cafes, and sector-specific reopening guidelines. The Council’s Local Authority Discretionary Grant scheme is also now open for applications (until 3 July) – details below.

National News

More Businesses Can Reopen from 4 July

Following the Government announcement this week, a wide range of further businesses can reopen from 4 July providing it is safe to do so and they adhere to COVID-secure guidelines. Those able to reopen include:

  • Pubs and bars
  • Restaurants and cafés
  • Hotels and accommodation 
  • Hairdressers
  • Cinemas and theatres (with restrictions on live performances)
  • Museums and galleries
  • Visitor attractions and libraries
  • Theme parks and arcades
  • Places of worship
  • Community centres and social clubs

Close proximity venues will not be able to reopen from 4 July and must await further guidance from the Government. This includes nightclubs, nail bars, beauty salons, massage and tattoo parlours, casinos, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas. If businesses are unsure as to whether they can open, they can see the full guidance here.

Social Distancing Guidance

Government has announced that from 4 July the 2m social distancing rule can be relaxed to 1m+ in settings where 2m isn’t possible, provided that measures are put in place to help mitigate the spread of the virus. These measures could include the use of face coverings and protective screens, creating staggered shift patterns, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, increasing ventilation and of course regular hand washing. The 2m rule should be adhered to wherever possible both within business and personal settings.

In addition to this, from 4 July two households can meet in any setting, either indoors or outdoors. This includes staying overnight either at another home or within serviced accommodation and going out to a restaurant, pub, or another type of business together. Social distancing measures must always be adhered to when interacting with people outside of your household. Read the full guidance here.

Pubs and Restaurant Guidance 

The ‘Working safely during COVID-19’ Government guidance has been updated to reflect the changes for restaurants, pubs and bars. This information is the best starting point for businesses in these sectors to use before reopening and includes how to deal with:

  • Carrying out a mandatory risk assessment
  • Keeping customers and visitors safe
  • Managing service of food and drink
  • Food preparation areas
  • Entertainment
  • Keeping the venue clean
  • Staff areas
  • Customer toilets 
  • Social distancing for workers
  • Moving around venues
  • Communications and training
  • Inbound and outbound goods
When handling food, businesses can refer to the Food Standard Agency’s website which has information on reopening and adapting food businesses. This is advised to be used in conjunction with the above Government guidelines. There are pages on cleaning effectively in your business, food safety for food delivery and a reopening checklist.

The Government has today also announced how it is supporting pubs, cafes and restaurants in being able to more easily serve customers outdoors. This ties in with our local efforts to work with the Council to explore opportunities for increased use of outdoor space for our hospitality businesses (see BID news below). View the Government’s press release here.

New Guidance for Reopening Sectors
In addition to the above, the Government has released new working safely guidance for the other sectors that are set to open on 4 July. Below are links to each guides; some organisations may need to refer to more than one:
Business Working Safely Tool 
The Government has released a new tool which can help businesses identify the appropriate safety guidance for them. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure their workplace is COVID-secure and the appropriate measures are put in place before they reopen to their staff and to customers. Businesses can use the tool here.

BID News

Outdoor Seating 
We are working with the local authorities to explore opportunities that enable businesses in the hospitality sector to extend their tables and chairs license to allow for more usable outdoor space. It is predicted that a large number of businesses will be reducing capacity to enable safe social distancing; the use of pavements and extra outdoor space for trading could help mitigate this. We are continuing to gather feedback from our levy payers as to whether they would be interested via a short survey. Please fill it out here, closing date 30 June.

Reminder of Business Guidance 
As a reminder, we distributed printed business guidance to our retail sector last week to help with queue management. The document is available to view online hereThe guidance outlines key points to get your business COVID-secure, necessary risk assessment practice and effective queue management for customer-facing businesses. 

Local News

Local Authority Discretionary Fund Opens Today
Following a successful meeting council meeting yesterday, the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Scheme has been approved and applications are open today. The scheme is offering grants of up to £10,000 to micro and small businesses who are not eligible for other Government grants. The Council will give priority to some business and will base their decision on local economic needs as well as the businesses turnover, number of employers and fixed property costs. Applications close on Friday 3 July, apply online here.

Keep Active, Stay Safe Campaign
My Journey has launched their ‘Keep Active, Stay Safe’ campaign to encourage workers and residents of Southampton to use more sustainable modes of travel whilst getting to and from the city. During the coronavirus outbreak, the city has seen a significant increase in walking and cycling which has led to a cleaner, greener and safer city. There is a dedicated page for supporting active travel for the workplace, which businesses can use and share with their employees. Employers can also apply for the Workplace Travel Grant from today to receive up to £5,000 to help deliver sustainable travel measures in the organisation. Find out more and apply 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
  • Check if your business can reopen here
  • Read general Government guidance on for food businesses here
  • Sign up to the free business recovery webinar programme with Visit Britain here
  • See HJS ‘back to work guide’ here
  • Read HSE’s short guide to working safely during the coronavirus outbreak here
  • Read the 'Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus' from HSE here

Our Contact Information 

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