Print Icon

13 May 2020 - Update #15

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. The page also includes links to our previous coronavirus bulletins. This replaces our usual Thursday bulletin, although we will send a further update before next Thursday if there are additional significant announcements / details released for businesses.

Below you’ll find a summary of the key Government announcements from the past few days, including the extension of the furlough scheme and the ‘roadmap’ for the gradual easing of lockdown measures including when selected businesses may be able to start to reopen. We’ve also got details of our latest survey, plus some local news.

Furlough Scheme Extended 

Yesterday, the Chancellor announced that the furlough scheme is to be extended until 31 October 2020. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wage (up to £2,500), but from August companies will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of furloughed staff. The scheme will also be made more flexible with staff able to return to work part-time from August. More details will follow by the end of this month. Read more here.

Recovery Support Survey 

As part of our recovery plan a key aim is to support levy payers through the easing of lockdown measures and phased reopening of businesses. Working with Southampton City Council and following the latest Government announcements, we have created a short survey to help inform the support we and partners provide. Please fill out the survey here, closing date 27 May. 

Government’s Roadmap Out of Lockdown 
On Sunday, the Prime Minister addressed the nation, announcing his ‘first sketch of a roadmap for reopening society’, which included a new five point COVID alert system to monitor the current threat level in the UK, and a three-step plan for the gradual easing of restrictions in the coming days, weeks and months, outlining what may begin to change, and the earliest date each step could start from.  

The progress through the three steps will primarily be informed by the rate of transmission continuing to fall (i.e. the ‘R value’ staying below one) and the coronavirus death rate continuing to fall, thus avoiding the risk of a second peak or the NHS becoming overwhelmed. 

Subsequently, on Monday, more detailed information was published – read the 60 page document here, or summarised public guidance hereWe’ve outlined the key points for businesses and employees below – for more details and for more general changes to guidance (e.g. being allowed to take unlimited outdoor exercise) see the links above. 

Step One (This Week)
  • Workers should continue to work from home where possible, but those who cannot work from home are now ‘actively encouraged’ to go back to work. The manufacturing and construction sectors were named as examples of the types of industries that should be operating. However travelling to work via public transport should be avoided where possible
  • New 'COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are now available to help businesses get up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible. As well as some general guidance for all industries, there are eight sector-specific documents – more details further down
  • Garden centres allowed to open from today 
  • No changes to existing regulations for essential retailers (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, health shops) or for pubs, restaurants and cafes being able to operate takeaway/collection services. Apart from garden centres, businesses previously told to close must remain closed for the time being

Step Two (from 1 June at the earliest)
  • Non-essential retail businesses will open in phases – the Government will issue further guidance on timeframes and which businesses will be able to reopen

  • No change for other customer-facing sectors that have previously been told to close

Step Three (from 4 July at the earliest)
  • Other sectors including personal care (such as hairdressers and beauty salons), hospitality (e.g. food service providers, pubs and accommodation) public places (e.g. places of worship) and leisure facilities (such as cinemas) may begin to reopen 

  • This phase of reopenings will involve careful phasing and piloting due to the higher risk nature of some of these businesses in terms of physical contact. The Government will establish a series of taskforces to work closely with stakeholders in these sectors to develop ways in which they can make these businesses and public places COVID-19 secure

Safe Workplace Guidance
The Government has released practical guidance for businesses to ensure the workplace is as safe as possible ready to reopen when they choose to do so. The guidance is based on five key points:

1. Work from home, if you can
2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk 5. Reinforcing cleaning processes 

The guides cover 8 different sectors, but businesses may need direction from multiple guides:

Local News

Virtual Insight Series
Solent University is hosting a series of free interactive lectures called ‘Virtual Insight Series’ for the local community, staff, students and alumni to get involved with from home. Staff will share projects, passions and knowledge in specific areas, with a variety of topics covered. Forthcoming lectures include Winning in the Solent Region (19 May), Moving away from the ‘perfect posture’ to the ‘one that changes regularly’ (22 May) and I like to move it: health and wellbeing benefits of staying active (28 May). For any questions, please email

Solent LEP: Pay It Forward Scheme 
The first businesses have received funding from the Crowdfunder Pay It Forward Scheme with many more businesses in the process of raising money to be match funded by Solent LEP. This scheme allows micro and small businesses to pre-sell goods or services via Crowdfunder and receive up to £5,000 match funding from the LEP. See if your business is eligible 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.
  • Sign up for general Government coronavirus email updates here.
  • Use the finder tool to see what support your business is eligible for here.
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here.
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here.
  • Read how to clean your workplace safely here.

    Our Contact Information  

    You can reach the BID team via 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.