What the new lockdown means for businesses, employees and workers
The third lockdown in England legally came into force on 6 January 2021. How long it will last is uncertain. At least until mid-February and possibly until late March. Vaccination provides a route out of the pandemic, but businesses need to survive this final and possibly longest of the lockdowns.
We have prepared a summary of how the lockdown affects businesses, employees and workers and given signposts to other resources and more detail about the help and resources available. As we have done throughout the pandemic we are here, working, and able to deal with any enquiries that clients or contacts may have in relation to the topics covered in this note.
Employees and workers
- You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home
- A non-exhaustive list of people who cannot work from home include people working on or in:
- Critical national infrastructure
- Essential public sector employees
Employers should take every possible step to assist their employees to work from home, including providing suitable IT and other equipment.
If you are an employee and cannot work due to Coronavirus, find out what financial support may be available to you from the Government.
Financial support for business
On 5 January, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced a fresh new package of support for businesses worth £4.6bn. Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will receive new grants worth up to £9,000 per property. Nearly £600m goes to local authorities and devolved administrations to support businesses not eligible for grants. It is advisable to sign up to receive updates from the business department of your relevant local authority so you can know what local grants are available and when/how to apply.
- List of businesses and venues which must close
- List of businesses and venues permitted to remain open
There is a Budget scheduled for 3 March at which time an announcement will be made on whether or how to extend support further.
Eligibility for support
Coronavirus business support is available to many businesses in the form of loans, tax reliefs and grants (whether your business is open or closed). The easiest way to find out what your business may be eligible for in this latest lockdown is to visit the Government’s business support website page.
Coronavirus job retention scheme
The Coronavirus job retention scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. Note: Claims for furlough days in December 2020 must be made by 14 January 2021. Click for the latest guidance about the furlough scheme.
Self-employment income support scheme
The scheme has been extended. If you were not eligible for the first and second grant based on the information provided in your Self-Assessment tax return, you will not be eligible for the third.