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COVID-19 business support 

Latest update

February 22, 2021

The Prime Minister has announced the easing of lockdown restrictions – subject to conditions – starting with the reopening of all schools on March 8 and two people allowed to meet outdoors.

From March 29, outdoor gatherings of six people or two households will be allowed, while outdoor sports, including football, golf and tennis, will also resume.

Shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality will reopen from April 12, including theme parks and zoos. Overnight domestic stays will also be permitted. The rule of six or two households will apply outdoors and one household indoors, while ‘self-contained’ accommodation will reopen.

From May 17, indoor hospitality will be permitted, including indoor sport and all remaining accommodation and outdoor entertainment will be able to re-open and resume. Outdoor events will be limited to 10,000 or 25% for seated venues and 4,000 or 50% for others; indoor events will be limited to 1,000 or 50%. ‘Life events’, such as weddings, will be limited to 30.

All restrictions on social contact should be lifted on June 21.

January 29, 2021

Businesses can now apply for a £1,000 cash boost to help them take on new trainees. The new scheme will support young people to gain the skills and experience they need. The funding will be available until July 31 and is designed to help businesses with the cost of providing a high-quality work placement for a trainee. Apply online here.

January 28,2021

Local authorities across Somerset are starting to invite businesses to apply for the latest lockdown Government support grant. More information is available about your local council here:

January 5, 2021

The Chancellor has announced one-off top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property in the wake of the third national lockdown, which was announced last night (Monday).

A £594 million discretionary fund will also made available to support other impacted businesses and comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for local authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme.

More details can be found here.

Under lockdown rules, people must work from home if they can, although workplaces will be asked to stay open if people cannot work from home – including construction and manufacturing.

Households will not be allowed to mix with others indoors, or in private gardens, although individuals can meet one person from outside their household in an outside public space to exercise.

Business which can remain open include:

  • Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services

Business which will have to close during the lockdown include:

  • All pubs and restaurants (although food takeaway services will be permitted)
  • All non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons

Furlough payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme  have already been extended at 80% until the end of April. Workers will be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2,500 a month, with employers being asked to pay National Insurance and pensions contributions for their staff during November.

The Chancellor also previously confirmed he would be extending the Government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme – until the end of March.


Somerset Chamber of Commerce is supporting local business throughout the Coronavirus crisis.   

On this page you will find links to key Government Coronavirus grants and loans, as well as the latest advice for businesses and employers.

We are working closely with the British Chambers of Commerce and other leading business organisations to ensure our members’ views and concerns are heard at the very highest levels.

A downloadable COVID-19 Secure 2020 notice is now available for businesses to display once they have carried out the necessary risk assessments and their workplace is COVID-19 Secure. Download a copy here.

Your guide to Government-led business and employee support, advice and grants

The Government has set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses. Full details can be found on the dedicated Government COVID-19 Business Support website by clicking here.

The package of measures to support businesses includes:

If you are not sure what financial support your business may qualify for, use the Government’s online business support finder by clicking here.

  • Additional Government Coronavirus help pages can be found here. The site includes guidance for both employers and businesses, including symptoms, travel advice, sick pay, how to certify absence from work, employees having to take time off to care for relatives, limiting the spread in the workplace and handling post.
  • The Government has set up a dedicated Business Support Helpline – 0300 456 3565 – to enable businesses to find the right help and support across a wide range of topics, from business rates relief, grants and employee advice.
  • HMRC COVID-19 Helpline 0800 0159 559 is available to support businesses and self-employed people who are worried about paying their tax bills due to Coronavirus.
  • Official Government online tool to help companies find the relevant guidance needed to enable them to re-open safely is available online here.
  • Guidance to help employers calculate workplace pension and National Insurance contributions in-line with phased changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will allow workers to return on a part-time basis is available online here. 
  • Government workplace safety guidance for the retail sector can be found online here.
  • Somerset County Council and partners have published a detailed Coronavirus local outbreak management plan. The plan is available online and more information can be found in our news section here.
  • The Government list of ‘key workers’ – those who can keep their children at school or college – can be found online here.
  • Apprenticeships guidance for apprentices, employers and assessment organisations is available here.
  • The Government’s full ‘COVID-19 Recovery Strategy‘ can be read here or a three page executive summary has been produced by the British Chambers of Commerce and can be found on our specialist COVID-19 advice page by clicking here.

British Chambers of Commerce Coronavirus Hub

The BCC has a dedicated site with the latest COVID-19 advice for business. It can be found here.

Additional information

Our members specialise in a wide range of  industries and disciplines and many are offering free support and advice on a range of Coronavirus-related topics. More information can be found on our members’ Coronavirus news page by clicking here.

Chamber Contact

For more info please contact:

Alistair Tudor

Operations Manager

Tel: 01823 444924

Email Alistair >


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