Coronavirus: guidance and support for business

Find coronavirus financial support for your business

Find out whether you and your business are eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Find financial support on the GOV.UK website

Grants and support for businesses - from Oxford City Council

Grants from September 2021

Further Additional Restrictions Grants (ARGs) will be available for businesses in the Oxford City Council area. There are 2 grant options:

  • Hardship/Survival Grants – for businesses still severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW
  • #Buildbackbetter Grants – for projects from local businesses and groups of businesses implementing new ways of working and/or resilient business models – APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW

Please apply for the grant option that is appropriate for the current status of your business.

The closing date for these grants will be reviewed.

ARG Hardship/Survival Grants - Available Now

These discretionary grants are for businesses that are still severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This could be for a number of reasons, including businesses whose revenue is primarily from international visitors (tourists and students). Eligible businesses are expected to be in the following sectors:

  • Creative and cultural
  • Visitor economy
  • Hospitality
  • Language schools
  • Specialist retail

Grants will be one-off payments in the range £5,000-£20,000, and to qualify for a grant you will need to show that your business’ revenue has fallen by about 60% or more July-September 2021 compared with July-September 2019.

Please follow the link below to apply for an ARG Hardship/Survival Grant for July-December 2021. 

ARG Hardship/Survival Grants – July-December 2021

ARG #Buildbackbetter Grants - Available Now

These discretionary grants are to enable individual businesses and groups of businesses to invest in new ways of working and/or new business models.

Businesses can apply for grants towards the costs of new ways of working identified following to the COVID-19 pandemic or in response to a need to invest in environmental within Oxford City e.g. business digitisation, online sales, zero carbon delivery. Grants for individual businesses will be one-off payments in the range £1,000-£10,000.

Service providers and groups of businesses are encouraged to submit projects that improve the business prospects for their business or groups of business. Ideally, they will also help improve the lives of people in Oxford by:

  • Reducing carbon emissions or improving air quality
  • Making it easier and safer for employees to choose active travel (walking, cycling etc)
  • Improving access to cultural venues and events
  • Supporting community initiatives
  • Making it easier for innovative businesses to set up or invest in adapting their business model

All ideas are welcome and grants of up to £40,000 are available, with the possibility of more for exceptional Buildbackbetter projects.

The criteria on which group proposals will be judged will include:

  • Support for Oxford City Council’s environmental sustainability and inclusive employment / job creation goals as described in the Oxford 2050 Vision
  • Demonstration of wider business and community support

We will also look favourably on service provider or group proposals from organisations which are social enterprises and/or employee owned e.g. cooperatives

Please follow the link below to apply for an ARG #Buildbackbetter Grant for July-December 2021.

ARG #Buildbackbetter Grants - July-December 2021

Local Restriction Support Grants and Additional Restrictions Grants prior to the 31 May 2021, and Restart Grants prior to 30 June 2021 are no longer open to applications. Any applications submitted prior to the closing date will be processed in due course.


Support for charities

Charities that need an extension to their annual return deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic should contact the Charity Commission, the regulator has said. More information about support for charities can be found on the Civil Society website.

Grants to support community and cultural organisations

A number of funding bodies have established grants to support community and cultural organisations during this challenging time. Visit our External Funding Opportunities page for details.

We also have various grants schemes that you can apply to. Find out more on our grants page.

Support for businesses - from UK Government


Further information about the support available for businesses can be found on the Government's website. The site is being updated regularly with information and guidance for businesses about how to apply for grants, loans and rate relief.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to businesses

  • Loans, tax relief and cash grants are available
  • Employers might be eligible for financial support to pay wages
  • Self-employed people might be eligible for a taxable grant covering 80% of trading profits

Funding and support

Self-employed people and sole traders

Further support

Scam emails and crime

Scam emails

With new Government support recently announced, it is highly likely that a wave of scam emails, calls and text messages claiming to be from HMRC will circulate.

These will likely offer financial help in exchange for your bank details. Do not respond to the message and delete it immediately. HMRC does not contact people out of the blue asking for bank details.

Guidance from National Business Crime Centre

Information about how to secure your business premises, what to do if your staff fall victim to assault, queueing outside your premises, and how to reassure your customers.

Vulnerability assessments

Thames Valley Police are offering vulnerability assessments for small and medium-sized enterprises and charities that will provide an overview of the network security weaknesses that could be exploited by criminals.

If you are interested in accessing this service please contact

Temporarily ceasing trading

If you make the decision to temporarily cease trading, please let your landlord know so ;they can help ensure you have all the appropriate health, safety and security measures in place.

If your landlord is Oxford City Council, please email:

Reopening your business

You must not reopen if your business is closed under current government rules. Check if your business or venue can open.

The government has published guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

This guidance is being regularly updated and business owners should check frequently for any updates.

The Food Standards Agency has provided guidance for reopening a food business, and for adapting an existing business to meet a takeaway or delivery model. This will give you a practical framework to identify what you need to do to continue, adapt, or restart operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When reopening a business after an extended period of time it is important to be aware of the dangers presented by potential Legionella growth during stagnation. This may involve flushing through the water system prior to use, or taking additional measures as appropriate.

Oxford City Council urges all business owners to review the guidance, to re-assess their business operation and take appropriate actions which will enable them to re-open, keeping employees and the public safe.

Enforcement of health and safety regulation in the UK is either the responsibility of the relevant local authority or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), depending on the work activity.

Generally speaking, the HSE enforce the higher risk workplaces, such as construction and manufacturing. Further information available on the HSE website.

For health and safety advice please contact HSE in the first instance or on 0300 003 1647.

Oxford City Council's Business Regulation Team can be reached on 01865 252862 or via The Team deal with Food Safety and Health and Safety across Local Authority enforced premises. Please contact the team if you have any concerns with any premises in Oxford.

Contacting us

If you have any concerns or questions about any of the above, please contact us directly by emailing:

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