Coronavirus: guidance and support for business

Guidance for businesses

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 [email protected]. 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.

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 loans for businesses

Small Business Grant Funding

One-off grant of £10,000 to businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

Applications for this grant is now closed.

Discretionary Grant Fund

A grant scheme aiming to widen access to support to small businesses who are unable to access other grant funding.

Applications for this grant is now closed.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £5m for small- and medium-sized businesses, interest free for six months.

Information about applying for a Buisness Interruption Loan

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

UK employers with a PAYE scheme can receive up to 80% of salaries (up to £2,500) to pay furloughed employees.

Apply now on the Job Retention Scheme

Future Fund

Convertible loans to innovative UK-based companies of between £125,000 and £5m.

Apply now for the Funture Fund

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus.

Not yet available

Bounce Back Loan

Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 for UK-based small and medium-sized businesses.

Apply now for a Bounce Back Loan

Support for self-employed

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

A grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of profits, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Apply now for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

Applications for this grant is now closed.

Discretionary Grant Fund

A grant scheme aiming to widen access to support to small businesses who are unable to access other grant funding, including bed & breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates.

Applications for this grant is now closed.

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21.

No need to apply – Oxford City Council will apply the business rates holiday to your bills

Restaurants operating as takeaways

Planning rules are to be relaxed so that pubs, cafés and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak – but you must notify Oxford City Council if you are planning to do this.

Notify us if you are operating as a takeaway

Guidance about food safety

Government guidance about the coronavirus outbreak and food safety.


Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries

Ofsted-registered children’s day nurseries do not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21 tax year.

No need to apply – Oxford City Council will apply the business rates holiday to your bills


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.

Discretionary Grant Fund

The grant scheme aiming to widen access to support to small businesses who are unable to access other grant funding, including charities in properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.

Applications for this grant is now closed.

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.

Further government support

VAT Deferral

The Government will defer Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

Deferral of Self-Assessment payment

The Self-Assessment payment on account, that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by 31 July 2020, may now be deferred until January 2021.

Time To Pay

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay Scheme.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

More information about Government support

Business Support website

The government has created a dedicated Coronavirus page on its Business Support website, which is being updated daily with information and guidance for businesses about how to apply for grants, loans and rate relief.

Business Support Frequently Asked Questions

The government has also created a frequently asked questions for businesses about support during the coronavirus outbreak on its Business Support Website

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 [email protected]

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: [email protected].

Relaying your views to Government

We have written to the Government on behalf of businesses in Oxford to call for further financial assistance to support firms through the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter – from Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council – was written after speaking to hundreds of businesses locally about the further support they needed.

Find out more and read the letter from Susan Brown about support for business.

Contacting us

If you have any concerns or questions about any of the above, please contact us directly by emailing: [email protected].

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