Back to Business Hub
Support for business
Please see our Support for business page for information on a range of financial and non-financial support for businesses.
Your one-stop-shop for support during the coronavirus outbreak
Our Back to Business Hub aims to keep you as informed as we can to help guide you through these difficult and uncertain times. However, for the latest guidance, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus. You can also sign up for the latest alerts and guidance regarding your business type.
Our Back to Business hotline is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Easing of Covid restrictions in England
From Monday 17 May, England moved to Step Three of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown.
From 17 May:
- You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance. You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible)
- New guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family
- Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place
- People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues
- Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen
- Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission
- All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible)
- Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people
- The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19
- All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching
- Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s)
- There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.
Please see the Government guidance on what you can and cannot do from 17 May. You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England.
The new COVID variant spreads more easily. By taking the right steps, consistently, we can reduce transmission.
All businesses and venues permitted to open must follow the Government's guidance for working safely during COVID-19 to protect customers, visitors and workers.
Every business must have in place a COVID secure risk assessment. As part of this, you must:
- identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
- think about who could be at risk
- decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed.
Please ensure your plan is reassessed and fully implemented. Contact our Back to Business Hub if you need support to develop or update an assessment.
Please also see our How to be COVID secure page for further information, including for your workforce and managing outbreaks.
Our Environment Health pages also have advice for local businesses and self-employed.
Regardless of the size of your workforce, you should:
- Follow the Government guidance and wherever possible and practical, support staff to work from home
- Ensure employees maintain social distancing, follow good handwashing practice, and wear face coverings where necessary, particularly when moving around the workplace. Hands. Face. Space - and letting fresh air in - has never been more important
- Advise anyone with symptoms to get a test – this is quick and easy to arrange
- Ensure they stay at home until they get their results
- Everyone without symptoms should get tested twice per week. Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, so getting tested regularly can stop people unknowingly spreading the virus. Symptom- free testing is quick and easy to arrange.
- 'We Offer Testing to our Staff' scheme: A new scheme for business offering workplace testing for staff has been launched in the UK, through NHS Test and Trace. The scheme allows businesses to show they are testing their staff regularly. Over 122,000 businesses have signed up for free workplace testing already, using government-supplied rapid test kits. Participating businesses can access materials including stickers and posters on GOV.UK.
In addition to doing as much as possible to reduce transmission, it is really important that you know what to do if you have a confirmed case or cases of coronavirus in your business.
The Government has published COVID-19 early outbreak management information to make sure people who run businesses or organisations:
- know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it
This information is contained within ‘action cards’ that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, a construction site or a place of worship.
Download and print the relevant action card for your sector and keep on hand in your business, so that you can act without delay to help stop the spread.
Reporting concerns about a business
If you have concerns that a business or venue is breaching coronavirus guidance, or closure rules, you can report this to us through our Business Operation Complaint Form. We will review all reports and redirect those that may need to go to other agencies, for example Kent Police or Kent County Council Trading Standards.
If you have concerns about the behaviour of individuals (i.e. gatherings, or self-isolation breaches) please report these concerns to Kent Police.
To understand the current requirements for business and individuals please the gov.uk website.
Please see our Environment Health pages for advice for local businesses and self-employed.
Guidance for business on opening and operating in a COVID-secure way. This includes further information for your workforce and managing outbreaks.
What your business needs to know about NHS Test and Trace and reporting outbreaks.
Information about support available to employers and self-employed.
We have set up a new online application facility for people to find businesses that are open locally.
The Government regularly updates its guidance. Sign up for alerts on the GOV.UK website.
Links to additional information and advice for businesses.
There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1 January, and you need to take action now.
It is impossible to cover every scenario and all businesses are individual. If you have any specific questions please contact our Back to Business Hub:
- Telephone: 01304 821199, Option 9 and ask to speak to the 'back to business hub' or
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online: Back to Business Form
- Keep Me Posted: sign up for email alerts (select 'Covid-19 Business Updates' from the list of topics)