COVID-19: Guidance & Advice

At GO! Southampton, we understand how hard things are for all our levy payers.

The coronavirus outbreak is putting tremendous pressure on any and every business in Southampton and it is not clear when things will get easier. We want our members to know that the BID team stands ready to support them in whatever way we can. We’re also helping the Council and others with their ongoing COVID-19 planning to support the City economy and businesses.

On this page you’ll find the latest information about our services and how to contact us, as well as useful COVID-19 links and key updates in terms of support for businesses in these unprecedented times.

We also wrote to all levy payers on 18 March, with letters hand-delivered locally – see link below to view the full letter:

GO! Southampton’s COVID-19 Letter

In addition to this webpage, we’re sending regular email bulletins with the latest updates – to sign up to receive these please contact info@gosouthampton.co.uk confirming you wish to subscribe.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. If you are unsure of what COVID-19 is or need medical advice please go to the NHS page here.

We Need Your Feedback

GO! Southampton in partnership with Southampton City Council, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Small Businesses are asking you to help us understand how the recently announced Government funding is able to positively impact and support your business during this period of COVID-19. Please complete our survey here by 24th April. 

We will work with both Southampton City Council and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to provide business insight into the COVID-19 interventions and raise concerns accordingly. 

Business closures and exemptions

New measures were announced by the Government on 23 March, instructing all non-essential businesses and premises to close, expanding on restrictions previously announced. Closures are enforceable by law.

There are some notable exceptions in the retail sector, including supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, launderettes and dry cleaners, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks.

Businesses offering food delivery/takeaway services can remain operational in line with previous guidance.

For more details and for the full list of premises affected, click here.

View our Visit Southampton blog, Southampton – Still Open for Business, for a list of stores still currently trading in the BID area.

What support is available to businesses?

Council update – business rates relief & grant funding

In line with support measures announced by the Government, as of 27 March the systems are now in place and the support schemes are now live for Southampton City Council to deliver business rates relief and grant funding to local businesses in the city as follows:

  • Business Rates for Retail, Hospitality, Leisure – businesses in the retail,  hospitality and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. This reduction will be applied automatically to businesses’ bills by 1 April. If businesses have not received an amended bill by 3 April 2020 they should email business.rates@southampton.gov.uk
  • Small Business Grant Funding – the Government is providing additional funding to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. Businesses can find out more and apply here
  • Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses can find out more and apply here

Government support 

The Government has now launched a dedicated business support website as part of its coronavirus response – view it here.

Support measures announced to date by the Government include:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowing businesses to claim up to 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month (per employee). The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and will run for at least three months. Read more
  • VAT payments deferred for the period from 20 March to 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer for all UK businesses, with no applications required. Read more
  • A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs. Read more
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England. Read more
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. Read more
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Read more
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank – the interest-free period on these loans has now been extended to 12 months. Read more
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans. Read more
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme. Read more
  • A ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments. Read more
  • A Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Read more
  • A three month extension to the deadline for companies to file their annual accounts. Read more

For more details and the very latest information about specific support for businesses click here.

What is GO! Southampton doing to help?

Communications

We are working with Southampton City Council to ensure that businesses receive the best possible information on the current situation. We will be sending out regular email bulletins to all businesses on our database. To register for updates, email info@gosouthampton.co.uk confirming you wish to subscribe.

  • If you would like something included (such as an offer or promotion) in one of our emails, please email content@gosouthampton.co.uk
  • We can include promotions / customer information on our Visit Southampton social channels – text and pictures; again email content@gosouthampton.co.uk
  • We can help you promote your business online through our website visitsouthampton.co.uk. If you have a listing on the Visit Southampton website and would like to amend the entry or update your opening times please email content@gosouthampton.co.uk
  • If you have an event listed on the Visit Southampton website which has now been cancelled or postponed please edit the listing. Please note events scheduled to take place before 1 May are now being removed from the events listings as default. If you have any queries or need assistance please email events@list.co.uk
  • Get updates on our own programme of business events here
  • For social media updates, please follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Rangers, Security and Cleaning 

  • Our ranger team – in light of current Government measures, our rangers are not currently working in the city, initially for a three week period from 23 March. The rangers@gosouthampton.co.uk email address will still be monitored and please continue to report any issues.
  • Our security team – our security team continue to patrol the BID area to support those essential retailers who remain open. They are helping to prevent and deter crime and anti-social behaviour, including working with Hampshire Constabulary to minimise the risk of commercial burglaries. Their hours are currently 12pm-8pm daily, and their duties now include vehicle patrols. They can be contacted on 07725 737236.  
  • Our cleaners – Martin, Tyrone, Robert and Jim – will continue to provide extra cleansing services to our members, including jetwashing and graffiti removal. You can reach them via email at cleaning@gosouthampton.co.uk

If your business remains open (in line with Government guidance), please let us know at info@gosouthampton.co.uk so we can ensure our patrolling teams and police colleagues are aware and able to offer support.

Other services 

  • We have recently launched our new waste recycling service with Southampton City Council. You can save up to 50% off your dry mixed recycling costs.  You can sign up or find out more by contacting Southampton City Council Commercial Waste Team on 023 8083 4325 or by email commercial.waste@southampton.gov.uk  
     
  • Save money on your core business services (telecoms, energy, water, merchant fees) via our independent Business Costs Saving scheme. Any savings go directly to you. To start cutting your costs and saving money, Meercat Associates (who work on behalf of GO! Southampton) will simply need a copy of your recent bills, which will be analysed in confidence. To find out more, ring 01444 416529 or email savings@meercatassociates.com.   

Contact us
Email info@gosouthampton.co.uk or find contact details for individual team members here.

Other useful information

You can also subscribe for the Government’s email updates here or find out about its WhatsApp service here.

Government Briefings
The Government are currently holding daily televised press conferences. They tend to happen sometime between 4pm and 6pm. If you miss one, you can catch up on BBC iPlayer.

Southampton City Council
Visit www.southampton.gov.uk/coronavirus for the Council’s latest information. View specific updates about Business rates here.

Subscribe to the Council’s business e-newsletter here.

For information from the Council about the process for receiving business rates relief or how to apply for grant funding, see the Council update section further up the page.

Other useful links:
Visit Britain / Visit England – advice for tourism & event businesses
Paris Smith LLP – legal advice and guidance
ACAS – advice on employment issues
ACS – guidance on offering home delivery services

Useful social feeds to follow:
Public Health England
World Health Organization
Southampton City Council
NHS UK

Our previous email bulletins are listed below, if you would like to hear from up on future updates please email us on info@gosouthampton.co.uk.

01 April 2020

27 March 2020

24 March 2020

23 March 2020

20 March 2020

18 March 2020