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Coronavirus (COVID-19) | - please check our Service Status page for any changes to our services | Last updated: April 3, 2:30 pm

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        Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Business advice and support

        Information and guidance for businesses during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

        “Supporting local businesses is a key priority – these are unprecedented times and the situation has been changing rapidly. I want to reassure you that we are working hard alongside partners at Kent County Council, Kent Chamber of Commerce, Visit Kent and the South East LEP to do everything possible to shore up our economy during this period of worry and challenge. We have, for example, just contributed to bolster the Kent Growth Hub and provide a dedicated support line for COVID-19 related issues.”

        “This is an extremely uncertain period and we are mindful of the countless number of residents who are unable to work from home and apply their valuable trades. We know how vitally important you are to our economy and to our district. We understand that you still have mortgages, rent and bills to pay so will continue to push to get you all the support possible.”

        – Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council

        Frequently Asked Questions

        To make it easier for you to find quick answers to the key questions businesses may have, we have provided some Frequently Asked Questions below. We will update these when new information is received. Last updated – 1 April 2020

        Kent County Council is asking businesses for more information about the impact COVID-19 is having on their business. If you can spare a few minutes and complete this online survey, it would be much appreciated.

        Where can I get help with business grants and support?

        This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

        You can sign up to receive newsletter bulletins from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

        There is also a general GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice. To use, just add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

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        How can I contact the relevant government departments?

        The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has a dedicated business support helpline, where small business owners in England can get advice on how to minimise/cope with the impacts of coronavirus.

        The number is 0300 456 3565. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. You can also email enquiries@businesssupporthelpline.org

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        What happens if I cannot pay business rates as my business is closed due to the coronavirus?

        Central Government has announced several measures to support businesses suffering due to Coronavirus.

        • All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will not pay business rates for 2020/21.  Bills with the 100% discount were issued on 27 March 2020.
        • Any childcare providers who are registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register will not pay business rates for 2020/21. You will receive an amended bill confirming this in due course.
        • Any business currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief may be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant
        • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business with a rateable value below £15,000 may be eligible for a £10,000 cash grant. You can find and check your rateable value by visiting  gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates
        • Any retail, hospitality or leisure business with a rateable value between £15,000 to £51,000 may be eligible for a £25,000 cash grant. You can find and check your rateable value by visiting  gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates

        More information can be found on our business rates support pages. Currently, we can only provide business rate reliefs as per the Government statement. Provision of  additional grants have not yet been funded and we await more Government details over and above the information links supplied.

        If you are worried about paying your business rates, please contact the Business Rates Team.

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        How do I apply for the small business grant of £10,000?

        We are currently identifying businesses that qualify for a cash grant. 

        • If you pay by Direct Debit, we will pay the grant into the bank account from which you pay your Direct Debit on or shortly after Tuesday 7 April
        • If you don’t pay by Direct Debit, we will write to you on or shortly after Wednesday 8 April providing you with a link to an online form for you to give your bank details for payment.
        • If you have not received an email or letter from us by 15 April and think you should qualify for a grant, please contact the Business Rates Team.

        Once you submit your online form, it may take up to five working days for the payment to reach your bank account, but in many cases it will be quicker than this. Please wait at least five working days before contacting us to chase your payment.

        More information can be found on our cash grants for businesses page which we will keep regularly updated.

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        I’m a business that’s entitled to a business rate holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. What do I need to do?

        There is no action required from you. We will issue revised bills for ratepayers who are eligible for discounts or business rate holidays. Bills for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses were issued with the 100% discount on 27 March 2020. If you think you are entitled to the discount, but have not received a revised bill by the 10 April 2020, please contact the business rates team

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        I’ve seen there is a helpline for Thanet residents. Is there a business support line?

        Yes. Kent County Council, in collaboration with all the local authorities in the county, has launched a dedicated business support line for coronavirus-related issues, delivered by the Kent & Medway Growth Hub. This dedicated support line is now open and taking calls.

        Please telephone: 03333 602300. The line will be in operation from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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        My premises have a rateable value of over £51,000 so is there any help from the government for me?

        All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be eligible for a temporary business rates discount of 100% for 2020-21. The revised bills with the 100% discount were issued on Friday 27 March 2020. If you think you are entitled to the discount, but have not received a revised bill by the 10 April 2020, please contact the business rates team.  

        We are awaiting further information and instructions about other changes from the Government. We want to support businesses during this difficult time. If you are struggling, please contact the business rates team

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        Will I be able to claim back the cost of providing Statutory Sick Pay?

        Yes. Small businesses (fewer than 250 employees) will be able to claim back the cost of providing Statutory Sick Pay (for up to 14 days) to any employee due to coronavirus. The government is drawing up the rebate scheme and we will update this page when we know how you can apply.

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        I’ve heard about a job retention scheme. What is this and how do I apply?

        The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means UK employers can access support to continue paying part of the salaries of employees who are on temporary leave (‘furloughed workers’) during this crisis. The online service to make a claim isn’t live yet, but you can find out whether your business is eligible and how much you can claim.

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        I’m self employed. Is there any help for me?

        If you’re self-employed and earning £50,000 or less, you will be able to get a grant equivalent to 80 percent of your income, paid initially in a taxable lump sum covering March, April and May (this may be extended if needed). The grant will be based on your average monthly profits, up to £2,500 per month.

        Please note you cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible, and invite you to apply online. Grants will start to be paid at the beginning of June. Read the latest on this Self-employment Income Support Scheme from the government. There are answers to FAQs about the SEISS on the government’s Business Support pages.

        In the meantime self-employed people who have seen their income drop due to the coronavirus pandemic may be able to claim Universal Credit. Read about updates to Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay for people classed as self-employed.

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        As an employer, what are my responsibilities for home working staff?

        Tenants who are concerned about making their rent payments or loss of earnings because of illness or self-isolation are advised to check the government’s support for businesses webpage. This site contains a comprehensive guide on the schemes and grants available.

        If you require further advice from the team, please email estates@thanet.gov.uk.

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        As my business adapts to the coronavirus, I am considering making food deliveries from my business premises, can I do this?

        The Government has announced they are to relax any planning restrictions for pubs, restaurants and cafes at this time to help businesses adapt and support individuals who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus.

        The Government has also advised that it will introduce a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 – drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only. Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends. If alcohol is to be sold and delivered, this is a licensable activity and cannot take place unless an existing licence is in force which permits you to do so.

        We have comprehensive advice and guidance for trading as a takeaway businesses on our website.

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        Have planning restrictions which control the hours during which deliveries may be made changed?

        Yes, the Government announced on 13 March 2020 that local planning authorities should take a positive approach to their engagement with food retailers and distributors, as well as the freight industry, to ensure planning controls are not a barrier to food delivery over the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus. Given the current situation, the council will not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting deliveries of food and other essential deliveries during this period, having regard to their legal obligations.

        The Government recognises that the increased frequency of deliveries, particularly at night, could have a temporary impact on local residents. However, this needs to be balanced by the significant public interest in ensuring local residents have continued access to food, sanitary and other essential goods in their local shops.

        The retail and logistics sectors have also worked to minimise impacts on residents over recent years through Quiet Deliveries and the Government expects that such good practice continues. The Government will review the need for the flexibility outlined in this statement after the pressure from the coronavirus has reduced, and it is the intention to withdraw it once the immediate urgency has subsided.

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        I am concerned that businesses or venues are not observing the closure directive. What can I do?

        Venue closure is enforced by our Public Protection and Licensing Team in conjunction with the police and Trading Standards. If we have a suspicion or allegation against a premises, we will send a ‘warning letter’ explaining that there is a suspicion and that we are carrying out further investigations.  If we find the premises has contravened the current legislation they will be served with a Prohibition Notice, and may face prosecution by Thanet District Council. They will also be referred to the Licensing Board and may lose their licence.

        So far, 14 warning letters have been issued and four Immediate Prohibition Notices served. Anyone with information about premises in breach of the regulations can report it confidentially on 101 or 01843 577000 or email environmental.health@thanet.gov.uk.

        View the latest guidance on which businesses and premises must close (following the Prime Minister’s address on Monday 23 March 2020)

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