COVID-19 business updates

The Additional Restrictions Grants scheme is open until April 30th; retrospective Local Restrictions Grants; the next furlough claiming deadline is May 14th; COVID testing.

Bucks Additional Restrictions Grant

The Buckinghamshire Additional Restriction Grant scheme is open for applications until April 30th.

Buckinghamshire Council has reopened the scheme for two additional rounds of funding for businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions during February 2021 and March 2021. Businesses can apply for both rounds of funding through a single form.

Eligibility criteria includes, but is not limited to, experiencing a reduction in income of 30% or more during February 2021 (against February 2020) and/or March 2021 (against March 2020).

IMPORTANT: If your income was already affected in February/March 2020, or if you are a new business, you can still apply.

Businesses that may not qualify on the criteria of a 30% reduction in turnover can fill in the ‘Additional Information’ box on the application form to explain why they may be eligible, and their applications will be considered. This will be particularly useful for new businesses or businesses whose income was already being impacted in February and March 2020.

The closing date for applications is April 30th. Apply now via the Buckinghamshire Council website.

Local Restrictions Support Grants

If your business was required to close for the period of February 16th to March 31st 2021 and you have not already received a Local Restrictions Support Grant for this period, you may be entitled to make a retrospective claim.

This scheme closes on 31st May 2021.

Learn more about the support here >

Book your rapid COVID-19 test now

Fast, free rapid COVID-19 testing is available for people in Buckinghamshire.

There are four test sites open in Amersham, Aylesbury, Buckingham and Wycombe.

There is no longer a need to book a test slot. To get tested and/or collect home test kits, simply visit one of the test centres at a time that is convenient to you.

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms but can still pass it on. Regular testing can help break the chain of infection.

Order coronavirus tests for your employees if you've registered

The deadline for employers to register to order free rapid lateral flow tests for their employees has now passed.

If you’ve already registered - you can order free rapid lateral flow tests until June 30th 2021.

You can order tests either:

  • to use in the workplace
  • for your employees to collect and take home

Get advice on what to do if you didn't register >

Do not use this service if you or your employees have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should order an individual test and stay at home.

COVID-19 'roadmap' outlined by the government

The government has published a four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England over the next few months, depending on progress and outcomes with regards to vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants.

See the potential timeline for businesses reopening or remaining closed.

Read a summary of the roadmap here, and more detailed information here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – next deadline

The next deadline for claiming under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is Friday May 14th.

This deadline is for claims relating to April 2021.

HMRC says:

“You can claim before, during or after you process your payroll. If you can, it’s best to make a claim once you’re sure of the exact number of hours your employees will work so you don’t have to amend your claim at a later date. You and your employees do not need to have benefited from the scheme before to make a claim.” 

Check if you’re eligible and work out how much you can claim using the CJRS calculator and examples here.

What you need to do now

  1. If you haven’t submitted a claim for claim periods from November 1st onwards, but believe that you have a reasonable excuse for not having done so, check if you can apply to make a late claim.
  2. Check you are claiming the right amount by looking at the eligibility criteria and calculating how much you can claim.
  3. Submit any claims for April no later than Friday May 14th.
  4. Keep records that support the amount of CJRS grants you claim, in case HMRC needs to check them.

Making your claim online

To make a CJRS claim, you will need to be registered and have the required access, password or activation code for HMRC online services. Read more information here.

Furlough for caring responsibilities 

Your employees can ask to be furloughed because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare closing. You can place them on furlough and claim for them under the CJRS.

Statutory annual leave can be carried over from 2020/21

Workers are able to carry over any unused statutory annual leave from 2020/21 into the next leave year.

Government regulations introduced in 2020 allowed up to 4 weeks of unused statutory leave to be carried forward from 2019/20 into the next two leave years.

Read more information here.

Visit the government advice homepage for information on holidays, time off, sick pay and maternity and paternity leave.

COVID-19 business support homepage

Visit the Buckinghamshire Business First COVID-19 support homepage for advice and information on all things related to business and COVID-19.

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