National restrictions from 5 January
Business Support Grants – from 5 January
As of 5 January 2021, the government announced another period of national restrictions. Further rounds of the Local Restriction Support Grant (Closed) have been announced, which will be available on a 6-weekly basis for businesses that have been directly required to close because of government restrictions.
The government has also announced additional funding for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality industries, with the level of award based on the rateable value of the property that the business occupies. We are currently awaiting further guidance from government on these grant schemes but will publish further information as soon as possible.
Additional Restrictions Grant
The application period for the Additional Restrictions Grant has now closed, as of Thursday 31 December 2020.
There will be future rounds of the Additional Restrictions Grant in 2021. Please continue to check our website and social media channels for further information and the eligibility criteria.
Businesses and venues which must close
As a result of the national lockdown imposed from 5 January, to reduce social contact, government regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:
- non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
- hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; except for providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
- accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
- leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
- entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks.
- animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres).
- indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
- personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.
- community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services.
Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a few exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:
- education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
- childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
- hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
- to provide medical treatment
- for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
- for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
- for the purposes of film and TV filming
Businesses and venues which can remain open
During the national lockdown put in place on 5 January, some businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:
- essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
- market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
- businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
- petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
- banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
- funeral directors
- laundrettes and dry cleaners
- medical and dental services
- vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
- animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
- agricultural supplies shops
- mobility and disability support shops
- storage and distribution facilities
- car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
- outdoor playgrounds
- outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
- places of worship
- crematoriums and burial grounds
If you require any COVID-19 signage for your business premise, you can download and print posters here.
Business advice line
You can contact the Kent and Medway Growth Hub Business Advice Line:
Telephone: 03333 602 300
The dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline is available Monday to Friday, 8.30am until 5pm, where businesses can speak to someone who can:
- advise on the type of business support available
- signpost businesses to the correct provider of any support measures
- offer a call back from an adviser to talk through options
A live web-chat service is also manned by business advisers dedicated to providing COVID-19 advice that can be accessed on Kent and Medway Growth Hub.
The helpline service is funded by Kent local authorities (including Tunbridge Wells Borough Council) and Kent County Council.
Other useful business websites
Several business organisations are providing helpful information and guidance for businesses as well. For example:
We have set up an email address should you have questions that the links or information here do not answer. We are happy to receive your emails and will do all we can to help.
Please understand that we may not be able to give you a definitive response to questions if we haven’t received the detailed information from central government.
To keep up to date with all the information, and other business support options, please continue to look at the COVID-19 related pages on our website and our social media channels, via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also sign-up to our business e-newsletter.