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We are urging businesses to find out more about the latest guidance and regulations related to COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 guidance (from GOV.UK)

Covid-19 Business Support Grants

In December 2021, the Government announced new Covid support grants to support some businesses impacted by the rising number of cases caused by the Omicron variant.

If you have any queries about the grants outlined below, please email the Economic Development team for further guidance.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG)

This is a one-off grant for businesses in hospitality, leisure and accommodation premises who offer in-person services and who pay business rates (based on their valuation in December 2021).

The grants will be allocated as below:

  • Businesses with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £2,667.
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £4,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or over on 30 December 2021 will receive a payment of £6,000.

Only businesses who were trading in December 2021 and whose main service is in hospitality, leisure or accommodation will be able to apply for the grant. More advice on eligibility can be found in the full guidance referred to below.

Read the full guidance on the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG).

Eligible businesses will be invited to apply for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG) or can apply using the application forms below.

Applications must be received by 18 February 2022 with all payments being completed by 31 March 2022.

Apply for the OHLG in Babergh

Apply for the OHLG in Mid Suffolk

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

This is a discretionary fund that will be open for businesses impacted by the rise of Covid cases related to the Omicron variant during December 2021 and January 2022 who are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

This support will take the form of a one-off grant and is open to businesses within the following sectors who can demonstrate they have been severely impacted by the rising Omicron variant:

  • Hospitality, Leisure and Accommodation businesses who are excluded from the OHLG scheme.
  • Businesses within the personal care sector.
  • Wholesale businesses who supply over 51% of their goods to the Hospitality, Leisure and Accommodation sectors.

To ensure all eligible businesses have opportunity to access this discretionary grant scheme, the Councils are administering an application-based approach to the grants which will then be reviewed by a grant panel after the grant closing date. Decisions will be made in early March with all payments made by the 31 March 2022.

Applications to the Additional Restrictions Grant must be submitted by 18 February 2022.

Read more guidance about the Additional Restrictions Grant.

Apply for the Additional Restriction Grant (For businesses in Babergh and Mid Suffolk)

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

On Wednesday 15 December, the government released guidance for the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund. First announced in March 2020, this relief fund will be available to support those businesses affected by the pandemic but ineligible for other support linked to business rates.

We are currently reviewing the guidance and will be contacting businesses eligible for this rate relief scheme in the new year.

Please note, ratepayers who either are or would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) are ineligible for this scheme.

Posters - mask reminder

We have provided a free downloadable poster to remind people to wear face coverings in shops and other premises.

NHS QR codes

These venues:

  • Venues within the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries
  • Close contact services
  • Community centres
  • Village halls

must now request that every individual scan the NHS QR code or provide their contact details upon arrival. Every individual must do this - not just the lead member of the group.

This is to make sure that every person can receive timely public health advice, should they be/potentially be exposed to COVID-19.

You should make sure that all your staff have been notified of this change. All staff should understand that will have to ask all people entering the venue to scan the NHS code, or provide their contact details. Exemptions include children under the age of 16, and people entering the venue for drop-off/takeaway only.

Before reopening your venue, you must make sure that you understand your obligations:

  • Display an official NHS QR code poster
  • Request that all customers and visitors scan the NHS QR code or provide their contact details
  • Keep a record of all staff (including shift times)
  • Provide an alternative method to collect contact details (which doesn't require ownership of a smartphone)
  • Keep information securely for 21 days before destroying it, and provide it to NHS Test & Trace if requested
  • Hospitality venues only: Take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to participate with customer/visitor obligations. This means you must - to the best of your ability - comply with the requirement to refuse entry. You should feel that you have done all that could be reasonably expected of you.

Read further guidance about the NHS Test & Trace requirements

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has produced guidance to ensure you are GDPR compliant when collecting and storing contact details.

Venue alerts process: guide for businesses

Venue check in regulations: fact sheet (simplified)

Venue check in regulations: fact sheet

Venue check in benefits: poster

Further resources