Advice & Guidance: Covid-19

Keeping You Up To Date

As the Coronavirus continues to impact the operations of businesses, learn more about the steps that Chambers and Members can implement to minimise the impact on local communities.
Latest Scottish Government Guidance

Guidance on new stay at home regulations came into effect on 5 January 2021. Further details of the latest restrictions can be viewed by clicking here.

Key Changes include:

  • By law, in a Level 4 area, you can only leave your home (or garden) for an essential purpose.

  • Shop online or use local shops and services wherever you can

  • Travel no further than you need to reach to a safe, non-crowded place to exercise in a socially distanced way.

Funding Sources For Businesses and Individuals in Scotland

Visit https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice/sources-of-funding for further information about available grants, loans and support schemes.

Support Mechanisms available now
Strategic Framework Business Fund If your business is required to close by law or to significantly change its operations due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible to apply for grant funding. Grants will be paid every 4 weeks in arrears as long as restrictions last. You can still apply even if you are required to close or modify your operations for less than 4 weeks. If your business is required to close by law, apply for the Temporary Closure grant:
  • £2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
  • £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above
If your business can remain open but is specifically required to modify its operations by law, for example having to close earlier than normal, apply for the Business Restrictions grant. This does not include where a demand for your products or services has been reduced because of the pandemic:
  • £1, 400 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
  • £2,100 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above
Click here for more information UK Government Statutory Sick Pay – Employee  Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by Coronavirus. To access the scheme:
  • If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund Administered by VisitScotland, the third round sought to build on the momentum generated by the first two rounds of funds to create a strategic network of facilities which will meet visitor and community needs as the industry moves into the recovery phase of the STERG National Action Plan. The types of project that could be supported include parking, campervan facilities including disposal points, viewpoints and toilet provision. All approved projects for each of the 3 rounds can be found here.
Tourism Business Improvement Districts Scotland’s Improvement Districts (IDs) offer up to £20,000 to help set up IDs across Scotland as well as specialist advice and guidance on how to do so. They’ll also work in close collaboration with the businesses involved during the development process and when the Improvement District is operating. For more information you can contact them on 0131 247 1424 or email phil@improvementdistricts.scot.
VisitScotland Growth Fund Applications must come from groups with a strong mix of tourism businesses. The Growth Fund teamwill support you through the process and provide advice around monitoring and evaluation. Future Panel dates will be announced shortly.
SME Brexit Support Fund SMEs who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. To provide SMEs with additional support, the SME Brexit Support Fund will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme. *This fund is being served on first come first served basis and is being administered by PWC on behalf of the UK Government so please note the quickest entry point for applications is not via the UK Government’s Prepare for Brexit website. Applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date
Kickstart Scheme The UK government has introduced a Kickstart Scheme to create high-quality 6-month work placements. It is aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.
Foresight Scottish Growth Fund The Scottish Growth Scheme is a package of financial support of up to £500 million for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland. The fund offers equity investments of up to £2m, in rounds of up to £10m alongside co-investor firms, to growing SMEs.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme(CBILS). The CBILS offers government-backed, 12 months interest-free loans of up to £5m for businesses which turn over up to £45m. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. The scheme has been extended until 31st March 2021 and is available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders and partners, which are listed on the British Business Bank website.
Recovery Loan Scheme The scheme ensures that businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. The scheme launches on 6 April 2021 and is open until 31 December 2021 , subject to review. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. More information
Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) – Self-employed people can receive up at least three months in grants. This scheme will provide a grant worth 80% of profits to a cap of £2,500 per month for the self-employed with profits less than £50,000 per annum. It will be based on average profits declared in the last 3 years tax return will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months. Applications will open in tranches based on your UTR number.  Those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by within 6 working days of making a claim.  More details can be found here. Please note: Claims for the third SEISS grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021. This guidance applies to claims made during the third grant period. Details about the fourth grant will be announced late April.  Find out more about the fourth grant.
Extend Your Filing Deadline If your business has been affected by COVID-19, you can apply online for an automatic three-month extension, to give you more time to submit your accounts to Companies House. You can only apply for an extension if your normal filing deadline has not already passed.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under this scheme, employers can furlough employees who they might otherwise have to make redundant due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The UK Government will pay 80% of the wages (up to a maximum of £2,500 a month) of these furloughed employees to preserve jobs. Click here to check if you can claim Please note: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. Find out more about how the scheme is changing.You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
Events Industry Support Fund 2 The Events Industry Support Fund 2 is now closed for applications. If you have any queries about the fund or your application please contact eventsindustrysupportfund2@visitscotland.com.

Mobile And Home Based Close Contact Services Fund

This fund is now closed for applications. If you have a question about your application, please use the separate enquiry form at the bottom of the application page This fund is for owners and operators of mobile and home-based close contact service businesses and for registered driving instructors. It is not for employees of those businesses.
Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund This fund is now closed for applications. If you have a question about your application, please use the separate enquiry form at the bottom of the application page This grant scheme is designed to help alleviate financial hardship for newly self-employed people who meet the eligibility criteria set out below. Find out more

Sea Fisheries Hardship Fund

This fund provides emergency support for Scottish-registered fishing vessels 12 metres and under in length which have lost their source of income due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Eligible vessels have been sent an application form to complete. If you have not been sent a form but think you might be eligible, contact seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot. Click here for more information 

Women in Agriculture

Women living or working in Scottish agriculture will benefit from £115,000 of extra funding for a wide range of practical training courses including tractor and trailer driving. Administered by Lantra Scotland, it will provide practical, land-based skills training with full funding of up to £500 per course. Support for higher value courses may also be available. More information

The Data Lab Funding Schemes

The Data Lab, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for data and AI, has announced two new funding schemes – Data Skills for Work, and an SME data internship grant Data Skills for Work Funding The Data Lab MSc Industrial Placement Programme Please note: both these funds have now closed – contact skills@thedatalab.com for more information.

B&B, Exclusive Use Venue & Large Self-Catering Grants

B&B: This fund will provide bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) that pay council tax, but not non-domestic rates, with financial support equivalent to the Strategic Framework Business Fund Level 4 payments. This amounts to grants of £2,000 every four weeks. This fund is now closed to new applicants. Support for Bed and Breakfasts Paying Council Tax Grant Exclusive Use Grant: This fund provides financial support for exclusive use properties in Scotland that have been impacted by the single household restrictions during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The grant will make one-off payments of £10,000 to eligible applicants. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment from 15 February 2021. There is no need to apply. Exclusive Use Grant Large Self-Catering Grant: This fund is for larger self-catering properties in Scotland that have been impacted by the single household restrictions during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The grant will make one-off payments of £2,000 to eligible applicants. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment. There is no need to apply. Large Self-Catering Grant

Hostels Fund

Strand one & 2 are now closed for applications: If you have any queries about the Hostel COVID-19 Business Support and Continuity Fund, please contact hostelsfundenquiries@visitscotland.com. Click here for more information 
Accommodation Providers Paying Council Tax Fund This fund is now closed to new applicants. All business must be re-registered by 22 March 2021 to receive payment. Payments will be made as soon as possible once a business is registered. More Information

Scotland Tour Guides Fund

Scotland’s Tour Guides Fund is now closed for applications. If you have any queries about the fund or your application please contact TourGuidesFundEnquiries@visitscotland.com. Click here for more information 

Campervan & Motorhome Rental Operators Fund

This fund is now closed. For any queries about the Campervan & Motorhome Rental Operators Fund, please contact: CampervanandMotorhomeRentalEnquiries@visitscotland.com

Support for Travel Agents

This fund will be administered through local authorities (your local council) and will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses. The level of grant awarded will depend on the rateable value of the premises from which you operate. Financial assistance will be paid, as a one-off grant of:
  • £10,000 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £18,000
  • £25,000 for premises which have a rateable value of £18,001 or above.
Local authorities will contact travel agents in their area directly to seek the necessary information to confirm their eligibility and process payment. Click here for more information 

Support for Indoor Football Centres

This fund will be administered through local authorities (your local council) and will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses. The level of grant awarded will depend on the rateable value of the premises from which they operate. Financial assistance will be paid, as a one-off grant of:
  • £10,000 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £18,000
  • £25,000 for premises which have a rateable value of £18,001 or above
Local authorities will contact indoor football centres in their area directly to confirm their eligibility and process payment. Click here for more information 

The Promise Partnership Fund

Applications have now closed – Decisions week commencing 29th March 2021. Click here for more information 
Non-Domestic Rates Support For Businesses

To help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21.

The Scottish Government has introduced extra rates reliefs (discounts) and a one-off grant for some businesses, further details below.

These reliefs will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

**Please note, the non-domestic rates reliefs and grant funding measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in March 2020 apply only in England.**

Deferring payment of non-domestic rates

If a business is struggling to pay its non-domestic rates bill they should contact their local council and ask them about alternative payment options.

For more information, visit the Scottish Government site.

Extra reliefs for businesses to help with COVID-19

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21. Businesses will not need to apply for this relief and it will be applied to your bill by the local council’s. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief – in order to gain this relief, a property has to be occupied.

Businesses Offering Support

How to offer support

Businesses, third sector or voluntary organisations can offer to help with the response to coronavirus by completing an online form.

If you’ve already sent an offer by email, you do not need to complete this form again.  You’ll be contacted as soon as possible if your support is needed.

 

Offer PPE to NHS Scotland 

Anyone with PPE that meets the NHS standards can offer their PPE directly to the NHS on the NHS Scotland Supply Offers Portal.

All personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS or social care services must meet the NHS PPE standards which you can read on GOV.UK.

Local Authority Discretionary Funds

The Scottish Government has provided £30million of funding to local authorities to provide additional support for businesses.

The aim of the fund is to mitigate short term issues being experienced by businesses that are struggling due to the Coronavirus restrictions and regulations that have been introduced since October.

 

Am I eligible?

Local authorities will be able to direct financial support to specific groups, sectors or businesses within their local areas. This may mean that eligibility criteria across the country will vary.

How do I apply?

Businesses can apply directly through their local authority. Links to each local authorities application page can be found below.


Coronavirus symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms

The Scottish Government publishes the number of test results and new cases each day.

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • high temperature or fever

  • cough

  • shortness of breath

  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Public health advice can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS.

 

A free helpline has been set up for people who do not have symptoms but are looking for general advice: 0800 028 2816. 

 

Overseas visitors to Scotland, regardless of their residency status, are exempt from NHS charges for both the diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Travel advice

International Travel and Quarantine Advice is updated regularly by the Scottish Government.

Travel advice and country-specific information can be found at FitForTravel.

Scotland’s COVID Protection Levels (Five-Tier System)

A five-tier system intended to curb the spread of coronavirus is now in effect in Scotland. Each area has a COVID protection level. There are 5 different levels starting from 0 to 4. The lowest level is 0 and the highest level is 4.

postcode checker has been launched so people can confirm the level at which their area has been placed.

The Scottish Government framework can be viewed here.

Workplace Guidance For Micro And Small Businesses

Scottish Chambers of Commerce has created guidance which provides practical advice for micro (less than 10 employees) and small (less than 50 employees) companies as they plan to re-open their businesses. This guidance is for businesses where there is no sector-specific guidance published, so if your business is in a sector for which specific guidance has been published, then you should follow this.

To view the document, please click here.

For specific sector guidance from the Scottish Government, please click here.

Advice from Government

If you are an employer or a business owner, the UK Government has provided the following guidance for employers and businesses.

Businesses should check for daily updates and subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure they are acting on the most up to date information.

 

The Scottish government has published Covid-19: Scotland’s Route Map Through And Out Of The Crisis.

 

This document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the Coronavirus outbreak and sets out the government’s plans for the next phases of its response. The UK government has also updated its guidance for businesses on working safely during Coronavirus.

To view the document, please click here.

For specific sector guidance from the Scottish Government, please click here.