Update for businesses as lockdown eases

John Bridge is the chairman of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce.

John Bridge is the chairman of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce. - Credit: ARHANT

John Bridge, chairman of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, updates on rule changes and guidance for businesses regarding the easing of lockdown.

A Working Safely During Coronavirus: Guidance document has been updated with a new shorter format focusing on actions to make workplaces COVID-secure as well as Step 1 of the roadmap out of lockdown. More guidance on reopening business and venues in England can be found on the Chamber's website.  

Mr Bridge urges businesses to check if they are eligible for a coronavirus Restart Grant.

"The Restart Grant scheme supports businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care, and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant, to reopen safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Grants are available from April 2021, but applications can be submitted in advance."

HMRC has extended the time limit for notifying an option to tax land and buildings

"Guidance has been updated to temporarily extend the time limit to 90 days from the date the decision to opt was made. This applies to decisions made between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021, " explained Mr Bridge.

"HMRC has released a brief outlining the accelerated process for VAT registered businesses to request temporary alterations to their partial exemption methods to reflect changes to their business practices because of the coronavirus pandemic also."

There is also an update on red list travel ban countries and from March 19, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) and Mauritius were removed from the red list travel ban countries
Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar, and Somalia were added to the red list travel ban countries. 

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"You do not need to take a coronavirus test if you are an HGV or van driver returning to the Netherlands after spending less than 48 hours in the UK. Guidance  has been updated to include information on COVID-19 test time-frames for round-trips between the UK and the Netherlands."

More information is available from the Government website and the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce websites.