Coronavirus Business Support

Here is the latest business support advice, guidance and links to more information in relation to COVID-19. This page is updated on a regular basis. To find out more about any of the below areas of support, please click on the menu title to expand it.

For the latest City of York Council updates on Coronavirus click here

For all the latest government updates please visit The Department of Health and Social Care Twitter page is updated daily at 2pm. The government has updated its guidance to assist employers and businesses in providing advice on coronavirus, COVID-19.

Public Health England have produced advice on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing.

See the latest updates and advice from City of York Council to support residents, visitors and businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Government guidance for re-opening of businesses:

From 4 July more businesses have been able to reopen if their premises can be made COVID secure. New restrictions announced by the government on 22 September will see the COVID secure guidelines become legal obligations across retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors. The reopening of business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events expected from 1 October has also now been paused. Businesses can find out more about updated guidance specific to their sector here:

Customer logging toolkit for businesses - Public Health England has published a Customer Logging Toolkit which contains a variety of template materials for businesses to display, as well as guidance on how the policy works.

Retail reopening:

City of York Council has developed a business recovery toolkit to help businesses reopen safely, which is being updated following new restrictions announced on 22 September. The toolkit includes guidance on practical measures for your premises, to help keep staff and customers safe, and posters, stickers and other resources to support the changes you have to make.

‘We’re good to go’ - new industry standard launched:

The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses across the sector can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place.

Download new toolkit for licensed premises:

For licensed premises, City of York Council's toolkit of resources to support you to reopen and operate safely is being updated following new restrictions announced on 22 September.  

VAT: reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions:

Updated 24 September - The VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be extended until the end of March 2021. Guidance is available here following the Government’s earlier announcement that VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions. 

Eligible attractions for the temporary reduced rate of VAT include shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and other cultural events and facilities, but do not include admission to sporting events. Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption. Find more information about which attractions are eligible for the reduced rate of VAT.

Free services for small firms:

Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from Coronavirus. Find out more here.

Funding Support:

  • Find out how City of York Council is supporting York businesses during this time. There are a number of funding options available to York businesses during the current situation. The package of measures to support businesses includes:
    • a New Jobs Support Scheme to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
    • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
    • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
    • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
    • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, and now extended until 30 November. Please click here for full details.
    • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
    • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  • Winter Economy Plan update, 24 September - Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the update to Government, outlining how jobs and the economy will be support over the coming months. Central to the plan is a new Job Support Scheme to replace furlough and extension of Self Employment Income Support Scheme, whileover 1m businesses will get flexibilities to help pay back loans. The budget made it clear that funding will be available for businesses in relation to coronavirus. For the latest information, including how the support will be delivered and eligibility criteria, please visit this page on for further details.
  • Kickstart Scheme - the government's £2 billion Kickstart Scheme is open for applications (from 2 September 2020) to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements via gov.​uk. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number. A list of partner organisations is being collated by your local York Jobcentre team – 
  • SME grant funding and Kick-starting Tourism - The Government announced (30 July 2020) a £20 million fund to support the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in England. The new £1,000-£3,000 grants will support SMEs and tourism businesses to access access technology, equipment or professional advice as they plan for recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stage 1 applications opened on Wednesday 30 September at 10am via York and North Yorkshire LEP. Due to the expected high demand for the grants, the closing date for Stage 1 applications is 10am on Monday 5 October 2020. A total of £260,000 for visitor economy and £250,000 for wider SME’s is available across York and North Yorkshire. 
    Find out more and complete your online application here. 
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) - Following the Winter Economy Plan update, this support will be extended on similar terms as the new Job Support Scheme. Applications for a second and final grant capped at £6,570 are now open and must be received by 19 October 2020.
  • Apprentices and Trainees - The government is offering to pay for businesses to hire apprentices, with a payment of £2,000 for those aged 16-24 and for apprentices aged 25 and over it will be £1,500. Employers will be paid £1,000 to take on trainees. More details to come, in the meantime contact
  • Bounce Bank Loans - Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days under the 100% government-backed loan scheme for small businesses. The Bounce Bank Loans will be interest-free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. Find out more here.
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms. Read more here and see the accredited lenders here. The scheme is open for applications and has also been extended until 30 November. 
  • To support you and your business through this difficult time, Garbutt + Elliott have created a number of articles and useful resources which give you detailed information on how to access loans and finance this challenging time. Access here

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

  • Updated 24 September - this scheme will be replaced from 1 November with the new Job Support Scheme.
  • A Guide to making a claim via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It has been confirmed that employers will be able to make claims on behalf of their furloughed employees from 20 April 2020.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance updated 29 May. Guidance has been published outlining the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. These include:
    • From 1 July employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June 2020.
    • Flexibly furlough employees, meaning employees can come back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.
    • Still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period.
    • From 1 September 2020, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough. Find more information on how the amount of grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.
  • A new template is available for employers who will be claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The new form is for claims on or after 1 July.
  • Job retention bonus - employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021. On 31 July 2020, HMRC announced further details regarding eligibility requirements and how employers can claim the bonus.
  • A previous update to the scheme on 17 July clarified that notice periods being served by furloughed employees include contractual notice periods.

Further Advice and Guidance:

Make It York offers growing, established, and relocating businesses access to a wealth of information, advice and support, including growth, access to finance and funding, skills and training, property search, international trade and much more.

Find out more here


Click here for the latest updates and advice from City of York Council to support residents, visitors and businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 


Here is some useful advice and guidance available to the creative and cultural sector regarding the status of sector funding, resources and online events, in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. 


Guidance for the Creative and Cultural Sector: 


Funding – DCMS Support Package updates: 


 Funding – various updates:  

  • New Ideas Fund (Creative England)The programme’s aims are to support growth of screen sector in England. The New Ideas fund is a programme of small grants for creative entrepreneurs and companies working in moving image for storytelling. Full details are here:  
  • Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy: As part of their response to COVID-19, Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy are offering a free ‘Power Hour’ of consultancy support every day, to any arts organisation needing help with income generation, fundraising strategy, or donor management. Find out more: 
  • York CVS have a COVID-19 Funding Information page where they’ve collated local and national funding opportunities that are currently accepting applications, as well as funding specific to social enterprises and charities. 
  • Cash for Kids Appeal: Basic Essentials Family Grants are available to organisations seeking to help the individual families they work with affected by poverty due to the Covid-19 virus. £35 per child is available for children up to and including the age of 18 as soon as funds are available. Read more here. 


Health and Wellbeing: 


We’ll also be sharing links to ways people can support their wellbeing during this time. Find out more oour Twitter feed. 


For the latest Tourism and Hospitality Advice, see here