Covid-19. Your questions- our answers - British Florist Association

Covid-19. Your questions- our answers

Updated 23rd July 2020

We have taken on board as much factual information as we can, by following Government updates, speaking to other associations, wholesalers, and our florist industry colleagues.

1, Does a florist shop count as non-essential? – Yes, therefore you must close your businesses to the general public walking into your shop or studio. Just because you might work at home, new rules on social distancing and working from home still applies.

2, Can I keep my online business? – Yes. if you sell online then you can continue to run your business.

Please read the following information on here. https://www.britishfloristassociation.org/for-the-industry/industry-news/important-grant-information-for-florists/ which is updated as and when information from the Government is sent.

3, I have read that I can not apply for a grant if I remain with my business, is this true?– No. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills help line said ‘’Flower shops have to close to the public. Florist can trade on-line, can also accept telephone calls (i.e for funeral work) and florists can deliver.

Small business grants if eligible, will be paid by your local authority and are not affected if you continue trading online’’.

The local authorities will be in touch with those businesses where they believe the grants apply (the grants are not claimed as such) and as above are presumably awaiting more detail from the Government before issuing these letters. We believe that the relevant local authority will need to be contacted directly if you want a definitive answer – once they have received the necessary guidance from the Government.

4, What benefit can I claim? – Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

5, Have all wholesalers closed down? – No. Some larger online companies are still running deliveries into the UK from Holland and British Growers are delivering nationwide. If these are not your normal suppliers then you may be asked to pay upfront. Don’t expect credit terms. Growers need all the support possible if we want any British or dutch growers to get through this year. 

6, Can I deliver to the funeral directors? – Yes. We have contacted the NFD which have now advised you contact your local funeral directors. Deliveries are still allowed (if your FD allows) as long as you follow Government advice.

7,Can I get support for rent costs? – You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit.

8, Do I have lay off all my staff? – No, this is a huge decision that only you can make. Please read the following link about staff layoff. https://www.britishfloristassociation.org/for-the-industry/florist-news-on-covid-19/

9, I am a Ltd company, can I go on Furlough? – As a LTD company and director of the company you can go on furloughed payments. However, only the amounts paid to directors through PAYE will be eligible for the Governments Job Retention scheme.  Any dividends from your company will not be taken into consideration. As a business you can still apply for the grant. Your accountant should be able to give a decisive answer to the question regarding dividends as some Ltd companies do not pay themselves a dividend.

Government information states ”Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes”

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until end of October
  • furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500
  • new flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy

In a boost to millions of jobs and businesses, Rishi Sunak said the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

To find more information about the rules on Directors and Limited companies go to https://companieshouse.blog.gov.uk/2019/02/21/7-duties-of-a-company-director/?fbclid=IwAR3HcUHFPW-0JqTSLg3J3RQdIdD-UM8BfJ1gqCm0qEHmJETHOja_uebnLjo

10, Can I offer click and collect? – Important information for Florists and Wholesalers regarding collections.

Currently florists are still non essential and as such must stay closed but may continue to trade online and over the phone. 

The British Florist Association is dedicated to relaying factual information to all our members so that you may all feel comfortable and confident to make operational decisions based on your specific businesses. During this time we urge you to follow government guidelines.

Our contact at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has clarified the following “Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal. Wholesalers, if they wish, could take orders online over the phone and deliver to florists, but florist could not visit the wholesaler’’.  

All retail, other than those exempt, must close their premises to members of the public. However, staff may be present to make deliveries or provide services in response to orders such as those through telephone, online, or mail. Click and collect services can also operate, though customers must not enter premises.

 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

11, How do I work safely in the workplace?- Here is the link to working safely in factories plants and warehouses should that apply to you as well

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/factories-plants-and-warehouses

NI, Scotland and Wales gov websites must be checked to make sure that any differences within the guidelines are correct for the area you live and work in. We are doing our best to give universal information. Currently there is no reason why you can not make preparations Source).

12, Can I claim for a grant from the Government if i am self employed? – Yes but you will need to follow the link and you’ll need your UTR number and your NI number.

From 8am Wednesday 13 May 2020, self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500), paid in a single instalment. 

Check if you are eligible for the scheme https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

People will be able to make their claim on a specified date between 13-18 May, based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker at any time. People will not be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.

The claims process is simple, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May 2020, or within six working days of completing a claim. 

13, Will I need to do a risk assessment before I go back to work? – Yes and a Health and Safety policy. All useful documents can be found in the members area of the BFA website. For specific information please look at Industry News. https://www.britishfloristassociation.org/industry-news/

Can you explain Flexible Furlough? – from 1‌‌ July 2020, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work. You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for. Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. A template letter for Furloughed employees is available in the BFA Members area.

For more information and full details go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-self-employment-support-scheme-and-confirms-furlough-next-steps

15, What are the dates changing to for Employers contributions? – From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.

  • in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

If you are a smaller employer, some or all of your employer NIC bills will be covered by the Employment Allowance, so you should not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.

Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

16, Can I place plants and flowers on the pavement in front of my business? – It has come the BFA attention that some councils may be much stricter with shops on the display of goods outside on pavement spaces. As you all know usually councils are lenient but given the social distancing rules they may be less so if you don’t have a designated forecourt. Could be worth contacting your local council to see if and how this will be implemented in your area. No one wants a fine so better safe than sorry. Our advice would be, you must comply so why not instead put the effort into the window display. Ensure it is not cluttered, has a focal area/areas, well lit, clean, as few posters /banners as possible with the exception of! the BFA Logo of course and notice to the public that you are COVID 19 compliant.

17, Mandatory masks: What do i need to know? It will be made mandatory for shoppers in England to wear face coverings from July 24, the Government has announced. those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the Government is to announce. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt. The move brings England into line with Scotland and other major European nations such as Spain, Italy and Germany.


In Scotland, the use of coverings in shops has been mandatory since July 10. Shoppers in Wales and Northern Ireland are currently not required to wear them – however, they are mandatory in both countries on public transport. Both nations said they will keep the matter under review.

For more information on the wearing of face masks, see the latest government guidance here For further details on encouraging customer compliance click here

We realise there are a thousand other questions but we are here for you and still open!

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