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

Updated Tuesday 13th July 2021

THE DETAILS BELOW IS THE LATEST INFORMATION FOR FLORISTS WITH REGARD TO THE NATIONAL LOCKDOWN FOR ENGLAND. THE LATEST INFORMATION HAS NOW BEEN UPDATED FOR THE WELSH, SCOTTISH AND NORTHERN IRELAND RULES.

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.

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. Please note that some of these guidelines may not apply nationally and always check with your local council for updated information. During this time we urge you to follow government guidelines.

10, Can I still claim for flexible furlough? If you’re bringing back your employees part time, you can claim furlough flexibly for them under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), part of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs. You have until 11‌‌.59pm this coming Wednesday ‌14‌‌ ‌July to claim for pay periods in June. You can continue to claim for periods in July until the 16‌‌ ‌August. To help you plan ahead for future claim periods, the CJRS calculator is available to help you work out how much you can claim for employees up to the end of September.
If you’re a small or medium-sized employer with fewer than 250 employees, you may also be eligible for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. View the recorded webinar about the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme on HMRC’s YouTube channel, for further guidance on the scheme, including who you can claim for, how to claim and what you may be entitled to. You can also find out what other financial support may be available for you and your business as part of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs, by searching ‘find coronavirus financial support’ on GOV‌‌.UK. https://www.gov.uk/contact-hmrc

9, What are the rules on weddings in England from the 14th June announcement? – the government link to the new rules/ restrictions have been updated, however only the ‘summery of changes’ has been rewritten and we are waiting for clarification on other wedding topics. Click here to read the summary.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremonies-receptions-and-celebrations#summary-of-changes-from-21-june

8, What is a happening in Wales with regard to weddings? – First Minister Mark Drayford has announced that Wales will start a phased move into alert level one on Monday 7th June. This means that up to 30 can meet outdoors in private gardens, outdoor hospitality and public places. Larger outdoor organised gatherings can go ahead for up to 4k standing and 10k seated (with preventative measures in place) Further changes to the regulations on indoor activities will be considered later on in the month ahead of June 21st. This will be determined whether indoor events can restart, once again providing public health conditions allow. This includes the move to allow 50 indoors (capped now at 30 ) for a wedding celebration. At the end of a three week period this will be reviewed and assessed. We will keep you updated on the 21st June with further changes to the rest of the devolved nations.

7, How long can I use use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme– The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. Find out more about how the scheme is changing. Claims for furlough days in May 2021 must be made by 14 June 2021.

For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 2 March 2021 to claim for periods starting on or after 1 May 2021.

For periods ending on or before 30 June 2021 you can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced each month and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages.

6- What is the latest news with regards to Grants?

England – We urge all businesses to be ready to apply for the new £5 billion ‘Restart’ /ARG grant scheme which is set to open on April 1st

From 1 April businesses in England in the non-essential retail sector will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000. Businesses can check their eligibility for the Restart Grant here. This is coupled with £425 million of top-up funding for the ongoing Additional Restrictions Grant scheme for councils to distribute to businesses in particularly urgent need of additional support – which could also be businesses who don’t necessarily pay business rates like tour operators, B&Bs, caterers, freelancers and wedding service providers. Find out more here.

A new Business Rates relief fund of £1.5 billion for businesses affected by COVID-19 outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors has been announced to provide an extra, targeted support package for businesses who have been unable to benefit from the existing £16 billion business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. The £1.5 billion pot will be allocated to local authorities in England based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19. Local Authorities will use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards. Find out more here.

Scotland – Reliefs for all non-domestic properties

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief until 31 March 2021. This relief effectively reverses the change in poundage for 2020-21.How to apply- You do not need to apply for this relief. It will be applied to your bill by your local council. For more detail go to https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/

Wales – Restrictions Business Fund. Following the First Minister’s announcement on 12 March, two new Non Domestic Rate linked grants are being introduced: The additional support will help businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates and will operate as a top up to the Restrictions Business Fund. To find further information go to https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

Northern Ireland – The pages are not dated and therefore we can not report the latest information. Please go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-support-businesses

5 – Do I need to get my staff tested and what are the rules? It is important to remember under Health and Safety legislation, employers are required to reduce risks from Covid-19 in the the workplace and this includes talking with employees.  If seeking to require employees to participate in workplace testing, then consulting on how this will work is something you are required to do so that you can seek agreement and participation. Employers are currently encouraged to review their workplaces and to consider implementing work place testing. For more information on testing click here https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests

4- What changes to Furlough have been made since the budget update? An extension of the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to September 2021 across the UK. Furlough will be extended until the end of September with the employer contributing to the scheme from July and the Government tapering their contributions. The scheme will continue at 80% and will then taper with employers contributing 10% from July and 20% in August and September.  Employees will continue to receive 80 per cent of their salary for hours not worked until the scheme ends.  The employers’ contribution will be in addition to their National Insurance and pension payments, which they pay at the moment. Individuals and businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to be supported by the UK Government through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, self-employment grants, loan schemes and VAT cuts. Devolved administrations have received Barnett funding to provide support in areas of devolved responsibility.

3 – What about apprenticeships? Are they still available in the new budget? Extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021 and an increase of payment to £3,000.

2 –What is the guidance for business while doing Click and Collect?  Click-and-collect and delivery services can only operate where goods are pre-ordered (by phone, online, via a mobile app or by post) and collected without entering the premises. For Scotland from Saturday 16 January click and collect can operate for essential and certain non-essential retail only. The non-essential retailers which can continue to operate click and collect services are:

  • clothing and footwear stores
  • homeware stores
  • garden centre/plant nurseries
  • baby equipment shops
  • electrical shops (including repairs)
  • key cutting and shoe repairs
  • bookstores

Online services for essential and non-essential goods, which are delivered to a person’s home or business, are permitted. For more details on Scotland’s Rules CLICK HERE

1 –What are the Grants available to us this time round? Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new emergency support for non-essential businesses affected by England’s third coronavirus lockdown.

A one-off grant of up to £9,000 will be available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, including local outlets such as florists which have been ordered to close until at least February 22. The Treasury said the new support grants will offer companies up to £9,000 through to March as part of a £4.6 billion package “to support businesses and protect jobs”. This will start at £4,000 and increase in line with the firm’s rateable value. To find out if you are eligible for these grants CLICK HERE. To read the latest financial information via the BFA website page CLICK HERE

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