As you can appreciate these answers may not be the same as we have written today Tuesday 24th, but 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. If these are not your normal suppliers then you may be asked to pay upfront. Don’t expect credit terms. Growers need their money also. British growers are also available for a limited supply but you must contact them directly and arrange your own deliveries where possible.
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”
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.
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’’.
Collection from shops by customers is not permitted. Collection from wholesalers by florists is not permitted. Further information on these exemptions and rules can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance
We realise there are a thousand other questions but we are here for you and still open!
STAY HOME STAY SAFE.