Coronavirus FAQs

March 18, 2020

Last updated: 19th March 11:30 am

 

If landlords are getting mortgage free periods, why can’t I, as a renter, get a rent-free period?

 

You will get help! The government announced on the 18th March that there will be a 3-month suspension on landlords being able to evict tenants. There will be more announcements in the coming days.

 

I am trapped abroad, what am I meant to do?

 

Firstly, get in touch with the travel company you booked your holiday with or the airline to see if they can help. Not all flights to the UK are cancelled so your flight may still scheduled. You should also use the following website which includes the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

 

If you are still uncertain about how you will get back to the UK, get in touch with your travel insurance providers and if the following measures have not answered your question, please get in touch with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who will give you the most up to date information on the following number 020 7008 1500.

 

Why is the government making over-70s stay indoors?

 

The government is being led by the best scientific advice from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer. We must trust them to lead the government’s response with the correct measures, at the correct times. 

 

From what we can understand about this virus, it is particularly dangerous to older people. Therefore, to lessen the chances of the elderly catching the virus, which is currently in its most contagious period, the government advice is to stay indoors, wherever possible, for 12 weeks.

 

How are you supporting businesses? 

 

I understand this is a very worrying time for small business owners.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has announced a series of measures to help small businesses through the impacts of Coronavirus. These include, but are not exclusive to, a guarantee of £330 Billion for loans for businesses. This number will rise to whatever amount is needed to secure the future of businesses through this worrying time. Small businesses will be able to access this though the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Up to £5 Million of loans will be available to each business. These measures will be in place by the week commencing the 23rd March.

 

A grant of £25,000 per business will be available to those businesses that are not covered by Coronavirus on their insurance. This is on top of the business rates relief announced in the budget, and this will now cover all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

 

The smallest businesses that are below a rateable income of £51,000 and therefore don’t pay business rate’s already will be able to access a £10,000 grant, up from £3000 that was in the budget. The government will also foot the bill for sick pay for SMEs

 

My business has closed due to Coronavirus, what support is there for my employees?

 

A new Job Retention Scheme has been created where Government will pay 80% of employee's wages up to £2500 a month through grants made to employers, in order to secure wages and keep people in work. These payments will be backdated to March 1st and there is no limit to the fund. Everyone who needs this money will get it.

 

Businesses now have all the funds to keep employees on the payroll, meaning once we get passed coronavirus, we are able to get back on track straight away.

 

What businesses are being told to close?

 

The Government is telling the following businesses across the UK close: 

·       Food and drink venues for consumption on-site, such as restaurants and cafes

·       Drinking establishments, including pubs, bars and nightclubs 

·       Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, and bingo halls

·       Museums and galleries

·       Spas, wellness centres and massage parlours

·       Casinos and betting shops

·       All indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms 
 

Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational. We will change planning regulations so that restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food take away are able to do so. 

 

These measures will be in place for a period of 14 days from the close of business on 20th March, and then reviewed on a monthly basis to consider their effectiveness and compliance in light of changing circumstances.

 

Why is the Government closing schools?

 

The government is led the best scientific advice from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer. They have announced that schools will close for the majority of children from Friday 20th March.

 

Vulnerable children and children of keyworkers will still be able to go to school, including over the school holidays. Vouchers and meals will be made available for children on Free School Meals with costs being reimbursed with a voucher system to come in place.

 

My son/daughter’s exams are cancelled, what will happen now?

 

This year’s summer exam series, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, and all primary assessments, have been cancelled as we fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.

 

Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible

 

The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

 

To produce this, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.

 

I am self-employed and will not be able to earn during the outbreak, how am I meant to still be able to feed my family?

 

The government is going to help everyone where possible. In the coming days, the government is going to outline a number of measures that is aimed at helping the self-employed and to offer income support for individuals. This is being put together as we speak and so I cannot give specifics, but it is aimed at ensuring that people can still pay the bills and get by at this difficult time.

 

My boss isn’t offering me sick pay even though I’m entitled to it, what do I do?

 

Please get in touch with the HMRC Statutory Payment response team on 0300 200 3500 where you will be able to get advice for when companies are not following the new rules. These new rules will be written in to law in the Emergency Coronavirus legislation to be passed by parliament this week, but will be backdated so that companies are legally required to pay this. For SMEs it will be funded by Government.

 

My local supermarket has a long wait for deliveries, what am I meant to do?

 

Whilst I am sure all businesses are trying to increase capacity as much as possible to help those in the community, no business can ever be fully prepared for a situation like this and inevitably, waiting times will increase. The best advice I can give is to ask any family members or neighbours whether they can help with supplies. I have also signed up to the Red Cross who will help wherever possible. You can get in touch with them on 0344 8711111.

 

Whilst the advice is to not go out, if you have no other way of getting food and have no supplies at home, you may have to go to the shops. Just be mindful how and when you travel, go to the shops at a quieter time, only buy essentials and try to keep contact in the shop to a minimum.

 

I am in self-isolation and therefore unable to work, am I entitled to Statutory Sick Pay?

 

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

 

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine. To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay for more information.

 

The government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absenT due to sickness or need to self-isolate caused by COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim.

 

From Friday 20 March onwards, you will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a “fit note” after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.

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