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Support for businesses

  • COVID-19 business help desk

    Blackpool Council has set up a dedicated helpdesk to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. The council’s helpdesk will be manned by business support experts, familiar with the needs of local businesses and knowledgeable about the business support available in Blackpool.

    The helpdesk helps businesses to understand and access the package of support announced by the government. It will also work with you to identify any other relevant business support that is available.

    Businesses should complete an enquiry form. The team will then respond with bespoke help and guidance.

    The team will then respond with bespoke help and guidance.

    Regular updates on government support for business during the pandemic.

  • Financial support

    A number of financial supports have been introduced by the government to help businesses. These include:

    • Business rates relief
    • Business support grant funds
    • Support for the self-employed
    • Support for small and medium-sized businesses
    • Support for large businesses

    View full details of financial support available

  • Job retention scheme

    The government's coronavirus job retention scheme went live on 20 April, with businesses able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.

    Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before 19 March they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system.

    The scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 30 June 2021.

  • Helping businesses to stay safe

    Checklist for businesses

    Blackpool Council wants to assist business as much as possible during these incredibly challenging times.

    It is of paramount importance that we all follow the government guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus.

    Where workplaces are permitted to be open, precautions need to be taken to reduce the risks; to yourself, your employees, and to the general public.

    We have therefore provided a checklist for businesses, of measures that must be in place to control the risk of coronavirus.

    View coronavirus checklist for businesses

    Unfortunately, if businesses cannot comply with the relevant requirements, then the business will be asked to temporarily cease trading.

    Legionnaires' disease advice

    Many businesses will be reopening from 17 May following closures introduced to help control the spread of coronavirus.

    Where a building has been vacant or had significantly reduced usage it is likely that the water supply has also been unused and this increases the chances of bacteria forming.

    This is known as Legionella bacteris, and can cause Legionnaires' disease - a potentially fatal type of pneumonia.

    It is crucial, in order to protect the health of your customers, visitors and staff, that these risks are identified and addressed.

    View information and precautions to take when reopening

  • Workplace testing

    Evidence shows that around 1 in 3 people who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms at all.

    These asymptomatic people can spread the virus unknowingly, in workplaces and in the community. That is why the testing of people without symptoms is vital.

    Employee testing is quick and easy

    Swabbing and processing symptom-free tests can be conducted at home by the employee.

    Rapid ‘lateral flow tests' are used that give results within 30 minutes, without needing to send them to a laboratory.

    The tests are designed to be easy to use and require minimal training to operate.

    Find out more and register your workplace now

  • Guidance and advice for sports grounds, businesses, venues and event organisers.

    Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council Covid-19 public health general guidance and advice for sports grounds, businesses, venues and event organisers.

    On 14 July the government issued events and attractions guidance on managing COVID risks in Step 4, targeted at venue operators in a range of settings including sports grounds. Venue operators must read the guidance in full and familiarise themselves with the contents and not rely on this summary.

    The guidance supports venue operators' existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, entertainment licensing and regulations, employment and equality duties. The document contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations, to ensure venues are operating safely (for example workers and spectators in a sports ground context) by reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

    Venue operators should be directed to take action informed by that guidance, which includes the following (The guidance strongly encourages venue operators to take seven priority actions):

    1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from COVID-19 and the controls that should be in place. The guidance provides a template or you to use.
    2. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms
    3. Provide adequate natural or mechanical ventilation
    4. Provide hand sanitiser stations
    5. Keep up with your increased cleaning schedule, focussing on touch points such as door handles or other surfaces commonly touched
    6. Enable people to check in at the venue to support NHS Test and Trace
    7. Keep all your workers, contractors and consumers updated on safety measures in place through effective and targeted communications

    Drawing from Events Research Programme (ERP) findings, the guidance suggests COVID transmission risks (from aerosols/droplets and surfaces) are likely to be greatest indoors, in congested areas, where there is free movement of crowds, where crowds are gathering in large or dense numbers, and/or where crowds are undertaking energetic activity.

    The guidance outlines potential mitigations, including cleaning, hygiene, ventilation (possibly using CO2 monitors) and crowd management (high level narrative on stewarding, zoning and crowd movement strategies).

    Consistent with wider government messaging, the guidance recommends use of face coverings by workers and consumers in enclosed spaces.

    The guidance encourages the use of the NHS COVID pass for large events, and indicates that further Government guidance on using the NHS COVID pass will be published ‘shortly.

    These actions are supported by the Directors of Public Health across Blackpool Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Lancashire County Council areas.

    Implications for venues

    The decision as to whether sports grounds, venues and events require additional mitigation measures to be in place (such as spectators/visitors wearing face masks) will be a discretionary choice for individual businesses, venues and event organisers to make.

    As a matter of social responsibility, the government is encouraging nightclubs and other venues with large crowdsto make use of the NHS Covid Pass – which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity – as a means of entry.

    Note: Local directors of public health retain powers under the Health Protection Regulations 2020 to place restrictions in cases of “serious or imminent threat to public health” on businesses and events. (These powers can be used where it is deemed necessary and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed must be proportionate to the risk.) for further information Local authority powers to impose restrictions: Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 3) Regulations 2020 - GOV.UK.

    In summary:

    The Regulations contain powers for local authorities to take action, where necessary, to:

    • Restrict access to, or close, individual premises
    • Prohibit or restrict certain events (or types of event)
    • Restrict access to, or close, public outdoor places (or types of outdoor public places)

    Local authorities have powers under Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to take enforcement in circumstances where employers are putting employees and members of the public at risk.

    It is a legal requirement to have to a risk assessment in place under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This should include infection control measures. Your risk assessment must be written down if you have 5 or more employees.