COVID Second Wave: What Support is Available for Businesses?
As we head into a 2nd lockdown, we answer key questions on the latest information on financial support, mental health and wedding restrictions.
Finding the latest information on Weddings during Covid?
Our COVID news articles are kept up to date whenever we encounter a new, or changing situation.
We link to government and news sources within these articles to take you straight to the official information. Below is a list of regularly updated articles you may find helpful.
Looking for the government links?
Here are the official government documents and guidance for weddings across the UK.
What financial support is available to wedding businesses?
From Income Support Schemes, Bounce Back Loans and Job Support Schemes, these are the latest financial support schemes designed to help businesses get through this crisis.
On 5th November, the Chancellor announced that an extension to this scheme. A third grant will cover a 3 month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total.
Read more on the government website and find out whether you are eligible to apply.
This is a loan designed to help small and medium sized businesses. The government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender. They will also pay interest and any fees for the first 12 months. If you feel you may be eligible, the scheme is open until 31 January 2021.
Read more about CBILS and find a lender on the government website.
This scheme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow up to 25% of their turnover, a total of £2,000 to £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan. For the first 12 months there won’t be any fees or interest to pay. After the first year, the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. It takes moments to apply and the payment can be in your account in days. The scheme is open for applications until 31st January 2021.
Read more about the CBBL.
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) is designed to support businesses that have been required to close because of government imposed local lockdown restrictions for at least 3 weeks.
It is a grant scheme and for businesses that pay business rates on their premises. However, local councils may (at their discretion) provide funding for those businesses that don’t pay business rates.
Read more and check your eligibility for this grant on the government website.
The government has announced an extension to the flexible furlough scheme until the end of March which will now cover 80% of wages for the days employees are unable to work. Employers are only required to pay National Insurance and pension contributions.
Read more about this latest update.
Useful Links for Financial Concerns and Mental Health
Financial concerns can have a negative impact on your mental health, causing stress and anxiety in an already difficult time. Looking after your mental health has never been more important.
These charities and resource websites can help you and your colleagues if you are struggling.
- Citizens Advice – Informative resource for concerns surrounding COVID-19 and finance
- Mind – Charity for Mental Health with excellent resources and support phone lines
- Turn2Us – Charity supporting those in financial distress
- Anxiety UK – Charity dedicated to supporting individuals who are struggling with stress and anxiety. They also offer workplace training to help you support your team
- NHS Mental Health Support Links – The NHS has listed charities who can offer specific advice and support for a number of mental health concerns.
Ask your MP for support
Many businesses and individuals have been in contact with their local MPs to discuss the issue of weddings and we have heard our industry be mentioned in numerous questions to government by MPs. Parliament is scheduled to hold a debate on socially distanced capacities at weddings on the 9th November. This move is resulting from a public petition
on this subject.
This is the first opportunity that the wedding sector has had to have a focused debate in the Commons since March. While the boundaries of the debate are partly limited by its title, a number of the Associations representing wedding businesses have come together to agree a briefing note for the debate so we can ensure a strong and clear message is put to the Government.
You can write to your MP and ask them for support in this upcoming debate. Please write to them and:
1) ask them to sign up for the debate
2) provide them with the briefing note and attachments so that they are fully informed.
A template letter is provided below along with key documentation. Please do tailor the letter to reflect your situation and communications to date with your MP through this period:
Planning ahead for your business
England’s second lockdown is due to end on 2nd December 2020, but with no clear roadmap it is hard to predict when weddings will be permitted.
It was a surprise to many that wedding ceremonies aren’t permitted, other than in exceptional circumstances. It is too early to speculate on whether we’ll return to just legal weddings when we come out of lockdown, with either 6 or 15 people (the latter was a variation for religious reasons), or whether small receptions will be allowed too. There is increasing pressure on the government to allow wedding venues to open based on individual risk assessments or capacity.
For weddings December to March: those couples with nerves of steel who are keen to go ahead no matter what may be prepared to stick with their plans in the hope that they can go ahead. If receptions are permitted, we are reminding them how much their family and friends will enjoy a reason to celebrate together, especially as the Rule of 6 will almost certainly still apply outside of weddings.
For weddings from April: We are reminding couples that these contracts are covered by normal T+Cs. At this stage, we all have to assume that they can go ahead as planned. It is down to individual businesses to decide if it is safer to allow (or even encourage) their couples to postpone rather than risk the contract later becoming frustrated. This will largely depend on the size of the wedding party, the risk assessment of your venue, date availability to postpone to and the relationship you have with each couple.
Unless you know a wedding can’t realistically go ahead on the date planned, most venues are asking their couples not to worry about April weddings until the New Year. This seems good advice and still gives plenty of time for couples to confirm plans and payments with the registrar and other suppliers.
Be ready for proposal season
40% of proposals take place from December to mid-February and this year we are expecting a higher number as there has been a pent-up market over the past 8 months.
It is easy to just focus on surviving the winter but for those with confidence in their business plan, this December and January will be the best opportunity to build up a strong flow of bookings to help your business recover fast.
Work out the most cost-effective way to attract new bookings, through updating your website, spending time on social media, adding your business to wedding directories or guest blogging.
Speak to a member of our team to find out more about how we can help you to promote your business during this important marketing period. Our offices are open as usual and you can call us on 01235 770078 or email email@example.com.