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17th March 2020

Business guide to Covid-19

Last updated: Tuesday, 17th March 2020.

As a result of the ongoing situation regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) and its threat to the UK, the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, in line with recent Government advice, has taken the precautionary measure to postpone all Chamber events due to take place until 24th April. This decision is aligned to Welsh businesses who are also taking precautions not to travel, attend large gatherings and are encouraging remote working. In the meantime, we are exploring options for replacing physical events with digital alternatives.

To protect the welfare of our team, member businesses and suppliers, we will also be encouraging our staff to avoid face-to-face meetings and events, and instead we are encouraging the use of virtual meeting software. This is also in response to the need to ensure we collectively do what we can to minimise the impact on the Welsh economy, and ensure that disruption though illness is reduced and that continuity is, as far as possible, maintained.

We know that this will be a very distressing time for businesses across the country, but we would like to reassure you that we are doing all we can to support Welsh businesses, and get you the vital information you need during these difficult times.

Members are encouraged to keep up to date with the latest information and advice by visiting the Welsh Government website for guidance for employers and businesses.

Businesses should also check the Public Health Wales website which is updated regularly or you can subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure you are acting on the most up to date information.

Further information*:

  • Stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus infection.
  • Guidance on advice to provide to staff including: how to help prevent spread of coronavirus; what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus has been in a workplace setting; advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas; and advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from coronavirus.
  • Information on the support available to businesses impacted by coronavirusin terms of trade.
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.
  • A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest
  • For the latest travel advice, and how the latest developments on coronavirus may have impacted on travel arrangements, check the Foreign Office website.
  • An employer’s guide to emergency remote working can be downloaded here.

The Welsh Government has now announced a package of support worth more than £200 million for small businesses in Wales to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief, and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill. A further £100m will be available for a new grant scheme for small businesses, further details of which will be confirmed soon.

South Wales Chamber of Commerce CEO Heather Myers said “This is the announcement that many businesses in Wales have been anxiously waiting for and will provide some reassurance to those sectors hardest hit by this virus – but this is an evolving situation and our Members are experiencing new challenges every day.

“Welsh Government must act swiftly and decisively in the current circumstance and we will continue to work closely with them, providing crucial intelligence from frontline to consider as they decide what further support is required for vulnerable businesses and their employees.”

The Development Bank of Wales has also announced they will be offering all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday to help them manage the financial impact of Coronavirus, and are working on a wider package of support for businesses across Wales.

If you have any queries regarding COVID-19 or our response to it, please contact us direct or speak with your local relationship manager. In addition, if you are having any specific issues please let us know because we are in almost daily contact with both UK and Welsh Governments around the difficulties the business community is raising.

*The information provided is correct at time of publication, but please visit the appropriate resource for the very latest information. If you’d like to speak with someone about the information provided, please contact the Chamber on 01633 254 041.

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