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COVID-19: Guidance for employees, employers and businesses

Coronavirus Protect yourself & others

In response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, Cumbria LEP has collated Government, National and Local resources and guidance, below, to help Cumbria's employees, employers and businesses feel supported to mitigate the impacts of the outbreak. There is also a list of initiatives businesses can support to help in the fight against COVID-19. 

Sector-specific Support

From speaking to our business community we are aware that different sectors are being affected in different ways and tailored support is needed for each, therefore, we have collated a COVID-19: Sector-specific Support page on a separate webpage.

Business Advice Clinics

We are also offering Cumbrian businesses the opportunity to take part in free weekly Business Advice Clinics  to help guide them through the Coronavirus crisis. These clinics offer businesses one hour of free interactive advice and guidance from professional service leaders on mechanisms introduced by Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and offer insights from businesses which have been through the process. The confirmed upcoming dates are as follows: 






Wednesday 23rd September, 2pm-3pm

An Introduction to Made Smarter

Jo Lappin (CLEP), Allen Camm (Made Smarter)

Jayne Moorby (Oxley Group / Made Smarter Board Member), Keith Scobie-Youngs (Cumbria Clock Co), Marc Green (NIS Ltd)


More Business Advice Clinics will be published here shortly - please check back.

Cumbria Jobs Fuse

A new service, Cumbria Jobs Fuse, is helping those made jobless as a result of Coronavirus in Cumbria get back into employment – while supporting key regional employers with gaps in their staffing due to the pandemic. If you’re facing an employment challenge, find out more here. This service is a joint partnership created by the National Careers Service, the Department of Work and Pensions and Cumbria LEP. 

Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources Pack

As a result of stressful and uncertain times that Coronavirus has presented, the need to consider the mental wellbeing of you and your employees has never been more important. Drawing upon resources from the NHSMind and other recognised bodies and organisations, our guide will help you to navigate the support that is available and preventative techniques that individuals can use to manage their mental health. Download it here.


If you cannot find the information or support you require, either here on our our sector-specific support webpage, Cumbria's Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG), Chaired by Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of Cumbria LEP, is in direct contact with Government and will continue to make your voice heard, seeking the help you need. BERRG is keen to hear from businesses that want to provide intelligence or need support - please email us at 

This page is kept under continuous review and will be frequently updated. Please follow us on Twitter @cumbrialep for the latest information.


Official Government Guidance and Resources

With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, information and advice from Government can change quickly.

  • All Government business support information can be found at This includes details of funding and support, your responsibilities as an employer, how to run a business safely and what businesses should be closed. Guidance for businesses trading internationally can be found here.
  • Guidance to help with running your charity during the Coronavirus outbreak, including financial support, can be found here.
  • On 24 September, the Chancellor announced the Winter Economy Plan. The plan covers a new Job Support Scheme, tax cuts and deferrals, giving businesses flexibility to pay back loans and investment in public services.
  • The Government has released guidelines for employers on working safely and a tool to help businesses in England to reopen safely during Coronavirus here. This tool will help businesses to easily find out what they should do. Employees can also use this tool to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe.
  • The Government has developed a tool to help employees in England easily assess if they can return to work here. The tool guides employees through questions that may influence their ability to go back to work safely. 
  • Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers is here.  From September 18, it is mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. These businesses are also being instructed to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of new NHS Covid-19 app from September 24. More information on this can be found here
  • NHS Test and Trace only tests people who have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. There is now guidance for businesses that want to set up their own test programmes to ensure their workforce is Covid-free.
  • From September 28, it will be a legal requirement for people who have been told to self-isolate to do so, supported by payments of £500 for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home. New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 up to a maximum of £10,000 for repeat offences and the most egregious breaches including for those preventing others from self-isolating. This could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.
  • From September 24, pubs, bars and restaurants will only be able to offer table service – except for takeaways – and all hospitality businesses will have to close at 10pm.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in many settings  including shops, shopping malls, public transport, visitor attractions and hairdressers. The Government has extended the list to include staff in shops, customers in taxis and private hire cars and customers in hospitality settings except when seated to eat or drink. The maximum fine for those that don’t comply is increasing to £3,200.
  • Employees returning from abroad may be subject to quarantine restrictions and be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The Government has issued on guidance on the employment rights of individuals required to self-isolate on returning to the UK. There are exemptions from the quarantine requirement and a list of countries exempt from the requirement to quarantine. Before travelling abroad, check the latest advice from the Foreign Office, including a list of countries where the Foreign Office has lifted its advice against all but essential travel. There is also useful guidance on safe air travel and travel insurance.
  • This guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who: continue to work; have been placed on furlough as part of the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 
  • Safe travel guidance for passengers walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak is here.
  • The Eat Out to Help Out scheme ran throughout August to encourage people to return to restaurants, pubs and cafes. Although the scheme has ended, businesses that took part can still claim back up to £10 per qualifying meal from the Government.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority has won a test case on the legal clarity of business interruption cover. The case outcome should help policyholders and insurers identify which business interruption policies provide cover for the coronavirus pandemic and which do not.
  • The Government has extended protections for businesses that struggle to pay their rent. They will be protected from eviction until the end of the year. In addition, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a code of practice to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together to protect viable businesses.
  • On 8 July the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a Plan for Jobs, including the Kickstart Scheme which is now live.
  • This guidance, for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations, outlines the changes that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is making to the apprenticeship programme during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Department of Work and Pensions has launched jobhelp and employerhelp. jobhelp content offers essential advice about which sectors are recruiting now, transferable skills and how to secure a role. Meanwhile, employerhelp focuses on recruiting, and encourages use of the Government's Matching Service 'Find A Job', a free service with more than 1.8M registered users.
  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched Digital Boost which offers free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by Coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers.
  • HM Revenue & Customs has launched a Tax Helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus. The number is 08000 241222. 
  • Companies House has produced guidance for if Coronavirus has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Find all the information here.
  • This Universal Credit webpage provides information about claiming for benefits as a result of COVID-19.
  • The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) can provide advice and help on late payment issues for small businesses with under 50 staff. Contact them here
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers with advice on workplace rights, rules and best practice and specific advice in relation to COVID-19 such as sick reporting and pay, self-isolation, and work absence including due to caring for someone. 
  • How to dispose of your business waste, including face coverings and PPE can be found here.

Additional guidance from Government: 

  • Businesses of all sizes can contact the Government's Business Support Helpline for free advice: 0800 998 1098The helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England – which currently includes business advice on COVID-19.  
  • The Government has also launched a Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. To use the free service, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. Further information can be found here.
  • HM Revenue & Customs is running a series of webinars to help employers and their staff in addressing Coronavirus. These webinars will provide an overview of the support available for businesses. To sign up for the webinars and for further information, click here.
  • The Department of International Trade are also running a series of webinars to help businesses through the Coronavirus. More here.

We also reccomend that you sign up for Government email alerts on Coronavirus here and the Department for Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Daily Coronavirus Business and Employers Bulletin here.


National Guidance and Resources

  • The British Business Bank is delivering the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the Future Fund and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
  • 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.
  • The Bank of England also announced a comprehensive package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19. This includes a new lending facility for larger firms called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
  • Institute of Directors (IoD) has guidance on remote wellbeing, professional development, staying inspired and more here
  • KPMG provide a checklist which will enable you to understand the impact of COVID-19 on your organisation, crisis manage and plan business continuity. You can find this resource here
  • Be The Business shares themes such as supporting your staff and communicating with customers, how leaders are reacting right now and more of the best of what the web has to offer. Visit their website here
  • The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has the latest advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed
  • The British Chambers of Commerce’s advice on preparing for and responding to Coronavirus is here.
  • The Business Growth Hub has a suite of resources including a series of webinars and guidance on keeping your business operating and managing cash-flow here.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre has released guidance on moving your business online here.


Local Guidance and Resources

  • Information is available from each Local Authority Area on the Government's Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant, as well as the Discretionary Fund (now closed): 
  • The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has a Coronavirus Business Toolkit and other resources including Chamber Connect which matches people available for work with businesses looking to recruit staff to plug gaps in their workforce. 
  • Cumbria Business Growth Hub can offer remote one-to-one adviser support to help you to plan through and beyond the crisis. Make contact here.
  • The Family Business Network has family business-related guidance and help for businesses across our region. Going forwards, they will also be hosting free business support opportunities, and sharing a regular feature that showcases some of the constructive and creative initiatives that family businesses are adopting to manage the crisis, as well as the good news stories and messages of hope. Visit their website here
  • Cumbria Jobs Fuse is helping those made jobless as a result of Coronavirus in Cumbria get back into employment – while supporting key regional employers with gaps in their staffing due to the pandemic. If you’re facing an employment challenge, find out more here. This service is a joint partnership created by the National Careers Service, the Department of Work and Pensions and Cumbria LEP. 
  • The Edge continues to support SMEs wishing to access high quality skills support for their workforce, including those accessing the Government COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme or who have recently been made redundant. A wide range of skills support delivered by 9 Cumbrian providers of education and learning. Additional flexibilities have been arranged to support businesses affected by COVID-19, in addition to a move to online and remote learning. Please register your interest for support on The Edge website here
  • The Key programme links employers and unemployed residents, providing high quality skills and employment support. If employers are recruiting and would be interested in flexible support please register interest with Inspira here.
  • Journey 2 Work is a voluntary employment programme that gives you personalised support to help reignite your employment goals and help you transfer your life and work experience into new opportunities. More here
  • Digital Cumbria is offering free support for businesses, valued at £5,000 each. The support is to help you understand how technology can benefit your business, making you more productive, more profitable, and freeing you up to do the things that really matter to you. Visit their website here
  • Community Learning and Skills deliver excellent employability courses. Find out more here
  • Cumbria Coaching Network is offering free coaching to the leaders and employees of businesses, charities and public sector organisations in Cumbria that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.  The group of professional coaches can help people who are experiencing distress, anxiety and business challenges. Find out more here.
  • Digital Tech Cumbria is an initiative to help Cumbrian businesses identify how digital technology can support the achievement of their goals. It is open to SMEs that sell to other businesses. More here
  • Baines Wilson LLP has a number of useful blog articles on the likes of Statutory Sick Pay, short-time working and lay-offs here
  • Burnetts Solicitors has various legal updates for businesses affected by COVID-19 here
  • Cumbria Community Foundation has set up a fund to help charitable groups support vulnerable people affected by COVID-19. For those that are able and would like to donate to the Fund, or if you want to inquire about receiving funding, click here


How your business can help

National Initiatives

  • The Government is looking for businesses from a wide spectrum of industries to assist in a number of key areas, including:

    • medical testing equipment;
    • medical equipment design;
    • protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser;
    • hotel rooms;
    • transport and logistics, for moving goods or people;
    • manufacturing equipment;
    • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage;
    • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications;
    • social care or childcare.

    Offers of support can be made here

  • HMRC have said that manufacturers of hand sanitisers and gels and businesses that want to begin manufacture of these products will have their applications for denatured alcohol fast-tracked during the COVID-19 outbreak. Guidance can be found here
  • The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is calling on the public to help farms feed the nation and save this year’s harvest. Find out more here.
  • The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a ‘Pick for Britain’ website to address the fact that we are likely to only have about a third of our normal labour force for this year's harvest. As such, we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home. Opportunities are available across the UK for those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed. 


    As such, we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home. Opportunities are available across the UK for those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed. 

Local Initiatives

  • Support Cumbria are looking for volunteers of all levels to support local charities and organisations in local communities. Find out more and register as a volunteer here


Additional information and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak can be found below: 


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