Campaigns

18 Dec 2020

Further details released for Welsh lockdown

The Welsh Government has released further details for retailers following the announcement that non-essential shops will have to close after Christmas Eve trading.

The following detail have been made available to Bira:

  • Non-essential shops will close after close of trade on December 24, 2020
  • The definition of non-essential is the same as before (during the two- week firebreak in October/November). See below for more details for shops selling multiple types of product. The definition will be the same as recently used in England, so only hardware shops, pet shops and health food stores can be open
  • There will be a countrywide lockdown as from December 28
  • The lockdown will be reviewed every three weeks – as yet there is no specified end date
  • A support package for closed businesses will be available and details are expected to be released soon
  • The reason for this is a significant rise in cases of coronavirus in Wales

 

Shops selling multiple types of product

The areas which can be open in shops selling multiple product types are areas selling:

  • Food and drink.
  • Products ancillary to the sale of food and drink, including disposable items used for the preparation and storage of food (such as kitchen foil, food bags and cling film) but also basic products necessary to prepare and eat food and drink such as food containers, pots and pans, crockery, cutlery and other similar items.
  • Products for washing clothes and for cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel. This also includes any products necessary for the upkeep of animals.
  • Toiletries, personal care and cosmetic products, including toilet rolls and sanitary products.
  • Pharmaceutical products.
  • Baby products including equipment, clothes and nappies.
  • Newspapers and magazines.
  • Stationery and greetings cards.
  • Pet food and other pet supplies.
  • Products for the maintenance of bicycles and cars.
  • Services for the repair and maintenance of mobile telecommunications or IT devices.

 

Bira’s COVID-19 support questions to Government answered

This week Bira CEO, Andrew Goodacre had a few questions surrounding available support under the Firebreak scheme for independent businesses in Wales. Here, our questions are answered.

  1. Is this the same level of support as offered during the 2-week Firebreak in Oct/ Nov?

The support offered under the Firebreak in October was as follows:

  • Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses forced to close (as defined by the regulations) during the firebreak lockdown period occupying a property with a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000 will be eligible for a £5,000 payment.
  • Every business eligible for Small Business Rates Relief occupying a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £1,000 payment.
  • A discretionary enhanced £2,000 top-up grant will be made available on an application basis for those businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less who are forced to close by the firebreak lockdown (as defined by the regulations).
  • A further discretionary enhanced £1,000 grant will be made available to businesses on the same basis where they have been materially affected by local lockdown restrictions prior to the start of the firebreak lockdown period.

The current offer is as follows:

  • Businesses in the hospitality and non-essential retail sector that are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £3,000 payment. Tourism, leisure and supply chain businesses qualifying for SBRR will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40% reduction in turnover during the restriction period.
  • Hospitality and non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will also be eligible for a £5,000 payment if impacted by the restrictions. Tourism, leisure and supply chain businesses in the same rateable value bracket will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40% reduction in turnover during the restriction period.
  • An additional measure to previous rounds, hospitality and non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of between £51,001 and £150,000 will also be eligible for a £5,000 payment if impacted by the restrictions. Tourism, leisure and supply chain businesses in the same rateable value bracket will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40% reduction in turnover during the restriction period.
  1. I like the fact that previously registered businesses will receive the money automatically. When will this money be paid?

Money has started arriving in the banks of non-essential retail businesses this week.

  1. Non-registered business apply new, I understand that but will these businesses also qualify for the firebreak payment as presumably they did not claim in error? Also, these applications do not open until January, can it be done earlier?

The firebreak support has closed. Work is underway to get the registration process up as soon as possible and will be live by the 4 January.

  1. Unlike last time the current lockdown has no end date – will there be further payments if the lockdown is extended after the next review?

The support currently in place will support businesses into the New Year.

The first quarter of the year is normally the most challenging and when retailers are at their most vulnerable. The current grants will not be sufficient to fill the cash flow shortage caused by having lots of Xmas stock, unsold but needs paying for in January. The self-employed grant scheme also misses 80% of self employed retailers and so they will run out of money before the being allowed to open. At this time most will have more money in stock than they have in their bank accounts.

We are appreciative of the support that we have received thus far. We will need more however if retail is to have a chance of bouncing back when we get through this crisis.

 

Useful links

  • Click here for business closures and essential products section of gov.wales
  • Click here for information about Economic Resilience Fund
  • Click here for the Gov.uk Coronavirus support page

 


Additional Guidance and Resources

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