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Coronavirus Guidance

Coronavirus Hub: Advice and guidance for small businesses

Coronavirus Hub: Tangible advice and guidance on adapting your business during the pandemic


We want to support you in anyway we can during this critical time, that’s why we’ve compiled the latest Government guidance, webinars and resources as well as a free Bira membership support package to support you, your employees and your business.

With the rapidly changing nature of the Coronavirus information and measurements advised by the Government can change quickly. Please take the time to visit the Government website, the Scottish Government website the Welsh Government website or the Northern Irish Government website and our regional advice page.

Free temporary membership

To support independent retail businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak, Bira are providing UK independent retail businesses with temporary membership of the Association for three months for a nominal fee of £1, £5 or £10, all proceeds of which will be donated to the Rainy Day Trust.

Any UK independent retailer can sign up for membership until Tuesday 30th June 2020 and that access can be used for the next three months.
View free temporary membership package

In response to the Government’s action plan to help tackle the Coronavirus, we’ve outlined information on what business owners and employers can do to mitigate the impact to them.

Free temporary membership package+

To support independent retail businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak, Bira are providing UK independent retail businesses with temporary membership of the Association for three months for a nominal fee of £1, £5 or £10, all proceeds of which will be donated to the Rainy Day Trust.

Any UK independent retailer can sign up for membership until Tuesday 30th June 2020 and that access can be used for the next three months.

In addition to all the service benefits our members get, our Coronavirus Support Package includes:

  • Unlimited legal advice on employment law, HR, Health & Safety and more
  • 3 months free on EKM ecommerce services through your membership
  • Quickly reduced utility bills
  • Quick access to our buying group with special terms and offers
  • Free social media guidance
  • Access employment resources via online portal
  • Access to the membership email and phone line

Find out more about the Coronavirus support package and member benefits.

Sell more with an online shop: In light of the recent world events taking your business online is more important than ever, so Bira has teamed up with EKM to be able to offer members EKM for 3 months totally for free! Find out more

Shops that are allowed to continue to trade under lock-down measures+

Shops up and down the country have been forced to shut their doors following the Government-imposed lockdown in a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Boris Johnson announced that Brits will only be able to shop for essential items such as food, and all non-essential traders and services must close for the at least three weeks. Supermarkets, pharmacies, DIY stores and most recently Health Stores have been announced that they are still allowed to continue to trade.

Click here to take a look at the full list of shops and services that are still allowed to trade.

Take a look at the Governments list of businesses that are required to close.

Financial business support +

Government Support: In response to the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19, the Government has put together an emergency package of financial support for independent retailers. These include:

In addition, there is information on financial support from devolved governments:

HMRC support: If you have any concerns and fears about not being able to pay your tax bills as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) then we recommend you contact Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in relation to the following business support:

Bank support: If you feel the impact of COVID-19 will cause your business to struggle financially, it is a good idea to speak to your bank about the options you have as soon as possible. Our advice is that prevention is better than cure and that you are in a better position knowing the options you have available.  Find out more here

Existing Supplier support: Check with your existing business service suppliers to see what support you may be able to receive from them during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Local Authority support: You may be able to receive support with your Business Rates during the Coronavirus outbreak. Take a look at the information below to see if you can get a discount from your local council or whether you may be eligible for one or more business rates relief schemes.

Employer and employee support+

Government support:
The Government has outlined various support for employers and employees during the Covid-19 pandemic covering:

Ellis Whittam Coronavirus Hub: With the situation evolving daily, Bira's approved Employment Law and HR service provider Ellis Whittam, has created a Coronavirus Advice Hub designed to offer a single source of regularly updated guidance so that you can take decisive action, minimise disruption, and keep people safe. Bira members can get instant access to:

  • Sample letters and policies;
  • Risk assessment templates;
  • FAQs and guidance documents.

Access the Ellis Whittam Coronavirus Hub and webinars by logging into the Bira website today and viewing the member-only content on the Bira Legal service provider page.

Regional support+

Your regional Government

For members in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland it is advisable to keep updated on the latest government advice from your devolved government websites.

Find out more

Business Support groups and organisations

Independent retailers have access to various business support groups, both regionally and on a national scale. Bira have put together a business support package which can be found here.

You can also join your own community groups and by looking online and on social media. Another suggestion would be looking at your local Chamber of Commerce for support which can be found here .

Chambers of Commerce

The British Chambers of Commerce are also providing support to businesses. You can access the British Chambers of Commerce website here.

You can also contact your local chamber of commerce here.

Extension of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) arrangements - updated 25.03.2020

BIDs will be able to extend the maximum duration of their BID arrangements until 31 March 2021 by delaying BID ballots due to take place this year. This enables BIDs, and the local authorities who administer the ballot process, to concentrate on responding to the current emergency.

How you can help us to help more retailers+

Your member benefits:
Bira members have access to crucial services that could be beneficial to your business at this critical time. Now more than ever, independent retailers like you may need our support and guidance. It’s important that you explore and share all of the services that are freely available to you through your Bira membership. View and share all member benefits.

Share the Coronavirus Hub on social media: We want as many retailers to keep informed of the rapidly changing guidance and information available to support them during the Coronavirus outbreak. Share our Coronavirus Hub on social media or via email

Comment from Bira’s CEO:
“I know these are unforeseen, uncertain and troubling times for small independent retailers. We are taking our responsibilities to respond to coronavirus – Covid 19 – very seriously. First and foremost, let me promise you that looking after you, the rest of our members and the team here at Bira is our top priority.

I can assure you I am keeping abreast of all the latest Government information which I will be sharing with you on this web page. The information in this section will likely be updated regularly throughout the day, each day, as the situation unfolds, so please be sure to keep revisiting and please share it with other retailers as we need to come together to help each other through the challenge of the coming weeks and months. Having successfully campaigned to have rates relief extended to all retailers, we are now pushing government to make the cash grants and business interruption loans available quickly and with easy access.”– Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO


Latest updates: Below outlines the latest updates that have been made to the advice and guidance that’s available to you on the Bira Coronavirus Hub.


Further Coronavirus related content

Explore resources, blogs and webinars providing you with tangible advice on how to adapt your business throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

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