South Wales Chamber of Commerce is taking precautionary measures following the situation regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) and are encouraging businesses across Wales to do the same.
In total, there have been 149 cases of Coronavirus and two deaths in Wales, with confirmed cases up 13 in the latest figures. However, it is expected that many more people have the virus.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans and the Minister for Economy, Ken Skates have announced a new £1.4bn business support package to help businesses across Wales. This is in addition to the package put forward earlier in the week, and should give a much‑needed boost for small businesses struggling to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus crisis.
This comes at a much needed time for businesses not only in Wales, but across the UK, as they struggle from the impact of the virus.
The new package provides retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a year long business rates holiday. A grant of £25,000 will also be offered for businesses in the same sector with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.
It also provides a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that all schools in Wales will close temporarily, starting from no later than Friday 20th March 2020.
In line with recent Government advice, the South Wales Chamber of Commerce will be postponing all Chamber events that were due to take place until 24th April (to be reviewed as the situation progresses), and is advising members, staff and other Welsh businesses to do the same, as well as reduce travel and face-to-face meetings, using virtual means instead. This will help ensure that the impact on the Welsh economy is minimised, disruption through illness is reduced and that continuity is maintained.
In response to the latest package of support announced by the Welsh Government to help businesses deal with Covid-19, 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.”
- 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.
- A helpline has been launched for manufacturers in the food and drink sector.
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.
Businesses across Wales 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.
Follow the latest health advice
[accordion title=”What are symptoms of Coronavirus?” load=”hide”]A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back.
A new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly.[/accordion]
[accordion title=”How long should I stay at home for?” load=”hide”]if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.[/accordion]
The following advice from the NHS still stands, with people urged to adhere to these guidelines:
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
- only travel on public transport if you need to
- work from home, if you can
- avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
- avoid events with large groups of people
- use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family