General Business Help & Support News 15.11.2021
Below is our weekly roundup of changes to government support information generally and for businesses, employers and the self-employed.
Over 10 million people in the UK receive COVID-19 booster jabs
Over ten million people have now received their COVID-19 booster jab, ensuring the protection they have secured from their first two doses is maintained over the winter months.
Recent figures follow hundreds of thousands of vaccinations over the weekend. People who are eligible are also able to get a booster at hundreds of walk-in sites across the country, as long as it’s been six months since their second dose. The third vaccine dose will be offered to 30 million people over 50, medical staff, and younger adults with some health conditions.
Since last week anyone eligible - six months after their second dose - can turn up at a walk-in centre to get their booster in England.
New Recovery Loan Fund launched
Charities and social enterprises that have been operating for a minimum of two years can now apply for loans worth up to £1.5 million from Social Investment Business (SIB).
Eligible organisations can apply for loans of £100,000 to £1.5 million with a one-to-six-year term, and no early repayment penalty. BAME-led organisations and those based in Wales or Scotland will be able to apply for loans upwards of £50,000.
The new Recovery Loan Fund is the successor of the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund and aims to help organisations that have been affected by Covid-19. It is also open to organisations looking to refinance short-term debt – all loan purposes will be considered, including refinancing.
The deadline is Sunday, 21 November 2021 and applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
See: Recovery Loan Fund (sibgroup.org.uk)
Foreign travel insurance
The guidance has been updated on using an EHIC or GHIC to access healthcare in Switzerland.
Before travelling, government advice is you should check the travel advice for your destination. If you travel internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure you have appropriate travel insurance.
If you already have a travel insurance policy, you should check what cover it provides for coronavirus-related events, including medical cover and travel disruption. If you are choosing a new policy, make sure you check how it covers these issues.
If you do not have appropriate insurance before you travel, you could be liable for emergency costs including medical treatment. We recommend you buy your travel insurance as soon as possible after booking your trip.
See: Foreign travel insurance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees
The government advice is for you if you are pregnant and working as an employee. This includes pregnant healthcare professionals. It will help you discuss with your line manager and occupational health team how best to ensure health and safety in the workplace.
The advice has been updated to reflect changes surrounding shielding requirements and to provide more information on vaccines.
See: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider
The lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get the private COVID-19 tests you need, have been updated.
See: Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Good ventilation can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
HSE is continuing to update its ventilation guidance encouraging all workplaces to continue to work safely. As more people have returned to the workplace, using good ventilation can help to reduce how much virus is in the air. This helps reduce the risk from aerosol transmission and the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
See: Work equipment and ventilation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic - HSE
Coming to England for seasonal agricultural work, poultry work or pork processing
There is added advice for pork butchers coming to England for seasonal work and how workers can get Covid-19 vaccinations while they are in the UK.
See: Coming to England for seasonal agricultural work, poultry work or pork processing - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
NHS COVID Pass
There is now added information about COVID-19 booster vaccinations: The NHS COVID Pass for travel does not currently include COVID-19 booster vaccinations. You do not need a COVID-19 booster vaccination to get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use in England. Also updated to reflect the UK linking with the EU Gateway. Your NHS COVID Pass can be scanned to check and validate your COVID-19 vaccination status in venues in over 40 countries, including those in the EU.
See: NHS COVID Pass - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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