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Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Resource hub

Find information to help you manage your business through this unprecedented
time of uncertainty 

Useful links and advice







Visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) information pages for the latest updates.

Your business

Coronavirus is affecting us all and to help, we have put together a list of FAQs in order to answer some key questions you might have, and to provide you with useful information to help you manage your business during this unsettling time.

General business advice FAQs

If you are experiencing financial difficulties you may wish to seek financial advice. The Money Advice Service has created a money navigator tool to assist with getting started and their website includes details of free advice services.  The Financial Services Authority has also published information for consumers dealing with financial difficulties during coronavirus.
Re-starting your business after a temporary shutdown or reduction in operations can present specific hazards, which if not planned or managed properly, can result in damage, injury, legal action and further disruption to your business. 
The British Retail Consortium has prepared guidance and recommendations for non-food retail businesses and warehouses to help them look at their plans once premises can re-open after temporary shutdowns.

We’re sure you are already aware, but here is the Gov.uk link to offer support from your business.

If you decide to change what your business does to help support the government then it may affect the insurance you need. Please make sure you speak to your broker about your policy and what you intend to do in case changes to your policy need to be made.

A range of measures have been put in place by the Government to support businesses and their workers. Depending on where your business is located, you can check the relevant site and find out what support is available for you. 
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, launched on 23 March 2020. It will primarily support small and medium-sized businesses in accessing bank lending and overdrafts. Find out more from the British Business Bank and see which lenders are participating.

The FSB has asked large businesses to pay any invoices owed to small businesses, immediately upon receipt of the invoice. And if they hold an invoice now, the finance team should be asked to pay it, immediately.

Small businesses or the self-employed with invoices issued should use this moment to chase for instant payment. You should also immediately issue invoices for work done, so they can be processed while finance teams in large businesses are operating. This isn’t just for large customers; everyone should be encouraged to pay an invoice, immediately.
(from FSB website)

The Government set out its plan to return life to as near normal, as quickly and fairly as possible. However, there are still businesses and venues that should remain closed at this point or are forced to temporarily shutdown in a local lockdown. You can find out which businesses and venues must not open to the public. This differs across areas of the UK as local lockdowns are enforced.

The government introduced emergency legislation through the Covid Bill to ban evictions for commercial tenants for at least three months. This emergency legislation to ban evictions for social and private renters was created in March and lasted for three months. 

The provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which increased the required notice period length, have now been extended through legislation. This means that from 29 August 2020, with the exception of the most serious cases, landlords are not able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants six months’ notice. 

The Government has announced changes to enable companies undergoing a rescue or restructure process to continue trading, given them breathing space that could help them avoid insolvency. The measures introduced by the Act came into force on 26 June 2020.

The measures will relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus outbreak and allow them to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate.

The Bill will introduce a new moratorium to give companies breathing space from their creditors while they seek a rescue. It will also introduce a new restructuring plan sanctioned by the court that will bind creditors to the plan. Directors will still need to meet their filing obligations with Companies House.  

Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law in England, Wales and Scotland due to the threat to public health. These came into force in March 2020. 

Businesses who continue to operate in contravention of the regulations will be commiting a criminal offence. The Environmental Health and Trading Standards agencies will be monitoring compliance along with police support if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.

(from FSB website)

If you have an insurance policy from Allianz which includes legal expenses cover, you can call our TALK Legal helpline on 0370 241 4140 about any legal matter. Lines are open 24/7.
The National Trading Standards has seen an increase in scams including malicious email attachments, false government grant phone calls and CEO impersonation. As a result, the National Trading Standards is encouraging more businesses to join Businesses Against Scams - access to free tools for businesses to help protect against scammers.
The new Bounce Back Loans scheme launched on 4 May 2020 and is for small and medium sized businesses that are not already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. 

As and when your business can re-start or re-open you should enforce all Covid-19 workplace restrictions in line with Government regulations and guidance (including for those employees working offsite and at 3rd party premises) for example social distancing, floor markings, protective equipment, staggered working hours and breaks. Where these restrictions cannot be met, then work activities should either be revised to achieve them or stopped altogether.

You should carry out enhanced cleaning regimes of the workplace pre and post re-opening, particularly in communal areas and touchpoints such as washing facilities, toilet flush and seats, door handles and push plates, hand rails, office equipment, machinery controls and food preparation areas as well as any company vehicles. If you are introducing alcohol-based hand sanitizers into your workplace, it is important to note these are flammable. As well as updating your fire risk assessments to keep your premises and people safe, ensure storage and use of the alcohol-based hand sanitizers are clear of ignition sources and ideally store within purpose designed flammable liquid cabinets, or otherwise steel cabinets. 

The Government has recommended 5 steps you should take to help ensure your business and employees are working safely. The steps are a guide and depending what kind of workplace you are reviewing, you should consult with the relevant guidance provided by the Government for those specific businesses in England - this may require consulting more than one guide. 
Finding out what funding options there are for your business at this time can be difficult, so The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has put together guidance so you can review all options depending on where your business is based. 
If you are a small or micro business with fixed property costs and not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund, or the retail, hospitality and leisure grant fund, you may be eligible for the Local Authority Discretionary Grant.
If you are looking to carry out such testing in your workplace, it’s important that first and foremost (and before you start doing so), you discuss your plans with your broker due to the potential implications with your liability insurance covers. 
If you are considering your premises being used as a testing facility (whether asymptomatic or symptomatic), it’s essential that a discussion with your broker takes place well in advance of any agreement being reached or finalised, recognising the potential implications to your insurance covers.
If you’re considering your premises being used as a vaccination centre, it’s essential that a discussion with your broker takes place well in advance of any agreement being reached or finalised, recognising the potential implications to your insurance covers.
Advice and guidance around preparing and managing operations in order to minimise risk to your employees and business.
Find out if your business can help the Government during this period.

Your people

During these uncertain times, it’s more vital than ever to check in on your staff and their mental health. Employees should be kept up to date with news and business changes too. Below we have included some useful resources to help with your people and their wellbeing.

People related FAQs

Allianz is proud to support the mental health charity, Mind, as its corporate charity. Mind has lots of useful resources on their website about how to support your employees during this difficult time, with top tips for maintaining mental wellbeing whilst working from home which you can share with your staff.  There is also a useful information hub for people giving access to mental health advice for your employees and their families. There are also some great resources from other organisations which will help your employees through this difficult time.

With everything going on, it’s important to keep connected to your employees, even if operations have stopped for now. Working remotely and social distancing/isolating can be lonely, so make the most of internet communication tools to regularly keep in contact. Put in regular catch up calls to keep staff informed and avoid them feeling alone. 

We have a list of useful resources you can share with your employees to help with keeping mentally well during these challenging times. 

Yes. Employees should do these once a year or when they change workstations, so it’s important for all employees to fill in a DSE assessment checklist now they are working remotely. Many businesses and employers have had to move to working from home quickly and so workstation set-ups could be improved with some simple fixes. 

  • Adjust the height of laptops or monitors by putting some books or boxes underneath them
  • Avoid working from the sofa and try cushions to support kitchen chairs
  • Get up, moving around and stretching every so often.

Under the Job Retention Scheme, a furloughed employee is an employee who would have otherwise been laid off or made redundant because of COVID-19. Employers can claim up to 80% of their wages from HMRC. The Government Retention Scheme has currently been extended until March 2021.

For further questions on furlough and other legal matters related to COVID-19 you can consult our COVID-19 legal FAQs.

There have been four changes to SSP:

  1. SSP is now payable from day one of sickness
  2. The first 14 days of SSP are reclaimable from the Government
  3. Employees who are not sick but are isolating in line with Public Health England/Wales advice are entitled to SSP
  4. Employees can provide an isolation note, available from NHS 111 as opposed to a fit note from the doctor.
  5. You can also get SSP if both of the following apply:

For further questions on furlough and other legal matters related to COVID-19 you can consult our COVID-19 legal FAQs.

If employees are classed as vulnerable but neither them, nor anyone they live with, is displaying symptoms then they aren't required to isolate, although they are advised to. Because it isn't a requirement, as it is for those with symptoms or living with someone with symptoms, they are not classed as sick and therefore not entitled to SSP. They can be required to come to work, but a better option would be to furlough this person.

For further questions on furlough and other legal matters related to COVID-19 you can consult our COVID-19 legal FAQs.

As and when your business can re-open, you'll need to consider the timeframe for bringing employees back into the workplace and allow for this as part of your planning. It's important that you ensure your employees have the competence and capability required to carry out their work activities safely. If their role and responsbilities are changing due to the business needing to adapt as a result of COVID-19 and Government guidelines, you will need to provide them with additional information and training. Ensure your employees are 'fit for work' and consider mental health, wellbeing and physical fitness. If you have a 'return to work policy' you could refer to this for some guidance. 
St John Ambulance has created a wellbeing self-assessment tool that your employees could use. The self-assessment tool will ask them a series of quick answer questions and provide them with suggestions of what they can do to help their wellbeing during this time. 
Everyone deals with stress differently, so everyone will have their own individual way of coping. To help your employees find what works best for them, check out the Centres for Disease and Prevention who has shared what to look out for and how they can look after themselves and those around them. Don't forget to also look after yourself and those around you. 
Within your workplace if there is a task or activity that cannot follow social distancing you should review its purpose and consider if the activity needs to continue. If the task or activity is required, you should take action to mitigate the risk of transmission between the people involved, i.e. your employees and your customers. 
Those working within health and social care sectors use PPE as they are responsible for treating and caring for patients with COVID-19 and so are most at risk. For those not working within these sectors, the UK Government has stated that there is very little evidence to suggest PPE will be of benefit and that altering your business operations to consider the presence of employees and customers on site, following social distancing guidelines and allowing for good hand hygiene is key to minimising the risk of infection. 

The Governments advice is still to work from home if you can and to always follow the guidance on social distancing. If staff cannot work from home and your business is preparing to re-open, provide staff with reasonable notice and communicate to them in writing how the workplace will be adjusting to follow Government guidance. Communicate with payroll staff or your provider so they’re aware to adjust payments when staff will be returning to work and in line with the dates announced by the Government for flexible furlough. 

Consider that employees have not been working for a considerable amount of time and that their domestic responsibilities may have changed. Try and take a flexible approach to bringing your employees back. If delaying the start date for some of your employees and not others, communicate the reasons and do not use discriminatory criteria. Further reading is available via the link below on short term working, redundancy and reduced working hours.

It's important your employees understand any new procedures to ensure they stay safe while at work. Develop communication and training material for employees before they return to work so they're aware of the changes within their workplace. Whiteboards or signs could be used to explain new procedures and realtime status updates to reduce face-to-face communication. Keep providing clear, consistent and regular communication and consider using images to explain guidelines, with consideration for groups for which English may not be their first language and those with an impairment such as a visual impairment.  Be sure to consider your employees' mental health and wellbeing.  Talk to them to find out if they have concerns about returning to work and discuss how you can support them. 
MIND have put together some helpful guidance and advice on supporting yourself and your team during this unsettling period.

Your property

As the Government has advised that where possible employees are to work from home and some businesses remain closed or are forced to temporarily shut with local lockdowns, your property could potentially be left unoccupied for an extended period of time. Below we have included some useful information around looking after your property during this time.

Property related FAQs

Re-starting your business after a temporary shutdown or reduction in operations can present specific hazards, which if not planned or managed properly, can result in damage, injury, legal action and further disruption to your business. 

It's always important to make sure your building is secure if it's left empty - find out more about how to keep your premises safe.

To minimise the risk to your buildings you can:

  • Secure doors and windows against someone breaking in by making sure you set all security locking mechanisms.
  • Make sure you set any alarm systems, CCTV or any other protective devices you have.
  • Turn off mains services such as water and electricity (except for where they are needed to maintain intruder alarms, fire alarms or sprinkler systems). Where it is not feasible to turn off water you should keep a level of heating on to make sure your water pipes don't freeze.
  • Dispose of any combustible materials such as post, cardboard boxes, pallets, gas bottles.
  • If possible inspect your premises every week both internally and externally and keep a record of the inspections.  This should help minimise the risk of theft and damage to your building, however please only follow this guidance if you're not at risk of going against government advice on social distancing and avoiding non-essential travel.
The Government has put together a ‘need to know’ guide which shows you the cleaning process required. The guide will give you all the information you need including wearing PPE, disinfecting the area with disposable cloths and then how to dispose of waste. 
The level of protection you can take will depend on the contract works being undertaken, the materials and methods employed and the stage construction works have reached at the time your labour has to be called offsite. Our recommended measures for unattended construction sites can assist with the controlled closure of contract sites and may be used as a checklist to help keep your site safe and secure. In addition, the below links contain useful information:
Advice and guidance around preparing and managing operations in order to minimise risk to your employees and business.
The Government has provided some advice on how to make your business safe if you're still able to operate.

Your vehicles

Below we have included some useful resources to help with your motor vehicle questions and concerns.

Vehicle related FAQs

It’s understandable to be worried about a property that is now unoccupied, especially when there is valuable goods and vehicles on display.  We recommend looking through our guides on vacant buildings and securing vehicles and parts. If possible, moving the vehicles to a locked garage and maintaining the security on site can ease concerns. 
It's important that you speak to your broker about any change of use and the details of your policy to make sure you're covered.
Experts think that the coronavirus can stay on some surfaces for up to 72 hours, so whilst petrol pumps carry no greater risk of spreading the disease than any other plastic surface, it’s best to wear gloves when you fill up your car and remember to wash your hands afterwards for 20 seconds. Next time you’re at the petrol station, remember to fill your fuel tank to the top. This isn’t just in case of emergencies, but also to make sure you don’t get rusting in the tank whilst your car isn’t being used much. If there is air above the fuel then it can condense to create moisture, which in turn can cause rust. This simple precaution can make sure your vehicle is in good condition when you start to use it more regularly again.
Yes, you should check your vehicles regularly – here are a few things you need to do:
Remember to keep your tyres sufficiently inflated as this is crucial in protecting the longevity of the rubber. Your vehicle manual will give you information about the recommended tyre pressures. To stop tyres from getting flat spots whilst not being used, you should try move your vehicle regularly. It doesn’t have to move far, just enough to rotate the area of the tyre which comes into contact with the road surface so it stays in shape.
A vehicle’s battery charges continually whilst the vehicle is driven, so if it’s not being used then it will go flat over a period of time. To make sure the battery is in good condition when you start to use it more regularly again, you should aim to start and drive the vehicle every week for about 15 minutes. This will help recharge the battery properly and make sure the rest of the vehicle is in good condition.
To prevent the parking brake from seizing up, it may be more appropriate to use vehicle chocks. The vehicle manual will give additional information on what to do when parking for a prolonged period.
It’s also important to make sure your vehicles are left clean, both inside and out in order to protect them.  Cleaning the outside of your vehicle will protect the paintwork and lessen the chance of dust, tree sap and bird droppings from sticking to it and damaging it. Removing brake dust and road salt also helps prevent further corrosion.

Working in or from a vehicle can include:

  • couriers
  • mobile workers
  • lorry driver
  • on-site transit
  • work vehicles
  • field forces. 

When in a vehicle, or using a vehicle it is not always possible to keep 2 metres apart and some of your tasks may require more than one person. Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed, consider if the respective tasks are necessary for the business and if they should continue.

If carrying out deliveries or collections, the Government has suggested keeping the task time as short as possible, using back-to-back or side-to-side working and reducing the number of people each person has contact with by continuing to put them in the same working teams.

If delivering or picking up goods, consider an agreed schedule to reduce congestion onsite.  Social distancing applies to all parts of the business, including depots and breakrooms and you should encourage the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.

Learn more about securing vehicles if your business has had to temporarily close and has vehicles on display.

Your data

Coronavirus has meant that many businesses have had to adapt very quickly to enabling their employees to work remotely. A key aspect of this is to provide secure access to your business and customer information, and ensure it remains safe.

IT, Data and Cyber FAQs

The Information Commissioner's Office says it's ok for your employees to work from home, even on their own devices. However you need to consider the same sort of security measures for homeworking as you would in the office. There has been an increase in phishing incidents in the last month and it's important your employees stay vigilant. It’s also important to make sure any antivirus tools or websites are approved by your organisation and employees are aware that with some online tools, scanned documents will be made public unless otherwise instructed. Publishing documents online can increase the potential for fraudulent activity. Read more about how you can protect your business from cyber threats.
The ICO say that it's ok to tell staff about cases in your business - but remember not to name them or provide medical details. You have an obligation to your employees under health and safety legislation, and data protection doesn’t prevent you from doing this.
The ICO say they understand that resources may have been diverted away from usual compliance work. However, it's still important to manage your data carefully. 
Cyber insurance policies may vary and so it's best to check with your broker to see what cover you have when your employees are working from home. Remember to tell your employees to remain vigilant though and you should follow the advice produced by the National Cyber Security Centre on secure home working. This will help ensure cyber security remains at a high level and IT systems are protected during these difficult times.
You have an obligation to protect your employees’ health, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to gather lots of information about them. It is reasonable to ask people to tell you if they're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. If your premises are open and people visit, you could ask visitors to consider government advice before they decide to come in. Also the NHS test and trace can be implemented in your premises. You can advise staff to call 111 if they're experiencing symptoms and this should help you to minimise the information you need to collect. If that is not enough and you still need to collect specific health data, do not collect more than you need and ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has a Suspicious Email Reporting Service. If you or someone in your business has an email you're not quite sure about, perhaps from a company you don't usually receive communications from, forward it to the the NCSC via report@phishing.gov.uk
Helpful guide highlighting our top cyber security tips.

Your customers and suppliers

Coronavirus is affecting us all and it’s vital that you liaise closely with your customers and suppliers to ensure you're able to support and work with each other during this unsettling time.

Customer and supplier related FAQs

To ensure overseas buyers can still purchase goods and services from UK exporters, the UK Government has highlighted support it can offer via UK Export Finance (UKEF) Direct Lending Scheme. UKEF has over £4 billion of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to help cover these risks. You can find out more details about availability and eligibility on the Government's website.

There has been a call to action from the government for businesses to pull together in an effort to combat the effects of coronavirus. Whether that be support in supplying ventilators and other vital medical equipment, or transporting good and people.

Customers have also changed their buying behaviour in response to what is happening. So, you may decide to change your business purpose to meet Government or customer needs. Please speak to your broker to discuss the specific detail of policy coverage to ensure you are still fully insured. 

If you're now using a vehicle commercially, i.e. for delivering goods to your customers, it is important to talk to your insurer or broker to make sure you're fully covered. You should also speak to them about your liability cover and ask their advice on whether you are covered for incidents away from your business premises.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has asked that large businesses pay any invoices owed to small businesses immediately and for finance departments to pay any currently held.  If you're a small business or self-employed then you can use this period to chase any outstanding invoices too. More information and resources on how to deal with late payments can be found on FSB's website.
Review your business continuity plan as your ‘business as usual’ may look differently now and you'll need to adjust your strategy and your plan to accommodate any changes you may need to make. As part of this, review your supply chain. A supply chain could be diversified, or shortened to increase its resilience for the future. 
All businesses must follow the neccessary guidelines to minimise contact between customers.
It's important to consider how many customers can be on your premises (indoors and outdoors) while following social distancing of 2 metres. You should review floorspace and how your customers enter and exit the premises and how they move around, including pinch points and any areas of congestion. Many premises also require face coverings to be worn by customers and staff (unless medically exempt). 
To help your customers and staff stay safe, use visual signs to provide guidance while moving around and remind them of social distancing and face coverings. Click on the relevant link below for specific advice depending on where your business is based. 
If your shop has been closed or only partially open, cleaning procedures and hand sanitisers will need to be in place before fully opening and any ventilation systems may need servicing or adjusting. All areas and equipment will require cleaning regularly between uses, especially objects and surfaces that are common touch points including self-check-outs, trolleys, coffee machines, betting machines or staff handheld devices.
To ensure your shop is kept clean throughout the day use signs and posters in each section to reiterate social distancing, face coverings, frequent handwashing and to avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available. Allow for more waste facilities and continue to dispose of waste frequently. Have hand sanitisers available throughout the store, as well as in toilets and washrooms and provide hand drying facilities such as paper towels or electrical driers.
Fitting rooms should remain closed wherever possible to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The only exception is when a key worker is required to try on critical protective clothing and in these cases the fitting rooms should be cleaned regularly and in between each use. Create a procedure to manage clothes that have been tried on, for example delying their return to the shop floor. Where not essential, fitting services should be suspended in order for employees and customers to maintain social distancing.

You should consider how your employees and your customers handle goods, stock and merchandise to limit the transmission of COVID-19 through contact with items that come in and out of the store. Review and change how customers view merchandise when shopping to limit handling of items and provide your employees with guidance on how they can safely assist customers. Where possible, put in place pick-up and drop-off collection points to reduce passing items hand to hand. When purchasing and returning items stagger collection times to maintain social distancing, ensuring a clear queuing system is in place. Items that are returned, donated or brought in for repair and so handled extensively, should be stored in a seperate container or room for 72 hours and if possible, considered for cleaning. Where possible, encourage contactless refunds. 

Encourage frequent cleaning of mutil-touch points and common items as well as regular handwashing - set up more handwashing facilities for workers and customers, providing hand sanitiser stations where possible.

Businesses in England can now reassure customers coming onto their premises by downloading, printing and displaying the COVID-19 secure certificate from Health and Safety England.

Continue to remain compliant with the latest government advice and communicate to your customers through social media and newsletters your opening times and new processes you have put in place, for example social distancing and the use of hand sanitiser. You should also inform your customers about the risk assessments you have carried out to be COVID-19 secure. 

There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household. To manage this risk, the government has recommended that the establishments in the following sectors should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors.
Venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services and local authority facilities must:

  • Ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details
  • Keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
  • Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
  • Display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
  • Adhere to General Data Protection Regulations.

Hospitality venues must also refuse entry to those who refuse to participate. Failure to do any of these requirements will result in fixed penalty fines.

The Government has provided some advice for businesses that export and deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by coronavirus.

Visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) information pages for the latest updates.