Businesses are being encouraged to apply for new COVID-19 funding support as Leeds prepares for the next crucial stages of the country’s lockdown exit roadmap.
One-off restart grants are now available from Leeds City Council to help eligible businesses with the cost of opening up after coronavirus restrictions are eased. Non-essential retail businesses that have had to close during the current national lockdown could receive as much as £6,000 worth of support, while affected businesses in the personal care, gym and sports, leisure, accommodation and hospitality sectors could be given up to £18,000.
The roadmap plan set out by the Government last month means that, as things stand, non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen on April 12. Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons are also due to welcome back customers from that date, as are gyms and self-contained accommodation venues like campsites and holiday lets. In addition, hospitality venues will be able to serve people outdoors once again.
Provided the Government’s four lockdown exit tests – which include infection rates staying under control and the successful ongoing deployment of the vaccine rollout programme – continue to be met, restrictions are then due to ease on May 17 in other settings such as indoor hospitality, hotels, B&Bs, cinemas and children’s play areas. A final lifting of all limits on social contact is scheduled for June 21.
Restart grant applicants should be based in Leeds, registered to pay business rates and in a position where they have been unable to provide the usual face-to-face customer service from their premises as a result of the national lockdown that came into force in early January. The restart initiative is just one part of a wide-ranging programme of support that has seen the council distributing around £235m to local businesses since the crisis began.
The programme also includes a scheme primarily aimed at people with businesses that have not received other pandemic-related support grants. Potential recipients include self-employed people, home-based businesses, businesses with commercial property costs of less than £4,000 per year and smaller supply chain businesses. Driving instructors, taxi and private hire drivers, hairdressers, childminders and travel agents are among those who could benefit.
Applications to this reopened scheme can be made from Wednesday, March 31, until 5pm on April 13. Successful applicants will get up to £1,000 to help them meet fixed business and property costs such as service charges and public liability insurance. If you started trading before January 1, 2018, then you can only apply to this scheme if your business is in the retail, hospitality and events, leisure or childcare sectors or is part of an associated supply chain.
Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy and culture said:
“Businesses in Leeds have had to cope with unprecedented challenges over the last year due to the restrictions required to control the spread of coronavirus.
“These new restart grants and the reopening of the low fixed costs scheme will hopefully help provide some of the support they need to get through the crisis.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for assistance to make contact with us as soon as possible.”
Applications for other council grants that cover November’s national lockdown period and the Tier 3 restrictions that were in place in Leeds in December should be made before 5pm on Wednesday, March 31.
For further information about all aspects of the support programme – including a detailed list of business types eligible for restart grants – visit www.leeds.gov.uk