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Frequently Asked Questions



We have complied a list of Frequently Asked Questions from businesses through the Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation to help assist them.

Regional Measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus

We have updated this section to the best of our ability and the information is correct as of 16:00 30/09/2020

If you have a question which is not covered here, please email us at business.forum@northtyneside.gov.uk

Can home working / business advisors / businesses meet in public venues (cafes, hotels etc) for work meetings?
You should not socialise with people who you do not live with in indoor settings. If you wish to meet for business purposes with a client / household this should be conducted outdoors. However, it is advised that you do not meet with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any outdoor public venues. This includes outdoor areas of venues (such as a beer garden) and areas directly outside of settings or venues, such as the pavement or road and parks. This applies to inside and outside of the affected local areas.
Can mobile hairdressers, beauticians etc (those that are not tradespeople) continue to visit peoples homes to carry out treatments?
You may enter another persons home for work purposes, please see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes
Can businesses which work from home in a defined space (e.g. beauticians, hairdressers, accountants) welcome customers to their home for meetings / treatments?

For businesses that have a home based treatment room / dedicated workshop or office, this would be classed as a workplace and not a home therefore, guidance around working safely should be followed to allow people to enter the workplace. Find out more here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 

Can I accept childrens parties for max 6 if they are in the same school bubble? Or is a school bubble only within the school? Can I have more than 6 children as long as they are on 2 seperate tables?
These cannot go ahead, as households cannot mix indoors. School is an exemption in law. Hospitality sector must take reasonable steps to ensure that bookings are not taken for multiple households in groups of 6. Unless the parties are provided outdoors then these cannot can continue. Even if they book them on tables in different households the premises would have to make sure there was no mingling between the tables.
Are close contact services (nails, facials) allowed to continue working?

We understand there is no change to the guidance for this industry and businesses should follow Covid-Secure guidelines as outlined here

For Test and Trace, do pubs, restaurants, cafes need to check that the group is only one household / support bubble? Or do we trust the customers?

The following information should be collected by the venue, where possible:

  • staff
    • the names of staff who work at the premises
    • a contact phone number for each member of staff
    • the dates and times that staff are at work
  • customers and visitors
    • the name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
    • a contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people
    • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time
    • if a customer will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer

If you believe there is a breach of the legislation relating to gatherings or you do not wish to accept a large group, please take appropriate action where necessary.

You can find more information about the Test & Trace system, and the legal requirements for businesses here

Are outdoor activities through a registered company, such as canoeing, walking, hiking, classed as organised sports? Can these go ahead as long as groups attend in their own household?
Outdoor activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity, and/or involve someone who has received an official licence to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.
If a customer is asked to wear a face covering and refuses, if fined who pays the fine, owner or customer?
Businesses are asked to take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law. It is for the police to take action and businesses must be aware of the exemptions where people do not need to wear a face mask. The fine would be on the customer.

General FAQs

My business is in the Leisure industry and may be one of the last to open, can I operate from a public space?
Physical business activities – such as personal training, fitness classes, meditation etc. – taking place in public spaces (beaches, parks etc.) are allowed. 
If the business i.e. the payment for the service/activity, is taking place away from the location such as online or at a private business premises/location and the service/activity is then provided in the public space, then no licence is required.
However if undertaking the business i.e. taking the payment for the service/activity takes place at the public space then a property licence will be required for the operation of a business on council land similar to that issued to surf schools etc.
Please bear in mind social distancing is still in place, so all participants in any outdoor business activity, such as exercise, should maintain social distancing and should be in groups of no more than 6 (including the instructor/PT etc). Rules at time of post – 15:15, 18/06/2020.
Will the newly announced discretionary fund support my business in serviced offices? And how do I apply for this?

The North Tyneside Discretionary Grant fund is now live and support businesses in serviced offices, B&B’s which pay council tax, regular market traders and charities in receipt of Charitable Rate Relief. 

You can find out more information about the Grant and it’s criteria on our Covid 19 Business Support page

If landlords can take mortgage holidays, can businesses take rent holidays?

This is something that you would need to negotiate with your landlord on. 

New measures have been introduced to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

– temporarily ban the use of statutory demands (made between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020)
– winding up petitions presented from Monday 27 April, through to 30 June, where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus
– preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent

Emergency legislation already introduced by government includes a suspension of forfeiture rights, which prevents all commercial tenants from being removed from their properties until 30 June.

While landlords are urged to give their tenants the breathing space needed, the government calls on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it or what they can in recognition of the strains felt by commercial landlords too.


I am worried about paying tax due to the disruption of business?

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. Please call  HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

Can I reopen my business?

Guidance for essential businesses changed on 15 June 2020. 

Many businesses within the UK can now re open.

However businesses which operate in the Leisure, Hospitality & Tourism industry may NOT open. This includes  hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, tanning shops, spas and massage parlours; restaurants, food establishments & pubs not operating as takeaways; and accomodation

Where people live in hotels, hostels, B&Bs etc they may stay if they have no other residence. Key workers can continue to stay in hotels where required.

More information can be found here

My landlord is the local authority and my building has been closed due to council building closures, will I still need to pay rent?

Advice from the local authority on this matter will be udpated in due course, alternatively contact the Strategic Property on 0191 643 2142 to speak about your specific query.

Do I have to continue paying for commercial waste collections if my business is closed?
We can suspend commercial waste contracts and payments if a business has temporarily ceased trading. The contract and payments will be suspended until the business is able to reopen. Please email heather.nicholl@northtyneside.gov.uk with your name and addresss of the business, the date you ceased trading and your customer number or unique ID.

Self Employed

What support is there available for those that are self employed?

The Government have announced an Income Support Scheme for self-employed workers in the UK, the scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Eligibility Criteria can be found at the Business Support pages of the UK Government website 

In the Interim

The Government are providing a number of additional methods of help for self-employed including:

  • Deferral of Self Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020
  • Deferral of VAT payments due from 20 March – 30 June 2020
  • Increased amounts of Universal Credit
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Plus, if you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

Retail, Hospitality & Leisure

I run a pub / restaurant and want to operate as a takeaway, what do I need to do?

The government will introduce a time limited permitted development right to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 – drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only.

Businesses are required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.
North Tyneside Council’s planning team can be contacted on 0191 643 2310. Messages will be checked on a daily basis and responded too when possible.

Low or exempt from business rates

I haven't received a payment for £10,000 or £25,000 yet, but applied more than 5 working days ago, who do I contact to find out the status of my application?

North Tyneside Council have now paid out  over 2,100 grants to eligible businesses.

The Business Rates team are working as hard as they can to deal with queries from businesses who have submitted an application but their details do not match the required criteria or our business rate records. There are also some businesses who were not registered to pay business rates before the grant eligibility deadline date of 11 March 2020 and are now trying to claim the grant.

Rest assured they are being worked on, a couple of things to bear in mind before ringing or sending email to the rates team to find out more about your application:

– Where the business is not listed as the occupier with the Rates Team before 11th March, but you are the genuine occupier and have a lease / licence and further evidence to show you were in occupation they will consider the evidence and whether this can be paid – please supply details of your lease / licence & property only once via email – business.rates@northtyneside.gov.uk

– Where the property is not included on the business rates listing with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) the business is not eligible for a grant (this is Government criteria, not NTC’s)

We appreciate it is frustrating not knowing when payments will be made however, the more businesses ring, the longer it will take as there are multiple messages from the same business. Please bear with the Rates Team, they are working flat out to get these Grants paid.

What other support is available to my business if I don't fall into the Small Business Rate Relief or Business Rates Discount categories?

The measures to support businesses are updated on a daily basis and currently include:

  • Job Retention Scheme – 80% of wages reimbursement
  • Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • Deferring VAT for businesses
  • Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service
  • Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 


I am the ratepayer for my premise, however I don't know the Business Rates Account number to apply or I can't get into my premises to find the number, for the grant. How can I obtain this?

The Business Rate Account number is the prime security check as it is unique to the business and no one else would know it or be able to guess it. It is on the annual demand that each business was issued in early March.  This is needed to counter act fraud.

If you are unable too access your premises or have misplaced this demand and you are the ratepayer for your premises, you can email the rates team and include ‘Please confirm my Rates Account number’ in the subject line.

Will there be Business Rates Grant support for those businesses working out of serviced offices and they pay the rates for me?

The North Tyneside Discretionary Grant fund is now live and support businesses in serviced offices, B&B’s which pay council tax, regular market traders and charities in receipt of Charitable Rate Relief.

You can find out more information about the Grant and it’s criteria on our Covid 19 Business Support page

If the Council contact us by post, how will I access the letters if I am not allowed to go out / am in self isolation / my business is closed?

As far as we understand, the payments will be made by BACs rather than cheque, and will be paid to the person who according to the billing authority’s records was the ratepayer in respect of the hereditament on the scheme eligibility date, 11 March 2020.

Applications for the Grant, can be made online at https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1428/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-grants

If you are unable too access your premises or have misplaced this demand and you are the ratepayer for your premises, you can email the rates team and include ‘Please confirm my Rates Account number’ in the subject line.

I have submitted my grant application but haven't received an email to confirm this has been received?

No confirmation emails will be sent out however, you should have seen a “confirmation” page when submitting the information. Payments will start to be made in the next week or so.

My bank details have changed since last years Business Rates payment?

Applications for the Grant, can be made online at https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1428/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-grants

If you are unable too access your premises or have misplaced this demand and you are the ratepayer for your premises, you can email the rates team and include ‘Please confirm my Rates Account number’ in the subject line.

Takeaway Services

Can I start Delivering Food if I have not done it before?

Food deliveries are likely to become more common. There are a number of considerations you need to be aware of.

  1. You must already be registered as a food business with your local authority to enable you to provide a delivery service.
  1. You must ensure all food delivered does not become unsafe or unfit to eat. You should review your food safety management systems to ensure you have identified critical safety controls involved in delivering the food.
  1. Food that needs to be refrigerated or kept cool must be kept below 8 degrees C by use of an insulated box with a coolant gel or in a cool bag.
  1. Hot food should be kept above 63 degrees C.
  1. You should monitor all your controls, you can use the Safer Food Better Business diary sheets to help you. If you wish to use the chilled food and hot food temperature exemption you must show how you are monitoring to ensure you are keeping within the time constraints.
  1. We recommend that you keep your delivery distances and time short, limited to within 30 minutes.
  1. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have provided advice for business – ‘How to manage a food business if you sell products online, for takeaway or for delivery.’’
  1. Allergens – There is a wealth of advice for businesses on allergen management on the FSA website. 
  1. Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages if they do not have a license to permit alcoholic sales off the premises.

Contact-free delivery

Scientific advice is that it is very unlikely that COVID-19 can be spread through food, but, if you are changing how you are used to operating then you should think through the hazards and ensure that you have control measures in place.

  1. Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy, so you could consider leaving deliveries at the door of your customer, rather than handing it over to them. Knock on the door, step back the safe recommended distance and wait nearby for your customer to collect it. (Please note the safe distance is continuously amended – ensure you visit the government COVID -19 website link below to obtain the current advice)
  1. Take payments over the phone or internet rather than taking a cash payment.

Infection Control

  1. You have responsibilities to ensure food handlers are fit for work under the food hygiene regulations and in addition you have a general duty to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of persons in your employment and members of the public.
  1. Relevant staff must be provided with clear instructions on any infection control policy in place, and any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator.
  1. The Government have issued guidance on COVID-19 for employees and businesses
What if I can’t get the right cleaning products?

Food businesses are required to clean their premises, equipment and maintain personal hygiene at all times to safeguard against cross-contamination. If you are unable to do this because of insufficient cleaning materials then you should not be handling, preparing and selling food. You must stop producing food until you can sufficiently clean.

Early years or childcare providers

What support is available to early years or childcare providers?

The Secretary of State has announced a range of measures to support childcare providers. Please see the attached letter for further information.

24.03.20 Vicky Ford Letter to EY Sector – Covid 19 Response

Further information about how to access the support can be found here.


Social Care Providers

Where can I find information and support for social care providers?

North Tyneside Council’s health and adult social care services are providing ongoing information and advice to care providers across North Tyneside, as well as Frequently Asked Questions, here.

Social Enterprises

Are CICs eligible for the Small Business grants?

If you are a CIC which pays business rates and receives Small Business Rate Relief then we understand that you should be eligible for the £10k grant. Please check with the Business Rates team at North Tyneside Council for clarification.

What rights do we have as a Social Enterprise who hires out space for events and people keep cancelling?

Where possible and practical, you may wish to allow people to move dates until later in the year as this will also help with goodwill and reputation.  If  this is not an option, it will depend on the terms of  your hire arrangements so you’ll need to check the cancellation terms.  You may have included  ‘force majeure’ clauses that allow a period of relief in performance where circumstances arise that are beyond the parties’ control. If so, we would advise that you seek legal advice where anyone cancelling an event is seeking to rely on ‘force majeure’, so that you fully understand your rights.

Do you help to set up charities which is related to the current Covid 19 crisis?

 Please get in touch with VODA  who will be happy to discuss your proposals and consider how they can best be taken forward you can contact them through the following link  https://voda.org.uk/contact/

I have a Social Investment Loan and will struggle to pay it back is there any help?

A growing list of social investors have committed to  supporting investees. The most important advice we can give is  if you have social investment and think you may need support or flexibility, please get in touch with your investor. They will do their best to help,  you do not need to go it alone! 

Do you have any details of new grant funding for Social Enterprise to support projects responding to the Covid 19 crisis?

An excellent source of information and list of regional funders can be found on https://www.goodfinance.org.uk/latest/post/coronavirus-post/funding-and-investment-guidance  articles, programmes or schemes designed to support the sector with financial resilience is updated regularly.  However, we would also advise, if you currently hold a grant, to speak to your funder to see what provision they have put in place. 

Taxi Licensing

Are there any different arrangements for taxi licensing?
Information about the impact on taxi licensing in North Tyneside can be found here.https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/881/taxi-licensing-office

Business Support Helpline

Our friendly business advisers from the North Tyneside Business Factory are on hand to help with anything not listed here. 

0191 516 6699

An experienced business adviser will be available between 9am and 5pm from Monday 30 March. Messages will be taken out of hours and an adviser will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Alternatively, you can email business@northtyneside.gov.uk out of hours.

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