Business advice and support relating to Covid-19
We understand that business owners will have many questions in these uncertain times. This page is for business owners with questions or concerns about regulatory matters. General advice from Cornwall Council can be found on the Information about Coronavirus (Covid-19) page.
Due to offices being closed and people working from home please email the Business Regulatory Support Hub at email@example.com. Our Hub advisors will contact you as soon as possible.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.
The Government passed legislation, which required certain businesses to close with immediate effect. These are significant measures in the overall plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If you are uncertain whether your business needs to close please check the guidance. If after checking the guidance you are still unclear please contact our Business Support Hub and we would be happy to help. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cornwall Council anticipate that the majority of businesses will understand why these restrictions have been brought into place, and will remain closed. The Secretary of State has designated powers to
- Local Authority Environmental Health Officers
- Trading Standards Officers
to deal with any non-compliance.
Some business may have already or will in due course consider switching to offering takeaways to local residents. The council’s Business Regulatory Support service has developed take away and delivery guidance. This will answer most questions on how to make alterations to your business model in a safe and compliant manner.
Further information regarding food delivery and take away has been issued by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
For food businesses that are required to temporarily close we have produced an easy to follow checklist.
If businesses start to operate a takeaway service, and also offer alcohol with those meals they should check their licences permit ‘off sales’. If they are delivering alcohol they must also check there are no conditions that prohibit this. Businesses cannot serve hot food and drinks after 11pm without a Late Night Refreshment Licence.
The Food Standards Agency have prepared the following advice for iindividuals or groups that are preparing meals to share within the community.
The Food Standards Agency have published guidance for businesses on how to safely redistribute surplus food in the community and avoid unnecessary food waste.
The Food Standards Agency have released new guidance for the food industry on reopening and adapting businesses during COVID-19.
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have produced a guide for food businesses operating under the COVID-19 lockdown.
- You have concerns over a business not complying with closure regulations.
- You are aware of a holiday let business remaining open.
- You are unsure if your business should be closed.
As the recovery from this pandemic begins, we want to be able to provide schools such with the best advice and support as possible. We want to be able to assist you in re-opening as quickly as possible, but most importantly as safely as possible for staff, students and visitors alike.
We have put together some guidance and service information to assist you in the transformation back into safe and healthy operation.
The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The guidance is to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
We are conscious that things are changing rapidly and it can be challenging to keep abreast of the current Government position during the pandemic. Therefore we thought it may be helpful to produce an update on the recent changes to legislation and guidance affecting the tourism industry and in particular holiday accommodation.
The Trading Standards team have been made aware of a number of Covid-19 related scams. More information on these scams and the support available can be found on the Cornwall Council website.
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly the restrictions on non-essential travel and the mandatory closure of most business premises has prompted a number of enquiries from hotels and other accommodation providers seeking clarification as to their rights and obligations in relation to forced cancellations. Our Trading Standards team have released the following advice for businesses relating to booking cancellations.
We have also received enquiries from members of the public concerning the cancellation of holidays and as a result we are now offering this advice and guidance to anyone wondering where they stand.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a programme of work to investigate reports of businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
We are aware that many local businesses are trying to claim on their insurance but are being asked to prove there was a case of Covid19 within 25 miles of their business. Our Trading Standards team have produced the following guidance to support them with their claim.
The Food Standards Agency have advised that all planned food hygiene, food standards and animal feed interventions, should be deferred for a period of 12 weeks from 18 April 2020 until 17 July 2020. We have issued guidance on the exceptions to this and information regarding urgent reactive work.
During the present emergency, if you’re a licensed distiller or gin manufacturer and you want to produce hand sanitiser you do not need to tell HMRC or get their approval. If you hold duty suspended ethanol in an excise warehouse, you can denature ethanol by either:
- producing a hand sanitiser that meets World Health Organisation (WHO) formulations for handrub.
- meeting the formulations of industrial denatured alcohol, or trade specific denatured alcohol 1, 6 or 7
You do not need to tell HMRC, but you must keep a record both of the:
- amounts of ethanol denatured
The government has issued further guidance for producing hand sanitiser.
Further to HMRC’s announcement about alcohol used to make hand sanitisers, HSE have made a very similar ruling that manufacturers do not need to register alcohol based hand sanitisers under the biocidal product regulations.
Cornwall Council's Environmental Health Team is issuing a safety reminder that while many buildings, offices and leisure facilities are shut down due to the pandemic, that water systems and leisure facilities, such as spa pools, are still well maintained to prevent future health issues like Legionella outbreaks. This applies to all buildings irrespective of size and use, appropriate measures must be planned and implemented. The following guidance has been set out to support businesses control the risks of legionella.
ESGLI have published guidance for managing Legionella in building water systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Export health certificates
Where required we can still issue export health certificates.
The Institute of Licensing has provided updated guidance on the delivery of alcohol.
Licensed venues for weddings and ceremonies can access regular updates on the Cornwall council website. Any queries relating to switching dates should be via email at email@example.com.
Working alongside the Ceremonies and Registration teams, our Trading Standards Team have prepared the following advice regarding wedding cancellations due to Coronavirus.
- The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
- The UK Government’s Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do.
- Information From Cornwall Council about how the schemes for Local Authority Business Rate Grants will be made available to businesses.
- Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; Businesses are able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages through HMRC’s new online portal.
- For the Self-Employed the Government have developed an online tool you can use to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim.
- The Government have created a business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.
- Government guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19.
- Guidance for employees, employers and businesses in providing advice about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
- Businesses will be able to access government support from Monday 23 March. This is so that they can keep operating in the face of the global economic emergency brought on by coronavirus.
- The Growth Skills Hub has up-to-date signposting of the latest initiatives and provisions. It is intended to help businesses through these unprecedented circumstances.
- BSI guide to masks and face coverings for use in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- British Business Bank Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) FAQs.
- The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub is working with Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses to capture information about how COVID-19 may be impacting on your business or organisation, including charities and social enterprises. Please take a few moments to fill in this short survey.
- The FSB are offering advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed.
- CIEH advice for people going food shopping.
- Technical cleaning advice from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
- The Business Companion website has advice that could be helpful for businesses that are diversifying (eg. starting to sell meat, or fruit and veg, where there are specific provisions relating to weights and measures and labelling, for example).
- The British Retail Consortium (BRC) have published advice on Social Distancing in Warehouse and Distribution Settings.
- The British Frozen Foods Federation have issued guidance on the freezing down of chilled and ambient product to preserve life. The Food Standards Agency have also issued guidance for businesses on bulk freezing food products originally intended to be supplied and sold as ambient or chilled products.
- Guidance for social distancing for anyone where English isn't their first language.
- Institute of Food Science and Technology have created a Knowledge Hub, with many useful resources for food businesses.
- The Office for Product Safety and Standards have released guidance for Businesses relating to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation.
- The Waste and Resources Action Programme have published information for businesses in relation to managing foods with a best before date to save food being thrown away unnecessarily.
- The BRC have published a guide for (non-food) retailers on how to implement Government advice relating to social distancing.
- The CIPD have produced a guide to help you plan your organisation’s next steps following a period of furlough or once lockdown measures start easing.
- Pet Industry Federation have updates regarding animal and pet businesses.
- Government guidance on the cleaning of non-healthcare settings.
- The CTSI have guides providing clear guidance for travel and tour operators, food businesses and the housing and home improvement sector.
Question asked on 19th March:
Would it be possible for pubs that can no longer operate but have kitchens if it would be possible to rent those kitchens to someone who might do food delivery or to prepare food for sale through mobile food trucks.
Answer provided on 20th March:
If a business wants to do this first they should register with their local authority for the food hygiene element.
Cornwall Council Licensing Officers see no reason for it to affect the pubs licence. However if the Food Business Operator who is sub-letting the kitchen is to sell or provide alcohol than they would need to apply accordingly.
Please bear in mind that if takeaway operations are to take place there is a requirement that a change of use under planning law should be applied for under normal circumstances. In respect of this Cornwall Councils Planning Department have stated they are happy to relax ‘change of use’ for temp businesses wanting to diversify into delivery companies at this time within Cornwall.
Cornwall Council’s Head of Development Management within our Planning and Sustainable Development Service has stated that:
“The government are currently considering a temporary permitted change for pubs and restaurants to operate as take-aways - the legislation hasn’t come out as yet but it is expected. In the meantime, the Local Planning Authority would take a pragmatic approach to such uses if they are to operate for a temporary period of time.”
Further information on planning and COVID 19 can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Updated Response - 30th March
The government has made clear that all pubs, restaurants and cafes should no longer be open for on-site consumption. They can however remain open to provide a takeaway service. This right will be enshrined in legislation with a permitted development right (PDR) coming into force at 10am on Tuesday 24 March for a 12 month period. To support pubs and restaurants and ensure access to food during the emergency period, this new national PDR will allow:
to operate temporarily as hot food takeaways (A5 use class).
To give greater flexibility, the PDR will also seek to cover cold and pre prepared food and will allow for takeaway and delivery. The pub, restaurant or café will remain in its current use class during this period. The PDR will be time limited to 12 months. Beyond this time, a planning application would be required for continued use as a takeaway.
Question Asked 30th March:
Would a shop have to stop selling alcohol until a replacement DPS was appointed if the existing DPS for a store was unable to work due to Covid-19
Answer provided on 31st March:
It is not a requirement in any circumstances for a DPS to be physically present at the premises, unless there is a specific condition on the premises licence requiring the DPS to be present at all times. Such a condition is unusual. The role of a DPS is to be the point of contact with the Responsible Authorities and to have day to day management of the premises and a good awareness of what is happening there. Some elements of management and awareness can be conducted remotely. If the DPS is unable to fulfil their role for a short time, this is not an immediate offence. It is important to have a written record of who is authorised at the premises to supply alcohol. If your DPS will be away long term, or you lose contact, then you should consider a variation of the DPS, through an application to the Council.
Ordinarily, the Licensing Authority would consider 12 weeks to be ‘long term’. However, in the current crisis we would not insist on a variation of DPS if another personal licence holder is not readily available to be appointed as DPS.
In the meantime, however, we would recommend that existing DPS/personal licence holders cascade training and authorise other staff members to sell alcohol in their absence; it is recommended that written records of training and authorisations are kept for audit purposes.