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Coronavirus - advice for businesses

Covid-19 advice for businesses

Last updated - 27 April

The UK Government has announced a range of support measures for businesses. Full and up to date advice can be found on the UK Government website. Some of the support measures include:

  • Option to pay VAT in smaller amounts up until March 2022
  • Loans and cash grants available, depending on your business size
  • Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80 percent pay if they can’t work through the Government's Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until 30 September2021
  • Self-employed people can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme between February 2021 and April 2021 - there will be a fifth grant covering May 2021 to September 2021

You can find out what financial support schemes you may be eligible for by visiting the Gov.uk website.

Business rates service

There was a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. You do not need to do anything. It will have been applied to your bill in April 2020. Please note that:    

  • Council staff are working from home to help prevent the illness from spreading. We are attempting to run our service as normally as possible, but there may be some delays in communication
  • We will try to email you where possible and will work hard to make sure that documents you post to us are scanned on to our system as quickly as possible to minimise delays
  • We will still accept calls on 0118 974 6000, but there is likely to be some interruptions to the service. You can also email us at: brates@wokingham.gov.uk

For more information read the business rates frequently asked questions (PDF document)

Business rates discount

As part of his Budget announcement on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor stated that the Government would provide additional business rates support for eligible retail, hospitality, leisure, and nursery businesses in England occupying a qualifying property.

As a temporary measure for 2021 to 2022, he announced that: 

  • The Expanded Retail Discount (2020/21) will be extended for 3 months for eligible properties, at 100 percent relief, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021
  • From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Expanded Retail Discount would apply at 66 percent relief for eligible properties in the scheme, with a cash cap of £2m for businesses that were required to close as of January 2021, and up to £105,000 for businesses permitted to open at that date
  • The Nursery Discount 2021 would also be extended for 3 months, at 100 percent, uncapped, for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021
  • From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, the Nursery Discount would apply at 66 percent relief for eligible properties, with a cash cap of £105,000   

We are working very hard to ensure as many eligible businesses as possible access the grants and rate relief schemes administered through the local authority. 

We are also working closely with the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub, so that local businesses can also benefit from its bespoke advice services and other forms of business support.

The hub offers free, impartial business advice and support services to local businesses. From financial support to Covid-19 recovery or growth planning, whatever challenges you’re facing or questions you have, the team can provide one-to-one support. Visit the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Hub website, or call 01344 388 005.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three-month periods covering February 2021 to April 2021 and May 2021 to September 2021.

Find out more on the Gov.uk website.    

If you have to take time off work and you do not get paid while you're off, you might be entitled to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit to top up your income. Visit the Government's self-employment and universal credit web page.

If you pay Council Tax you might also be able to claim Council Tax Support, you can do this via:


We are looking at different ways to help and support people who are self-employed. There are some things that you can do yourself like:

  • Get advice on money and debt from Citizens Advice Wokingham
  • Ask your lender for a mortgage payment holiday
  • Ask your landlord for a rent holiday
  • Get help to pay your tax from HMRC

Roadmap out of lockdown

Many businesses and venues have been able to reopen as part of Step 2 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Please visit the Gov.uk website for full details on what can re-open when.

Reopening shopping areas

As part of our Covid-19 recovery work, we are working with town and parish councils to support local shops and businesses to reopen.

For more information and help, get in touch with Economicdevelopment@wokingham.gov.uk.

Useful links


I have a business in Wokingham, where can I find guidance on Covid-19 prevention in the workplace?

Enquiries regarding Covid-19, prevention in the workplace and health and safety can be directed to the Environmental Health service by phoning 01635 503 242 (9am to 5pm, 7 days a week), or via email on EHadvice@westberks.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can read further information on the Public Protection Partnership website.

I have a business in Wokingham and suspect I have an outbreak (2 or more cases), who do I contact?

Enquiries regarding a suspected case or outbreak of Covid-19 in the workplace can be directed into the Environmental Health service by phoning 01635 503 242 (9am to 5pm, 7 days a week) or via email on EHadvice@westberks.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can visit the Public Protection Partnership website for more information.

Further guidance and details of support is available from our team. Please contact us on public.health@wokingham.gov.uk or 0800 212 111.

An employee has tested positive for Covid-19, what should I do?

All confirmed cases of Covid-19 should be reported to the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Environment Health team. You can contact them by phone on 01635 503242 (9am to 5pm, seven days per week) or email CV19notifications@westberks.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can email EHadvice@westberks.gov.ukpublic.health@wokingham.gov.uk, or visit the Public Protection Partnership website.

I would like some advice on how to implement a Covid-19 policy – how can I get this?

Full guidance and support is available through the Public Health Team. You can email them on

public.health@wokingham.gov.uk or phone on 0800 212 111.

I would like some advice on how to complete a Covid-19 Risk Assessment – where do I find this?

Advice, guidance and a template are available on the Public Protection Partnership website.

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