Coronavirus (COVID-19) March 2020

As the coronavirus outbreak and responses by governments and firms intensify globally, GDP growth forecasts are being revised down. The rough reality for companies and bosses who began breathing a heavy sigh of relief after the past 2 years of Brexit, is they now need to find a way to sustain operations through yet another completely unprecedented set of conditions.

In last week’s budget, and pretty much every day since, the Chancellor has been setting out various packages of measures designed to help support business, individuals and public services through the outbreak and the disruption caused as a result.

So what is happening so far? News has never moved so quickly. Even for the many who watch the news on a loop, it’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ situation. The key points currently (at 11.30 am 18th March 2020) are:

  • £330bn of government-backed loans to support businesses
  • Tesco reducing the opening times of their 24-hour stores to 6 am to 10 pm opening
  • Business rate holiday extended to all hospitality sector
  • 3 month mortgage holiday for households in financial difficulty due to coronavirus
  • Cash grants of up to £25,000 for small retailers, hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Government advising everyone to avoid non- essential foreign travel for 30 days
  • 18 new deaths bring the total number of fatalities in UK to 71
  • Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief scientific adviser says UK has up to 55,000 coronavirus cases already. He estimates that 20,000 deaths or below ‘would be a good outcome’

Source Sky News 19/03/20

Government guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for UK businesses can be found here.

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