Lockdown 3 Rules For Business - Webinar Replay

Lockdown 3 Rules For Business - Webinar Replay

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Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.   Welcome to this afternoon's webinar. We're just going to give it a minute, just for a few other   people to join us. We had quite a lot of interest in today's Q&A which is not surprising - given   the changes in the rules and we really hope that we're going to be able to answer as many of   those as possible. We'll get introductions  and things away shortly, so bear with me. Great, I think we're all in in which case we  will begin. So a very good afternoon to you, welcome along to this Trading Standards  Q&A with partners. My name is Tudor Price,

I look after the Kent & Medway Growth Hub which for many of you will know is a business support service provided by Kent County Council and the government too. And we've been running a helpline for businesses across the county - taking over 14,000 calls since March and our role really is to try and help you navigate your way through the government's business support measures, as well as obviously sign post you to the experts that you need. So we're delighted to be involved here with Trading Standards, Environmental Health and the Enforcement team, to again try and help   you navigate your way through what is obviously a very difficult confusing time for all of us. This webinar is being recorded, and for those of you that registered through   the through the website, will receive a link to that recording   once we've done the editing and polishing on all of that. You will see in the live chat   a box. There are a number of contact  details that have already been posted - 

there's a phone number for the helpline, the  Environmental Health team and so forth and we'll continue to post links in there which are relevant to some of the questions which you raise. The questions that we have received already exceed 90, so there's a lot of questions that   have come in and understandably they are on a whole range of different topics, from grants all the way through to  whether or not you're allowed to sort of step outside your front door,  and if you do what you have to be wearing. Needless to say in an hour we are not going to get through all of those, but we will do our best   to try and make sure that we cover groups if you like and where there is an answer to one question, hopefully it will cover other  aspects of similar type questions. But   if you are stuck obviously the Trading Standards team have a website where you can submit questions and ask for advice. Or you can call us at the Growth hub and we will arrange a call back for you from one of the Trading Standards or one of the advisors that are helping us today.

Okay, so I am going to ask your questions, those have been submitted already and those that appear in the chat. Again, apologies if I don't get  around to everybody's questions but we will try and make sure we cover as much as we can as possible. The first thing to say is all of   us I think are having a tough time of this, some more so than others. The challenge that we all face certainly in terms of the experts on the  panel here this afternoon, is that information is sparse and it takes a while for politicians obviously to make their statement, to implement  the change and then to cascade to us the detail. So detail is always slow to come through because there's always a multitude of variances and nuances which take time to be decided upon and therefore you may have a few frustrations from us today, unintentionally, where we are unable to give you a definitive answer. What I have asked the panelists to do is to try and give you at least

some guiding principles to work to, so that you can move forward with some good conscious and in good   faith - that you are trying to adhere to the general principles of the rules, even if we can't give you   definitive clarification at this point. So we are doing our best and we know that you too are also trying your best, otherwise you wouldn't be here trying to find out the answers. So thank you very much indeed. That's enough chat from me, I'm now going to invite the panelists to introduce themselves who they are, who they work for, and their area of expertise and then we'll crack on with questions. So I'm going to come to you first Nathan, then to Jim then to Trevor and then to Paul. Nathan over to you. Thank you Tudor, thank you for everyone who's  

joined us today my name is Nathan Martin, I'm the Principal Trading Standards Officer for Commercial   and Food services at Kent County Council, My role is slightly different and to other Trading   Standards Officers because I work in a team called the Business Advice Services team, which   is stepped away from Enforcement. So our main purpose is to advise businesses work with you, try and help you get things right before any sort of enforcement has to be done. I'll be mainly asking-  answering questions on business closures and such today. Thank you very much indeed Nathan. Jim? Thank you Tudor and yes hello and welcome everybody. My name is Jim Widette. Normally I'm a   Trading Standards manager, but today I'm here representing the KRF Enforcement Cell. So basically the Enforcement Cell, it groups together the local authority representatives who conduct enforcement on COVID legislation, and we try and provide a consistent approach across enforcement authorities and across Kent and Medway. And I'll be asked hopefully answering

your questions in relation to enforcement activity. Thank you. Jim, thank you very much indeed. Trevor? Thank you, my name is Trevor Ford. I'm normally the Environmental Protection and Licensing Team Leader within the Environmental Health department at Ashford borough council. Similar to Jim, I'm here to assist with  answering questions surrounding enforcement, and since kind of beginning of last year obviously I've been picking up a lot around the COVID enforcement in Ashford and compliance work. Thank you. Trevor thank you and finally, Paul? So. Paul Hayes, I'm one of the business advisors in the Kent and Medway Growth hub helpline team, supporting sole traders, SMEs, partnerships, limited companies all throughout Kent, with a   range of services we've got the business support networks - where we have groups of businesses getting together every couple of weeks just to talk through challenges, share resources, contacts and support each other overcoming business challenges. I think Tudor mentioned about the

the well-being side of things which is taking a bit of a hit at the moment, so these business support network sessions are proving particularly popular, very helpful to to all of those businesses impacted by what's going on and also we  provide guidance around the various schemes that are being put out there by the government and also non-government organisations, which   is always an interesting challenge, navigating those. So that's where we're able to help. Brilliant Paul, you've got a job ahead of you this afternoon. But thank you very much indeed all of you. Okay so at the end of this session, we will invite you to pass comment as to whether or not you feel this session has been worthwhile, and also whether or not it's answered   your questions, and that will be a a poll that will run at the end - so do keep sticking around for that. Okay let's crack on with questions. So first on my list here we're dealing with retail, and the first one at the top is 'Can click and collect and drive through collects continue? And can we continue to sell non-food items?' Click and collect? Where are we with this one? So who wants to venture into that field first? Nathan? Over to you.

Yeah. The short answer is click and collect and drive-through can continue. If you're a food retailer, you don't have to open just for click and collect, you can actually open allow people in to browse in your shop. There has been a question on mixed retail, which this one seems to suggest  because some goods have been considered essential and others are not. What we would say in the situations of mixed retail if you are predominantly a business that is allowed  to be open, for example a supermarket is predominantly a food business so they can be open but continue to sell non-essential items, then you can be open. If you are what would be considered a non-essential retail business, but you happen to sell a small number of essential goods, then that is not enough for you to meet that   exemption. But even if you can't open, you can still continue to work by click and collect with people placing an order over the phone, or by the internet or whatever and then picking up without coming into the premises. Likewise with drive-through as long as

they don't come into the premises, that's perfectly fine. That's interesting because actually we've got one of the other questions in that category is around a sole proprietor who has had COVID19, and therefore maybe sporting some immunity 'Can I allow people in the shop?' I guess the answer to that is no, unless he's click and collect is that right? Yes that's correct. Unfortunately well   if he's a food retailer, then yes he's allowed to be open regardless of whether or not he's had COVID. His COVID status, you know it's irrelevant, it's not in the legislation. If it's not an essential goods, then unfortunately no. The fact that he's had COVID, does not allow him to open. Okay that's interesting.There's 'Are we as a bicycle shop allowed encouraged or discouraged to open during this lockdown period?' I guess the argument being that a fitness is good for the mental health and therefore you know could be seen as an essential service.

What's the viewpoint on that? Well fortunately this one's an easy one because bicycle shops are specifically listed in the legislation as  a premise that is able to open, so as a bicycle   shop continue to open as normal. Fantastic, that's good news. Now business centres, again I guess loosely retail in so much that they are sort of providing services to to people coming in. Business service 'Which businesses can and can't open within business centers?' Like is the venue and nature of the premises play a part in that? Well it's really the same sort of situation as malls and such, and it would again come down to can the individual business - is it allowed to open? Unfortunately the list that has been made available in the guidance is out of date, that's the  Tier 4 guidance that's available at the moment. So those businesses have slightly changed, but they are mostly correct. Okay so if you took a look at that piece of guidance that would give you maybe 95 percent of the answers. If you want the full

list of businesses that can and can't open, you unfortunately have to go to the legislation itself, and that's in Schedule 3A of the new regulations. What I'm going to do when you've moved on to somebody else, I'm going to drop links into the chat - both for the guidance and for the legislation, so the two of them together will give you a complete answer. That's brilliant and you said that within there there's a list of those businesses that can and can't open is that right?  Yes it is. Unfortunately if you're not used to dealing with legislation, it is quite difficult it is quite difficult to find it. But it's in  the very last section of Schedule 3A, so it's  

I believe it's Section 16, Paragraph 16 - it lists the ones, sorry. It lists all the ones that have to close, sorry. And then anything else not covered. No, yeah sorry I know. No I got myself all mixed around it. Lists what is allowed to open and what is not. While you dive into this, yeah while you dive into the chat

with your links, I'm going to come across to Jim because Jim's going to help you out there a little bit, with a bit of clarity. Jim over to you. Okay, yes so in the legislation there's basically three types of businesses. So as Nathan has quite clearly stated, there's businesses that must close or are restricted and they are within the schedule. You then have businesses that are permitted to be open.

Sorry I've got somebody calling in, and then if you don't appear on either of those two lists in the legislation, there is the third method which is Nathan has already alluded to is the click and collect. So basically you look through the two lists and you're looking at 15, 16 and 17. They're paragraphs 15,16 and 17 within Schedule 3A, and one explains these are the people who are restricted, these are the ones are allowed to be open and if you don't appear in either of those lists, you do click and collect. Okay so hopefully and once Nathan drops that into the link, you can then go and have a look and you can see if your business is listed. If you're not listed then you're a retailer or services, then it is the click and collect function, okay? That's great Jim. While we're on that subject , there's  a question here about from a photography studio and the reason why I think it might be profuse, because it's that balance between obviously close to the public but what about business to business services? Is there a differentiation there or you know what are the - some principles that people should be adhering to to help them figure out whether they can or can't stay open?Okay so there isn't a distinction between services to a business from a business, but if you go back and actually look at the very beginning of Schedule 3A it defines when you can actually legally  leave your home. So that's kind of one of the overarching principles that people are  going to have to hold on to here, and that is you have the ability to leave your home under certain specific situations and that would be   to go food shopping, for medical help, those sorts of things. But also if it is for work but that work

is only if it cannot be done at the home. So you know like this most of us have all probably sat in our own homes at the moment attending this meeting, because that's the appropriate thing to do so something like a photography studio could be a difficult one, because you probably can't do it from home, but then is it necessary and does it fit within the reason to leave your place of residence? That's the kind of issue that people are going to have to think about when they're venturing out. That's good. Now while I've got you Jim, I'm going to just press you on this another question just coming from Craig Borman because it's similarly related. So they're a health and safety consultancy and training provider. They've moved obviously all their consultancy to remote support

and where possible, have moved to remote learning for students. There are some courses however that are only face to face, and this is due to the accrediting body requirements. So in order for them to to get you recognised qualification, the current accreditation guidance says they need to be done face to face. Can that go ahead? Can they teach in that sort of environment or are they going to fall foul here? I'm just  trying to think very quickly of the schedule I believe that for certain training facilities  there is an option, but I think we'd probably be better dealing with that one offline, just to double check and make sure exactly. But I think it would fall to that whole point and if you can't do it remotely it might be possible, but I think if the question can come through to us on  email and then maybe Nathan or one of the team can actually pick that up and go through it specifically, because I would hate to say yes   go ahead, they'd book loads of clients and then all of a sudden that be a big problem. That's why we need to look at the exact details, I think. That's great Jim, thank you very much.

Craig, so obviously if you're listening, you  know please do submit this question through the Business Advice pages on Trading Standards and they will look that in detail. I would wonder whether or not the accrediting body  will give you some flexibility, on the basis that you know all the GCSE exams are currently - obviously having to sort of rethink how they do things, I wonder whether they will give you a bit of flexibility and being able to deliver that remotely as well, but we'll wait and see okay. Nathan's been very busy posting links into the chat area there, so please do copy and paste them into your own browsers. Okay, I think we've got here so just on the retail side, there's a question about food retail 'We are a community interest company providing healthier, more affordable food to 600 families signed up as members of our food club. Can we stay open?' So I suppose they're not strictly speaking a business,

not a retail business they are a community interest company. So Nathan what do you think? This was one of the pre-submitters and I did have a look at their business online, it seems to fit fairly well into a food retailer  for me. I think you could definitely argue a food retailer and able to stay open. There's a question here which I think I know the answer

and this is one of those opportunities maybe just to highlight the principles behind this 'Can customers collect from our brewery shop?' So obviously a manufacturer, or producer of beer, of which Kent is a magnificent advocate. But I guess this is something to do with around whether or not they loiter outside and consume the products, they've just purchased. Is that the thing? Yeah the whole idea  of something able to go into a pub and order a takeaway beer that has gone with this one, but there is a specific difference between a brewery shop and a takeaway beer from the pub. So they can't sell it from the pub but if they actually have a shop, then they can sell their stuff for consumption off the premises, provided they have an off sales  license. So that they would need to have that one the legislation also says that where you've got a restricted business, like a pub and a non-restricted business like a food retailer which is what this is, because food includes drink. Then they can open the part of the business that isn't restricted, providing people are able to access that business without going through the restricted premise. So if their brewery shop is in

a little corner of the pub, then you're looking at having to do sort of click and collect, okay because you know it's not separate from the pub, and the pub has to be closed. If they've got a specific separate site for it, so alongside the business whatever - then people can just go in there and browse as normal. If it is part of the bar, it's going to have to be click and collect, delivery etc. Which probably actually helps me sort of just ask the next question which is in relation to sort of food and drink, so obviously you were talking about click and collect and they're a cafe so 'Can a takeaway coffee shop that has retail stock visible, sell those with the coffee at the door?' So is there any I guess it's a click  and collect by any other means isn't it? Again it sort of depends exactly how they're doing it. If they're a coffee shop set up in a non-food shop okay, and you do get someone out so you might have you know a different like Hobbycraft the  same with a cafe inside it something like that.

Because people can come in to order a takeaway coffee, doesn't then give them free reign to browse what is going on in the shop. But if they've got items that are being sold from the queue so they're there anyway, there's nothing wrong with them purchasing them and we see that from Costa and other coffee shops. If it is, except for retail part okay so selling non-essential items  like art and craft supplies or whatever, then you're gonna have to do the sort of click and collect. People order in advance, so they're not on the premises browsing, and they collect that either at the door and you could argue if they've got justification to go in to get a takeaway coffee, they can pick up stuff they have already purchased. Okay and that's good. Thank you very much. Trevor I'm just going to bring you in here because

there's a question which may or may not. It's to do with 'how can I help nowhere'. I've lost it now, it was there a second ago there it was. Oh yeah visiting client premises 'am I able to visit clients at their premises for meetings and how far I'm able to travel?' So assuming that they've got you know a reason to to be out, just in terms of them safeguarding and sort of you know the environmental health aspect of things. What's the answer from your end?

Yeah well obviously the first question is is  it reasonably necessary for them to visit in the first place. Obviously there's a whole host of different ways to to carry on meetings assuming that there is no alternative option and it's  reasonable for them to be out, then of course like a lot of businesses which are still able to go into people's home, obviously there's some sensible precautions in terms of PPE and steps, such as obviously speaking with householders making sure that they're free of COVID symptoms, no one in the house is self-isolating etc. And then making sure that the minimum number of people who are there, need to be there are there. Basically once you've gone through those steps and kind of eliminated as many risks as possible, then you're left ultimately down at the the stage of PPE, which obviously should be a relative last resort. Face mask obviously sensible, hand gel, gloves, avoiding touching service surfaces etc. But it very much depends on the nature of  the business and what sort of services being offered but where possible, avoid going into people's homes if it's reasonable to do so.

What about letting agents because we've heard about estate agents and the house prices bits and pieces, betting agents obviously that can they work safely during the pandemic. I mean again I guess it goes back to are they is it a legitimate reason to be out and about, but if they do - what sort of things measures are they need to be taking? Yeah so the government guidance is really clear   how is it house moves can still take place, basically people outside those kind of household bubbles shouldn't help with moving, estate agents and removal firms can continue to work. You can go to property viewings and there is some moving safely guidance on GOV.UK website, which is particularly relevant in this case. A lot of estate agencies are limiting viewings to people who are in a position to move at the moment. So they've got an offer on their property and they're

also offering online viewings to basically  whittle down the people who actually want a physical viewing and so there's certainly a lot of different options that people seem to be pursuing. But yeah again it comes down to those - do you need to do it is there an alternative way and obviously if you do so, how can you  reduce those risks through face masks, gloves, reducing the people exposed, making sure everyone's symptom free and and okay to attend. And just I mean it's something that's probably cropped up many times before but I mean what are the obligations or requirements or none if you are providing a click and collect service or you know people do need to come to your premises for whatever reason, you know what are the obligations on you in terms of providing a COVID safe environment. You know is it  down to you, do you have to do that? Yeah so obviously if you're providing a click and collect service obviously what you should be providing as a business needs to be risk assessed. You obviously need to avoid those risks where possible, so ideally you know the people come click and collect and then click and collect at the door would be more than ideal, avoid people   coming indoors. Obviously if you're able  to do so maintain the the two meter distance and take sensible precautions around  avoiding those risks in the first place.

A lot of the shops who are operating click  and click that I've seen have operated with a a table or a desk across the doorway and a bell or similar, so that customers can come to the door provide their details pass over the package onto the desk and the other person collects it and walks off without much in the way of interaction. So there's certainly a lot of easy ways to avoid that that close contact. Interesting, Lottie Charlie has just posted a question in the chat here so 'I'm a florist I know I have to be closed. But people have asked to play cash at the door, I've said no. Am I correct or could they put the cash

in an envelope and post through the letterbox?' This is a transmission  question I know a lot of people now looking to to use contactless cards and stuff like that and I guess it's that confusion around whether that's a requirement or whether that's just voluntary or good practice. What's your take on that? That doesn't really seem to fit one of the  the click and collect options by delivery, by   by post, by telephone or by web, so orders need to be placed by one of the accepted methods which if I remember correctly are are limited to those three. People posting money through the door yes you can accept postal orders but it's  not within the spirit of the legislation to you know if someone posts it there and then. So cash on collection is a no-no, is that right? Is that what we're saying? I would have to double check that particular bit, yeah it's got to be a pre-order yeah and I think I'm just doing it. Okay Nathan you want to jump in on this one? Yeah I mean I'll chime in because there hasn't been guidance on payment methods. You think the the purpose of it is to eliminate and the customers entering the premises

so there's none of that browsing, there's none of that lingering and touching things and all sorts. So my opinion, I'll invite Jim's on this  as well is that if they could achieve a click and collect order, the delivery is placed in  advance, they know they've already purchased it, it's there waiting for them and they just  have to complete the sale for example by using a a contactless terminal or handing over  payment, I think if that can be managed and based on your risk assessment in a risk-free way, the consumer doesn't come onto the premises i would think that that was probably okay. Jim do you have a - do you have a position on that? I mean just looking back at the legislation  it's quite clear that people are not permitted into the premises if you're doing click and  collect, so then you have and it doesn't say anything about payments. I understand exactly where Trevor is coming from because if it is

it's open to interpretation. I know there has been Public Health guidance on reducing the amount of cash transactions and in risk assessments for certain activities, there has been a push for contactless, so through the card terminals and things like that and moving away from cash   just because of the transmission. I think it's something we could probably take away and maybe get some further guidance from colleagues of Public Health. It may be a point on best  

practice, but I think it is tied up in that  whole point of have you actually gone through the process that's permitted. A web, telephone, or post and are you collecting, I think that's   got to be the whole point is collecting  rather than purchasing at that point but  we're gonna have to seek further clarification I think. Yeah I think I mean just picking up on what you're all saying there that sort of in the spirit of the law and spirit of the guidance really is that there isn't, you know if it's trying to avoid the transmission and the sort of contact side of things of - and I guess Charlie from your side, yeah if you had a box where   they're putting the cash in and you're not making any contact with I guess in principle that's   you know leave the box you know to one side, for 72 hours make sure it sort of you know passes away then you should should probably be okay. But again more than welcome to submit a direct question through and just below your message is a link to the Trading Standards advice pages, so you can submit something through there and they will try and give you a definitive answer. Interestingly  

there was a similar question from Bob who's a used car dealer offering click and collect 'Is a customer able to reserve a vehicle with a deposit and then pay their balance on collections?' So again I suppose this is a payment on collection principles, what we're saying here is about contact   and about sort of so if it's handing over wads, which I guess may possibly lead to transmission or if it's paying by card that's going to be  the differentiator there, is that probably a fair assessment? Nathan? Yeah I think so. I  think you have to be careful as well because it is for click and collect, so if that particular arrangement is they're going to turn up and they   haven't purchased it, they've just basically  saved it you know put a deposit down so nobody else buys it if they're then going to get  in, drive around, open up the bonnet, blah, blah, that is not permitted by the legislation. It  is purely if you have made a purchase then you can collect it at the premises. So as I say there's differing ideas here about the completion of the

contract. I believe that if you have paid money for that good - you have purchased that good and   if you're just collecting it, I think it is okay. However you have to be very, very careful you're   not allowing people to do all sorts of extra bits and pieces. It is for when a contract that has   been concluded and it's just the handover for the goods. Yeah okay so that's quite useful. Jim? Yeah so I'm just looking at Paragraph 16 within the legislation and it says to collect goods that have been pre-ordered by a means mentioned, and that's through the website, telephone or post,   so it's not quite as clear as we would  like it to be to say pre-purchased,   it's pre-ordered. And let me scope for the method of payment is up for discussion.

That's discussed and I'm looking at it  right now and I can't see anything that says   payment must be made in advance because I've just seen somebody put in the chat about a coffee   take away point and understand. Yeah so I can see why that could be worded that way, but I think everybody should be looking to limit that kind of physical money transaction   as much as possible. But we will clarify that and see if we can come back to people on it. Yeah I think in as is often a way really,  all of us that are trying to trade and trying   to keep our businesses alive, I think being flexible on the method of payment, but again being mindful that we're trying to avoid contact and transmission of the virus. So I guess if it's   by electronic means great, then I guess you could argue pin pads maybe are the same thing. So yeah   it's come I think we're getting clarity on that particular point. Okay and you can ask a couple   more sort of compliance questions, then we're going to move across to grant side of things. So

Paul you might want to get yourself ready when we come across you shortly. So fitness 'Can I arrange outdoor exercise training and if so how many can attend? Found the guidance confusing is   is it 1 person, up to 15 or up to 30?' I know this has changed over a period of time so who wants to   take that one? Nathan first in there again. Thank you. It is yeah, you're right it's changed   in every single lockdown we've had. But at the moment the rules are very clear you can only leave

your home to do exercise with one other  person that isn't in your family or support   bubble. So therefore you can only arrange sort of joint exercise with one other person if you're   a personal trainer, so all sorts of exercise  classes for adults unfortunately you can't   operate a class now. Wow, okay that's that's a big change from from last time wasn't it there was a  bit of scope really so and especially as we're all trying to take exercise. Which in itself is now   let's talk about that, because that's one that's been in the news a lot around Boris cycling 7 miles do that constitute local, and should exercise start or finish from your place of residence. I'm going to ask probably Jim on that  one. Jim where are we? Smiling wryly at me. Where are we on on this getting out and about for local exercise? Thanks Tudor. Your welcome.

That's that would have to be something I think that it comes down to necessity, it's the   whole point around travel is going to be necessity. Now some people live very closely to those green   open spaces where they can get to and other people don't. But I think as it's been played out in   the media the police are dealing with those sorts of necessary travel issues, and it would   be on a case-by-case basis and that whole point is you know I think it's very easy to turn around and   say if I drive from Kent to the Lake District that is not necessary. If I drive two miles down the   road to go to the beach, to walk in the open space there - is that necessary and is that appropriate? If I drive 25 miles probably not. So I really do think it is it's going to be on that case by case,

I can link through to Kent Police and see if they've got any further guidance on this at   the moment that they're issuing to their officers, because they would be the people who would be - you   know challenging people if it was an unnecessary journey. You can go local, the rules/guidance   that the government are giving at the moment it does say within your locality and local to you   but it doesn't give that you know within two miles because the park might be two and a half   miles from me so it says local but we will see if we can get some further guidance. Maybe   from Kent Police or something and then we can post that out later on. Yeah I think that'd be helpful   I think I did see one one comment which said you sort of exercise or your fitness should start and   start and end your place of residence  which is always nice sort of helpful thing,   that makes sense you know. But that explains some cyclists who do 50 miles in a go, you know you   think well actually it's going to take them on a long journey, but if they're not getting contact.  Yes and I know from seeing things online  and things there are people who are doing a   one kilometer loop ten times to get a 10k running, other people are doing three and doing it, But is   it as the crow flies it's very difficult, so we'll see if we can get some further guidance on it.

But in the legislation itself and also the rules the government have put out, it doesn't specify a   distance at this point in time. That could change as soon as we get some clarity. I think that   would help everybody. That makes sense, Jim thank you very much indeed. A couple more questions   Nathan I see you got your hand up but we've gotta ask you to put your question into the the chat area because we've got too many people to move across to to verbal questions, but   thank you. Just wanted to ask on behalf  of oh yeah key cutters, engravers ,open or closed? Jen. Nathan rather? It's not something that I've specifically looked at but   they're not on the list of businesses that are permitted to be open. So they would fall into  

the category of you have to close your business premises, but you can operate by delivery, click and   collect etc. In this case I'm not sure you know how feasible that would be you'd have to do   you'd have to look at ways that you could manage that, maybe a contact free handover of keys,   all that sort of thing. It will be a difficult  one to operate on that basis but unfortunately it doesn't fit into one of the businesses that can be open. So it might be that certain things that you  

offer, you just can't offer at this moment unless you can find a way to manage it in a safe way. So for example we look at tech repair shops, that sort of thing like a mobile phone repair shop   they are allowed to be open with you know you can't allow people into your shop, but you can do   contact free handovers and then upgrade it that way, so I guess you could argue it's that   sort of thing the retail business has to be  closed. But you make the arrangements online, then do a contact free handover and do the service, and then arrange to hand it back contact free as well. So broken keys or things like that  you've got to come in and get them done? Yeah if you're talking about a locksmith, so the other side of it, if somebody has an issue with a lock that you need to repair. If you're offering services in people's home and you can't   reasonably do that from elsewhere then you can go into people's homes to do that. So the locksmithing  

side of things absolutely can operate, That's great. Okay we're going to come back to some   more questions around sort of entering people's homes, and so those of you asking questions or have   pre-submitted questions, don't worry we'll get around to these shortly. I'm just watching the clock. A lot of questions of course around grants and the government support measures. Now this is something that we specialise in on the business support helpline at the Growth Hub. We live and breathe the guidance documents that come out from local authorities and we've   secured sort of several million pounds worth of granting grant awards on behalf of the government   and local authorities. It's not easy and I'll be honest we as experts sometimes get really confused  

and we have a meeting twice a week, every morning - every other morning to really work through the   detail and try and understand it. So believe you and me, if you're confused you are not alone.  Equally though, I make light of that because I do know it is actually quite a serious matter   for many of you so i'm going to invite Paul to just as a starting point, try and give a   sort of overview of the funding landscape as it has been - specifically around the sort of retail   and the premises side of things. So Paul I'd like you to step into the lion's den on this one.   Thank you and yeah Tudor's absolutely right, we are all in a situation where we are navigating   the intricacies of all of these schemes and I guess the one word of assurance we can give   you is that if we if it isn't clear, we will take it away and we'll go and find out.  

So I've been involved in lots of dialogues,  correspondence, phone, calls, emails with various   local authorities to help get clarity where  appropriate, or support people with applications.   Lots of people out there also of an age where technology isn't necessarily easy, so we've been supporting where we can, with people guiding  them through online applications for grants etc. I guess in summary, what I would say is that if your business has been forced to close   and I would refer you to the link that Nathan was putting into the chat, then effectively   you are entitled to in the new world 'the Closed Business Lockdown Payment' which is a one-off   payment and it is determined by your business rateable value. So if your business rateable value   is less than or equal to £15,000, there is a £4,000 one-off payment.   Anything above £15,000 but  under £51,000, it's a £6,000 one-off payment. And anything business rateable value over £51,000 is a £9,000 one-off payment. Excuse me. What was interesting was reading through all the support guides around this  

that's a one-off but of course if you have been forced to close, you are equally eligible for the   Local Restriction Support Grant (Closed) addendum 5th of january. So   with that one we were all aware of that when the first lockdown started, when this of the   November lockdown kicked in through to December and this is also driven by rateable value. So at the moment the rate will again those going through those tiers so £50,000 under, it's £2001.   £15,000 to under £51,000 it's £3,000. And over £51,000 it's £4,500 pounds. So there are some reasonably substantial figures here that are available if you have been forced to close.

Forced to close also means - Nathan will correct me if I'm wrong, but allows for businesses who   are operating click and collect. Okay so this if your substantive business has been affected   so there are scenarios where people  can actually be qualified qualifying   for both of those payments. Unfortunately as we know, there is a population that don't pay   business rates a lot of small businesses don't pay business rates, don't have a rateable value   and that's where to a great extent you are at the mercy of the Additional Restriction Grant (discretionary)   which is the the local authority  discretionary grants, which are smaller chunks   of money and each of the local authorities has their own particular criteria around this.  

Also there have been windows of application that have opened and closed because it wasn't a large amount of money. But I would encourage you to keep an eye on your specific local authorities website for details of any new discretionary  payments that are going to be made available. That's a pretty good summary Paul, well  done. It is awkward we are in the process   at the the Growth Hub, we are in the process of just developing a a sort of web page visual, which will allow you to select the local authority and then it will sort of show you a timeline of   what schemes were available when, and then a link to the respective local authority website.  

I guess the thing to point out here which again unfortunately it doesn't make it any easier for   you but at least you you'll understand the  context. Each local authority is handed the   money from the government and then they are responsible for the distribution,   the application, the payment and all the rest of it so it's being operated at the local authority   level, of which we have 13 here in Kent including Medway. So there is a delay in the sort of capacity   of different local authorities. So you'll go into a Maidstone website and they'll have everything up   and ready, and they'll have all the forms there, and you can click and fill them, and process it.  

You might go to Thanet unfortunately who are behind the curve and struggling to keep up   and they may still be working on the grant  schemes that were available back in November.   So it is a mixed picture, if you again - if you have any questions or you are   looking for clarity or peace of mind again you can give us a call at the Growth Hub which is 03333 602 300. And any one of these advisors will do  their best to try and answer your questions. Now   let's have a look at some specific grant questions so  question here from a consultancy 'If you've applied and received an additional restrictions   grant in December 2020, are you able to claim again for January 21?' Paul i think you answered that question  but do you want to just cover that again? Gotcha. Yeah apologies to those just trying to drop a link into the government uk site that allows   people to check whether or not they're eligible. So it depends on the particular local authority   Tudor I think doesn't it because some have closed ARGDs and haven't reopened, some have  reopened depending on their availability of the funds. So just check your local authority website  

for details of what funds may or may not still be available for an ARGD. Okay there's a question   here retail face masks and bag online 'Please where can one access a grant to support business?' And what I think it is us is a short answer to that one - isn't it I think? Okay excellent. So the question here manufacturing drinks now 'Why have businesses that have been unable to trade   but not forced to close since the first lockdown being classed as ineligible for any further   support grants such as LRSG and ARG. I've been told by think it's Thanet District Council TDC that because my income in

the month prior to lockdown' And then it runs out the rest of the question. Yeah I think this is a probably thorny issue but this is to do with those that are forced to close, and those that have had severe impacts. Can you know - do you want to   try and elaborate on where the different grants. Because I know there were those that are   forced to close and then there are those that were impacted severely. Is that the LRSG Open?

It was and I think the - because there's lots of local authority variations here Tudor, probably   the best thing to do is for. I'm happy to pick that up specifically with the person so I'll   drop my email address into the chat now, and if they want to come to me i'll follow that up. That's brilliant, thank you. Question here from hospitality models 'I would like to know how the   ARG amounts for each business are decided and the criteria. A colleague who is based in Camden,   so outside of Kent runs a similar business to mine and was awarded £10,000 pound yet I was only awarded £750?' Now this is ARG which I think you mentioned about the discretionary element you want to just sort of elaborate  and try and make some sense of that? Apologies Tudor I was just dropping my email into the chat. Can you just repeat that question? Yes certainly. 'So I would like to know how ARG amounts for each business are decided and

the criteria?' So they're making reference  to a colleague of those in Camden who got   £10,000 and yet they only got £750. Again yeah this is a really interesting one so   each local authority has determined its own criteria and discretionary is the key issue here.  So there are some local authorities that  have been more generous some less generous.  

Initially some have been quite careful so that they don't dish out all the money straight away.   It's simply a consequence of local variations I'm afraid. Thank you very much, so yeah   the discretionary is the key there really. You know one thing we would know - we do know is   that local authorities were given a chunk of money for the ARG, they were allowed to spend   that as they saw fit and they had a period within which they needed to spend it. Which actually is   about a year and a half. What the reasoning was initially was the recognising there's going to  

be some requirement for finance and support for businesses as we come out of the pandemic.   They held some funds back, with a view to being able being able to provide that support when it's   needed most, and therefore it should reduce the available pot if you like that was being provided at a local authority level. Now that has  been approved applied differently across the uk so um it's it's something that you will see a lot of variations on. There's an interesting one here obviously Bounce Back Loans. Paul this was coming to you as well. 'Are the directors of a limited company personally responsible for the

repayment of a Bounce Back Loan if the business should fail?' Well my interpretation of that, we the Bounce-Back Loans have - they were very popular right at   the beginning and they've all gone a bit quiet because everybody got in there when they could.  But ultimately the Bounce-Back Loans were unlike the civils, They were 100 per cent underwritten by the government. So you didn't have to provide the security under civil, but you are still responsible for those payments we don't get off the hook because there's no security required. It's a bit like having a personal loan that's unsecured we're still liable for those payments. So yeah it's still liable and I think yeah it's going to be something that you

need to be aware of, like any debt that you take on the same sort of principle. Okay. I'm just going to give you a quick guidance I'm going to come back to some some sort of   Trading Standards, Environmental Health questions as well. One of the things that that has been   missed out and this is a question has cropped up several times on the funding side here is those individuals that were set up as service companies, so they were essentially a director of   their own company, they were paying themselves a dividend, and in some cases paying themselves   a national minimum wage or no wage at all, which was advised by many accountants as being a very tax efficient way to operate as a contractor, or freelance, or whatever terminology you have. So   yes we have - I say we, the Chambers of Commerce, the FSB and the Institute of Directors have   been collectively lobbying for that sort of  forgotten element of the business community   the original answer back in September from Treasury was that they are unable to find a   reliable way of differentiating between what is an investor's dividend, so stocks   and shareholders and the director's dividend. Now we, along with many other accountants pointed   out there are probably several ways in which they could actually make that differentiation.  

However they have sort of held firm in their position at the moment and yet we know certainly in this part of the world where we have lots of creative in organisations, lots of supply into   the events and entertainment industry, many of whom are also contractors plus IT and numerous other sectors which I couldn't go into now. They are all in need, and we are currently looking at it from two ways we are working with the local authorities to see if we can try and get them to broaden   their scope for the additional restrictions  grant, the ARG because that's discretionary. And so we're trying to work with local authorities to get them to include that we're also lobbying   the ministers as well and the Treasury of course to try and make that change. And I think one   of the questions in here relates specifically to the FSB campaign, but we know that it is being   lobbied hard by all the sort of business support organisations, and membership organizations, and   I can't really give you any answers to  whether or not that is likely to come to pass.

But it is certainly a growing voice and one  that's getting hard to ignore at Treasury. So I   guess if you're a half glass, half full person you know watch this space and keep in touch with the Kent and Medway Growth Hub, you can sign up to the newsletters there, or the email alerts, And we'll make sure that you're involved okay. So there's lots of questions yeah pending grant   applications Paul last one for you and then we're going to go back to some premises questions. The delays and stuff, I mentioned the fact that different councils are working differently   what should people do at the moment if they do or don't know if they've been   successful in their applications? Oh it's a  tough one that's the million   dollar question isn't because everybody, all the local authority staff are doing their utmost   to try and respond to the demand that's coming in with a moving platform of funding, of guidelines. So  

unfortunately it's one of those things where we just say be as patient as you can, but ultimately if it's getting to a point where it's really  quite difficult, if there's no route straight in to   the local authority then come via the Kent and Medway Growth Hub if the situation is getting quite dire, and we will happily get on the phone try our contacts ask each other and pitch in. Effectively you're   not stuck alone with this, we're all struggling in the same way but just come through to the helpline   number which is 03333 602 300 number and we'll try to help if we can.   That's great Paul, thank you. I may come back to you as some of the other questions coming in at the moment off the line. So it has it is a  very confusing situation, you obviously have the

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, we have obviously the Bounce-Back Loans are still there,   we also have the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. These are the big tickets that we cost have furlough and that has questions around it as well. And then of course you have the local authority grant schemes which we've already mentioned. The CVLP, the LRSG, the ARG, don't worry you don't have to remember any of those. You can just ring us up and we will explain - tell us the situation. We'll see whether or not we can help you navigate your way through all of those and put you in touch with the right applications and contacts pages. Brilliant.

Let's come back to Trading Standards, to Jim, Trevor and Nathan and the team there. So let's   start with I know it's a hot topic because we're discussing this before mobile car washing, valeting. It's quite broad it's movement. Is it essential travel? Who wants to start with this one? Did you want me to kick off with this Jim? Go on Nathan you're getting it. Okay. So first of all does it fit within what will be considered to be allowed to open? Okay the big argument on mobile car washing and valeting, is validating the same as   washing a car. Because at the moment car wash is what is specified in the legislation  

is having to be closed. So just to clarify car washing is what we call a restricted business so even if you're going to someone's home or etcetera, you still can't operate a car   washing business. Okay so those types of businesses have to close. Valeting is slightly different, if you look at valeting and consider it just  to be cleaning a car I would argue that it is   no different from washing and should be covered. The big caveat is that OPSS who the central  

government department that advise on these are considering it and looking at whether valeting is washing. But if all you do, you know if your entire business model is simply cleaning the car   on the inside rather than the outside I would personally argue that it's washing.   Now businesses that service and repair vehicles are able to stay open. So I think you need to look   at your specific business and see what you offer, so if a significant proportion of your business is   actually what we consider repair so, for example during your service you restore people's alloy wheels for example, or if you repair  scratches, and all that sort of thing   then there's an argument to be made there that you are repairing and so you should also be able   to stay open. Now Jim will give the enforcement perspective of this, but my particular perspective   is it doesn't specifically say that you have  to close so I will not direct you to close   at this point. Okay that's my opinion as somebody is primarily about advice rather than enforcement,   and we should know within a week and we if we get advice within a week to say that valeting has to be closed, then we will update people. But I would invite Jim at this point to give

the enforcement perspective. And Jim while you're answering that question I've got a question in   the chat here about jewelers and repairs. It comes under the same loose sort of definitions and maybe   you could cover that as well? Okay so I'm going to try and keep this reasonably short because it started raining here and you might be able to hear that coming over my mic so I apologise for that.   Okay so I don't disagree with anything that Nathan has said. It's quite correct we are waiting for further guidance on this

and the whole issue is that obviously car washes are are not permitted to be open unless they're automatic car wash that you specified within the legislation. So if people are going then they've got  to consider if that business, if that trip   by that consumer is necessary. There might be scope if the valet was going to somebody's home   but again if it is just to wash the car as Nathan has outlined then I would suggest that that is not   permitted under the legislation. So it does come down to how do you deal with the initial point of can I leave my home, does the legislation allow me to do that, and the starting point is you   can if it's work that is permitted that you  cannot do from home. So washing a car is not   a permitted activity at this point in time, so therefore that wouldn't be and it's termed in the legislation as an awful excuse - so that's not a lawful excuse for you to then go and do that work.

And sorry to you the second point was on.. About jewelers? Jewelers is offering repair service is is that still okay okay? Jewelers aren't  in either of the lists in the schedule on Nathan's  nodding, so I've got that bit right. So therefore I would start to be under the click and collect point and the whole point that Nathan said earlier on about you know if you've got a broken key and   you take it in it would have to be exactly the same thing because as jewelers aren't in i think it's 15 and 17 as the two specific  paragraphs in the Schedule, they fall under   16 which is the bit that says it's click and collect   transaction type of method so somewhere. Apologise - it would have to be the   distance transaction point of view, how people are going to feel comfortable doing   that with jewelry on the doorstep I don't know, it depends on the value of the item. But at this point   they're not allowed people in the premises, that's the underlying point and I think that's what all   of the enforcement agencies are looking at is if you're a jeweler, what are you   doing with people inside the premises, that is not permitted as the legislation is currently worded.

Can I also jump in yeah and sound that same thing. The click and collect option that we talked   about for mobile phones would apply here, however I don't think anything like that if the customer actually has to be there. If  you have to measure up the customer if you have have to put it on them, you have to fiddle  it while it's on them, I don't think   you could do that because then you are having prolonged contact with the customer. So if it is   purely for example I've got a broken necklace it needs a new link, I'm going to drop it off we'll have a contact free drop off and re-delivery and I think that's okay. But if it actually involves   effectively working with the bit with the consumer, in the same way that a tailor might tailor clothes   to a consumer then I don't think it would be allowed. No that's fair enough that's okay. So we've   just lost Paul Hayes because I knew that he was having trouble with his internet today so he may  yet bounce back to us because I've got a question specifically around Bounce Backs, but in the meantime Nathan has asked, this is the other Nathan one of our attendees 'We run a mobile coffee box in Ashford park'. I know it well with

COVID safe queues, perspective screens doing all the right COVID safe things. Which is excellent. 'Even with this are  we still allowed to trade even if we are creating   queues?' And I suppose that's always the worry about click and collect or take away service   the queuing side of things. Are they still  okay to trade there who's going to take that one?

So yeah Trevor? - I'll go for that one soon as it's in our borough and I know the park.   Yes you are allowed to trade. Obviously you've highlighted some of the measures that you've taken, which are all sensible. Obviously it's takeaway, so there shouldn't be any seating areas associated with it. But yes you are allowed to trade in that circumstance. That's great, thank you very much indeed Trevor. So let's just talk about dog grooming because I remember there were some questions last time when we were in Lockdown 3 I think it was, Which was yes you could carry on now, we're not so sure. 'So we've been told we're allowed

to open for welfare reasons only. However welfare is a very odd term as most people are saying every groom is a welfare groomers otherwise a dog will become matted etc. What does welfare mean? That's a leading question. Scabby dogs or not, how does this play out? Nathan is laughing

I'm gonna go to him first. I think there's gonna be a combination of me and Jim again on this one. The legislation purely says you're allowed  to leave the home for certain exceptions one, of them is for the welfare of an animal okay. So that is all that is in the legislation. The   guidance that we had last time was that all grooming would be considered welfare. However   that guidance has been updated now and the Canine and Feline Retail group who liaised directly with the government, have been advised that welfare now will be more significant, so for example if a dog is has excessively matted fur or if you need to do a treatment to treat a skin condition   something like that. And what they basically said is if the welfare of the animal would not be put 

at risk or not be affected by not doing that treatment, then you shouldn't do that treatment. Now there's been a lot of discussion around us because different breeds are more likely to get   matted and more likely to suffer from more welfare. So the unfortunate answer is that it's probably   going to be decided on a case-by-case basis. That groomer will need to know, its customers will   need to know if not the animal, than the type of breed and is that for likely to get matted. Does

it need regular constant maintenance to prevent there being a welfare issue that sort of thing.  So what is considered welfare is now much much tighter and you can't just assume that   all grooming is welfare anymore. You have to take on a case-by-case basis does that animal need it,  can it be delayed without hurting it  effectively. Jim do you have any more to add to that? No nathan I think that summary is absolutely spot on. I've read the guidance and that's   exactly where I've come from it as well, and it is very specific. I know as a dog owner my dog  

has two coats it's a crossbreed, and I know other dogs with the same crossbreed, and they've all got   different coats they would all need different grooming regimes, let's put it that way. So it is going to come down to that specific point. I did see in the guidance that was also   thought if it was directed by a vet as well, so if the vet turned around and said this is   a specific issue that needs to be dealt with by a groomer, then obviously that's very clear-cut   point but then the bit where the owner  thinks that their animal is suffering,   I think they would have to

2021-01-23 16:23

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