Support and updates for businesses during the Coronavirus period.

To support businesses in this challenging time, we will have regular updates on this page to provide factual information for businesses.

We send regular tourism industry email updates to members and non-members. If you are a non-member you can subscribe to our regular updates here: http://eepurl.com/gZ6zU1. Members will receive them automatically.

The VisitEngland Business Advice Hub also contains lots of useful resources for tourism businesses:


Latest Updates


The PM has announced the following rules from Thursday in England:

• The planned reopening of conferences, exhibitions and events on 1st Oct has been suspended

• Pubs, restaurants and bars will have to close at 10pm (except for takeaway deliveries)

• Only “table-only” service will be allowed at pubs, restaurants and bars

• Staff in retail and indoor hospitality will have to wear masks

• The Covid-secure workplace guidance will become a legal obligation

• The number of people able to attend a wedding is being reduced to 15 from the previous 30

• The £10,000 fines imposed on those who don't quarantine will now be applied to businesses and the penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking rule of six will double to £200.

• Exemptions to the “rule of six” will be reduced.

• People have been asked to work from home if they can.

He also announced that these new restrictions will most likely be in place for six months.

Here’s a copy of the Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament:


A few clarifications from this:

• The restriction on people attending Weddings is from Monday 28 September 2020.

• Take-aways will be subject to the 10pm curfew – it is deliveries that are exempt.

• Staff and customers in indoor hospitality will have to wear mask except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

Primary Guidance Updated for Rule of Six - While we await detailed tourism-related guidance, the general principle is that businesses that are operating in accordance with current Covid-Secure guidance will be able to continue doing so as they are now, provided that individual groups of visitors/guests obey the Rule of Six. For example, pubs, restaurant, attractions will continue to be able to host people at their current capacity provided that individual groups of customers obey the Rule of Six. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19


Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 for every three weeks that they are closed. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ministers-announce-new-grants-for-businesses-affected-by-local-lockdowns


MENTA are running a number of social media courses in the autumn. Visit https://store.menta.org.uk/collections/training. You can book online.


Join Bury St Edmunds and Beyond for Just £50!

For full details of what your membership includes download our membership information here. To join now please click here to complete a membership form, we will then send you an invoice and get you set up on our website.


Public Health England has published guidance on what people should do if they fall ill whilst away on holiday. You can find the guidance here; https://www.visitengland.com/planning-holiday-in-england


You must now wear a face covering in shops and other locations. Wherever possible, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed spaces where you are close to people you do not normally meet. More information on the guidelines can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own


VisitBritain and VisitEngland have launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening.

The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses across the sector can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place. The scheme is FREE to join and open to all businesses across the sector.

To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through VisitEngland's online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the ‘We’re Good To Go’ mark for display in their premises and online. https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/were-good-go-industry-standard


We are supporting the VisitEngland public information campaign 'Know before you go' and have our own page of advice for visitors as we start to welcome them back https://bit.ly/2NS09F1.


From July 15, VAT will fall from 20% to 5% for supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions. The change will remain in place until January 12 next year. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-reduced-rate-for-hospitality-holiday-accommodation-and-attractions

A new 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme to encourage people to return to restaurants, cafes and pubs. This will give every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment. More details and how to register here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme


Government announces £10 million for small businesses to kickstart tourism: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-10-million-for-small-businesses-to-kickstart-tourism


This morning the Government has published guidance for the visitor economy for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy.
There is also specific advice for hotels and other guest accommodation https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/hotels-and-other-guest-accommodation

Our Bury St Edmunds 10th ‘Independents Week’ Celebration

Independent businesses are often referred to as the beating heart of a town centre and with 59% of Bury St Edmunds businesses being independent it is important to celebrate this. To mark this occasion Our Bury St Edmunds, the local business improvement district, is once again proud to dedicate a whole week 29 June – 5th July in celebrating the creativity, uniqueness and vibrancy of its independents. Customers are the lifeblood and independents need their support and by spending just a few pounds with an ‘ indie’ they really will make a difference whilst helping to save the high street and Bury St Edmunds bouncing back. For more information visit www.ourburystedmunds.com

It has been announced today that the majority of England’s tourism businesses will be able to open from July 4. We are expecting the full guidance for businesses to be published soon.

There is an expected announcement on timelines for reopening the tourism and hospitality sector today at 12.30pm in Parliament.

VisitEngland are hosting a series of FREE business recovery webinars for tourism businesses to help you get back on track following the coronavirus pandemic.Visit their website to book: https://www.visitbritain.org/visitbritainvisitengland-business-recovery-webinar-programme?utm_source=vbve_enews_10_06_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vbve_10_06_2020

The government has published new guidance on the introduction of flexible furlough from 1 July. You can read it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-self-employment-support-scheme-and-confirms-furlough-next-steps

The Government announced in early May extra funding to be targeted at certain types of small businesses. The funding for this in West Suffolk is limited to just under £2m and West Suffolk Council has developed a scheme which prioritises the four areas only at this stage in line with the Government’s requirements. These are: Regular market traders, bed and breakfast accommodation where the owners pay Council Tax instead of business rates (National Non Domestic Rates) and small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment, Plus small charity properties. For more information visit https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-support-for-business.cfm

BT has created a series of free webinars to help small business owners and their employees on a wide range of topics including digital marketing, using collaboration tools and how to get a business online. These have been developed by BT, Small Business Britain and Google Digital Garage. View the full list of webinars

How has COVID-19 affected UK tourism? Industry leaders gave their views to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee this morning. Watch the discussion here:

Businesses looking for advice on working safely during the pandemic can check out the latest government guidance here. Eight types of work are covered: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

The Chancellor has today announced that the job retention scheme will be extended, for four months, until the end of October. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-furlough-scheme-until-october

The Government's Covid-19 Recovery Strategy has now been published and can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy

Tourism is the third step in the Government's reopening process and will happen no earlier than 4 July. In the meantime, Bury St Edmunds and Beyond will continue to engage with our audiences online to encourage visitors not to visit at the present time but to plan a future trip.

Starting this Wednesday, applications will be open for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Use the online checker to see if you're eligible and have the money in your account by 25th May. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

New top-up to local business grant funds scheme announced to help small businesses including bed and breakfasts + Bounce Back Loans Scheme opens today. More details http://maxemail.visitbritain.com/rsps/m/fMggOxqsunmgx-PQMzMRtOW4im7pq2JHXU05Zfc24VM

Croydon BID are leading on a national petition calling on the Government to expand the rateable value threshold for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from £51,000 to any business with a rateable value up to and including £150,000 in these sectors, allowing further businesses the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant.

As part of a unified national campaign, #RaiseTheBar, they have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP. More details can be found at www.raisethebarcampaign.com

The petition can be signed here: https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-increase-rateable-value-grant-cap-from-51k-to-150k-for-retail-hospitality-leisure-businesses

The Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions (NSTA) is working to establish if attractions in Norfolk and Suffolk would be interested in group sourcing of PPE supplies. Please do complete their survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/M9CQZDZ

NSTA has also taken on the task of seeking the views of all attractions in Norfolk and Suffolk in terms of what the issues are if attractions were to re-open within the next two months and what additional support might be needed. Deadline Friday May 1st.

Andy Wood (Chairman of VEE, Board member of VisitEngland and CEO of Adnams PLC) has agreed to personally present findings to Fiona Pollard (Chairman of VisitEngland) to ensure that our voice is heard at the highest level and at a time when it can really shape the future for the attractions industry. Complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MLNRJ7F

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) invites you to take part in a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms and tourism sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. Your answers will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts.

The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and the deadline for responses is 15 May 2020. Please follow this link https://dcms.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9oXRfgNvZZUn3gh to access the survey to begin submitting your response.


The Chancellor has announced new “bounce back loans” for SMEs will be available from 9am next Monday 4 May. Small businesses will be able to access loans worth 25 per cent of their turnover, up to £50,000, and the government will pay the interest for the first 12 months.

The loans will be 100 per cent guaranteed by the Treasury. Find out more here; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans


The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism is launching an urgent inquiry to establish the best ways to support the recovery of businesses hit by Covid-19 at the right time and in line with Government health advice. The inquiry will assess what is needed to get businesses in these sectors back on their feet at the right time for the country, providing forward-looking recommendations to guide Government as it moves to thinking about recovery. It aims to publish its findings and report by the middle of May, well ahead of any planned reopening. The inquiry will look at a number of critical areas, including: the right timing for the reopening of the sector and measures need to make sure it is safe; business support to help the sector transition to the new normality; guidance for businesses to help them get business-ready; reigniting the sector’s supply chain; and marketing the sector. https://www.hospitalityandcateringnews.com/2020/04/all-party-parliamentary-group-launch-inquiry-to-help-hospitality-back-into-work/

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) eligibility date has been extended to 19 March 2020. This will enable thousands more workers to be furloughed. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-cut-off-date-extended-to-19-march

The Heritage Emergency Fund is open for applications from 2pm on Wednesday 15 April. The Heritage Emergency Fund is accepting applications for funding from £3,000 to £50,000. The deadline is 30 June 2020.https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding/heritage-emergency-fund

A petition, supported by the B&B Association, calling on the Government to make grants available to B&Bs paying Council Tax (rather than Business Rates) has already reached over 3,000 signatures. https://www.change.org/p/chancellor-equal-rights-for-small-businesses-paying-council-tax

Self employed? The page below will be updated when the Coronavirus Self Employed Support Scheme becomes available.


£50 million Heritage Emergency Fund launched. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50 million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It is available to organisations across the full breadth of the heritage sector, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/news/heritage-emergency-fund-launches-help-sector


UK Theatre have appealed to theatre venues & producers to complete their latest survey by 2pm TODAY. Let them know the impact of Coronavirus on your business, so they can lobby for support to ensure the survival of theatres across the UK >> https://surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2GNGFHC


The first Small Business Grants Fund grants to West Suffolk businesses are to be paid from tomorrow (Friday 3 April). West Suffolk Council's economic development team will be contacting Retail, Leisure and Hospitality businesses from Monday (April 6) and have awarded £34 million of Business Rate Relief.

There are thousands of businesses to contact. Please help the team trying to reach you by:

1. Setting up call forwarding from your business to a number you have access to.

2. Update contacts on your website.

Guidance for the public on the mental health and well being aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public

Helpful crime prevention tips for businesses during coronavirus from The National Business Crime Centre https://nbcc.police.uk/news/letter-from-the-nbcc-regarding-covid-19

A new HMRC helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed. The new number is 0800 024 1222.

Businesses will be contacted by West Suffolk Council over the coming days and encouraged to take up £32m in grants while they will also get a further £34m in rate relief to help them survive COVID19.

The Council will be contacting an estimated 2,300 eligible businesses encouraging and supporting them to take up grants of £10,000 available under the Government’s Small Business Grants Fund.

It will also contact the business owners of another 610 properties that are eligible as part of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund. Grants of £10,000 and £25,000 are available under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund. The level is decided by the business properties rateable value and businesses with multiple outlets will be eligible for more than one grant. Eligible businesses will also qualify for Business Rates Relief.

In total West Suffolk Council estimates that it will be paying out over £32m in business grants from 1 April. On top of this it will be paying out more than £34m in Business Rate Relief.

In the past week the team has spoken to over 100 businesses, listening to their concerns and signposting to all the available support and advice. Some of those concerns, such as help for self-employed people, for businesses not eligible for the small business grants and advice for large businesses, are being taken up by West Suffolk Council as it speaks to Government officials and raises issues and concerns on behalf of local businesses.

The Council has set up a webpage which it is regularly updating, directing businesses to the various support that is available. It also includes contact details for the economic development team should business need advice. This can be viewed at http://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business

Read Dr Andy Wood's letter to East of England MPs - Help us now – so we can help secure the recovery.

'On behalf of the thousands of tourism businesses in the East, we are writing to you again following our correspondence of March 20, to highlight the catastrophic impact Coronavirus is having on the region’s visitor economy and to ask you to pressure the Government to help alleviate what is now an existential crisis for thousands of SMEs.' This was sent on behalf of all DMOs in Suffolk and the East of England.

Visit East of England - Support the Visitor Economy Now

Letter from Dr Andy Wood, Chair of Visit East of England asking MPs 26 March 2020


⁦‪VisitBritain‬⁩ have reopened their tracker survey to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all aspects of the UK tourism industry. The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers & Government. If you have time please do fill in their survey: research.net/r/COVID-19-VB1

VisitBritain has launched a social marketing campaign to keep Britain top of visitors’ minds during international travel bans. The campaign aims to share inspirational content based on popular British culture such as recipes, TV and film shows, literature and more, for people to enjoy in their own homes. Join the conversation via @lovegreatbritain and #lovegreatbritain on:

• @VisitBritain Twitter

• @VisitEngland Twitter

• VisitBritain Instagram

• VisitEngland Instagram

• Love Great Britain Facebook

• EnjoyEngland Facebook


You can get free business support and advice during the COVID-19 emergency from qualified advisers at New Anglia Growth Hub (New Anglia LEP) on 0300 333 6536.

Bury St Edmunds and Beyond is working closely with the Economic Development Team at West Suffolk Council to provide you access to the most up to date information to assist your business. Visit https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-support-for-business.cfm. For any businesses in the West Suffolk area concerned about their specific circumstances or confused about where they can go for support, they have a dedicated email address as follows: economic.development@westsuffolk.gov.uk. Alternatively, call 01284 757114.

You can sign up here to receive email alerts with the latest updates and guidance around COVID-19 from the UK Government. https://www.gov.uk/email-signup?link=/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response.

If you have questions or concerns about leave, pay, remoteworking and what steps you can take to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, join Acas experts this Friday at 10:30am to chat live on Twitter. Send your questions in advance to @acasorguk #AskAcas.


Acas are also running a number of free webinars to provides practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of coronavirus on businesses. Register here: https://www.acas.org.uk/webinars

VisitEngland has set up a dedicated COVID-19 webpage for the latest updates and key links for tourism businesses and industry: https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-new-coronavirus-latest-information-and-advice-for-businesses


Owner of Casa in Bury St Edmunds, Maria Broadbent, appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show at lunchtime today to talk about how her business is adapting to the current challenges. A number of Bury St Edmunds restaurants have started to offer takeaways, click and collect and delivery during this period. You can listen to the interview again here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gc92

For a good guide for business owners in regards of their rights and responsibilities visit ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus


For information about support for businesses from the government visit; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses Please note accessing this support will be via the Local Authority and we await details of this process.