Support for Businesses - Financial Assistance
Covid19 - Support for Businesses - Financial Assistance
As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to develop, there is a big collective effort in place to support the industry through an extremely challenging period.
The situation is hugely variable depending on the sector and customer base, with huge disruption in the supply chain, recognising the effective closure of the hospitality market and major disruption to export markets.
Over the last few weeks Scotland Food & Drink, alongside our industry partners, government and individual businesses, has worked through a number of key priorities. Below you’ll find all the latest developments, business and financial support available as well as key resources around workforce and social distancing in the workplace.
Access to Covid testing in Scotland has been widened and will now be determined via a prioritisation matrix for key workers that includes food supply chain and food processing workers.
A new website has been established to improve the process of booking tests. Eligible employers can register and refer staff for appointments or eligible key workers will be able to book a test directly for themselves or members of their household. To get a login, employers of key workers should email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also self-refer using this portal to sign up if you are a key worker and you, or a member of your family, is symptomatic.
The test will confirm if a person - who is showing symptoms of the virus - actually has it. It will not confirm whether they have had it and have now recovered.
Food Standards Scotland has developed guidance by outlining ways that physical (social) distancing can be applied in food manufacturing and processing premises, as well as other mitigation measures that can be implemented by these businesses to enable them to adhere to government advice for preventing the spread of Covid-19. Food business operators should refer to this document when considering Covid-19 prevention and control measures that are required for their own operations. Click here to read the full guidance.
Wednesday 27 May
There are a few short updates to share with you as part of Wednesday’s update.
The Scottish Government’s new ‘test and protect’ strategy is rolled out from tomorrow (Thursday). From that date, everyone aged five and over who has COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change in sense of taste or smell) should go to NHS Inform online or call 0800 028 2816 to book a test. Under the system, people will need to isolate with their household as soon as they have symptoms and, if they have a positive test result, they will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS contact tracers. Those people will be contacted and asked to isolate for 14 days.
There remains an element of uncertainty as to the potential impact of this on food and drink businesses, particularly in a manufacturing setting in the event that an employee tests positive. Specific guidance for employers has been developed and is available here.
However, what is uncertain is how the definition of a ‘contact’ will be determined and what level of disruption a single case could cause. We have offered to work with public health officials to run the model of test and trace in a manufacturing environment to help plan for any real-life cases. That offer hasn’t been taken up yet however we will share more info if it becomes available.
Scottish Government published the manufacturing guidance to reduce Covid risks in the workplace yesterday afternoon. You will find it here.
We understand further guidance is coming for our sector from Food Standards Scotland later this week and we’ll share the links to that once published. In the meantime, the current FSS guidance remains the key resource for our businesses in protecting the workforce and managing risk in the workplace. You’ll find that and all other key resources on the Scotland Food & Drink Coronavirus Hub (see links below).
We mentioned in an update last week on work between the insurance industry and UK Government to agree a government-backed credit insurance market. We just wanted to confirm that no announcement has been made on its roll-out but we understand discussions are progressing well. We’ll share more info when it is released.
One of the concerns many businesses had was the inability to claim under their business interruption insurance policies. In many cases, pandemic are either excluded from such policies or, where there is cover, Covid-19 was not listed as a disease that triggered a payout. We understand there are a number of test cases due to go to the high court in England to challenge the application of these policies. This is likely to be a long-running issue but we will keep an eye on developments.
As always, you can contact us via email@example.com and our next update will be on Friday.
Previous daily updates can be found towards the bottom of this page.
Collaboration is key to navigating what lies ahead and the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership is uniquely placed to help steer the food and drink industry through this unprecedented economic and health crisis.
The Partnership, bringing together ten trade bodies, public sector bodies and the Scottish Government, are harnessing their experience and history of collaborative working to swiftly respond to daily challenges with one, coherent voice.
Together, the Partnership is tackling each new challenge with tools and support specifically designed for the whole industry from timely joint industry statements to letter templates allowing our workforce to get to work.
We’re conscious that there is a lot of communication on Covid-19 from many different angles. To try and create one simple gateway into the information being produced by our industry and public sector partners, we have put it all into one handy table.
This is a collection of some of the business support resources currently available.
Here you will find information clarifying key workers, Food Standards Scotland official guidance regarding ongoing operations and social distancing and links to recruitment portals for food and drink businesses.
This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
Continue to stay at home if you have either:
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home. If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.
The evidence on the use of face coverings is limited, but there may be some benefit in wearing a facial covering when you leave the house and enter enclosed spaces, especially where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people you do not usually meet. Examples include, traveling on public transport or entering a food shop where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from another customer. There is no evidence to suggest there might be a benefit outdoors, unless in an unavoidable crowded situation, where there may be some benefit.
By face coverings we do not mean the wearing of a surgical or other medical grade mask but a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf.
We are recommending that you consider using face coverings in the limited circumstances described above as a precautionary measure. Given that the evidence of impact on transmission is relatively weak, the public use of facial coverings is not being made mandatory and will not be enforced at this stage. However, we will keep this guidance under ongoing review as we consider any easing of lockdown restrictions in the weeks ahead.
Full details can be found here.