Ahead of a move to Stage 3 of Guernsey’s Exit from Lockdown, the Policy & Resources Committee has agreed what business support measures should continue and which sectors should continue to be eligible for support.
The Civil Contingencies Authority is due to announce a final decision on moving to Stage 3 tomorrow, with Monday 22 March the anticipated date for the move. Stage 3 will effectively see the removal of all remaining lockdown restrictions on businesses and how they trade. It is hoped it will also see those businesses who have not been able to operate at all until Stage 3 benefit from high demand and a strong re-opening period as was the case following the first lockdown in 2020.
The Policy & Resources Committee has therefore agreed that eligibility for business support measures will stop for most sectors in Stage 3, with the only exception being certain tourism-related businesses which continue to be more severely impacted by the ongoing restrictions on travel. Details on which sectors will continue to be eligible can be found here.
For those sectors which continue to be eligible for support in Stage 3, the Committee has agreed that support should continue until the end of June 2021. The Committee will then review again to see if it should be extended further. The visitor accommodation sector is supported through a separate, bespoke scheme which the Committee has already agreed will continue for a further year.
Taxi-operators, which have been supported since the first wave of the pandemic will continue to be eligible for payroll co-funding but this will now be capped at 50% of minimum wage. The ongoing restrictions on travel continues to have an impact on the sector, hence remaining eligible for support, but in light of the healthy demand for taxi services among the local population it is deemed that further support should be provided at this lower level, to balance against the cost to the taxpayer.
Many sectors stopped being eligible for support on the move to Stage 2 on 8th March and the latest changes are a continuation of that gradual phasing out of support. As claims are submitted monthly in arrears, the Committee wants to highlight this change now so that businesses are not surprised should they attempt to submit full claims at the beginning of April.
Any businesses with questions about the changes to the business support measures can email email@example.com or call 01481 743803.
Excluding the visitor accommodation sector, payroll co-funding costs amounted to around £1.2m per week for the first 5 weeks of this lockdown. In Stage 3 it is expected this will reduce to around £0.1m per week.
Deputy Mark Helyar, Treasury lead for the Policy & Resources Committee said: “Stage 3 is a big turning point for our business community as we finally come out of lockdown restrictions. We’re confident that many of those businesses that haven’t been able to trade at all, or where trade has been restricted, will be able to bounce back quickly. We know from the last lockdown there will be pent-up demand, whether in hospitality and nightlife, entertainment, recreation or retail. And we’d encourage people to go out, enjoy those services and support their local businesses”.