Survive Revive Thrive – Getting back to work

Chamber lobbying works!

And with a huge thank you to our MP, Caroline Ansell for her support.    She took our concerns up with the Treasury and Cabinet Office and they have changed the eligibility criteria for the Discretionary Small Business Grant.  Originally this excluded self-employed people who have claimed SEISS but the criteria have been updated to include SEISS claimants along with furloughed company directors.

For full details read the Government Guidance Notes for the Discretionary Business Fund.  The eligibility details are given in Section 29.


Members’ meeting with Caroline Ansell MP to talk about Eastbourne’s recovery

A valuable members meeting was held today with Caroline Ansell MP to discuss our recovery out of lockdown.

The panel included:

  • Eastbourne Borough Coumcil Deputy Leader, Steve Holt:
  • Chamber President Elect, Insolvency Practitioner Nicky Fisher;
  • Shoes, Chair of Your Eastbourne BID and owner of the Dew Drop, The Eagle and The Rainbow (previously The Counting House);
  • Kristian Hayter Vice Chair of the Eastbourne Hospitality Associations and
  • Ian Hollidge representing the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES) and Vice President of Bexhill Chamber.

The numbers were restricted to give everyone a chance to speak and we saw several people who have not attended chamber events before and were actively asking questions and sharing ideas.  Feedback has been very positive and so we are planning to hold a similar event with Caroline in a couple of months.  If you are interested in attending, please email Jill Benjafield here to express your interest.


Latest business opening details for 1st June

On Sunday the Prime Minister set out a timeline for retail to reopen from 1st June and further guidance has been published for how to operate safely to protect staff and customers.

Full details of the announcement can be found here:

Guidance for reopening can be found here:

Key details to note:

  • Outdoor marketsand car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.
  • Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 securein line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Please do join a free webinar, hosted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to find out more about how to make your retail workplace COVID-secure.
Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Full details of upcoming webinars can be found here:

To amplify this message, please do share a tweet from BEIS sharing guidance for shops and branches reopening:


Do you need PPE?

The Eastbourne Hosptiality Association (EHA) is putting together a buying consortium to arrange PPE for EHA, BID and Chamber members.  If you need gloves, gowns, hats, aprons, masks, visors or any other PPE to protect your staff or customers, please let them know.

As we all start to prepare for the phased re-opening of the town, PPE is going to be important to protect your staff and clients and is likely to be quite costly, so, please follow this link to a short EHA questionnaire with a list of suggested PPE. The purpose of this is to gain an insight into the possible demand to allow the EHA to negotiate the best prices and understand if there is a need.

Click here for the questionnaire.

The EHA is committed to buying local and where possible these items will be sourced from a local supplier.  If you are  based in East Sussex and would like to be considered as a potential supplier please email them here.

You would be able to place your order online and pay securely through the new EHA website. They will then source your items and pick your delivery, ready for collection or delivery. A small administration fee of £5 would be added to each order.

The EHA would be grateful if you could complete the questionnaire by Wednesday 27th May.


Safe working preparation for your business

It is vital that we return to work safely without setting off a second wave of infection and there little time to go before retailers and other businesses start reopening, so all members should follow these guidelines to make sure you are ready.

Please look at the Quick Reference bullet point guidance below to decide what you need for your business.  You must also complete a risk assessment to protect your team and introduce social distancing as detailed below.  To help you we have incuded a blank risk assessment template.


You should also print off the Safer Working Charter and display it in your business.  Check here for the charter.

Three of our members have created safe distancing packs for your business:


Identity Group

West End Studios

Yes Promo Products 


Finally, take photographs of everything you introduce and keep copies of all relevant documents.  Send these to your insurer to make sure you are covered in the event that a member of staff or member of the public makes a claim against you.

You may also want to ask your team to sign a commitment to protect colleagues and customers from infection while Covid-19 is around.


Brighton Gin

The Government BEIS Department sent a short case study video out this morning for Brighton Gin and said:

“To support businesses to restart their operations, we have been sharing videos of how different companies have effectively applied social distancing measures in their workplaces.  The link below is an example of Brighton Gin explaining how they have adapted to work safely during lockdown. Any support you can provide to circulate these case studies through your own social media channels would be greatly appreciated.

Brighton Gin


Check here for other examples of how different businesses have introduced ways to protect their staff and customers.   These include restaurants, a pub, nanufacturing, construction and more.  If you would like to be included in this shared case study initiative, send us your video and we will pass it on to BEIS and the Cabinet Office.


Quick reference to Government safety guidance for all workplaces

  • Staggering arrival/departure times to reduce crowding in and out
  • Providing additional parking or bike racks
  • Reducing congestion, for example by having more entry points to the workplace.
  • One for entering the building and one for exiting if possible
  • Handwashing or hand sanitation at entry and exit points
  • Alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads
  • Storage for staff clothes and bags
  • Staff to change into work uniforms on site using appropriate facilities/changing areas
  • Washing uniforms on site rather than at home
  • Discouraging nonessential trips within buildings and sites
  • Reducing job and location rotation, for example, assigning employees to specific floors
  • Introducing more one-way flow routes through buildings
  • Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts, and encouraging use of stairs
  • Regulating use of corridors, lifts, and staircases
  • Reviewing layouts to allow staff to work further apart from each other
  • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help staff maintain 2 metres
  • Avoiding employees working face to face — working side by side or facing away from each other where possible
  • Using screens to create a physical barrier between people where appropriate
  • Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the break rooms, using outside areas for breaks
  • Using protective screening for staff in receptions or similar areas
  • Reconfiguring seating and tables to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions
  • Providing packaged meals or similar to avoid opening staff canteens

Hotels and restaurants

  • Bar areas must be closed
  • Seated restaurants and cafés must be closed
  • All food and drink outlets to serve takeaways only
  • Allowing access to as few people as possible into kitchens
  • Minimising interaction between kitchen workers and other workers
  • Putting teams into shifts to restrict the number of employees interacting
  • Spacing workstations 2 metres apart as much as possible
  • Minimising access to walk-in pantries, fridges, and freezers, with likely only one person being able to access these areas at one point in time
  • Minimising contact at “handover” points with other staff, such as when presenting food to serving staff and delivery drivers
  • Hand sanitiser for visitors
  • Avoid crowded reception areas, staggering check-in and check-out times
  • Carrying out contractor services at night
  • Considering room occupancy levels to maintain social distancing, especially in dormitories
  • Minimising contact between kitchen and food preparation workers and delivery drivers
  • Using front of house staff to serve customers in walk-in takeaways, with tills 2 metres away from the kitchen and ideally separated by a wall or partition
  • Creating a physical barrier between front of house workers and customers
  • Using contactless card payments
  • Limiting access to premises for people waiting for takeaways. Asking customers to wait in their cars
  • Asking customers to order online, on apps or over the telephone

Workers in other people’s homes

  • Discussing with households ahead of a visit to ask that a 2-metre distance is kept
  • Asking that households leave all internal doors open
  • Identifying busy areas across the household where people travel to, from or through, for example, stairs and corridors
  • Limiting the time spent in close proximity to no more than 15 minutes
  • Bringing your own food and drink to households
  • Limiting the number of workers within a confined space
  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity
  • Allocating the same workers to a household where jobs are repetitive
  • Where multiple workers are in a home, creating fixed teams of workers who carry out their duties in those teams
  • Identifying areas where people need to hand things to each other and find ways to remove direct contact
  • Allocating the same worker to the same household each time there is a visit, e.g. cleaners
  • Using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

Factories and warehouses

  • Ask for who it is essential to be on site — office staff should stay home
  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site
  • Providing equipment for employees to work from home safely and effectively — for example, laptops
  • Servicing and adjusting ventilation systems
  • Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces
  • Clearing workspaces and removing waste at the end of a shift
  • Cleaning procedures for equipment, tools, and vehicles after each shift and after each use of shared equipment — for example, pallet trucks and forklift trucks
  • Hand sanitiser for employees to use boarding vehicles or handling deliveries
  • Regular cleaning of reusable delivery boxes

Shops and branches

  • Defining the number of customers that can follow 2-metre social distancing within the store
  • Taking into account total floor space as well as likely pinch points and busy areas
  • Limiting the number of customers at any one time
  • Suspending or reducing some customer services
  • Encouraging customers to shop alone
  • Informing customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times
  • Using outside premises for queuing
  • Communicating with nearby premises to manage shared queueing areas
  • Shopping centres should take responsibility for regulating the number of customers in the centre
  • Continuing to keep customer restaurants and/or cafés closed until further notice, unless offering hot or cold food to be consumed off the premises
  • Providing clear guidance to people on arrival
  • Creating social distancing “champions” to demonstrate social distancing guidelines to customers
  • Staggered collection times for customers collecting items
  • Setting up no-contact return procedures
  • Cashless refunds
  • Keeping returns separate from displayed merchandise


  • Office staff should work from home if at all possible.
  • Employees in roles critical for business can go in
  • Employees who cannot work from home due to home circumstances can go in
  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site
  • Monitoring the wellbeing of employees who are working from home
  • Keeping in touch with off-site employees including welfare, mental and physical health and personal security
  • Review layouts, line setups, or processes to let employees work further apart
  • Arranging for employees to work side-by-side or facing away from each other
  • Screens to create a physical barrier between people
  • Floor tape or paint to mark areas to help employees keep to a 2-metre distance
  • Avoiding use of hot desks and spaces
  • Limiting use of high-touch items and shared office equipment
  • Using remote working tools, to avoid in-person meetings
  • Avoiding transmission during meetings, avoiding sharing pens
  • Only necessary participants should attend meetings
  • Hand sanitiser in meeting rooms
  • Holding meetings in well-ventilated rooms
  • Limiting or restricting occupancy in group interaction spaces
  • For areas where regular meetings take place, using floor signage to help people maintain social distancing

Working outdoors

  • Only workers deemed necessary to carry out physical work or supervision should physically attend
  • Changing layouts to let workers work further apart
  • Using screens to separate people from each other
  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity
  • Avoiding employees working face to face — for example, by working side by side or facing away from each other

Working in a vehicle

  • Reducing the number of employees at base depots or distribution centres at a given time
  • Scheduling times for the collection of goods
  • Loading onto vehicles without interacting with driver
  • Reducing job/location rotation
  • Finding alternative solutions to two-person delivery
  • Minimising the contact during payments and exchange of documentation
  • Single person/contactless refuelling where possible
  • Physical screening if safe
  • Using a fixed pairing system if people have to work in close proximity
  • Making sure vehicles are well ventilated
  • Ensure regular cleaning of vehicles
  • Using no-contact deliveries wherever possible
  • Scheduling to limit exposure to large crowds and rush hours
  • Revising pick-up and drop-off collection points
  • No-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows
  • Maximising use of electronic paperwork


Updates and Guidance

Business support grant funding – guidance for local authorities

Guidance for local authorities about the operation and delivery of the Local Authority Discretionary Fund had been published.


Plans to safely restart, reopen and renew the housing market 

The Housing Secretary has set out the plan to safely restart, reopen and renew the housing market. Anyone in England can move house if they follow new guidance on home moving during the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, in England: 

  • Estate agents’ offices can re-open 
  • Viewings – whether virtual or in person – are permitted 
  • Show homes can open 
  • Removal companies and the other essential parts of the sales and letting process are re-started with immediate effect


Construction site working hours Q&A 

The Government has published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours. This statement expects local planning authorities in England to approve requests to extend construction working hours temporarily to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this. Questions and answers on this announcement are available.


How tests and testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19) work 

Information for members of the public, patients, professionals and industry about COVID-19 tests and testing kits, including how they work, the different types of tests and the specifications manufacturers need to follow is available. Find out more information here.


Holiday entitlement and pay during coronavirus

This guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who: 

  • continue to work 
  • have been placed on furlough as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Supporting your employees during coronavirus: domestic abuse

The order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. As an employer, you can play an important role in reassuring staff that they can still leave their home if they are experiencing domestic abuse and that there is still support available, including online support, helplines, refuges and the police. We encourage you to share this important message with staff using the information provided in the Home Office’s employer pack. 


Thinking about restructuring?

It is a sad fact that some businesses may be considering making staff redundant in order to survive.  It is also possible that after weeks of lockdown your business might not be able to afford to make the redundancy payments necessary.  If this is the case, insolvency practitioners may be able help you access government funding to make redundancy payments.

Follow this link for more information about the insolvency services’ Redundancy Payment Service:  Quantuma – Need to make redundancies

If your business is struggling, Quantuma can help you to turn things around.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Coming out of lockdown, it is important that companies have the breathing space to manage, or restructure, the debts they took on to keep them going during the crisis.  This applies especially to businesses that were strong before the pandemic; they need to be able to deal with the accumulated debt and come out ready to make the most of the post lockdown world.  For some, the mountain will be too high to climb and they might need a more drastic solution.  Either way, it is essential to act reasonably and carefully: document your decisions, don’t take illegal dividends and above all – seek advice!

Herron Fisher can help with action plans, restructuring or formal insolvency advice.  It costs nothing to talk.   Contact them on 01323 723643 or via their website at


The Government’s ‘Conditional Plan’

The government’s 51 page report is here:
The following shorter guidelines are useful and easy to read:

  • Updated guidelines :
  • Guidance on making and wearing face coverings:
    Basic face coverings are shown to decrease the level of infection because they contain your coughs and sneezes which protects others.  You are asked to consider other people and wear a face covering when outside, especially if it is not possible to stay 2 metres apart.  These coverings can be home made and should be worn on public transport, in shops, in taxis and in workplaces where you have to be less than 2 metres apart.

From Wedesday 13th May

  • People who can’t work from home should return to work from Wednesday 13th May.
  • They should walk, cycle or drive to work and not use public transport.
  • Outdoor exercise is now unlimited.
  • You may sit in the local park and on the beach with members of your household.
  • You may drive there with members of your household (but not into Wales or Scotland).
  • You may meet 1 person from outside your household to exercise.
    A game of tennis is fine, as is a game of golf or a fishing expedition – so long as you stay over 2 metres apart.
    The club house will not be open and rakes will not be available.
    Do not share sports equipment.
  • Garden Centres are open again.

From 1st June

  • Phased reopening of Primary Schools.
  • Initially, Reception Year 1 and Year 6.
  • Shops will start to open.
  • It is hoped that Secondary school pupils taking exams next year will get the chance to spend time with their teachers before the summer break this year.
  • Other secondary pupils might not return to school until September.

From July at the earliest

  • Some parts of the hospitality sector will be allowed to open if they are throught to be safe.
  • Some public events will open, again, if they are thought to be safe.
  • Barbers may be allowed to open from July 4th, so Beatles mop tops until then gentlemen!
  • Beauty therapy treatments may be possible from 4th July.

Air Travel Quarantine

  • This will be introduced but we don’t know when it will be introduced or for how long the quarantine may last; probably for 14 days but this is yet to be confirmed.

These plans are all subject to the continued downturn in infection rates and the numbers who die.  To begin to prepare for your business to get moving again, it is suggested you start following the government guidance at the foot of this blog.


The Chamber plan to “Survive – Revive – Thrive” and win £1,000

Our plan is focused on these areas:

1.   Leading Out of Lockdown
We have acquired funding for a programme to develop your leadership and management skills to help you lead your business, successfully, out of lockdown.  We will give you a series of valuable workshops and 1-2-1 coaching with specialists either on line or face to face, when allowed.  These will help you to develop and deliver a strong Action Plan for the future of your business.

The best Action Plan will go on to win a £1000 grant to help develop the business.

This programme uses the best consultants and specialists to help you and your business to revive and thrive.  As this is completely funded by government state aid and the EU, you must declare this whenever you are applying for state aid.  The value of this programme is almost £2,500 per person, which you should state when making a De Minimis declaration.

For a place on this leadership and management programme call Rebecca on 01323 641144 or email her here.

2. Opening Up Eastbourne
We have contacted the Borough and County Councils to ask for more space for business to be done in the open air.  This will include:

    • Wider pavements to give pedestrians space to maintain 2 metres social distance
    • Pedestrianised streets to allow restaurants, cafes and pubs to serve tables in the open air
    • Pedestrian areas to allow shops to trade in the street as well as inside
    • Access to green spaces like the Western Lawns amd p[arks for hotels residents to picnic and eat Al Fresco

3. Eat Local, Shop Local, Book Local

    • We will work with TechResort, the BID and the EHA to develop a not-for-profit food delivery app, like Deliveroo or JustEat, so that local restaurants and takeaways can deliver food without losing 30% of their turnover to the booking site.
    • We will work on a local Amazon style App to allow you to buy local on line, and get it delivered as well.
    • We will also be sharing the EHA and VisitEastbourne not-fot-profit hotel booking site to help UK residents discover our endless blue skies and pristine beaches.  At the moment, if you book a hotel or guesthouse via Booking.Com, Trivago or Expedia, almost 20% of the cost is hived off to the booking agency in Holland or America.  The VisitEastbourne site will allow the hotel to retain much more of the fee and your investment stays in the local economy.

4. Netwalking to Success
We will be introducing ‘netwalking’ to get businesses together in a safe, socially distanced environment.  You will be able to walk with like minded business people, share best practice,  share your concerns, reboot your B2B customer relationships and exercise at the same time.