Support for Small Hospitality Business owners during the Corona Crisis [UPDATED: 3rd April 2020]

By Phil Scoble


These are difficult times for everyone, but the leisure and hospitality sectors have possibly  been hit the hardest. 

If you own a cafe, pub, hotel or restaurant, this must be a massively challenging time – we salute you and want to help as much as we can. 

Below we outline the current advice from the Government and other informed agencies to help reduce the burden on your business and help you through the next few months.

Sick Pay

Statutory Sick Pay is now due from the first day of sickness for Coronavirus related problems. You have to pay upfront but can claim up to two weeks for each employee from the Government. For more details check out our post on your employee’s needs during the crisis here. 

Business Rate relief

All businesses registered as in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are going to get a business rate ‘holiday’ for the next 12 months. 


If you are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (your business has a rateable value of less than £15,000) you can claim a grant of up to £10,000 to cover running costs. 

If your rateable value is above £15,000 but below £51,000, you can apply for grants of up to £25,000 to cover costs. 


The Government has created a fund to guarantee up to 80% of loans given to Small and Medium Enterprises. 

UPDATE 3rd April: 

The Government has responded to problems faced by small businesses by changing the rules on these loans – which were supposed to be given to those who had been refused credit. For loans below £250,000 the chancellor has announced businesses will not have to provide a personal guarantee, making the process of getting them much simpler. 

Time to Pay

If you have tax liabilities and your ability to pay has been affected by the crisis, the Government’s existing Time to Pay scheme is geared up to help, call them on 0800 0159 559.

Mortgage Holiday

If your business is affected by the pandemic, all major mortgage suppliers in the UK have agreed to giving flexible ‘payment holidays’ of up to 3 months. Talk to your mortgage provider. 


If you have paid extra for ‘pandemic’ coverage, then the Government’s guidance to avoid pubs, clubs and restaurants should be enough to entitle you to claim for business interruption. 

If you don’t have specific coverage, then business interruption is usually dependent on damage to property, so you won’t be able to claim. 


The Government is relaxing guidelines around takeaways, so restaurants, bars and cafes can continue to make money even while visitors drop. Check out our post on “Ideas to boost your food business during the coronavirus outbreak” for more details on how to make this work for you now.


Despite the high volatility in the market at the moment, there are a number of avenues for your business to explore for support, especially financially. 

Keep strong, work together and stay positive.

For more information on the outbreak and what you can do as a business owner, here are some information links from the Government: 

Symptoms and what to do about them:

Advice for different sectors:

Advice and help for businesses:

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