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Coronavirus Update

The following information is current as at 9:00 am on Wednesday 25 March.

The Government is continuing to provide daily updates and publications on their measures to deal with the disruptions caused by COVID-19. The updates so far this week have all been around health with the big announcement on Monday evening requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes. The latest updates contain information on further social distancing measures and financial measures businesses renting commercial property.

Social Distancing

The government announced further measures on social distancing on Monday evening. This is expected to impact most, if not all businesses.

Three new measure were introduced with immediate effect. There were:

• requiring people to say at home, except for very limited purposes.
• closing non-essential shops and community spaces.
• stopping all gatherings off more that two people in public.

With respect to how these measures impact upon work, the government has stated that travelling to and from work can continue but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home. No further guidance or clarification is currently available on this.

Full guidance from the Government on this can be found here.

Commercial Property

There is currently a Coronavirus Bill 2019-21 going through the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We will update you more on this when it has been granted Royal Assent and brought into law.

Included in the draft bill is protection from eviction for commercial tenant.

For tenants, those who cannot pay their rent due to business interruption caused by COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up to 30 June 2020. The draft bill also includes a clause to extend this date should it be required.

For landlords, this measure does not amount to a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. This is a protection against eviction. Tenants will still be required to pay rents due.

This bill is still to be enacted and may change. You can follow the progress of the bill here.

Our previous updates can be found on Facebook and LinkedIn or on our website blog. Our previous updated include information of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Business Interruption Loans, VAT payment deferral, Self-Assessment payment deferral, HMRC time to pay arrangements, Companies House filing extensions and guidance around self-isolation.

Government guidance for businesses can be found here.
Government guidance for employees can be found here.

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