Coronavirus - information for businesses


Temporary restrictions for businesses in force in Scotland from 9th October >

Guidance on re-opening of shops, indoor hospitality and food businesses >

Preparing for Phase 3 in Argyll and Bute - Guidance on reopening of non-essential retail shops, and outdoor seating areas for restaurants, cafes and licensed premises. 

Scottish Government Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector:

Financial support for businesses

You can use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business:

Business support finder

The UK and Scottish Governments have announced a package of support to assist businesses.  You can find out more at COVID-19 UK Govt Support for business and FindBusinessSupportScotland.

You can find details of the different types of support below:

Support for businesses affected by temporary restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19

The Scottish Government announced the following funding to assist businesses, in response to the new temporary measures in place from 9 October 2020.

  • The COVID-19 Closure Fund will provide one-off grants of up to £3,000, depending on rateable value, to bars, restaurants and other businesses required to close by the new restrictions implemented on 9 October 2020. It operates as a two-tiered scheme, with a smaller grant of £2,000 for businesses with a Rateable Value (RV) of up to and including £51,000 and a larger grant of £3,000 for those businesses with a RV of £51,001 and above.  An upper limit of £15,000 in total will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises. The grant will be distributed by local authorities in the areas covered by the restrictions.
  • A Business Hardship Fund with grants of up to £1,500 will support some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the COVID-19 Brake Restrictions which came into effect on 9 October.  This includes hospitality businesses and some gyms, required by these new regulations to operate in a restricted way, and producers/wholesale businesses based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a minimum 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period. Businesses should apply for this Fund in the Local Authority area in which they are based.  Details of this Fund and how to apply if your business is based in Argyll and Bute are available here on the website - Business Hardship Fund >
  • Up to £9 million of funding will help with the costs of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 20% salary contribution required by the UK Government. Payment mechanisms for this support are being identified. Further details will be shared as soon as they are available.
  • A discretionary fund of up to £11 million will help businesses that need support but don’t fall into the above categories. This will, for example, support soft play centres that have been unable to re-open this month.

Further details will be shared as soon as they are available.

You can read the Scottish Government’s announcement here

Information on the funding is available on the Scottish Government website

Coronavirus Job Support Scheme

The UK Government Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job. The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Expansion of the Job Support Scheme to support businesses required to close due to coronavirus restrictions

The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK legally required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions. Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.

Further information on the Job Support Scheme expansion is available on the website

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If you cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs where you record them as being on furlough (temporary leave).

Employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked.

Unless you’re making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if:

  • you have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June
  • you submitted your claim before 31 July

From 1 August 2020, you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages.

30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims.

Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on furlough due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus

The UK government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to provide additional support to employers who keep on furloughed employees in employment after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020.

The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee previously claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021. Eligible employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between the 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. You will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus after you have filed PAYE for January and payments will be made to from February 2021.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus here

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.

Find out more about the Self-employment Income Support Scheme here

The scheme allowed those eligible to claim a first taxable grant and is now open for a second and final taxable grant.  The grant is worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The online service is now available for claiming the grant. You can make your claim from the date HMRC give you and before 19 October 2020. If you have not received a date from HMRC and think you’re eligible, use the online service to check.

You can make a claim for the second grant if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. Applications for the first grant have closed.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. Small and medium-sized businesses can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. There won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months and after that interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

Guidance and how to apply

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. You will need to show that your business would be viable were it not for the pandemic and that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.

Guidance and how to apply

There are over 50 lenders participating in the scheme including all the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website. The lender will decide whether to offer you a loan or another type of finance and you’ll be responsible for repaying 100% of the amount borrowed. The government will pay the interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

Non domestic Rates relief

ALL non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. 

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied.

These reliefs will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

You do not need to apply for these reliefs as they will be applied to your bill by the Council.

If you are struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact the Council and ask about your payment options.

Further information on non-domestic rates relief is available on the Scottish Government website

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

If you're an employer, find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). The refund can cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed a payment. Because of coronavirus you may be able to delay (defer) your Self Assessment payment on account due in July 2020 until 31 January 2021. Contact the HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline if you cannot pay any other tax bills because of coronavirus.

Support for Private Landlords

The Scottish Government short-term emergency loan scheme can provide an interest-free loan is available to landlords who have five or fewer rental properties and will fund lost rental income from a single property. It is designed to take the pressure off landlords, in the short-term, if their tenants are having difficulty making rent payments.

Business Gateway

Help and advice for your business is available from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute. You can talk to one of our experienced local business advisers, for free and in confidence.

If you are based in Argyll and Bute and looking for support to help your business start, survive or grow, we can assist. We can also provide information, guides, workshops, webinars, and signpost funding and useful contacts, tailored to your needs.

Online guides, tutorials and further resources are available on the website -

Contact the local team via 01546 604555 or

Closed Funds – no longer open for applications

The following Funds have now closed and new applications cannot be accepted.

  • Business Support Fund Grants (Small Business Grant and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant)
  • Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund
  • Bed and Breakfast and Small Serviced Accommodation Provider Hardship Fund
  • Coronavirus Support Scheme for Self Catering Businesses
Please check back regularly for updates
page last updated: 16/09/20 14:57