I am writing to update you that the Prime Minister has set out a timeline for non-essential retail to reopen in June and below I summarise the forthcoming steps. I will also provide an update on how you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to COVID-19.
I am immensely grateful for your patience and national spirit throughout the pandemic, and I understand that it will be difficult to adjust to a new normal in your businesses.
As ever, I remain committed to supporting you however I can as your MP. Please do be in touch if you require support in any stage of getting your businesses back up and running.
HOW TO CLAIM BACK SSP PAID TO YOUR EMPLOYEES
This morning, the online portal to reclaim SSP payments opened. This means you can be repaid for up to two weeks’ Statutory Sick Pay starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee was unable to work because they had COVID-19 symptoms, lived with someone with symptoms or are shielding under the instruction of the NHS.
You can claim for periods of sickness starting on or after:
- 13 March 2020 - if your employee had COVID-19, or the symptoms or was self-isolating because someone they live with had symptoms
- 16 April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of COVID-19.
The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.
RE-OPENING OF NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL
From next Monday (1st June), outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. We are opening these outlets first because, as with garden centres, the risk of virus transmission is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces.
Additionally, providing the Government’s five tests continue to be met and outlets follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, we expect to allow all other non-essential retail to open from 15th June, including:
- Clothes and shoe shops
- Toy shops
- Outdoor markets
- Book shops
- Electronics shops
- Auction houses
- Photography studios
I should stress that 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.
Additionally, the COVID-19 secure guidance considers the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers that have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in-store.
I am confident that Rutland and Melton’s businesses will continue to do everything possible to protect their staff and customers, but tough powers are in place to enforce action if guidance is not adhered to.
Unfortunately, it is still too early to reopen to hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons and the hospitality sector because the risk of transmission in these environments is much higher.