Businesses that are forced to shut because of local coronavirus lockdowns will be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks.
The Treasury announced the move today as the Prime Minister outlined plans to ban social gatherings of more than six people.
The new business funding scheme – labelled a ‘safety net’ by ministers – will ‘protect jobs where a business is required to close’.
To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid-19 restrictions.
The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks, while smaller businesses will get £1,000.
Payments will be triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a ‘high incidence area’ where Covid-19 cases cause local lockdown measures.
So far, car dealerships have been excluded from those businesses forced to close during local lockdowns, as seen in Leicester in the summer.
However, the grants could help many other firms in the automotive industry.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: ‘No business should be punished for doing the right thing, which is why today’s package will offer additional breathing space for businesses that have had to temporarily close to control the virus.’
The payments are now available in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham, all areas where tighter measures have been bought in.
Any businesses already closed as part of the national measures – like nightclubs – will not be eligible.
Smaller businesses are classed as those occupying premises with a rateable value of less than £51k, and will get £1,000. Any business with a rateable value over that will get the larger payment.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: ‘These grants provide businesses with a safety net as they temporarily close their doors to help save lives in their local areas.’
The new help for businesses was announced as the PM tightened measures on meeting people, dubbed ‘The Rule of 6’.
The Prime Minister said he was ‘sorry’ that two households that exceed six people would no longer be able to meet in England from Monday, and said he wished that he did not have to take such steps.
At the first Downing Street press conference since July, he said that under the new rules people ‘must not meet socially in groups of more than six – and if you do, you will be breaking the law’.
He added: ‘This will apply in any setting, indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub. The ban will be set out in law and it will be enforced by the police – anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested.’