Further to the Chief Minister’s press conference yesterday morning, it is a shame that as an Island we are once again moving into an ‘all-too-familiar’ lockdown. Fingers crossed… it should just be for 3 weeks!
I find it difficult to remember a time when we weren’t living on the edge of a possible lockdown, which I suppose in itself is quite unnerving. At least everyone knows the drill by now and hopefully most can transition back into alternative working arrangements fairly easily. Many businesses are already feeling extremely stretched and I sincerely hope that this (potentially final?) lockdown won’t be the final straw. History has shown that as an Island community we have a tremendous ability to rally around those in need and I am sure that will continue throughout this lockdown.
As always, the health and safety of our team and clients remains our top priority and we have therefore re-introduced the same measures (albeit there are some slight tweaks) that we applied to the business during the January lockdown earlier this year. These are as follows, and will apply from 9am Wednesday 3 March 2021 until further notice:
Our staff will be working from home
All of our staff will continue to have access to their computers and e-mail. Our main office phone lines are being manned between 9am and 4pm, however this is primarily as a message service. If there is an urgent matter please feel free to contact either myself on 331284, Michael on 498847, Stephen on 248448 or Andrew on 490720.
Both our Douglas and Ramsey offices will be closed for meetings
If you have a meeting booked, one of our team members will be in touch with you to discuss an alternative solution. Meetings can still take place via phone or Zoom/Skype as necessary.
Both of our offices will remain open for dropping off and collecting records
Our offices will remain open but we will be operating on reduced hours. Our Douglas office will be open from 10am until 4pm and our Ramsey office will be open from 9am until 2pm each day. We would kindly ask that you do not attend the offices if you have any COVID symptoms, if you have attended any of the venues highlighted by the Government as areas of exposure or if you have been in contact with anybody who attended one of these venues. If you are in urgent need of your records please call us on 679524 and we will arrange for them to be dropped off to you.
Once again, I understand that the Government will be re-introducing a number of the support initiatives. As I write, these haven’t yet been confirmed, but I believe the following:
- The Salary Support Scheme will be made available again for additional sectors. From 1 March until 28 March eligible businesses will be able to claim support from the Government of up to £310 per week (increased from £280) for a full time employee. This will include all of the original business categories that were included in scheme in January 2021. Applications must be made no later than 30 days after the month of the claim period after the end of the month in which the payments of salary were made.
- The Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance (MERA) will be made available again from 3 March. Eligible individuals will be able to claim up to £230 per week (increased from £200). This includes both self-employed and employed individuals who are put on nil pay by their employers, laid off, or who are made redundant. It also includes self-employed individuals who are unable to work due to the lockdown restrictions.
- The Business Support Grant will be opened again in the amount of £1,500 from 5pm on 3 March. The same criteria is expected to apply as per the January 2021 grant.
The Government support initiatives may change rapidly and so please keep a look out for these online and speak to us if you have any questions.
If you would like help making a claim for Government assistance or would like to talk through any other business matter, please feel free to get in touch.
Stay safe and best wishes.
Phil, and the Harding Lewis Team
Please note that further eligibility requirements apply to all Government support initiatives and this information is believed to be correct at the time of writing. Please do not rely on the content of this e-mail without discussing your claim with one of our team members.