The Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night (4 January) announced that England has entered a new period of national lockdown following a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The drastic jump in cases has been attributed to the new variant of COVID-19, which is estimated to be between 50% and 70% more transmissible. On 4 January, there were 26,626 COVID-19 patients in hospital in England, an increase of over 30% in one week, and the April 2020 hospital admissions peak has now been surpassed by 40%.
Watch the Prime Minister's address from last night:
Following last night's announcement, the winter period will clearly be extremely challenging for many businesses across Oxfordshire. Coronavirus continues to bring about an unprecedented situation and will cause concern and disruption to businesses of all sizes for the foreseeable future.
We will continue to work hard to ensure that our business community can be supported – and remain resilient and productive – both during this challenging period and beyond.
As an immediate measure, we are encouraging Oxfordshire businesses to review both the support we currently have available via our OxLEP Business team, support available to applicable businesses via our local authority partners and existing schemes and funding from central government.
UPDATE: Following this latest announcement from the Prime Minister, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced further measures that sees one-off top up grants available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (worth up to £9,000 per property) to help businesses through to this spring.
In addition, a £594 million discretionary fund will also be made available to support other impacted businesses.