The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

The Booksellers Association is continuing to monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and we will continue to update members and share advice from our trusted partners.  Bookshops remain a source of knowledge and information, insight and expertise at challenging times, and that remains true at this moment. Please do let us know of any particular concerns you have; hearing from members helps us tailor our responses. If you have any questions or concerns please email us
 
BA members have access to a number of advice points for information on the virus.

General Guidance on Coronavirus Action

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Stay at home guidance has been issued by the Government and is available here
Below are some resources for retailers with regard to the developing situation on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 
 
The Government has published its coronavirus action plan which provides information on what further action can be expected from the Government in response to coronavirus. 
 
The action plan sets out what is known about the virus and the disease it causes, how the government has planned for an infectious disease outbreak, the actions taken so far in response to the coronavirus outbreak, what the government plan to do next depending on the course of the outbreak, and the role that the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future.
 
What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace
For contacts of a suspected case in the workplace, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID19 are awaited. In particular, there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point. Most possible cases turn out to be negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known there is no action that the workplace needs to take.
 
What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace
Closure of the workplace is not recommended.
 
The management team of the office or workplace will be contacted by the PHE local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.
 
A risk assessment of each setting will be undertaken by the Health Protection Team with the lead responsible person. Advice on the management of staff and members of the public will be based on this assessment.
 
The Health Protection Team will also be in contact with the case directly to advise on isolation and identifying other contacts and will be in touch with any contacts of the case to provide them with appropriate advice.
 
Advice on cleaning of communal areas such as offices or toilets will be given by the Health Protection Team.
 
When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
 
If a confirmed case is identified in your workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include:
  • any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact
  • talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic
  • anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids
  • close friendship groups or workgroups
  • any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case
 
Contacts are not considered cases and if they are well they are very unlikely to have spread the infection to others:
  • those who have had close contact will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact with the confirmed case and follow the home isolation advice sheet
  • they will be actively followed up by the Health Protection Team
  • if they develop new symptoms or their existing symptoms worsen within their 14-day observation period they should call NHS 111 for reassessment
  • if they become unwell with cough, fever or shortness of breath they will be tested for COVID-19
  • if they are unwell at any time within their 14-day observation period and they test positive for COVID-19 they will become a confirmed case and will be treated for the infection
 
Staff who have not had close contact with the original confirmed case do not need to take any precautions and can continue to attend work.
 
Certifying absence from work
By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. This does not need to be fit note (Med 3 form) issued by a GP or other doctor.
Your employee will be advised to isolate themselves and not to work in contact with other people by NHS 111 or PHE if they are a carrier of, or have been in contact with, an infectious or contagious disease, such as COVID-19.
We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to self-isolate due to suspected COVID-19, in accordance with the public health advice being issued by the government.
 
Advice for staff returning from travel anywhere else in the world within the last 14 days
Currently, there are minimal cases outside the listed areas and therefore the likelihood of an individual coming into contact with a confirmed case is extremely low.
These staff can continue to attend work unless they have been informed that they have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
If individuals are aware that they have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should contact NHS 111 for further advice.
The latest country information is available on the NaTHNac Travel Pro website.
 
Handling post, packages or food from affected areas
Employees should continue to follow existing risk assessments and safe systems of work. There is no perceived increase in risk for handling post or freight from specified areas.
 
Cleaning offices and public spaces where there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
Coronavirus symptoms are similar to a flu-like illness and include cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Once symptomatic, all surfaces that the person has come into contact with must be cleaned including:
  • all surfaces and objects which are visibly contaminated with body fluids
  • all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as toilets, door handles, telephones
Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time in (such as corridors) but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids do not need to be specially cleaned and disinfected.
If a person becomes ill in a shared space, these should be cleaned using disposable cloths and household detergents, according to current recommended workplace legislation and practice.
 
Bank of England Package
The Bank of England have also announced a comprehensive package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19. Interest rates have been reduced from 0.75% to 0.25% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs.
 
Government Guidance for Employers, Employees and Businesses 
 
The Government's official guidance is available here. It includes information on the following areas: 
  • How to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • What to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • What advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas, as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer (full list is available here)
  • Advice for the certification of absence from work resulting from Covid-19
Sick Pay
ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has published guidance for employers and employees which states that it is good practice for employers to treat self-isolation as sick leave and follow their usual sick pay policy or agree for the time to be taken as holiday. However, ACAS has said that “there’s no legal (statutory) right to pay if someone is not sick but cannot work because they have been told by a medical expert to self-isolate, have had to go into quarantine, are abroad in an affected area and are not allowed to travel back to the UK”.

Retailer Resources

Point of Sale Kit for Re-opening

The Re-opening POS Kits left the mailing house on Friday 29th May, and are coming by mail to bookshops. They will be in a board envelope. Those of you who requested home delivery should get them at your home address.   We have a few extra (though not many) so do ask if you need more.  You can also download the POS items below:
Guide to Social Distancing on Re-opening for Bookshops

Please read our guide Bookshops Open for Business - what to consider as you reopen your bookshop.

We are also continuing to liaise with suppliers, other retail bodies, other trade organisations and other Booksellers Associations around the world to gather best practice and share it with you, making sure that you have all you need to safely re-open, when you decide that is what is best for your business.

BA’s £50,000 Bookshop Re-Opening Fund

The BA has announced a £50,000 fund to help our independent members prepare to re-open their bookshops safely when permitted.

The fund will be used in several ways, including:
  1. A £50 (or € equivalent) per member grant to purchase protective screens for till points, or other protective materials*
  2. The provision to all BA independent members a Re-opening Point of Sale Kit including safe distance signage. The kit will include floor vinyls, posters (including empty belly posters), shelf talkers and other instore materials.
In addition:

- We are testing some screens and producing a list of suppliers.
- The BA is also working with Gardners to facilitate the provision of PPE equipment for bookshops**

*The individual member grant will be reimbursed on production of proof of purchase of protective screens or other related equipment – to help manage this process and reduce banking costs this reimbursement may take the form of a credit via your Book Tokens account, full details to follow.
 
**Gardners are securing supplies of disposable face masks and shielding face visors, and you can purchase these from Gardners - 10 plastic face visors will cost £25 plus VAT and 50 surgical masks will cost £25 plus VAT.   Initially supply will be limited one pack per shop on a first come, first served basis.   Please email ppe@gardners.com with your account number (if you are a Gardners customer), your shop name and your required delivery address.  These will take seven to days to be delivered.  Bookshops who are not Gardners customers should email the same email address and be prepared to pay with a credit card to secure the order.

There are a wide variety of protective screens available, so we’ve asked a few booksellers for what they would be most likely to use and the following links are to suppliers who provide off-the-shelf free standing units (and we tested their sites for ordering and quality). Hanging screens are also available, but we have not tested these (as they are just sheets of Perspex with holes).
 
Please note a number of booksellers have told us that they have sourced local suppliers, who can set up more elaborate structures and can be very competitive.
 
UK & Ireland
Two recommended suppliers of free-standing counter units (prices from approx. £30-£60 pus vat and deliver – will deliver to the Republic of Ireland at extra charge):
 
https://www.ukpos.com/social-distancing-and-hygiene   90x75 cm - plus various other options
https://www.emlexpress.com/anti-virus-protection-screen-for-serving-areas.html  80x80 cm
https://www.emlexpress.com/medium-anti-virus-protective-screen.html 60x80 cm
https://www.emlexpress.com/small-anti-virus-protective-screen.html  60x60 cm
 
Ireland – prices seem much higher than in the UK (often more than €150 for off the shelf items), so it may be cheaper to pay international shipping and use a UK based supplier (see above).  The following offer a good range of products:
 
http://johnston-shopfitters.eu/
https://social-distancing.ie/product-tag/sneeze-guards/
 
 
We also have a list of suppliers of various PPE and re-opening items which you can download here.  


BA Business Support Helpline
Croner run the BA's Business Support Helpline. Booksellers can call qualified legal professionals an unlimited number of times for free advice on health and safety, tax and employment legislation. Call 08445 618133 and quote BA scheme number 31937.
 
Croner will be able to help advise you on the impacts of the virus on your employment and health and safety policies, so please do use the service if you need advice. Croner have put contingency measures in place to ensure the helpline will remain open.
 
Retail Trust Wellbeing Service
BA members also have access to our Retail Trust Wellbeing service – free to independent members of the BA, this can help provide counselling and advice services for those affected.  You and your staff can call the Retail Trust on 0808 801 0808 (in Ireland call 1 800 911 810) – you can also visit www.retailtrust.org.uk/wellbeing
 
retailTRUST have produced a toolkit of COVID-19 resources https://www.myrtwellbeing.org.uk/looking-after-you/physical-wellbeing/latest-information-on-covid-19. These articles range from how to work from home, how to manage staff remotely, how to look after your mental health and how to care for those around you.

Please do consider using these services – especially if you are worried about impacts on well being and mental health, or just want some practical advice or information.
 
British Retail Consortium
The BA is working with the BRC who have a number of FAQs on the virus which we have shared with members last week including this Business Best Practice pocket guide

Employment and HR 
For advice on employment and HR issues around coronavirus https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Bookseller-to-Bookseller Forum
We realise that booksellers may well wish to ask each other questions and compare notes at this challenging time.  The best place to do this online is on the BA’s Booksellers Network Facebook Page, which is a private group exclusive to BA members.  You can request to join the Group as long as you are a bookseller working in a BA member bookshop. To do so, click here, request to join the group and answer the questions. Once you are approved into the group, you will have access to over 300 booksellers in the group who share information and ideas. Please email pippa.halpin@booksellers.org.uk or kara.rennie@booksellers.org.uk if you have any questions. 

Packaging Resources for Posting Books
 We assume most booksellers will be looking to increase their mail order activity in order to continue selling books to customers without shop visits being necessary.  We are gathering information about packaging suppliers for members and list them below.  Please do let us know if you have suppliers to add to this list. 
 
W E Roberts 
T: 01474 410010
E: k.batts@wer.co.uk
W: www.wer.co.uk

DS Smith Packaging

T: 020 7756 1800
W: www.dssmithepack.co.uk

Macfarlane Packaging
T: 0800 2888 444
W: www.macfarlanepackaging.com

RAJA UK
T: 0808 231 9773
W: www.rajapack.co.uk

Kite Packaging
W: https://www.kitepackaging.co.uk/
E: service@kitepackaging.co.uk
T:  024 7642 0065

lil Packaging
W:  
https://www.lilpackaging.com/
E: sales@lilpackaging.com
T: 01480 396 200 

Unwin Charitable Trust Mentoring Programme
The Unwin Charitable Trust Mentoring Programme continues to offer mentoring and advice to BA members during this challenging time, by giving help over the phone or by video call. If you would like to know more, you can email pippa.halpin@booksellers.org.uk or visit the Unwin Charitable Trust’s website or contact the Programme’s administrator, Margaret Wilson mentoring@unwincharitabletrust.org.uk.

BEIS News Updates 
The Department for Business (BEIS) has a newsletter subscription service which you can sign up for to receive bulletins directly on all Coronavirus developments as they affect business - https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKDECC/subscriber/new?preferences=true
 
Securing Empty Property 
Click here for a note via the British Retail Consortium about empty shops.  The generic advice is issued by the Metropolitan Police but is applicable widely and may help you consider what you need to do to keep your shop property safe during this period.

BA Membership Subscriptions Rebate
The BA wrote to all members on 19th March detailing that the BA Group Board had decided to rebate membership subscriptions for all BA members with a subscription below £1,000.  This was one of our contributions toward the massive pressures on cash and outgoings being faced by our members.  These rebates are being actioned now, and I hope you will see the refunds appearing in your bank accounts this week.
 
Those members who have already paid will receive rebates; those who have not will have the invoice cancelled.
 
If you have any queries about the rebate, contact BA Accounts accounts@booksellers.org.uk

National Book Tokens
National Book Tokens will improve payment terms to all independent BA members. Book Tokens will continue to pay all customers whose account is in credit at month end as usual, but will not require payment for 90 days from independent booksellers whose accounts are in debit at month end. This will come into immediate effect.

Hive Increases Commission to Independents
An offer has come to us from Hive and Gardners - over the next few months Hive will be offering double the amount of commission on home delivery book sales orders placed through the site.  A minimum of 10% of the net value of each sale will be paid.
 
“After an initial conversation with new BA President Andy Rossiter, outgoing president Nick Bottomley and MD Meryl Halls about how we can offer additional support, the enhanced commission offering was formed.   Gardners are also having ongoing conversations with publishers to further enhance this offering. Where publishers are offering support with additional terms, this will be reflected in commissions being enhanced even further, but will not change the pricing on the site, so we can pass as much as possible to the hive network of independent shops.   The additional commissions will be backdated to start from 1st March until further notice.
 
Andy Rossiter, BA President, said: “At a critical time for high street independent bookselling, it is essential that we make it as easy as possible for bookshops to sell to consumers.  This initiative from Gardners and Hive will make it more attractive and feasible for booksellers to offer online sales, and we are very pleased to see a project designed to maximise the chances of bookshops creatively responding to this challenging crisis, and ensuring their ongoing survival.”
 
If you would like to sign your bookshop up to the Hive network, please speak with your Gardners sales contact in the first instance – or contact Nikki Daigneault nikki.daigneault@gardners.com  01323 525666.“

Support From Suppliers
The BA has spent the week talking to publishers and other suppliers about putting in place measures to ensure that booksellers are able to manage their cashflow through this incredibly challenging time.  These include extended credit terms, which are an immediate way for booksellers to continue trading – even if your physical shop has to close – so that you can continue to buy stock to sell online and on social media.  Booksellers are being incredibly innovative and creative in how they are carrying on their bookselling activity, and we want to ensure you can all keep doing that, if you choose to.  Please check the website to see our social media assets designed to help you promote your bookshop to your customers.
 
All the publishers we have talked to are pro-actively seeking ways to alleviate to the commercial challenges of independent booksellers particularly, and are all putting in place plans for helping to cushion the impact of bills coming due.  All of the publishers we talked to had plans in place to offer customers improved terms.  Moreover, they are all open to being approached by booksellers with individual requests.
 
We are therefore encouraging all independent members of the BA to pro-actively approach their main suppliers and request extended credit terms.  Some booksellers have already started to do this, and a straw poll would indicate that a good starting point might be to consider asking for 90-days extended credit on aged invoices, and the same on forthcoming invoices.  Each bookseller will obviously have their own approach, but the BA is encouraging booksellers to be pro-active and bold in asking for help. The suppliers are expecting to be asked, and are poised to offer you help.  Please make sure you access all the help you can.
 
The same goes for asking for support from your landlord – be bold and ask for no or very low rent for the coming quarter in these exceptional circumstances.

Bookseller Hardship Fund – Apply Now
 We are really pleased to let you know that the Booksellers Hardship Fund, administered on behalf of the trade by the Book Trade Charity, BTBS, is now a joint initiative between the BA, PRH (and other publishers, we hope) and the organisers of the GoFundMe fundraiser for booksellers which went live on Twitter this week.  The Fund is targetted at booksellers affected by Covid-19 and is now aiming, via the collaboration between Penguin Random House UK and the BA, to increase its funding target to £100,000.
 
Organisers Gayle Lazda, Zeljka Marosevic and Kishani Widyaratna launched the initiative to raise £10,000 last week, and has already raised over £7,000 of its target, thanks to generous donations from individuals across the book trade as well as authors, such as Candice Carty-Williams, Adam Kay, Jessie Burton, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Patrick Ness, David Nicholls, Kit de Waal, Sophie Mackintosh, Daisy Johnson, and others.
 
As you will know, the BA had already pledged £30,000 to The Book Trade Charity for bookseller hardship, and we will now contribute that funding to this project, in order to coordinate and focus all resources in the place that can best deliver the help booksellers need.  PRH will match every contribution £1 for £1, up to £50,000 – including matching all donations made to the fund so far.
 
The funds are available to anyone who works in a bookshop in the UK or Ireland, who finds themselves in hardship as a result of the impact of Covid-19. This includes traditional ‘booksellers’ as well as staff working behind the scenes in a bookshop.
 
The Book Trade Charity will administer all grants for people based in the UK on a case by case basis, and we are exploring how this might be administered in Ireland (the Book Trade Charity is limited to the UK by its charitable aims).
 
Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK, said, ‘In this strange and testing time we need to connect as an industry to support our publishing ecosystem. Bookshops and booksellers are the lifeblood of our industry, and at the heart of local communities across the UK and Ireland. We hope our contribution to this fundraiser helps give them the support they need in the coming weeks and months.’
 
Meryl Halls, Managing Director of the BA, said, ‘We are heartened by the bubbling up of support for booksellers from across the trade, and really pleased to be able to work with PRH and with Gayle, Zeljka and Kishani to collaborate on making sure we are maximizing the money being collected to help booksellers in hardship. This crisis is testing all our norms and ethical values, and it is really humbling to see this outpouring of support and love for booksellers.  We thank PRH, the crowdfunders and the Book Trade Charity on behalf of all our members, and the BA.  And we look forward to delivering real help to those who need it most.’
 
Donations can be made via the Go Fund Me page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fundraiser-booksellers-covid-19 - where you can also find details on how to apply.  Or you can email info@btbs.org to start that ball rolling.

Established in 1837, the Book Trade Charity provides confidential care and support to former, current and future book trade people in need with grants and housing. They provide a wide range of support through grants for re-training, living with a disability, medical need and other circumstances brought about by redundancy, sickness or other life events. They rely on the generosity of the book trade, the general public and individuals to provide vital funding. Learn more at http://www.btbs.org/
 

Marketing & Publicity

Social Media Messaging
The BA will be encouraging consumers to support their local bookshop via the Books Are My Bag social media channels using the #ChooseBookshops messaging. We also encourage booksellers to update their customers via their social media channels and suggest different ways they are able to buy books from them during the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

Suggested socia media copy below (please adapt for your own channels as necessary):

- Bookshops are great places of solace, information, community and friendship. They are also well-placed to take orders over the phone, provide personal shopping via social and post you your next great read. Support your high street in these challenging times #ChooseBookshops 

- Connection matters. Community matters. Bookshops matter. Now, more than ever, remember to support your local bookshop. #ChooseBookshops

- Are you social-distancing? You’ll need some reading material. If you can’t make it to your local bookshop, get in touch with them via phone and Twitter and they’ll post the books straight to your home. #ChooseBookshops

- Bookshops are great community hubs, especially during troubled times. They can give great recommendations and help with bookish requirements over the phone and on social media, and then post straight to your door. #ChooseBookshops

We've also created various social assets for bookshops who are taking orders via online shops/social media/email/phone:
Bookshops Are Open For Business Twitter & Facebook
Bookshops Are Open For Business Instagram
Bookshops Are Open For Business Instagram Stories

Virtual Book Events Twitter & Facebook
Virtual Book Events Instagram
Virtual Book Events Instagram Stories

Bookshops Can Get Books To You Twitter & Facebook
Bookshops Can Get Books To You Instagram
Bookshops Can Get Books To You Instagram Stories 

You can download our Reasons to Shop at Your Local Bookshop social media banners below:
Booksellers Creating Virtual Events
 We are aware that with fewer and fewer bookshops able to sell online, that many of you are thinking creatively about how to continue your work in your communities and keep you profile up while you are not able to act commercially. Many bookshops are looking at holding virtual events – so they can still be the focal point of community activity – and create conversation, connections, community, virtual gatherings, online book clubs and so on. If you have plans to do any of these things, the BA team would be delighted to help you promote them. So keep us up to date with your plans – email emma.bradshaw@booksellers.org.uk or kara.rennie@booksellers.org.uk to let them know.

Caboodle


How to use Caboodle to talk to customers during the Coronavirus crisis 
Whether you’re still placing orders or engaging booklovers online, you can use Caboodle to communicate with your customers. Add an 'Update', ‘Offer’ or ‘Event’ which will automatically be emailed to Caboodlers near your shop the next day. You could say: 

• You can provide book recommendations for everyone’s bookish needs – for example, over social media (saying where they can send a message) 

• You’re running virtual book events, online book clubs, or blogs and podcasts 

• You're accepting orders over the phone and making home deliveries 

• You can accept National Book Tokens remotely, or post National Book Tokens to friends and family 

Remember to visit ‘My Offers’ and check that there are no offers/events scheduled to go live that are now cancelled. 

Visit Caboodle: https://caboodle.nationalbooktokens.com/booksellers 
 
How to use Caboodle to tell your customers about virtual events 
If you’re planning to run a virtual event so you can still be the focal point of community activity – and create conversation and connections – you can use Caboodle to talk to your customers. Add an ‘Update’ or ‘Events’, which will be automatically emailed to Caboodlers near your shop the next day. You could say… 

• You can provide book recommendations for everyone’s bookish needs over social media 

• You’re running an online book club  

• You've created handy, entertaining blogposts, videos or podcasts 

• You’re holding virtual author events 

Visit Caboodle: https://caboodle.nationalbooktokens.com/booksellers 


International Booksellers Network
Based on the success of our own Booksellers Network Facebook Group, and in the light of the challenges facing the global bookselling community, we have decided to create a new International Booksellers Network for booksellers around the world in collaboration with the American Booksellers Association, Booksellers NZ and the Australian Booksellers Association.  We will extend this more widely to other countries shortly.
 
We have created the International Booksellers Network to connect members of the group with their bookselling colleagues from around the world – as a safe space for booksellers to share chat, share ideas and offer mutual support and solidarity.
 
This group is private and exclusive to the bookshops - whether you're a bookseller, owner, events manager, marketing person or book buyer – we’d love for you to join the group and chat with your international bookselling colleagues.
 
We are starting this process by inviting UK and Irish booksellers to join first, establish a small base, and then invite our international colleagues to join us.
 
If you would like to join this group, please request to join by answering the questions (so we know what bookshop you’re from and where in the world you are based) via this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/internationalbooksellersnetwork/
 
If you have any queries, contact kara.rennie@booksellers.org.uk
 

BA Events

The Booksellers Association is postponing Spring conferences and events for members due to the spread of the Coronavirus and the concerns surrounding large gatherings.
 
The following events have been affected:
 
- The Irish Book Trade Conference, due to take place on the 20th March, will now take place on Friday 9th October.
- The Scottish Book Trade conference, due to take place on the 21st April, will take place towards the end of September.
- The BA Conference and Gardners Trade Show will now take place 1st - 2nd November
- The Academic Book Trade Conference, due to take place on the 14th and 15th May, will be held on Monday 9th November
- All the Bookshop Socials for the remainder of 2020 have been postponed until 2021
For updates on other BA Bookshop Socials please contact naomi.gane@booksellers.org.uk
 
We will keep members and delegates up to date with our plans and confirm revised event dates as soon as we can, whilst monitoring the coronavirus situation very closely over the coming weeks and months.

Government Resources

Job retention scheme
The Government’s “furlough” scheme allows booksellers to furlough their staff as well as owners/directors if paid through PAYE for up to four months. The Government will cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 per month. Employers also have the option to top up the remaining 20% of their employees salaries if they’re in the position to do so.

Self employed income support scheme
Using this scheme, the Government will pay the self-employed 80% of their average monthly profits based on the past 3 years tax returns (over 1 year’s tax return for those who submitted their first tax return in January) up to £2,500 per month. HMRC should contact all those eligible directly and the payments are expected to be made as a one-off grant in June. Directors who pay themselves through dividends are not eligible for this scheme or the Job Retention Scheme. Those ineligible for the support, or who needs additional income before the grant is made, are able to apply for Universal Credit.

Business rates holiday for retail
A one year business rates holiday for bookshops in England, Wales and Scotland will be administered by local authorities. Businesses in Northern Ireland currently have a three month holiday.

Grants
There are £10,000 grants for the smallest retail businesses and £25,000 for slightly larger small retailers depending on what part of the UK your shop is based. In England and Wales the grants should be processes automatically via local authorities. In Scotland bookshops need to apply via their local authorities and in Northern Ireland an application needs to be made via the Department for the Economy. Booksellers should be able to receive a grant per shop, although in Scotland the grant will only cover 75% of each subsequent shop.

Loans
The Government has backed a new “Bounce Back Loans” scheme for smaller businesses looking to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The loans will be completely guaranteed by the Government and be interest free for the first 12 months. Additionally no payments are due in the first 12 months. The loans should be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application and should reach your account within days.
For bookshops looking to borrow more than £50,000 there is a scheme where the Government backs 80% of loans up to £250k which are interest free for the first 12 months and require no personal guarantees for the borrower. Those looking to borrow more than £250k will require some level of personal guarantee. The larger loans can be applied for through partners of the British Business Bank.

Rents
The Government announced that high street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic. There is a temporary ban the use of statutory demands (made between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020) and winding up petitions presented from Monday 27 April, through to 30 June, where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus. The Government is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent. There is also a moratorium on evictions for commercial tenants for at least a 3-month period.

HMRC
There have also been several announcements relating to tax payments, including the creation of a helpline for businesses struggling with tax liability due to the impact of the virus. The helpline number is 0800 024 1222. The Government has also announced that self-employed can defer their next tax payment and that VAT payments for the next quarter can be deferred.

Reopening Guidance
The Government has issued guidance for retailers on reopening. By necessity, this guidance will be continually reviewed and updated. Here is their guidance on operating safe urban spaces, including high streets and town centres: page 13 has a useful diagram showing things to consider on the high street.

Irish Government Information
Healthcare advice is available here https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

Irish bookshops should get in touch with Retail Excellence Ireland for information and advice:

Unit 10, Leopardstown Office Park
Sandyford, Dublin 18,
Ireland, D18 FK72
T: +353 (0)65 684 6927
E: info@retailexcellence.ie
W: https://www.retailexcellence.ie/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RetailExcellenceIreland/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/retail_excellence/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RetailExIreland

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Laura McCormack, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the BA: Laura.McCormack@booksellers.org.uk
 

Distributor Information Summary

Distributor-Arrangements.pptx