Business advice during Covid-19 - Update 2/7/2020
We find ourselves in a landscape that is virtually unrecognisable to what we're used to. It's important in these uncertain times to ensure that we follow the guidance from government, and keep up to date with the legislation.
Some products are more in demand than others, and businesses are considering diversifying in order to provide goods needed to those staying at home. The Trading Standards Service is still available to those businesses who may need advice. All officers are working from home, and whilst we're currently unable to offer face-to-face support, we're providing advice by telephone and email.
The government introduced legislation requiring a number of businesses to close in order to reduce social contact and reduce the spread of the virus. Those restrictions are slowly being eased, and on 23 June 2020 it was announced that the majority of businesses and venues can reopen from 4 July. Further information can be found on the Gov.uk website.
Businesses looking to diversify to provide food will need to register as a food business. Advice for food businesses is available on the Environmental Health page.
The Business Companion website also has information and guidance, applicable during the coronavirus pandemic, in their Business in Focus section.
Specific advice has been written in response to issues that have arisen during this crisis. At present, there is no direct legislation regulating the price of goods. However, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 require traders to behave professionally and responsibly in the pricing of their products. Significantly increasing prices at this time may be deemed an aggressive practice under this legislation, when consideration is given to the following points:
- If it significantly impairs or is likely significantly to impair the average consumer's freedom of choice
- The use of harassment, coercion or undue influence (exploiting a position of power), or
- its timing, location, nature or persistence, and exploitation of any specific misfortune or circumstance
All products must be safe. For many product sectors, there is specific safety legislation, setting out detailed requirements applicable to those products. Take a look at the Business Companion for more information. The Office for Product Safety and Standards has published business guidance on hand sanitisers and personal protective equipment.
Energy performance certificates
The government has published advice on meeting the regulatory requirement to secure a valid energy performance certificate on marketing a property during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Unfortunately, there are people who are taking advantage of the pandemic for their own financial gain. Action Fraud has produced advice on how to spot and avoid scams.
For further business advice during the COVID-19 crisis, please contact:
Tel: 0345 6789067 (option 3)