Message to our businesses: support for reopening

Monday 15 June 2020

On behalf of the Council, I am offering our support and advice to assist you in your plans to reopen your premises as the Government lockdown eases.

We know things have been incredibly difficult for you over the last few months with Covid-19 and we want to help our businesses to get back on their feet. Protecting livelihoods, as well as protecting lives, is one of the Council’s top priorities and we want to do all we can to get our local economy moving again, safely.

Advice on the support and guidance for businesses reopening is available on our website at This information will be updated regularly with future measures and announcements.

All of our service teams are working hard to ensure you can operate as effectively and Covid-secure as possible. Some of the useful information you might find includes:

  • Portobello Road has been closed to traffic during opening hours, Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm, from 8 June to ensure visitors can shop whilst employing social distancing with more space.
  • Financial support has been given through grants including Business Rates, of which the Council has delivered over £40 million to over 80% of eligible businesses in the borough and the Council’s own Business Interruption Fund, which has given out £500,000 to small enterprises.
  • The Government’s Local Authority Discretionary Fund will provide financial support grants, and applications for this are opening up soon.
  • In order to serve customers more easily while social distancing, you can apply for a Tables and Chairs licence to place seating on pavements or footpaths.
  • If you need to adapt your business operation or services, take note that planning permission is not required when both the present and proposed uses fall within the same use classes.
  • Council commercial waste services invoicing and Council owned commercial property rent invoicing have been paused for Q1 and are under review.
  • Practical business support is being delivered through the Council-funded Portobello Business Centre and other organisations.

As this is an incredibly busy time, and the easing of lockdown will throw up many complex issues, we have taken the opportunity to launch a new business e-newsletter, Business Matters. It will provide regular guidance and help, as well as success stories as our economy returns and the Council helps to encourage local people to use local services.

If you would like to subscribe to Business Matters, you can do so easily online.

We are here to help you over the coming weeks to prepare for your business to reopen.

Yours Sincerely,

Cllr Catherine Faulks

Lead Member for Economy, Employment and Innovation