Todays update provides a summary of the following:

  1. Preparation for step 2: Advice for the hospitality industry
  2. Free rapid tests for all businesses for regular workplace testing
  3. New website dedicated to promoting town centre vacant properties

Preparation for step 2: Advice for the hospitality industry

In preparation for Step 2, which could be from 12 April at the earliest, will mean that Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors with no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew.

Although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’), and wider social contact rules will apply to prevent indoor mixing between different households, we can confirm the Government and Council’s guidance and measures in place to support this.

Government Hospitality Support Measures:

  • The measures introduced to support restaurants, drinking establishments such as pubs and cafes to serve takeaway food when they were otherwise closed due to coronavirus restrictions will continue to apply until March 2022.
  • The provision for businesses to hold outdoor events such as summer fairs or motorsports on land without the need for a planning application, while events such as car-boot sales, or people or businesses such as pubs wishing to set up marquees will also be exempt, has been extended until 31 December 2021, and the number of days allowed for such temporary events has been increased from 28 to 56.
  • The simplified route for pubs, restaurants and cafes to obtain a temporary pavement licence to place furniture including outdoor tables and seating on the highway, allowing them to increase their outdoor capacity quickly and at a low cost, continues to apply.

Step 2 guidance for the hospitality industry can be found using the following link:


Please note this guidance is subject to change/amendments.

Free rapid tests for all businesses for regular workplace testing

As part of the government’s roadmap to cautiously lift restrictions, businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can now register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing. Rapid testing detects cases quickly – in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases can isolate immediately, breaking chains of transmission.  Regular testing could be the difference between a workplace being able to stay open and operational, or needing to close due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It will form a crucial part of the government’s plan to gradually and safely ease restrictions as we get back to a more normal life.  So far over 3,500 businesses are signed up to offer workplace testing programmes, and over 14,000 have registered their interest in offering rapid testing, with many already rolling tests out.  Businesses have until 31 March to register for the government’s workplace testing scheme, which will remain free until the end of June. All those who can work from home should continue to do so.  

You can register here: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests

All local authorities in England are now offering rapid lateral flow testing for small businesses if they can’t offer rapid workplace testing. Businesses can find their local test site here: https://www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site


New website dedicated to promoting town centre vacant properties

As you can imagine there’s a number of vacant commercial spaces in Rochdale town centre and no one really knows what effect COVID will have on the remaining businesses, equally there have been a lot of businesses started at home and we’re hoping we may see some of these flourish and require space. What recently became apparent to the BID team is that there’s no dedicated website to help people find available commercial premises that we can promote, so we’ve decided to build one. Think of it is a hyper-local version of Rightmove but specifically aimed helping landlords and agents sell and let their commercial real estate.


This service will be a no cost to landlords and agents; we’ll provide photos, floorplans and a Matterport 3D tour to complete the listing. Landlords and agents will get access to all these assets for their own websites in order to help sell/let the space as normally would, it’s just that our new website will help promote all spaces within the town centre and include all properties from a variety of agents.


If any agents or landlords are interested in this service, please call the BID Manager on– 07811278517 or email: paul@rochdalebid.co.uk


Useful Links

COVID-19: what you need to do


Support for businesses and employers during coronavirus (COVID-19)


If you have any queries regarding the support which his currently being offered, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 07811 278517.

Paul Ambrose

BID Manager

09 Mar 2021