Coronavirus support for businesses

This webpage will be kept updated as things develop so please check back regularly. Last updated September 2021

We understand that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuing to impact businesses in the National Park. This is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation. We know from past experiences such as flooding and the Foot and Mouth disease that such major incidents can have a devastating impact on our rural economy. We are also aware of many examples of creative resilience shown by businesses both during and after such events in recovery. We will work with partners to help promote and facilitate such a response.

Whilst we as a National Park Authority are not in a position to provide legal advice or to provide public health advice we can help share the various resources available for local businesses. This webpage will be kept updated as things develop so please check back regularly.

For general information about the National Park Authority's response to Coronavirus please see statements listed here.

Government Advice

Whilst most restrictions have now been lifted it is important we follow  the advice and guidelines.  Anyone within the area should continue to follow government advice on how to avoid catching or spreading the illness including regular hand washing and social distancing.

Government support

Since March 2020, the Government has announced several measures to help support businesses during these times. To find out more visit the Government's Business Support page. Measures announced to date include:

  • Business Rate Holiday (extended to June 2021 and then two thirds reduction for rest of year) and Grants to Small businesses and those in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (a new round of restart grants in April 2021 will provide up to £6k for non essential retailers and up to £18k for hospitality and leisure businesses required to close during the lockdowns).
  • Discretionary grants for businesses not eligible under the above schemes but impacted by Covid.
  • Temporary reduction in VAT to 5% for hospitality sector to Sept 2020 followed by reduction to 12.5% until end of March 22
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) - extended to September 2021
  • Temporary changes to some planning requirements.

Business Grants are administered on behalf of the Government by the District Councils. For further details please visit Somerset West and Taunton and North Devon Council websites.

If you need advice, please contact the Heart of the South West Growth hub or call 03456 047 047 - they are offering a free advice line which can be used by all Exmoor businesses.

Planning opportunities

As the Planning Authority for Exmoor we have published the following two guides to help businesses that wish to consider diversification as a result of Covid-19 take advantage of temporary changes to Permitted Development Rights:

Local response

Our National Park Centres are reopen as are ENPA's public car parks and toilets.

National Park Authorities across England are working together to share best practice and have also approached central Government about the challenge the situation poses to the rural economy and the need to consider planning and resourcing recovery programmes in advance.

Exmoor National Park Authority is participating in regular meetings of the Heart of the South West Economic Resilience and Opportunities Group between Government and business representatives across Somerset and Devon to consider the resilience and opportunities to our businesses of an economic shock such as this.

The National Park Authority is also linked in to the Tourism Alliance, receiving and responding to regular briefings. The Alliance represent the industry on the Tourism Incident and Emergency Response (TIER) panel convened by Visit Britain to feed directly into Government in such times and this is now meeting regularly.

Planning for recovery - Tourism

ENPA are working with Visit Exmoor and several tourism organisations and councils on the Exmoor Economy and Tourism Recovery Plan.  Further details and the latest copy of the Tourism Recovery Plan can be found here.

Helpful links