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I have detailed below the new 'Eat Out To Help Out' scheme for cafes and restaurants as well as information on mandatory wearing of face masks, discounted PPE, cafe licences and Hitchin Basket. If you need anymore information please get in touch with me 

Register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
You can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme to offer a discount to diners and encourage them to eat at your restaurant.
You can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme:
  • all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020
  • to offer a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
  • to claim the money back from the government

There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme. Your customers cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking.
Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.

Registration will close on 31 August.

You can register if your establishment:
  • sells food for immediate consumption on the premises
  • provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
  • was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July

You cannot register:
  • an establishment that only offers takeaway food or drink
  • catering services for private functions
  • a hotel that provides room service only
  • dining services (such as packaged dinner cruises)
  • mobile food vans or trailers

To register, you must have:
  • the Government Gateway ID and password for your business (if you do not have one, you can create one when you register)
  • the UK bank account number and sort code for the business (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)
  • the address on your bank account for the business (this is the address on your bank statements)
  • the date your business started trading

You may also need your:
  • VAT registration number
  • employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • Corporation Tax, Self Assessment or Partnership Self Assessment unique taxpayer reference

What happens next
  • You’ll be registered instantly and will receive a registration reference number - you’ll need this when you claim the reimbursement.
  • You can download promotional materials to help you promote the scheme and let your customers know that you’re taking part.
  • The name and address of your establishment will be added to a list of participating establishments, which will be available to the public. If you’ve registered more than 25 establishments, the website URL will be added as well.
  • The list of registered establishments is not available yet.
  • You should contact HMRC if any of your registration information changes.
  • When you start offering the discount,you should include the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme name on the bill when you offer the discount.
  • You should wait until you’re registered before you offer discounts to your customers. You cannot offer discounts before 3 August.
  • When you register for the scheme, it is expected that you will offer it during the whole of your opening hours on all the eligible days that you are open and on all qualifying sales of food or drink.
  • If a customer purchases a meal with the intention of eating it but then takes it away and leaves the premises, you can still apply the discount.

Records you must keep for each day you’re using the scheme, you must keep records of the:
  • total number of people who have used the scheme in your establishment
  • total value of transactions under the scheme
  • total amount of discounts you’ve given

If you are using the scheme for more than one establishment, you must keep these records for each.
Making a claim
  • You cannot claim yet. The service you’ll use to claim reimbursements will be available on 7 August 2020.
  • The service will close on 30 September.
  • You must wait 7 days from registration to make your first claim. HMRC will pay eligible claims within 5 working days.
  • You will be able to submit claims on a weekly basis.
  • You’ll still need to pay VAT based on the full amount of your customers’ bills.
  • Any money you receive through the scheme will be treated as taxable income.
  • HMRC will provide more guidance on how to make a claim when the registration service is open.

CLICK HERE to register for this scheme 

Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July
The Government will be making face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July 2020. We advise that you keep a stock of masks to give away or sell to customers that arrive at your premises without a face covering. This does not include coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. It is not mandatory for shop staff to wear a face covering but Government advice states a shield or cover is best practice.   
Exemptions to wearing a face covering where they are mandated
In settings where face coverings are mandated in England, there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings in these settings.
This includes:
  • young children under the age of 11
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

Hand Sanitisers, Face Masks & Floor Stickers  
We have plenty of equipment available to ensure you and your staff are as safe as possible while trading in the town centre. The Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 4:30pm for you to come and collect reopening packs and extra products. If you cannot make it over, contact our Rangers who can drop them off. Please call 07540706832 or email   
  • Hand Sanitiser 500ml 70% Alcohol - £5
  • Outdoor/indoor social distancing floor stickers - £2
  • Cotton washable facemasks - £25 (pack of 50)
  • IIR anti droplet 95% filtration facemasks - £35 (Pack of 50)
  • Anti-bacterial wipes - £3

Street Café Licence
New legislation passed through Government today passing responsibility for Street Cafe Licences onto NHDC. The new process is aimed at  making applications for street furniture more streamlined and cheaper for businesses such as cafes, restaurants and bars. This will support businesses to operate safely while social distancing measures remain in place. Hitchin BID is in discussion with North Herts Council on the logistic of taking over the street cafe licence for the whole town centre and take over responsibility for regulating this. 
The towns new business directory website has seen huge numbers of visitors. If you get a chance, please go on your profile and let us know if the information is correct. You can add additional pictures, videos and social media feeds. Please get in touch with