Coronavirus: Manchester Business Advice

20th Mar 2020
In these difficult times, CityCo and Manchester BID will continue to offer help to our membership and the wider Manchester and Salford business community.

We continue to work closely with Manchester and Salford Councils, The Growth Company, Transport for Greater Manchester, Marketing Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Police, Manchester’s homelessness charity network Street Support, and other statutory and professional bodies.

We are here to help support your business.

Do follow us @CityCo and CityCo Manchester on LinkedIn for our business updates.

Vaughan Allen, Chief Exec
CityCo and Manchester Business Improvement District

GMP: New Chief Inspector Statement (1 April)

Message from Zac Fraser, Chief Inspector, Greater Manchester Police

“I write with a summary of GMP actions over the past week. We have significantly enhanced police presence across the city centre at this time. Officers are on patrol in high visibility and plain clothes throughout the day and into the late evening, in order to disrupt, deter and detect criminality.”

Full Statement

GMP Empty Premises Advice

“Greater Manchester Police are maintaining a visible presence across the force area and are committed to preventing any crime. However, we need your help to ensure that your buildings are as secure as they can be.

As a rule, it is important that you focus on the risks to your premises and regularly review your security. Work in partnership online to reduce the risk by sharing information with your local business community, CityCo’s Business Reduction Partnership and the police.”

Manchester City Council: Announcements

Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese has shared an open letter to the city explaining what support is currently available for Mancunians.

Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity

The charity has launched a cash and essential items appeal to support homelessness during the pandemic. The Council are working with partners including CityCo and Manchester BID, voluntary sector and businesses to ensure food banks are stocked and food can be distributed to those in need. To help email

Businesses and Employers

The Council are writing to businesses with details of rates relief – up to 100% for the retail, leisure and hospitality sector, and grants. No payments will be taken until support is received.

Small Business Rates Grant: Form

Apply for a £10,000 grant.

Extended Retail Relief Grant: Form

Apply for a £10,000 or £25,000 grant.

Benefits and Money

Any resident who is struggling with Council Tax is encouraged to email to access deferral until July.

Help for the Vunerable: New HelpLine

The Council has launched a helpline for the city’s most vulnerable. The service will link with a food and medication distribution hub in New Smithfield Market. The hotline is 0800 2346123 (Mon-Sat, 8.30am-5.30pm).

More announcements are to come.

NHS Hospital: Manchester Central

Following the 27 March announcement by government, Manchester Central is liaising with the relevant authorities to set up and mobilise an NHS Nightingale facility on site as quickly as possible.

The hospital will provide up to 500 beds but could expand further to 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients across the North West of England.

NHS Statement


Homelessness Response

Street Support is Manchester’s network of homelessness charities and service providers supported by CityCo, Manchester BID and our business networks.

The team is putting out an urgent request to businesses to help source items for the street homeless in the city centre, who are being temporarily housed, in isolation, across the city’s hotels and hostels.

If you can help with any of the following please email

•    Men’s and women’s underwear including socks
•    Trouser (joggers), t-shirts and jumpers
•    Toiletries including toilet roll
•    Sandwich bags
•    60% alcohol sanitiser
•    New books
•    New board games
•    New pack of cards

All items must be new to prevent infection. Thank you.

We have set up a direct link to shopping page on Amazon, if you would like to support.

Please make sure you have changed the delivery address from your default to:

Big Change MCR
GMP Public Enquiry Counter
Manchester Town Hall Extension
Lloyd Street
M25 DB

The items listed on this Amazon page are those most requested by Street Support and Big Change MCR, however if you would like to get them online elsewhere, please do and send to the same address.

Cottonmouth MCR Podcasts

CityCo has launched a new series of our podcast: Cottonmouth MCR. 50+ podcasts have been published so far with a whole range of interviewees.

In ‘Life in a Time of Coronavirus’ episodes, CityCo and Manchester BID Chief Exec Vaughan Allen talks to people who can advise on what is happening in Manchester and Salford; the impact of Covid-19, maintaining services, business and financial help and what the future looks like.

In such a fast-moving situation, listen-in as they are posted. So far posted on Soundcloud, ACast, Spotify and iTunes:

EP 1: Night Time Economy with CityCo NTE Officer Gareth Worthington
EP 2: Transport for Greater Manchester with Stephen Rhodes of TfGM
EP 3: Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell

Open Retailers

Most retail, culture and leisure business in the city have now closed.

Those still open are offering key services including:

  • Barclays
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds Bank
  • Skipton Building Society
  • Yorkshire Building Society
  • Metro Bank
  • Nationwide
  • NatWest
  • RBS
  • Santander
  • TSB
  • Virgin Money
  • Aldi
  • M&S (Foodhall only)
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Spar
  • Tesco Express & Metro
  • Boots
  • Holland & Barrett
  • Superdrug
  • SpecSavers
  • Wilko

Manchester Arndale is now closed aside from these brands.

Tourism: ‘Manchester Misses You’

Marketing Manchester has set up a Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub to signpost and connect the sector to advice and guidance including webinars, FAQs and other resources.

The tourist board has also developed a ‘Manchester Misses You’ campaign featuring content that has the capacity to inspire from the sofa – such as the wonderful, just-launched, ‘Manchester Museum In Quarantine‘ online portal.


The GMCA has published a new website dedicated to coordinating volunteering efforts to support all residents who may need help, and will signpost the latest key information and official guidance.

Government Business Support

The main Government business support website provides information on financial support packages available for businesses, advice on how to operate, support for employees and information on any changes to planning and regulations. Current headlines:

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
  • Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
  • Small Business Grant Funding
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
  • Time to Pay
  • Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
  • VAT Deferral
  • Deferral of Self-Assessment payment

Travel Advice: TfGM

TfGM’s key message in line with government is not to travel unless absolutely essential. Train, tram and bus services are being reduced but some services are still running for key workers.

Bus stations and interchanges are opening for reduced hours and Travelshops are now closed (apart from Eccles and Altrincham, which currently remain open). Customers can use online services or call the contact centre on 0161 244 1000.

Light It Blue for the NHS

Following the incredible sight last week of Manchester glowing in the dark, we are continuing to make our city blue for the NHS in support of NHS Light It Blue.

Manchester is lighting up with many iconic national buildings including the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Royal Albert Hall, National Gallery, Wembley, Millenium Bridge, Selfridges Birmingham, Town Halls Belfast, Cardiff and Liverpool.

Many thanks to our colleagues in property, retail and media. Join in with the phenomenal support so far, by showing your blue love on social. And if your company can light your building, please email Nelson. Do keep your blues lights on.

Instagram #LightItBlueMCR #ThankYouNHS

CityCo/BID Contacts

The CityCo and Manchester BID teams are operating on reduced staffing from home. Please do email if you need us: we are here to support your business.

Alex King and Richard Elliott Operations
Rob Dyson Business Crime
Laura Dyson Campaigns and Comms
Phil Schulze Manchester BID
Annie McGoff Finance

Emergency Numbers

For the Business Crime Unit, call 07545 438 214
For Operations, call 07917 058 412 or 07912 240 699