Hundreds of local businesses are signing up for financial support of up to £10,000 to provide regular rapid Covid-19 testing for staff – and there's still time for other employers to apply.

Wolverhampton's Business Testing Grant is available to any organisation which commits to over 75% of its workforce being tested for Covid-19 twice a week.

Grants of £500 are available to businesses with 1 or 2 employees, £2,000 is available to those with between 3 and 49 employees, businesses with 50 to 249 staff can apply for grants of £5,000 and grants of £10,000 are available to those employing 250 workers or more.

Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, businesses will receive 25% of the grant when they apply and the remaining 75% after they demonstrate they have met their weekly commitment to get 75% of staff tested twice a week up to the end of June.

Latest figures show 349 local employers have so far been approved, or started an application, for a Business Testing Grant and already nearly £200,000 in up front and final payments has been committed to those which have met the eligibility criteria. Other employers are encouraged to apply before the deadline of Thursday 30 April, 2021, and those that who have started but not yet completed their applications also have until the same date to do so. For more details, and to apply, please visit Business Testing Grant.  

Richard Lawrence, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Regeneration, said: "As our city continues its journey of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial that businesses and other vital services are able to operate safely.

"Routine rapid Covid-19 testing of staff will help prevent the spread of the virus and protect businesses, employees and the wider community.

“A third of people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms and could therefore pass it onto others unknowingly. Regular testing of employees will help track down these cases and prevent onward transmission.

"That’s why we are asking all employers in Wolverhampton to ensure that staff members who cannot work from home are able to access rapid testing twice a week, either at one of our public test centres, at home or through on-site testing.

"The Business Testing Grant is intended to encourage businesses to embrace rapid testing and to help with any costs this might entail, for instance with PPE and cleaning for on-site testing and time away from work to allow staff to get tested.

"I would encourage employers to apply for a Business Testing Grant to help ensure that their staff members are able to access rapid testing twice a week.”

Meanwhile, sole traders and the self employed can get a regular test either by using home test kits or by attending the mobile test unit which is at Nishkam Primary School in Merridale this week or the rapid test sites at the Civic Centre, The Jamia Masjid Bilal, Pendeford Library, The Hub at Ashmore Park and St Joseph’s Church. 

Although booking at the rapid test sites is not essential, specific slots can be reserved up to 5 days in advance at Lateral Flow Testing for Businesses, enabling employees to access a test at a convenient time without having to wait.

Businesses with questions about rapid testing for their workforce should email Further advice and guidance on operating businesses in a Covid-secure manner can be found at Trade with Confidence.   

Information about business grants can be found at Government Business Grants. Full details of the latest national business support measures can be found at GOV.UK