Businesses have until tomorrow (Friday 30 April) to sign up for financial support of up to £10,000 to enable their staff to undertake regular rapid Covid-19 testing.

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, either in the workplace, at a rapid test centre or at home.

Among the 240 or so businesses which have already successfully applied for the grant is Darlington Street based salon, Bamboo Hair. Its staff are now tested twice weekly at the city's rapid test centres.

Director Adriana Francis said: “I signed up for a Business Testing Grant as regular testing gives my team, clients and myself peace of mind knowing that we’re taking every precaution to keep ourselves and families safe.

“As we come into contact with so many people it’s important for the team to feel confident that we’re doing everything we can to maintain a safe working environment. As well as being tested twice a week, we also temperature check everyone who comes into the salon, ensure it is fully sanitised and follow all the Government guidelines.

“And, as we had to close because of lockdown, it’s a great incentive to receive the grant, as every penny helps!

“We all need to do our bit and hopefully life will get back to as near normal as possible.”

Business Testing 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.

Employers have until tomorrow (Friday) to apply. Businesses which are expected to be able to open from 17 May under the Government’s road map out of lockdown are also encouraged to apply by the deadline, so that they can introduce testing ready for reopening. For more details, please visit Business Testing Grant.  

Richard Lawrence, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Director of Regeneration, said: “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 track down these cases and stop onward transmission, helping keep businesses and the wider community safe from the deadly virus.

“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. 

"It's very encouraging news that over 240 businesses in Wolverhampton have been approved for the grant, and great to hear the benefits that regular testing is bringing to local employers such as Bamboo Hair.

“I would encourage other employers to join them in signing up for a Business Testing Grant by the end of this week and 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 at rapid test centres or the mobile testing unit, which this week is at West Park. More information on rapid testing, including advice about how to take the test at home, is available at Coronavirus Testing

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. The latest national business support measures can be found at Business support