A GRANT scheme is launching in Middlesbrough to help small businesses protect their staff and customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Small businesses and the self-employed will shortly be able to apply for funding to cover the costs of making their environments Covid secure.

Details of the scheme are being finalised, but grants will be soon available for protective equipment and other safety measures.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston who said: "Businesses across the town have already moved heaven and earth to change the way they operate.

"They've responded quickly to fast-changing advice and I'd like to thank everyone who has acted responsibly.

"Our new grant scheme will provide financial support for small businesses and the self-employed that need help to put more measures in place.

"This is aimed at people like self-employed taxi drivers and others who have contact with lots of people."

Details of the application process will be announced in due course and the money has come from central Government.