Advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19
2 April 2020
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and are working hard to provide you with the very latest information to support your business at this very challenging time. We are feeding in industry concerns to Government via the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group and will be sharing practical advice as soon as it becomes available publishing the latest announcements and industry information on our dedicated COVID-19 page. Below you will find the latest information and advice to support your businesses. All of our information is kept under continuous review and is updated often.
The Government issued closure guidance and advice for those providing hotel and other accommodation in the UK on 24 March 2020. The closure directive applies to any business providing holiday accommodation, including short term lets, bar very specific exclusions. An FAQs page on business closures has also been published.
On 25 March the Government published a letter regarding the exemption for hotels, hostels and B&Bs to open so they can offer accommodation to key workers and support rough sleepers to keep them off the streets and in suitable accommodation.
The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks (w/c 13 April), and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
The Government has created an online questionnaire to determine whether businesses can provide support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The support needed includes:
- hotel rooms
- protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
- transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
- warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
- expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
- social care or childcare
Government financial support
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees, including:
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
- Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
- Small Business Grant Funding
- Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
- HMRC helpline for tax payment issues due to COVID-19 (‘Time to Pay’) – 0800 024 1222
- COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
- VAT Deferral
- Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- An additional 3 months to file accounts
Guidance for employers
Government guidance for employers
Guidance on workplace arrangements and managing staff, including what to do if your employees need to self-isolate and limiting the spread of COVID-19
Government support for paying wages
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme the Government will cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 for employees on PAYE, backdated to 1 March.
Advice from ACAS
Guidance on handling employees, including sick pay, managing staff shortfalls, if somebody becomes unwell at work and what to do if you need to close.
Changes to right to work checks
Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out.
Emergency grants for hospitality employees
Hospitality Action is offering £250 per household for eligible hospitality employees, while funds last.
Online sick note system
An online sick note system on the NHS website can provide employees with evidence that they have been advised to self-isolate.
Relaxation of annual leave carry over rules
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 can carry it over into the next 2 leave years.
Taxable equipment for employees
HMRC guidance on what equipment, services and suppliers are taxable for employees working from home.
Health and safety
Latest health advice
Find an overview of the virus, including the symptoms, and latest advice on preventing its spread, from the NHS.
Public Health England
Guidance for businesses, employers and employees on preventing the spread of the virus.
Downloadable public information posters on hand-washing advice.
Food Standards Agency
Guidance on the safe production of food, including allergens and industry guides to good hygiene practices.
Guidance on how to clean an area recently vacated by somebody with suspected COVID-19.
Guidance on managing linen in the hotel and hospitality sector by UKHospitality and the Textile Services Association.
Cultural sector support
Support from your bank
Your bank may be able to offer support measures if your finances have been impacted.
Have a discussion with your bank as early as possible to produce a mutually beneficial action plan.
The following banks also have dedicated helplines for business customers affected by COVID-19:
- Barclays: 0800 1971 0861
- Santander: 0800 01 56 382
Summary of actions to take
- Contact your insurance company to check if you can make a claim for lost business and/or closure
- Contact your bank to see what support measures they can offer
- Contact your suppliers and work together to mitigate fall in demand
- Contact customers who have already booked with you directly
- Keep staff informed of the latest and plan contingency measures where possible
- Update your website and share messages through social media
- Liaise with your Destination Management Organisation (DMO) / tourism association (please be aware the ability to respond at this time may vary between DMOs, depending on resource)
- Check official Government advice on a regular basis
- Continue communicating with customers
- Consider having a more flexible booking policy for future customers looking to book trips later in the year.