Advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19
26 May 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 published updated guidance on business closures on 13 May, in addition to the previous Government guidance on businesses and premises to close.
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.
On 11 May the Government confirmed that premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work. Further details were also released on the COVID-19 recovery strategy, confirming that hospitality businesses are required to remain closed until step three, which will be no earlier than 4 July. The ambition at this step is to open at least some hospitality businesses that meet the COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part. In order to facilitate the fastest possible re-opening of these types of higher-risk businesses and public places, the Government will carefully phase and pilot re-openings to test their ability to adopt the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
The Government has advised that:
- Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.
- Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.
- Whilst people can now also spend time outdoors in public spaces, they will still not be able to use ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
However, on 23 May the Government updated green spaces guidance, clarifying the public can now visit gardens and land maintained for public use as an alternative open space to spend time outdoors, although buildings and amenities such as cafes will remain closed and access may be limited to members or those with tickets to ensure social distancing.
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
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has also produced further guidance as to how businesses can offer services, funds and volunteers to charities.
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
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund
- Small Business Grant Funding
- Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund, aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs such as bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates, allocated at the discretion of local authorities. Businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income support scheme (SEISS) are eligible to apply for this fund as well.
- Bounce Back Loans (micro loan scheme)
- Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
- HMRC helpline for tax payment issues due to COVID-19 (‘Time to Pay’) – 0800 024 1222. You can also register to receive HMRC email alerts for upcoming webinars.
- COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
- VAT Deferral
- Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and step-by-step guide for employers. You can also check the availability of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme website
- Confirmation that furloughed employees will receive full parental leave entitlement
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- £750 million package for frontline charities
- An additional 3 months to file accounts
- Restructuring and insolvency advice
- Measures to protect businesses from aggressive rent collection
- Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, which amends insolvency and company law to support businesses through this period of instability
Other rules have also been relaxed, including regarding destroying spoilt beer and pub/restaurant takeaway operations.
Please note all grants made under the above schemes are subject to tax should the business make a profit during the current financial year.
Full details on all of these business support measures:
Find COVID-19 financial support
The Government's support finder tool can help you determine what financial support is available to you during COVID-19.
Support webinars from Government
Webinars are available on accessing financial support, understanding the support schemes available and managing your business.
Government support – business support website
An overview of available support measures in response to COVID-19.
Government support – Gov.uk
Detailed information of financial support in response to COVID-19 and how to claim.
COVID-19 business support blog
The Government's business support blog contains information, case studies and posts from people across Government and business.
Guidance on refunds
The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) have issued guidance on refunds during COVID-19.
HMRC’s Digital Assistant
HMRC’s Digital Assistant can answer questions on COVID-19 support schemes for businesses and the self-employed.
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 in the workplace.
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.
PAYE notification for furloughed workers
How and when to report payments made to employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
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.
Watch recorded videos and register for free webinars from Government and HMRC designed for employers.
Support for apprenticeships
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is taking steps to ensure apprenticeships can continue and support providers.
Guidance on workplace pensions
The Pensions Regulator has issued advice on workplace pensions for employers and trustees during COVID-19.
Free e-learning for furloughed staff
Furloughed hospitality employees can access free training via the UKH Pathway online platform.
Guidance on social distancing at work
Advice for employers on social distancing during COVID-19.
Guidance on mental health and wellbeing
Advice on how you and your staff can look after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19.
The Skills Toolkit
Free courses are available via an online learning platform to help people build their skills.
Worker eligibility for Child Support
Government has extended eligibility for free or tax-free childcare for parents if they fall below the minimum income requirement due to COVID-19.
Expenses and benefits during COVID-19
HMRC guidance on the treatment of taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of COVID-19.
Guidance on holiday pay and entitlement
Government advice on how holiday entitlement and pay operate during COVID-19, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance.
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.
Working safely during COVID-19
5 steps to help employers, employees and the self-employed work safely during COVID-19, plus initially 8 guides for different workplace types.
Public Health England
Guidance for businesses, employers and employees on preventing the spread of the virus.
Downloadable public information posters on hand-washing advice.
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.
Guidance from HSE
Health and Safety Executive advice on keeping your employees and workplace safe.
Guidance for food businesses
What food businesses need to know
Government guidance for food businesses on food hygiene, including packaging and maintaining social distancing in specific food business settings.
Food Standards Agency
Guidance on the safe production of food, including allergens and industry guides to good hygiene practices.
Cultural and heritage sector support
Funding from Arts Council England
Arts Council England have announced emergency measures and funding for people and organisations in the arts and cultural sector.
Funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund
Grants of £3,000-£50,000 is available for organisations which have received funding in the past or are a current grantee.
Funding from Historic England
Grants are available from Historic England for organisations, voluntary groups and self-employed contractors.
Business representative organisations
Find a list of trade associations and business organisations you can speak with to get advice. Many also have sector specific guidance and Q&A.
Guidance from FSB
The Federation of Small Businesses provides advice on reducing the impact of COVID-19, including free webinars and FAQs.
Insights from Google
Google’s dedicated resource platform has tools, insights and advice to help businesses respond to COVID-19.
Tips on securing finance
Guidance on how to prepare a loan or grant application from the South West Business Council.
Non-Government support for businesses
Public bodies, organisations and charities have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees.
Preventing fraud and cyber crime
Read Government guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime.
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 086
- Santander: 0800 0156 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.