Operating during COVID-19

27 November 2020

The following resources focus on practical guidance to help tourism businesses operate in a COVID-19 Secure way during the pandemic.

Information on emergency funding, including Government support, can be found on our Support for tourism and event businesses during COVID-19 page.

On 24 November the Government announced that between 23 and 27 December: 


  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
  • you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble
  • you can stay in a hotel during the Christmas period, including in a tier 3: Very High alert area but only by yourself, or with other members of your household
  • you can stay in private rented accommodation with members of your household, or your Christmas bubble.


You cannot meet your Christmas bubble in any other indoor setting, such as a pub, hotel, shop, theatre, or restaurant. In these settings, rules on who you can and cannot meet depend on your tier.


Read the guidance on Christmas bubbles.

New 23 November: national restrictions confirmed to end 2 December

The Prime Minister gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan.


The Prime Minister confirmed that the national restrictions in England will now end on 2 December and that the country will move back into a regional tiered approach. These tiers will be tougher than previously and the guidance on what you can and cannot do in each tier has been updated.

The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December. On Thursday 26 November the Government is due to announce which areas are in which tier.


See the full guidance for each tier level.


On 31 October the Prime Minister announced that from Thursday 5 November up to Wednesday 2 December, you must:

  1. Stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Close certain businesses and venues.


Read the 31 October statement.


Read the guidance on the new national restrictions.



Business and venues which must close include:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (before 10pm; and not including alcohol), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites. Except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where they cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, soft play centres and areas, circuses, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks, theme parks. Indoor attractions at botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open


View the full list of business and venues which must close, and exemptions, on Gov.uk.


Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing. Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with Local Authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups including the homeless during this period of national restrictions.


View the list of permitted reasons where guests can stay in overnight accommodation on Gov.uk. Full details of the exemptions for accommodation providers in legislation can be found on page 20 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020.


The measures will apply nationally for four weeks. At the end of the period, we will return to a regional approach, based on the latest data, and the previous national restrictions as announced on 22 September.

Local restrictions based on COVID Alert Levels will be reinstated from 2 December.


The rules for each tier level were updated on 23 November. See the full guidance for each tier level.


Current COVID Alert Levels


You can use the postcode checker on Gov.uk to find the restrictions in your local area or view which areas are in which tier on an interactive map.


Tier levels will be reviewed every two weeks. The first review will be on 16 December.


The Local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) page on Gov.uk includes information for local authorities, residents and businesses about what to do and how to manage the outbreak.


The Department for Health and Social Care has set up an email address for businesses in lockdown areas who have queries regarding the local rules and requirements.


Accepting guests from areas with local restrictions

The Government has issued guidance on holidays in areas with local restrictions, which also provides information on people travelling from those areas. 


Managing local outbreaks

The Government has issued guidance on the approach to managing local coronavirus outbreaks

Key Government guidance

  • Visitor Economy Guidance

    Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.

  • Guidance from Public Health England

    Guidance for businesses, employers and employees on preventing the spread of the virus.

  • Hotels and other guest accommodation

    Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation.

  • Heritage locations

    Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.

  • Check what actions you need to take

    This online tool from Government will generate guidance and help you do a risk assessment based on your sector, visitors, suppliers and employees.

  • Reporting outbreaks of COVID-19

    Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of COVID-19.

  • NHS

    Create an NHS QR code for your venue

    It is a legal requirement to display an NHS QR code following the launch of the NHS COVID-19 App.

  • Protecting customer and visitor details

    A five step checklist from the Information Commissioner’s Office on how to manage personal data collected for NHS Test and Trace.

  • Maintaining records of staff and customers

    Guidance for hospitality and tourism businesses on collecting and maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.

  • Customer Logging Toolkit

    Template materials to display and guidance on logging customer information for NHS Test and Trace.

  • Help customers plan a holiday

    Businesses are asked to raise awareness of Government guidance for tourists who fall ill whilst on holiday.

  • Rules on face coverings

    When to wear face coverings, including public areas of hotels, hostels and indoor tourist attractions from 8 August.

  • Face coverings exemption toolkit

    Download a poster to remind customers that not all health conditions are visible.

  • If customers contract COVID-19

    Guidance on what should happen if a customer contracts COVID-19 while on holiday.

  • National restrictions poster

    An official Government poster for businesses to share with staff and customers.

  • Tier restrictions posters

    Downloadable posters displaying information about the various tiers of restrictions in England from 2 December 2020.

  • Guidance for visitor attractions

    Looking after your employees

  • Alex Hare

    Guidance on social distancing at work

    Advice for employers on social distancing during COVID-19.

  • Testing guidance for employers

    Your legal obligations as an employer on testing during COVID-19.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Guidance from HSE

    Health and Safety Executive advice on keeping your employees and workplace safe.

  • Test and trace in the workplace

    If there is more than one case of COVID-19 in your workplace you should contact your local health protection team.

  • Psychological first aid training

    A free 90 minute online training course to help you recognise people at risk of distress.

  • Check if you should go back into work

    Employees can use this tool to find out if they should be going back into work, and how to return to work safely.

  • Managing working from home arrangements

    Guidance from ACAS on making working from home arrangements, management and health & safety.

  • Self-isolating after returning to the UK

    Guidance for employees and employers on self-isolating after returning to the UK.

  • Cleaning your workplace to reduce risk

    Guidance from HSE on cleaning your workplace to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

  • Changes to apprenticeships due to COVID-19

    Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers about changes to

  • Employees and face coverings

    Guidance on managing requirements for staff face coverings and exemptions.

  • Protecting home workers

    Guidance from HSE on your employer responsibilities for people working from home.

  • Supporting employees with hearing loss

    Simple steps that employers can take to support staff with deafness and hearing loss during COVID-19.