Support for tourism and event businesses during COVID-19
26 April 2021
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and are working hard to provide you with the very latest information, advice and support for your business at this very challenging time. We are feeding in industry concerns to Government via the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group. Below you will find the latest information on the coronavirus support available for your business. All of our information is kept under continuous review and is updated often.
Operating during COVID-19
Find practical guidance to provide a COVID-Secure venue and protect your staff and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VisitBritain/ VisitEngland latest
Our dedicated COVID-19 page contains the latest updates for the industry.
Keep up to date with the latest information on the Government’s response to COVID-19.
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Update 26 April:
Welcome Back Fund
Guidance has now been published on the Welcome Back Fund, a £56m fund to support the return to high streets safely. Read the guidance on the Welcome Back Fund.
Update 26 March:
Business Rates Relief Fund
The Treasury has announced a new £1.5bn Business Rates Relief Fund for businesses not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business rates relief. Read more about the Business Rates Relief Fund.
Disregarded tax payments
HMRC has announced that any payments that an employer makes to an employee to reimburse them for the cost of a COVID-19 antigen test will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating National Insurance contributions. The disregard will apply to any advance payments or reimbursements made to an employee for the cost of a relevant COVID-19 antigen test made on or after 25 January 2021, until 5 April 2021. Read more on the National Insurance contribution exemption for employer-reimbursed COVID-19 antigen tests.
HMRC has also announced that it will disregard payments made under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme in England to employees who are on a low income and have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Payments made under the scheme will not be liable to employer or employee Class 1 National Insurance contributions. Employers will also not be liable to Class 1A National Insurance contributions in respect of the payments. Read more on the exemption from National Insurance contributions for COVID-19 Test and Trace Support payments.
Recovery Loan Scheme, replacing CBILS, CLBILS and BBLS loans
Applications for CBILS, CLBILS and BBLS loans end on 31 March 2021. They are being replaced by the new Recovery Loan Scheme, which will run until 31 December 2021 to ensure that businesses can access Government-backed finance during the reopening of the economy. Read more on the Recovery Loan Scheme.
Update 24 March:
The Chancellor has announced a £56 million Welcome Back Fund to help boost the look and feel of high streets and seaside towns. The funding will help councils prepare for the safe return of shoppers and tourists, including employing extra staff to keep festivals and events COVIDSecure. Pubs, restaurants and listed buildings will be given more flexibility to use their land to help more people meet up and enjoy themselves, including erecting marquees in pub gardens for the whole summer. Read more information on the Welcome Back Fund.
Update 11 March:
The cap on COVID support grants has been increased from £3m to £10.9m for businesses in England and the guidelines for local authorities has been updated. Businesses should apply for support grants via their local council’s website.
More information on hospitality being able to serve people outdoors in Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap has been outlined in a letter from The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick.
There will be a continuation of greater flexibility for businesses to hold outdoor events such as summer fairs or motorsports on land without the need for a planning application. Car-boot sales, or people or businesses such as pubs wishing to set up marquees will also be exempt. Such temporary events to be allowed for 56 days until 31 December 2021.
For outdoor markets, a new temporary right has been extended to March 2022 that allows local authorities, either by themselves or by others on their behalf, to use land to hold a market without having to apply for planning permission.
Measures to support restaurants, drinking establishments such as pubs and cafes to serve takeaway food when they were otherwise closed due to coronavirus restrictions have been extended until March 2022.
Update 4 March:
On 4 March the Chancellor announced the budget. Key highlights for the tourism and hospitality industry include:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended until 30 September 2021
- Fourth and fifth grants confirmed for the UK Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
- Restart Grants up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses
- Additional £425 million discretionary business grant funding for local authorities.
- Extension of the temporary 5% VAT rate until 30 September 2021
- Business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties
- New Recovery Loan Scheme
- Continuation of the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme
- VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
- Extended loss carry back for businesses
- £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund
- £90 million for continued support for Government-sponsored National Museums and cultural bodies in England.
- £300 million for continued support to major spectator sports in England, supporting clubs and governing bodies.
- Duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will be frozen for another year
- Zoo Animals Fund extended until 30 June 2021
Update 8 February:
Flexible repayment options announced for Bounce Back Loan borrowers: The Chancellor has announced repayment flexibilities for Bounce Back Loan borrowers, with the ability to tailor payments according to individual circumstances. The scheme provides the option for small and medium-sized businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more on Bounce Back loans.
Guidance on funding for employers looking to create jobs placements for young people: Guidance has been published on the Kickstart Scheme, which provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Read more on the Kickstart Scheme.
Applications for Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs extended: The deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment (CSP) for wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions has been extended to 28 February 2021. Read more on the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update: Details about the fourth SEISS grant will be announced on 3 March 2021. The deadline for making a claim for the third grant has now passed. Read more about the SEISS grant.
New 5 January:
On 5 January the Chancellor announced:
- businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000
- a £594 million discretionary fund will also be made available to support other impacted businesses
- Read the 5 January statement.
Guidance for local authorities on the business support package for the January 2021 lockdown has now been published.
New 17 December:
On 17 December the Chancellor announced the furlough scheme would be extended until the end of April 2021. Loan schemes, including Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes, will also be extended until end of March 2021. Read the 17 December statement.
New 9 December:
The Communities Secretary announced that business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. Read the 9 December statement.
New 1 December:
The Prime Minister announced that wet-led pubs will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 in December. Read the Prime Minister's 1 December statement.
Read the guidance on wet-led pub payments for local authorities. The guidance defines a wet-led pub as a pub that derives less than 50% of its income from sales of food.
New 20 November:
The Government announced that businesses will be allowed to opt into a new VAT Deferral scheme next year, allowing any deferred VAT to be paid in up to 11 installments over the course of the year so that the total deferred VAT is paid by March 2022. The online opt in process will be available in early 2021. Read guidance on the new VAT deferral scheme.
New 11 November:
- The Government announced an extension to temporary freedom for pubs, restaurants and cafes to provide food takeaways by another year; freedoms enabling outdoor markets have also been extended
- New protections have been put into place for cultural venues, by protecting theatres, concert halls and live music venues from demolition.
New 5 November:
The Chancellor announced the following further support measures on 5 November:
- the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked
- support through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500
- Cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed
- The ability for businesses to top-up Bounce Back Loans
New 31 October:
The Prime Minister announced that the furlough scheme has been extended and further economic support will be available:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - also known as the Furlough scheme - will remain open until 2 December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.
- The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
- More generous support to the self-employed and paying that support more quickly
- Cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed
- £1.1 billion for councils to enable them to support businesses more broadly over the coming months, as a key part of the local economy
- Plans to extend existing Loan Schemes and Future Fund to the end of January and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans
New 22 October:
The Chancellor announced that the Government will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its winter support schemes, including:
- open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5%
- additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas, delivered by Local Authorities. Check if you're eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant.
- grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings
New 9 October:
- The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. Read the press release on the expansion of the Job Support Scheme
- £445 heritage organisations in England have received a share of £103 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which was announced in July. Read the press release on the Culture Recovery Fund.
New 2 October: businesses in Bolton to receive grants of up to £1,500
New 24 September - Winter Economy Plan: The following measures were announced by the Chancellor on 24 September:
- Job Support Scheme, from 1 November – 31 April, in which the Government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand
- Extension of the the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS)
- Extension of the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to 31 March
- New Payment Scheme for VAT bills, with businesses to be given the option to pay back in small instalments during the 2021-22 financial year rather than paying the full lump sum at the end of March
- 12 month extension of HMRC’s “Time to Pay” self-service facility
- New Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system for Bounce Back Loans, which have been extended from six years to ten. Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years if it will help businesses to repay the loan
- Extension of the application period for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund
- 18 September: small businesses in England can now find somebody to apply to the Kickstart Scheme grant on their behalf. The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.
- 10 September: businesses in England that are required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks under the Local Restrictions Support Grant.
- 22 August: guidance has been released on all the funding opportunities available through the Culture Recovery Fund
- 11 August: details have been announced of a £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund will help charities and environmental organisations to deliver "shovel-ready" projects across England to restore nature and tackle climate change. Funding will be distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of DEFRA
- 30 July: a £20 million business grant fund for SME businesses has been announced. Businesses will be eligible to receive grants of £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access technology, equipment or professional advice as they plan for recovery.
- 14 July: a ministerial statement has been issued to support the culture and tourism sectors by both preventing the loss of theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues, and encouraging local planning authorities to exercise their discretion in relation to planning conditions for caravan and holiday parks.
- 8 July: 'Plan for Jobs' support measures, including a VAT reduction from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality-related activities and an 'Eat Out to Help Out' discount scheme which will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020
- 5 July: £1.57 billion investment to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions
- 3 July: £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package, to be delivered via local Growth Hubs.
- 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 (now closed)
- Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and step-by-step guide for employers. You can check the availability of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme website. It has also been announced that from 1 July employees in the scheme can return to work part time
- 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 (now closed)
- Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, which amends insolvency and company law to support businesses through this period of instability
- A temporary service by Companies House that allows businesses to upload documents that previously had to be sent in
- The extenson of certain planning permissions
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.
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.
Summary of Existing Financial Support
A summary of all the support that is available during COVID-19.
Government support – Gov.uk
Detailed information of financial support in response to COVID-19 and how to claim.
Check if you're eligible for a COVID-19 Restart Grant.
Grants during national restrictions
Check if your business is eligible for a grant due to national restrictions, for businesses that have been required to close.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Check if you are eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, for people who are self-employed or a member of a partnership.
Additional Restrictions Grant
Check if you're eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant, which supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes.
Recovery Loan Scheme
From 6 April 2021 businesses can access loans and other finance up to £10 million per business.
Information for rural businesses
The latest information from the Rural Payments Agency for farmers, landowners and rural businesses during COVID-19.
Paying VAT deferred due to COVID-19
How to pay VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020.
Reduced VAT for tourism businesses
Check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions.
Government support for paying wages
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave ('furlough') due to COVID-19.
Job Retention Scheme: Step by step guide
A step by step guide for employers on how to claim under the Job Retention Scheme.
Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant
Support for the self-employed until September 2021.
More 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.
Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay
How to reclaim statutory sick pay during COVID-19.
Apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant
If you are looking to create 29 or fewer job placements for young people, you can now apply for funding.
Guidance on choosing a Kickstart gateway
The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion scheme to help employers create 6-month job placements for 16 – 24 year olds.
Tips for a successful Kickstart application
Official Government tips for a successful Kickstart Scheme application.
Changes to right to work checks
Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out.
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.
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.
Support for apprenticeships
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is taking steps to ensure apprenticeships can continue and support providers.
Watch recorded videos and register for free webinars from Government and HMRC designed for employers.
Guidance on workplace pensions
The Pensions Regulator has issued advice on workplace pensions for employers and trustees 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.
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.
How to monitor staff wellbeing
Guidance from Be the Business on ensuring the well-being of staff who are working remotely.
Employer help from Jobcentre Plus
A range of advice to overcome staff challenges during COVID-19, from redundancies to supporting your staff and recruitment.
Cultural and heritage sector support
Government funding for culture and heritage
Government support for cultural and heritage organisations.
Funding from Arts Council England
Arts Council England have announced emergency measures and funding for people and organisations in the arts and cultural sector.
Association for Cultural Enterprises
The Association for Cultural Enterprises has made some resources available to non-members during COVID-19, including webinars.
Business Interruption Insurance
The Financial Conduct Authority’s latest information and guidance on making an insurance claim due to COVID-19.
Financial Ombudsman Service
The FCA has set up an independent body to provide arbitration for insurance claims of smaller businesses.
Q&A from Association of British Insurers
Read answers to common questions by the Association of British Insurers.
Business Interruption policy checker
Check whether your business interruption policy covers losses due to COVID-19.
FAQs on business interruption insurance from the FCA.
Develop your skills
Free digital support
Digital Boost is an online platform providing SMEs with one-to-one digital support, including online marketing.
The Skills Toolkit
Free courses are available via an online learning platform to help people build their skills.
Free e-learning for furloughed staff
Furloughed hospitality employees can access free training via the UKH Pathway online platform.
COVID-19 customer service training
This e-learning course from WorldHost can help staff to increase confidence and support hygiene measures, at a cot of £5 + VAT pp..
Google Open for Business
A collection of free tools from Google to improve your online presence, from Google Maps and Search to tips on finding more customers locally.
The Skills Network offers a range of Government-funded online courses.
Support webinars from Government
Webinars are available on accessing financial support, understanding the support schemes available and managing your business.
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.
Answers to common questions from Be the Business, including financing, employees, tax and going back to work.
Guidance from FSB
The Federation of Small Businesses provides advice on reducing the impact of COVID-19, including free webinars and FAQs.
Guidance from Be the Business
Information on managing COVID-19 specifically for business owners and leaders, including how other businesses are responding and how-to guides.
Guidance from Enterprise Nation
The Coronavirus Small Business Support Hub contains update on small business funding and can connect you with people and resources to keep trading.
Tips on securing finance
Guidance on how to prepare a loan or grant application from the South West Business Council.
Insights from Google
Google’s dedicated resource platform has tools, insights and advice to help businesses respond to COVID-19.
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.
Guidance from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure on managing security risks during a restructure, including personal data.
Recovery Advice for Business scheme
Small businesses can access free, one-to-one advice to get them through the pandemic and prepare for long-term recovery.
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.