Support for tourism and event businesses during COVID-19

4 January 2022

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and are working hard to provide you with the very latest information, advice and support for your business. 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.


Government support

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Update 21 December 2021:

The Chancellor announced that additional support will be available for businesses who have been impacted by the Omicron variant.


The package of support includes:

Update 28 October 2021:


On 27 October The Chancellor announced the Autumn Budget and Spending Review.


Alcohol Duty

A new, simpler alcohol duty system will be introduced. Alcohol will be taxed in a progressive manner, with low strength products attracting lower rates of duty and high strength products attracting higher levels of duty. There will also be a 5% cut to duty on draught beer and cider served from draught containers over 40 litres and a new small producer relief for cider makers and other producers of lower ABV drinks (below 8.5%).


Business Rates

There will be a new one year 50% business rates discount for retail, hospitality, & leisure sectors. The business rates multiplier will also be frozen for 2022-23.


Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme will be extended until 30 June 2022, with finance available up to a maximum of £2 million per business. However, the Government guarantee will be reduced from 80% to 70%.


Read the full Autumn Budget and Spending Review speech.



As of 1 October:

  • The Self-employment income support scheme and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have now ended.
  • The rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism businesses has risen from 5% to 12.5%.


Update 14 September 2021:

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has set out the Autumn and Winter Plan for England. The plan sets out a Plan A scenario and outlines a Plan B contingency plan for England that would only be enacted if the data suggests that further actions are necessary to protect the NHS. Read more about the Autumn and Winter Plan on our COVID-19 (new coronavirus) - latest information and advice for businesses page.


Update 6 September 2021:

Details of the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme have now been published. The Scheme covers all live events that are open to the general public and are physically located in the UK and is currently due to end on 30 September 2022. Read more information on the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme


Update 6 August 2021:

The Government has announced a Government-backed insurance scheme to give boost to events industry, worth over £750 million, which will help them plan events with confidence through to next year. More information will be published shortly. Read the press release on the Government-backed insurance scheme.


Update 16 June 2021:

The Government has announced that businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction until 25 March 2022. Read the eviction protection statement.


Update 26 April 2021:


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 2021:


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 2021:

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 2021:

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 2021:


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


Read more information on the announcements in the budget that affect tourism businesses.


Update 8 February 2021:


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 2021:

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.


17 December 2020:

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.


9 December 2020:

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.


1 December 2020:

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.


20 November 2020:

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.


11 November 2020:

  • 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. 

Read the 11 November announcement.


5 November 2020:

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

Read the Government press release from 5 November.


31 October 2020:

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

Read the statement from 31 October


22 October 2020:

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

Read the Chancellor's statement from 22 October.


9 October 2020:


2 October 2020: businesses in Bolton to receive grants of up to £1,500


24 September 2020 - 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

Read more details in the Chancellor's 24 September statement.

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.

Please see our operating during COVID-19 page for the latest guidance on business operating restrictions during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Guidance for employers

  • Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay

    How to reclaim statutory sick pay during COVID-19.

  • Changes to right to work checks

    Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out.

  • 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.

  • Support webinars

    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.

  • Plan for jobs: employer help

    Information and support for recruiting, advertising or reducing your workforce.

  • COVID-19 vaccine employer toolkit

    Help ensure your employees get reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Further support

  • 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.

  • FAQs

    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.

  • Restructuring advice

    Guidance from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure on managing security risks during a restructure, including personal data.