Application portal open for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant
The online service to apply for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant is now live. To be eligible for the fourth grant, those applying must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. They cannot claim the grant if they trade through a limited company or a trust.
They must have traded in both tax years:
- 2019 to 2020 and submitted their tax return on or before 2 March 2021
- 2020 to 2021
They must either:
- be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
- have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus
They must also declare that they:
- intend to continue to trade
- reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in their trading profits
People must make their claim for the fourth grant on or before 1 June 2021.
Find out more information on the scheme here and check the eligibility criteria before making a claim.
England moves to step 2 of the government roadmap
On Monday 12 April, England moved to step 2 of the roadmap.
From 12 April:
- non-essential retail can reopen
- outdoor hospitality venues can reopen, with table service only
- most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) can reopen
- some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds can take place
- indoor leisure and sports facilities can reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
- weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events can take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
- self-contained accommodation can stay open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
- personal care services such as hairdressers and nail salons can reopen, including those provided from a mobile setting
- public buildings such as libraries and community centres can reopen
- you should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the amount that you travel where possible
Find out more on the specific businesses that can open here, and read the full guidance on what you can and cannot do here.
Global Travel Taskforce publish their recommendations to support the safe return of international travel
The Global Travel Taskforce have set out their approach to safely restarting international travel in their latest report. A Green, Amber and Red traffic light system will be used to categorise countries and there will be different restrictions and requirements for each category. The list of which countries will be in which category will be published at the beginning of May, along with confirmation of whether or not international travel can resume on 17 May.
The full report is available here.
The visitor economy, hotels and other guest accommodation and restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance has been updated with more detail on step 2. Other updates to note also include events guidance for local authorities and additional information on NHS Test and Trace for hospitality venues and other settings.
Visitor economy guidance - from 12 April, the following will apply:
Outdoor recreation and visitor attractions can reopen, but indoor areas and settings must remain closed. Locations which have both indoor and outdoor facilities can open the outdoor areas and facilities, but indoor areas and facilities must remain closed (other than toilets and facilities such as baby changing rooms). Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and drink as a takeaway service or to customers that are seated outdoors socially distanced (you can find more information in the section on hospitality). This applies to many visitor economy settings, including:
- ziplining and other active outdoor leisure activities
- adventure parks and activities
- funfairs and fairgrounds
- theme parks,
- water parks, aqua parks,
- drive-in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances
- animal attractions, including zoos, safari parks and aquariums
- skating rinks and trampolining parks
- visitor attractions at film studios
- botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses, sculpture parks, landmarks (including observation wheels or viewing platforms) and model villages
- museums and galleries
- heritage locations such as stately and historic homes, castles, heritage sites and ruins
Non-essential retail can reopen. This will include but not be limited to: clothing stores, charity and antique shops, homeware stores, showrooms (such as for vehicles which would include caravans), retail travel agents, auction houses and markets and betting shops (subject to additional COVID-secure measures, such as limiting the use of gaming machines).
Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen. This will include: hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas, which must remain closed), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology) and tanning salons. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services and the guidance for sport facilities (for saunas and steam rooms).
Indoor sports facilities will be permitted to open in addition to outdoor sports facilities. This includes sport facilities such as pitches, courts, golf and mini-golf courses, swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
Self-contained accommodation can reopen for leisure stays for groups comprising a single household/support bubble. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. See guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for more information.
Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”). You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies. From Step 2, this will include conference centres and exhibition halls, including conference centres located within hotels. Viewings of other venues can only take place from Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May.
Some outdoor events organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, such as fetes, funfairs and fairgrounds, and literary fairs, are permitted. These events can take place if they meet the criteria set out in the section on outdoor events and meet specific conditions: they comply with COVID-secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and adhere to all legal requirements including maintaining group sizes permitted by the social contact restriction at the relevant step in the roadmap, and also preventing mixing between groups; enforcing social distancing guidelines; and mandating face coverings in indoor areas where required. Events guidance will shortly be published for local authorities setting out more information on the events permitted at each step of the roadmap.
Skippered boats can operate, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles) and multiple groups are permitted if the boat tour is organised by a business/organisation, a risk assessment is completed which will take into account capacity limits, COVID-secure guidance is adhered to, and people maintain social distancing and do not mingle outside of their permitted groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Where boats are partially enclosed, attendees may only go indoors to access/use the toilet. Boats which are fully enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. The skipper does not count as part of the group. For more information see the waterway guidance from British Marine.
Self-drive holiday hire of boats where people make overnight stays are permitted for people from the same household or support bubble.
See the full guidance to see more and find out what business must still be closed.
The hotels and other guest accommodation guidance has also been updated
Self-contained accommodation can open as follows:
Overnight leisure stays in self-contained accommodation will be permitted. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities including: kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as an indoor communal area if it is required in order to be open for check-in purposes, but it should only be used for the purposes of check-in. Guests may also use indoor public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, and facilities for laundering clothes, which are not to be treated as indoor communal areas. These areas should be cleaned regularly and kept well-ventilated and guests should try where possible to limit their interaction with other households whilst using these facilities. This will mean that any holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels and other accommodation in which kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open for leisure stays.
Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted to open for leisure stays provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are receptions, washing facilities (including facilities for laundering clothes), public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points. Shower facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated). Other facilities - receptions, facilities for laundering clothes, public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points - should be cleaned regularly and kept well-ventilated and guests should try where possible to limit their interaction with other households whilst using these facilities.
If a site is open to provide self-contained accommodation for leisure stays, permitted businesses or services can also operate on site and can be used by guests and by the general public. This includes:
- Indoor and outdoor sport facilities (swimming pools and gyms), recreation facilities such as ziplining, spas and personal care, and retail. These facilities can open even where access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts or corridors, as long as those communal areas are used solely to access the facilities and not to access accommodation. Saunas and steam rooms must remain closed. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, close contact services and retail shops, stores and branches and ensure you adhere to any relevant requirements.
- Outdoor hospitality such as restaurants, cafes and bars. These facilities can open even where access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts or corridors, as long as those communal areas are used solely to access the facilities and not to access accommodation. The use of indoor public toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) is permitted even if access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts or corridors, as long as those communal areas are used solely to access the facilities and not to access accommodation. You can find more information in the section on hospitality. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
- Hospitality venues may provide takeaway food and drink (including takeaway alcohol).
If a site is not self-contained and therefore remains closed for leisure stays, permitted businesses or services can still operate on site and can be used by guests and by the general public:
- Indoor and outdoor sport facilities (swimming pools and gyms), spas and personal care, and retail may open for access by the public as well as for guests staying for legally permitted reasons. These facilities can open even where the entrance is within the hotel and access is via shared indoor facilities such as lifts/corridors. Saunas and steam rooms must remain closed. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, close contact services and retail shops, stores and branches and ensure you adhere to any relevant requirements.
- Outdoor hospitality such as restaurants, cafes and bars can open for the public as well as for guests staying for legally permitted reasons. Outdoor hospitality can open even where the entrance is within the hotel and access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts/corridors. The use of indoor toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) is permitted, even if accessed through shared communal areas such as lifts/corridors. You can find more information in section on hospitality. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. Food and/or drink (including alcohol) can be provided through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online.
- Communal spaces such as lounges or lobbies may remain open to guests but no food or drink should be served in these spaces, people should not be encouraged to gather and social distancing should be observed.
If your business provides both self-contained and non-self-contained accommodation, both may only open subject to their respective restrictions, for example:
- The hotel may open for legally permitted stays (only)
- The self-contained chalets may open for leisure stays and for legally permitted stays
- The hotel’s indoor facilities may open to the public and to all guests
Read the full guidance to find out more.
Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance update
The Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance has been updated under section ‘2.3.2 with information on managing customer payment at the venue.
- At venues serving alcohol, customers are required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (even if no alcohol is ordered).
- As a last resort, venues that serve alcohol can take payment indoors. Venues should take payment at the table or at another outdoor location. If it’s not possible to take payment outdoors, for example due to a technical issue, you can take payment indoors.
- If you need to take payment indoors the customer should wear a face covering unless exempt, you should ensure only one customer is indoors at any time for the purpose of making payment, and you should operate a tab system to ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue.
Events guidance for local authorities
Guidance has been published which is designed to assist local authorities in ensuring that events are able to go ahead safely and in accordance with what is permitted at each step of the Roadmap. Key information is mentioned below for each step. The full page is available here.
An event can take place at Step 2 (no earlier than 12 April) if:
1. All three of the following conditions are met:
- The event takes place outdoors
- Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day
- It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance, OR
2. It is a drive-in performance or show.
This could include:
- Agricultural shows, steam rallies, flower shows, gardening shows and events, literary fairs, car boot sales, community fairs, village fetes, animal and pet shows, funfairs and fairgrounds.
- Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events (eg comedy, dance, music, theatre and air shows). Attendees should remain in their vehicle for the duration of the performance.
- Food and drink festivals are allowed. To note: where the festival resembles an outdoor food market or outdoor hospitality venue, but if people are consuming food and drink at the venue, the table service rule would apply.
Events and activities that are able to commence from Step 3 include:
- Business events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality
- Live performances (professional and non-professional/amateur)
- Air shows, historical /battle reenactments, live animal performances such as falconry displays at events, and non-elite and professional sporting events.
All events recommencing at Step 3 will be subject to the following capacity caps:
- 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at indoor events
- 4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at outdoor events
The government has also made a special provision for large, outdoor seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed around the venue. Read the guidance for more details.
Capacity restrictions must be adhered to at any point throughout the event. For example, a theatre can admit over 1,000 people in a single day, but no more than 1,000 people at one time. If an event runs over the course of multiple days, no more than 1,000 people should be admitted at any one time over that period. If a single venue hosts multiple different events at one time, and the attendees of each event are separated for the duration of the event (for example, a cinema with multiple screens, or an exhibition centre hosting multiple business events), the 50% capacity cap will apply to each individual event, rather than the venue.
For those events subject to capacity caps, the caps refer to the event attendees only. Staff, workers and volunteers are covered by the work exemption so should not be counted as part of the capacity cap. This includes:
- delivery staff
- operational team (such as reception, maintenance, cleaning security & stewarding and ticketing staff)
- caterers and concession stand staff
- presentation/production team
- exhibitors, speakers, musicians and performers
Catering and hospitality
Permitted events at each step of the Spring Roadmap may provide hospitality in line with wider hospitality rules.
- In Step 2, outdoor hospitality at events is permitted in groups of up to 6 people, or with one other household.
- In Step 3, outdoor hospitality at events is permitted in groups of up to 30 people and indoor hospitality at events will be permitted in groups of up to 6 people, or with one other household.
In both steps, there is a requirement for food and drink to be consumed at the table. This means:
- if the venue sells alcohol, then all food and drink must be ordered, served and consumed at a table
- where the sale of alcohol is not offered, customers will need to be seated when consuming food and drink, but can order and collect food and drink from a counter
- if the venue is a cinema, theatre, concert hall or sportsground, then customers with a ticket to the event are able to collect food and drink (including alcoholic drink) to consume at their seats, rather than having to be served at a table.
Where there is no seating available, the stall or outlet can provide a takeaway or delivery service. Takeaway food and drink cannot be consumed in the stall or outlet, or in an area adjacent to the stall or outlet, and customers should be reminded to adhere to safe social distancing when queuing for food and drink by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that customers can follow or employing extra marshals to enforce this.
In Step 3, indoor private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality, are permitted. COVID-19 guidance for bars, pubs and takeaway services should be followed for these events.
Additional information on NHS Test and Trace for hospitality venues and other settings - If someone does not wish to share their details, provides incorrect information or chooses not to scan the NHS QR code
- Hospitality venues must take reasonable steps to refuse entry to a customer or visitor who does not provide their name and contact details or who has not scanned the NHS QR code. Some exemptions apply.
- Hospitality venues should verify that an individual has checked in using the QR code by reviewing the individual’s phone screen. This is not necessary if they have already provided their contact details.
- Venues in other settings do not need to refuse entry but should strongly encourage customers and visitors to scan the official NHS QR code poster or provide their contact details in order to support NHS Test and Trace.
- If in the rare case that a customer or visitor becomes unruly, you should follow your own security procedures.
- The accuracy of the information provided will be the responsibility of the individual who provides it. You do not have to verify an individual’s identity for NHS Test and Trace purposes, and we advise against doing so except where organisations have a reasonable suspicion that customer or visitor details are incorrect. You may refuse to allow entry if you have reason to believe the details are inaccurate.
Alternative to NHS Test and Trace App - Venues must make sure that there is a method of checking in that does not rely on the customer using a smartphone or other technology in order not to digitally exclude people without access to these technologies. You must therefore ensure that there is also a way for an individual to provide their contact details if they do not own a smartphone or have access to digital routes.
Read the full guidance on test and trace.
Please see below a summary of the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon (Monday 5th April) as well as some relevant Government announcements over the weekend.
Prime Minister’s Statement
In his statement today, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that England that from Monday 12 April, England will move to step 2 of its roadmap. As part of the roadmap early thinking on four reviews has been published, on the safe return of major events, on social distancing, the potential role of Covid status certification, and on the resumption of international travel. Please see the summary later in this update.
Updates to guidance on (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do (England)
Some COVID-19 restrictions will be eased from 12 April:
- Self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England for people with their household or support bubble
- Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
- Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
- Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
- Non-essential retail will be able to reopen
- Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
- Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
- Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may only remain open for the specific reasons set out in law. A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.
Key points from Update on Roadmap Reviews
A policy paper has been published today updating on the roadmap reviews. Please see some of the key points below.
COVID-Status Certification Review
- The Government believes that COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure.
- Equally, the Government wants to be sure that the benefits of any such approach are fully interrogated in public debate and that the deliverability of COVID-status certification is rigorously tested, along with analysis of the potential economic impacts that COVID-status certification would have across different settings.
- There are some settings (such as essential public services, public transport and essential shops) where COVID-status certification should never be required, in order to ensure access for all.
- Equally, COVID-status certification could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity.
- The Government will begin to trial COVID-status certification in certain settings, including large events, through the Events Research Programme. The Government will continue to work closely with sectors on its approach.
- It is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings. However, the Government recognises this has significant implications for businesses and their customers, so this will be further considered in consultation with industry, as part of the review of social distancing rules and taking into account the equalities and other impacts.
- For now, businesses should continue to plan to reopen in a way that follows the latest COVID-Secure guidance, and certification will not be required for reopening as part of step 2 or step 3
Global Travel Taskforce
- The Government wants to see a return to non-essential international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern.
- Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, the Government is not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from 17 May.
- Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, they will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.
- When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system.
- This will add to the current system a new green category with no isolation requirement on return to the UK - although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed.
- The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report, setting out more details on this system, later this week.
- It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes.
- For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.
Events Research Programme
- The Events Research Programme will explore different approaches to social distancing, ventilation, test-on-entry protocols and COVID-status certification.
- It will carry out pilots in a series of venues to gather evidence on the transmission risks associated with different settings, and potential approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risks. The pilots will use the domestic COVID-status certification standards.
- Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity.
- The Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings, from football matches to theatre performances, and the reopening of nightclubs.
- The programme will be run across a range of venue and activity types, including the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield and the Circus nightclub in Liverpool, with the aim of admitting a crowd of up to 20,000 to Wembley for the FA Cup final on 15 May.
- A second phase of pilots will take place from the end of May.
Social Distancing Review
- Social Distancing Review is exploring whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings.
- The review is looking at key baseline measures, including how and when to safely lift or amend the 1m+ rule and related COVID-secure measures, as well as guidance on working from home.
- The extent of any relaxation in social distancing measures is linked to the questions being explored by the COVID-Status Certification Review - including whether COVID-status certification can enable changes to social distancing
Updates to NHS COVID app and twice weekly rapid testing to be available to everyone in England
Everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing from 9 April. To coincide with the offer of free rapid testing for everyone, there will be updates to the NHS COVID-19 app in England from 8 April. All venues in England in scope of the regulations are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster. There will be new posters displaying QR codes for hospitality venues in England. Find out how to create an NHR QR code for your venue.
Everyone in a group must check in
In line with new regulations, when a group enters a hospitality venue, every individual must check either by scanning the official NHS QR code poster with the NHS COVID-19 app, or by providing their contact details. Previously, only the lead member of the group needed to provide contact details to check in.
Venue history sharing
If an app user tests positive, they will be asked to share their venue history in a privacy-protecting way via the app. This will allow venue alerts to be generated more quickly, and improve the ability to identify where outbreaks are occurring and take steps to prevent the virus spreading.
Additional venue alerts
If a person has been at a venue on the same day as several other people who have since tested positive for COVID-19, they may receive an alert advising them to book a test immediately, whether they are showing symptoms or not. This is to support finding asymptomatic cases who may have caught the virus but are not displaying symptoms.
A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing.
The universal offer is currently for England only. The Devolved Administrations make their own policy decisions around testing.
Read the press release to find out more, including how the expanded regular testing offer will be delivered.
The UK Government has made updates to the visitor economy guidance, restaurant, pubs, bars and take-away services and hotel and other guest accommodation for England to reflect the changes for step 1b of the roadmap. There is also some further guidance for hospitality venues ahead of step 2 of the roadmap. More updates are expected next week
The visitor economy guidance has been updated for step 1b with some changes to the services some businesses and venues can provide:
- Outdoor guided tours are permitted but must operate within the legal gathering limits. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 6 people, or two households), or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the activity.
- Private hire coach tours can take place for a private group of single households (or support/childcare) bubbles, for day-trips only. Large coach trips and tours with multiple groups are not permitted.
- Heritage railway services which operate as an indoor attraction must remain closed. This applies to services provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes, or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point. Heritage railway services going from place to place (i.e. point A to point B) are considered ‘public transport’, and can be permitted if required for the purposes of transport (provided all social distancing and face covering requirements are followed).
- Visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event (even if the venue is otherwise closed) is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home. Other viewings (where there is not a permitted exemption such as essential work) are not permitted, and should not take place in closed venues.
- Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: weddings/civil partnerships and funerals can take place, however there are limitations on the types of activity and the number of guests who can attend. You should check the guidance on weddings and civil partnerships or the guidance for funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures.
Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services – updated with some additional information for the move to step 2 (no earlier than 12 April).
- Outdoor areas at hospitality venues can reopen to serve customers in groups of up to six people or two households. These venues may allow customers to use toilets, baby changing rooms or breast feeding rooms located inside.
- Some venues may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.
- At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (even if no alcohol is ordered). If a hospitality venue does not serve alcohol, then customers will be able to order and collect food and drink from a counter, but must consume food and drink while seated at a table.
- Hospitality venues will also be allowed to provide takeaway alcohol. Takeaway food and drink (including alcohol) must not be consumed on the premises or adjacent to the premises.
Hotel and other guest accommodation – updated for step 1b.
- Self-catering properties and caravans: People can travel where necessary to visit, maintain, clean and collect belongings from their self-catering properties and their caravans on parks which are currently closed, but should minimise travel where possible. Overnight stays are not permitted.
Further clarification updates from DCMS on questions raised by the tourism industry on the re-opening roadmap for England.
Clarity for accommodation and Step 2 of the reopening roadmap for businesses in England
The UK Government has published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to the roadmap steps.
Along with this DCMS has shared some clarity on guidance on the reopening of accommodation.
- From Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, separate and self-contained accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes.
What can open
- At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.
- Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
- All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.
What cannot open
- This phased approach to reopening means that the rest of the sector will follow at Step 3. Between now and Step 3 this means a continued closure of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation that relies on sharing these facilities. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.
- From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.
Step 2 - will also see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed - if necessary - from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2, located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required.
The guidance for Hotels & Other Guest Accommodation will be updated in advance of each step of the roadmap with further detail.
Restart Grants guidance update
The updated information states that the grants will be available from 1 April 2021, but you can submit an application in advance. Also the eligibility criteria on when a business needed to be trading has changed to be on 1 April 2021.
Additional Restrictions Grants
The Government has updated its guidance regarding eligibility for the Additional Restrictions Grants. Of note is paragraph 27 (copied below) which now specifies a greater number of businesses as being eligible:
Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include, but is not limited to, group travel and tour operators, other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers), wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding. This list is not directive nor exhaustive, and Local Authorities should continue to issue grants at their discretion, based on local economic needs.
Regulations set out that pave the way for restrictions easing from 21 June in England
The government has set out regulations which will pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June. The regulations mean from 29 March outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed including in private gardens. The regulations will be voted on by Parliament this Thursday, and if approved, will replace the ‘all tiers’ regulations which were made to enact the tier system at the end of last year. Read the press release.
This comes as a new One Year report is published that details which powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are currently active.
Measures to support the reopening of high streets and seaside resorts in England
The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a package of support to help local economies and businesses in England. The package includes a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund that will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups. Part of this funding will be allocated to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months.
Other Government updates
Find out if your business is eligible for a coronavirus Restart Grant
The Restart Grant scheme supports eligible businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant, to reopen safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £18,000 from your local council. Grants will be available from 1 April 2021 but you can submit applications in advance.
Your business may be eligible if it:
- Is based in England
- Is rate-paying
- Is in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors
- Trading on 1 April 2021
What you get
Local councils will use their discretion to determine whether businesses meet the eligibility criteria for this grant scheme.
Eligible businesses will be paid:
- a one-off grant of up to £18,000 in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors
- a one-off grant of up to £6,000 in the non-essential retail sector
Visit your local council’s website to find out how to apply:
Updated guidance on the Additional Restrictions Grant
The guidance on the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) for local authorities in England has been updated to include the £425m top-up from 1 April 2021 announced at the Budget. The ARG funding scheme aims to support businesses severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions. Funding was first made available in Financial Year 2020-2021 and can be used across Financial Years 20/21 and 21/22. However, Local Authorities are encouraged to distribute funding to businesses who require support as soon as possible. Read the full document here.
The Tourism Minister has highlighted that these grants are aimed at businesses that have not been eligible for other grants, should you wish to share when making a case to your local authority.
During a Parliament debate on Golf Tourism on 27 January, the Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston provided a comment that may be useful to include to support applications for grant schemes through local authorities. The minutes from the debate are available here, (see column 503) and a direct quote from the Tourism Minister is below:
‘I have received a number of reports that some tourism-related businesses, which might not be ratepayers and are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance on these grant schemes, are being deemed ineligible by some local authorities. To be clear to those local authorities and those businesses, although the ultimate decision is at the local authority’s discretion, the fund can, and in my opinion certainly should, be used to provide grants to tour operators, coach operators, school travel companies, English language schools, event organisers and similar businesses, all of which serve as vital facilitators to the tourism industry even if they do not sell to consumers directly on a specific premise. I therefore encourage and expect local authorities to be sympathetic to applications from those businesses and others that have been impacted by covid-19 restrictions but are ineligible for the other grant schemes.’
Submit your views on independent review of Destination Management Organisations
The review of England’s Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) is now open for responses and will close at 11.45pm on 28 April 2021. The independent review will assess how DMOs across England are funded and structured, and how they perform their roles, in order to establish whether there may be a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at the regional level. Those interested in submitting should complete this online survey. More information on the review is available here.
Terms of reference for the Events Research Programme have been published
The Government has published the terms of reference for the Events Research Programme, which was committed to in the roadmap. The Events Research Programme will oversee a range of pilot events in Spring/Summer to build evidence on the risks associated with Covid-19 transmission routes, the characteristics of events and surrounding activities, and the extent to which mitigation measures can effectively address these risks.
The evidence from these pilot events will be used to inform the government's decision around Step 4 of the roadmap and will shape government policy to bring about the phased return of fuller audiences to venues and events up and down England.
Read more information on timings and the scope of the programme here.
UK Government announces extension to ban on commercial evictions
The UK Government today announced that the ban on commercial evictions has been extended for a further 3 months until 30 June 2021. Any businesses that can pay all or any of their rent should do so. Further information can be found here.
Subsidy allowance increases and application deadlines for COVID support grants
The cap on COVID support grants has been increased from £3m to £10.9m for businesses in England and the guidelines for local authorities have been updated. In summary for businesses it means:
- Grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance may be combined for a potential total allowance of £10,935,000 (subject to the exact amount applicable under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing Right calculator).
- The updated scheme rules do not apply retrospectively. Therefore, where a Local Authority has previously rejected an applicant’s application before Thursday 4 March on the grounds that the applicant had reached previous scheme limits, the Local Authority must not revisit this decision. The applicant may however submit a new application if still within a current payment cycle.
- Local Authorities should not accept applications or make retrospective payments to those businesses where the payment cycle has passed.
The following guidance has been updated with details of the new subsidy allowance and deadlines for applications:
Businesses should apply using their local council’s website.
Support for the reopening of outdoor hospitality
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has written a letter to local authorities outlining that in Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoor and the measures to support the safe re-opening of hospitality businesses. The letter states:
Al fresco dining
- Continuation of the simplified route for pubs, restaurants and cafes to obtain a temporary pavement licence to place furniture including outdoor tables and seating on the highway, including a capped application fee of £100 and a 10-working day consultation and determination period.
- Licences to be granted for 12 months or more unless there are good reasons not to, and an expectation that licences granted under these provisions to continue to apply into this summer so that businesses do not have to reapply or be charged a further application fee when they are able to re-open to serve customers outdoors.
- Currently due to expire on 30 September 2021, but subject to Parliamentary approval, this will be extended for a further 12 months.
Freedom to use land for community events and outdoor hospitality
- 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.
- A new temporary right, 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 extended until March 2022.
Business Events reopening guidance approved by DCMS (England)
There has been clarity around the situation regarding the conditions under which events will operate from 17 May and 21 June.
The Government have specified that in Step 3, which is no earlier than 17 May, sectors which will be reopening include some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower. There will still be social distancing and other interventions for events running in Step 3.
Pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing or using other mitigations such as testing.
The Government will use this research to determine a consistent approach to lifting restrictions on these events. Depending on the outcome of this work, the Government hopes to be able to lift restrictions on these events and sectors as part of Step 4.
The degree of relaxation of social distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions will be determined by the pilot test events to be held during April with the results incorporated into the Step 3 & 4 reopening guidance.
On this basis, businesses are strongly advised to ensure their customers are aware of the likelihood of continuing restrictions after reopening.
Businesses can register to order free lateral flow tests for employees
Businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees. The lateral flow tests will remain free until the end of June and registration closes on 31 March. More information on rapid workplace testing is available on an online portal for businesses as well as information to plan and deliver a testing programme.
Have your say on the reopening of international travel
The Secretary of State Grant Shapps chaired the first meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce last week to set out a plan for restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way.
The Terms of Reference for the Global Travel Taskforce have now been published here. There is an opportunity to offer your thoughts and share any written evidence or ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Air Passenger Duty consultation to launch in spring
- As part of the Prime Minister’s announcement on his vision to boost connectivity across the UK with improved transport infrastructure, a consultation is due to launch this spring on reforming Air Passenger Duty tax.
Other guidance updates:
This afternoon the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, outlined his tax and spend policies in the budget. Below is a summary of the budget for the tourism and hospitality industry. You can read the what you need to know page summary here or view the budget document here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extension
The CJRS will be extended across the UK for five months until 30 September 2021. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September, as the economy reopens.
UK Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) fourth and fifth grants confirmed
SEISS fourth grant – the fourth SEISS grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will cover the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. Self-employed individuals must have filed a 2019-20 Self Assessment tax return to be eligible for the fourth grant.
SEISS fifth grant – there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September. The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. The final grant can be claimed from late July.
The government will provide ‘Restart Grants’ in England of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses. The government is also providing all local authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.
VAT reduction for the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector
The temporary reduced rate of 5% VAT for goods and services supplied by the UK tourism and hospitality sector will be extended until 30 September 2021. A 12.5% rate will apply for the subsequent six months until 31 March 2022.
Business rates relief
Eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England will receive 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.
New Recovery Loan Scheme for UK businesses
From 6 April 2021 a new Recovery Loan Scheme has been announced to enable businesses of any size to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close.
Launching on 6 April and open until 31 December, subject to review, the Government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. Term loans and overdrafts will be available between £25,001 and £10 million per business. Invoice finance and asset finance will be available between £1,000 and £10 million per business. Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years. Find out more, including eligibility criteria.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme
Small and medium-sized employers across the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible SSP costs per employee. This scheme is a temporary COVID-19 measure intended to support employers while levels of sickness absence are high.
VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
Any business that took advantage of the original VAT deferral on VAT returns from 20 March through to the end of June 2020 can now opt to use the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay that deferred VAT in up to eleven equal payments from March 2021, rather than one larger payment due by 31 March 2021, as originally announced.
Extended loss carry back for businesses
To help otherwise-viable UK businesses which have been pushed into a loss-making position, the trading loss carry-back rule will be temporarily extended from the existing one year to three years. This will be available for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses.
- Unincorporated businesses and companies that are not members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22
- Companies that are members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £200,000 of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22 without any group limitations
- Companies that are members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22, but subject to a £2 million cap across the group as a whole
This will be legislated in the forthcoming Finance Bill. Further detail on the group cap will be announced in due course.
Other measures include:
- £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England.
- £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.
- Employers in England who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.
- Employers in England who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire, compared with £1,500 per new apprentice hire (or £2,000 for those aged 24 and under) under the previous scheme. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16-18 year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.
- £7 million fund will be available from July 2021 to help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships to enable people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers.
- A new Help to Grow training scheme over three years for SMEs on digital skills and management skills.
- Airports and Ground Operations Support Scheme renewed for a further six months from the start of 2021-22, providing support for eligible businesses in England up to the equivalent of half of their business rates liabilities during 2021-22, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £4 million.
- Zoo Animals Fund extended for a further three months until 30 June 2021, providing licensed zoos and aquariums in England with continued support for animal care and essential maintenance costs.
- Funding (over £1 billion) for a further 45 towns in England through the Towns Fund.
- Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
- £18.8 million to transform local cultural projects in Hartlepool, Carlisle, Wakefield and Yeovil.
- £28 million to fund the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, delivering a major celebration for the UK.
- £2.8 million to support a UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup and £25 million investment in UK grassroots sports, enough for around 700 new pitches.
- From the summer, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding (with some exceptions) through the £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses e.g. pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.
- Publication of the prospectus for the £4.8 billion UK-wide Levelling Up Fund, providing guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding starting in 2021-22.
Increase in corporation tax
The rate of corporation tax will increase from April 2023 to 25% on profits over £250,000. The rate for small profits under £50,000 will remain at 19% and there will be relief for businesses with profits under £250,000 so that they pay less than the main rate.
Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates to increase in line with RPI from April 2022
This means that the reduced and standard short-haul rates will remain frozen, Long-haul rates will increase in line with RPI. The rates for long-haul economy flights from Great Britain will increase by £2, and the rates for those travelling in premium economy, business and first class will increase by £5. Those travelling long-haul by private jets will see the rate increase by £13.
See further measures announced by the Chancellor.
Reopening businesses and venues in England
Further to the release of the UK Government’s COVID-19 four-step plan to ease lockdown in England, new guidance on reopening businesses and venues in England has been published. Please see a summary of the relevant guidance for tourism businesses below. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available
Step 1 - from 8 March
Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.
From 29 March
People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.
- Outdoor sport facilities: Gyms, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues.
Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact - as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of six people or two households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
- Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble can reopen.
- Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”).
- Outdoor attractions can reopen at adventure parks and activities, animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums), drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances, film studios, funfairs and fairgrounds, model villages, museums and galleries, skating rinks, theme parks, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks.
- Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions - such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.
- Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits
- This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of six people or two households.
- Indoor events that bring people together - even if they do not mix with other households - must not run until Step 3. However, at this point, funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
- Non-essential retail will reopen and includes retail travel agents.
- Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen, including hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology).
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen including: gyms and leisure centres, sports courts, swimming pools, dance studios and fitness centres, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas, archery venues, climbing wall centres.
Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact - in a group of six people or two households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
- Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen
- Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen. As with outdoors, table service will be required.
- Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below).
- Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
- Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation can be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance.
- Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.
- Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.
Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June
- The hope at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.
- To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
- The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.
Roadmap for easing of restrictions in England announced
In his statement to the House of Commons today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government roadmap that outlines how lockdown restrictions will be eased in England. The roadmap is in four steps. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.
This assessment will be based on four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.
The full roadmap document is available here. A simplified table of the steps is available on pages 47-48. See below for a summary of the key points:
Step 1 (two parts split between 8 and 29 March)
From 8 March:
People will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise which is already permitted.
There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel. Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.
From 29 March
People will no longer be legally required to stay at home, but some restrictions will remain such as continuing to work from home where possible and minimising all travel. The rule of six will return for outdoors, and meetings of two households will also be permitted. This includes in private gardens.
Outdoor sports and leisure facilities will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will be able to resume, subject to guidance.
Step 2 – from 12 April at the earliest, subject to an assessment of the data against the four tests
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households as in Step 1, and no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt. Additional premises will be able to reopen but should only be visited alone or with household groups:
- Non-essential retail
- Personal care premises such as hairdressers, salons and close contact services
- Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
- Public buildings such as libraries and community centres
- Hospitality venues for outdoor service, without any curfew or the requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal - customers must order, eat and drink while seated
- Most outdoor settings and attractions including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas/performances/events will reopen
- Domestic overnight stays will be allowed and self-contained accommodation - those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities - can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household.
- Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
- International holidays will not be permitted.
All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules. This will be accompanied by mitigations including workforce testing and continued social distancing guidance. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays will still be prohibited.
Step 3 – from 17 May at the earliest and at least five weeks after Step 2
Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal. Indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of six, or with one other household (though it may be possible to go further than this at Step 3 depending on the data). COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits.
Sectors which will reopen include:
- Indoor hospitality, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain;
- Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas;
- Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas;
- Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs;
- Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes; and
- Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
- Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
- The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.
- In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.
- Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
- A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Step 4 – from 21 June at the earliest, and at least five weeks after Step 3
With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme) and remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.
Read the press release here.
In parallel to these steps, four formal reviews will also take place on the issues of:
- Social distancing and face masks
- The resumption of international travel – the global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.
- COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
- The return of major events
Further details of business support will come from the Chancellor’s budget next Wednesday. A plan for reacting to local outbreaks will also be published next month, with measures to tackle new variants. He could not rule out implementing restrictions at a local level if required.