COVID-19 (new coronavirus) - latest information and advice for businesses

17 September 2021

Please find below the latest tourism-related news and information for UK tourism businesses on the outbreak of COVID-19, including links to useful information and advice. The best source of information for any visitors with individual questions or health concerns is Public Health England

To stay up to date with UK Government advice on coronavirus visit the GOV.UK website. This page will be updated regularly, as new information is made available by the UK Government.

Please note the information shared from GOV.UK is for England only unless specified otherwise. Different rules may apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Government updates affecting the tourism industry 

17 September

New system for international travel

  • The UK Government has announced changes to international travel rules in England. From 4am Monday 4 October:
  • The current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories  
  • The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on people’s vaccination status.
  • Eligible fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a Pre Departure Test when travelling to England
  • England will welcome fully vaccinated travellers from 17 new countries and territories These include arrivals from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan.

From the end of October

  • Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, these will be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
  • Passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey will be able to follow the measures associated to their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey.

Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. Test to release remains an option to reduce self-isolation period.

Travel from the rest of the world if you are fully vaccinated

From 4am Monday 4 October, if you have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days:

  • under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas
  • with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan – mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised
  • under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US, Canada and Australia and have a proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body

People must:

  • book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England

See more information

Countries removed from the red list

Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will move off the red list for England, Scotland and Wales from 4am Wednesday 22 September.  

14 September 

Autumn and Winter Plan for England

In the House of Commons this afternoon Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out the Autumn and Winter Plan for England.  This was followed by a press briefing by Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the public. 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.

The 5 pillars outlined for ‘Plan A’ include;

  1. Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions: including maximising vaccine uptake among those who are eligible and not taken up the offer yet, offering booster doses to those who received vaccinations in phase 1 of the vaccine programme, offering a first dose to those aged 12-15.  Antivirals and therapeutics are already being used, and teams are researching further drugs that may assist.
  2. Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: PCR testing for symptomatic and contacts of cases will be available free of charge. Regular asymptomatic testing will also continue, focused on those who are not vaccinated or are on front line settings. Contact tracing will continue. Support will remain in place for those forced to self-isolate.
  3. Supporting the NHS and Social Care – managing pressures and recovering services. Linked to the announcement of further funding announced last week to clear the backlog of appointments.
  4. Advising people on how to protect themselves and others - For businesses the Government will continue to provide up-to-date Working Safely guidance on how employers can reduce the risks in their workplace. They are encouraging the public to let fresh air in when meeting indoors, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings, getting tested and self isolating, staying home if they feel unwell, washing hands regularly and using the NHS COVID-19 app.
  5. Pursuing an international approach – playing a part in the global effort towards vaccination, and keeping strong defence at the border. The Government will shortly set out a revised framework for international travel, in advance of the next formal checkpoint review, with a deadline of 1 October.

 

‘Plan B’

If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Government’s Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. This includes:

  • Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
  • Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
  • Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.

If Plan B is implemented, at that point the NHS COVID Pass will change to display full vaccination only (exemptions will continue to apply). The Government expects that mandatory vaccine-only certification would be introduced for visitors to the following venues:

  • All nightclubs;
  • Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions;
  • Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals; and
  • Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.

There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass, including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events, protests and mass participation sporting events.

The Government would seek to give businesses at least one week’s notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force.

Read the full plan.

10 September 

CMA publishes recommendations to improve PCR testing market

The CMA has published advice to the UK Government on ways to make the PCR testing market work better for consumers.

A number of recommendations were made, including:

  • Creating a one-stop shop list of quality, approved test providers by significantly improving the basic standards to qualify for inclusion and remaining on the GOV.UK list.
  • Introducing a comprehensive monitoring and enforcement programme to ensure providers on the GOV.UK list meet these basic standards and rules, and swiftly removing and sanctioning those firms that don’t.
  • Improving the provider listings on GOV.UK so consumers get the information they need to compare providers properly and find the best deals for them.
  • Developing the NHS Test and Trace travel test as a benchmark for quality and price to drive higher standards and more competition across the sector.
  • Monitoring prices and costs on an ongoing basis, in case price reductions are not seen on the back of other measures.

 

Although this advice has been provided at the request of the UK Government, it has the potential to improve the market for consumers across the UK nations where private testing for international travel is allowed. In addition to providing advice to the UK Government, the CMA is already using its powers to act where it can. On 25 August, it published an open letter to all PCR test providers warning them to stay on the right side of consumer law.

Headline scheme rules for the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme have been published by DCMS

The headline rules for the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme have been published here. Full scheme rules will be available on this page in due course.

5 August

International travel: country listings update

From 4am Sunday 8 August the following changes apply for entry into the UK

  • Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will move to green list.
  • Bahrain, India, Qatar and UAE will move to amber list. Arrivals from France will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated, aligning France with the rest of the amber list.
  • Georgia, Mayotte, Mexico and Reunion will move to red list.

 

Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.

The change to the status for France means that the system is simplified to 3 categories, plus the green watchlist.

See the announcements for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

28 July

UK Government waives quarantine for arrivals fully vaccinated from Europe and USA to England and confirms international cruise restart

Today the UK Government has announced that passengers arriving from amber countries who have been fully vaccinated in Europe (EU Member States, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and the USA will not have to quarantine when entering England, as part of a range of new measures designed to reopen international travel, set out as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review.

From 4am on Monday 2 August 2021, passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or in the USA with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, will be able to travel to England without having to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival.

Amber arrivals who have been fully vaccinated in the USA and European countries will still be required to:

Those arriving from France should continue to follow the separate rule. If a passenger has been in France in the 10 days before arriving in England, they must quarantine for 10 days after they arrive and take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8, even if they are fully vaccinated. They must follow the advice on how to quarantine if you are not fully vaccinated.

Today, the UK Government also confirmed the restart of international cruise sailings from England in line with Public Health England guidance. International cruise travel advice will be amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad. Guidance has been published for British people about taking cruise ship holidays abroad during COVID-19.

All measures announced will be kept under review and be guided by the latest data. In their press release, the UK Government stated they will not hesitate to act should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed.

You can read the press release here or read the red, amber and green list rules for entering England.

NHS Test & Trace COVID-19 compliance checks

The Home Office has issued further advice for hotels and accommodation providers on facilitating COVID-19 compliance checks on individuals who have a duty to quarantine following international travel from amber-list countries. 

Accommodation providers should take all reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing guests of quarantine restrictions when taking bookings.

It is also good practice for accommodation providers to ensure guests are aware of their legal obligations to quarantine and that they may receive a compliance check during their stay if they are quarantining. However, it is not your responsibility to check guests’ test results or enforce quarantine rules; enforcement of the law remains a matter for the police.

Guests may receive a visit from Mitie staff on behalf of Test and Trace, who are conducting COVID compliance checks to ensure individuals who have returned from amber-list countries are quarantining at the address provided on their passenger locator form. To assist Test and Trace staff in confirming compliance of the individuals, accommodation providers should take reasonable and appropriate steps to facilitate Mitie’s visits to their customers, whilst ensuring that guests’ data is only shared with Mitie in compliance with existing data protection legislation.

If NHS Test and Trace staff suspect that a guest is not quarantining, the case may be referred to police, who may conduct another visit, and could potentially issue the individual with a fine of up to £10,000. 

Further guidance on the compliance checks service and what to expect can be found here: Self-isolation compliance checks after international travel - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation to work safely during COVID-19 can be found here - Hotels and other guest accommodation - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Or for further details for guests who are quarantining after travelling from an amber-list country: Quarantine and testing if you've been in an amber list country - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

19 July

Today the Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference with Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van Tam.

 
The Prime Minister spoke about the move to step 4 in England and the importance of the test, trace and isolate system in identifying people who are more likely to be infected. He also mentioned that some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination. There are already countries that require you to be double-jabbed as a condition of quarantine-free travel and that list seems likely to grow.

 
He then went on to express the concern of the UK Government by the continuing risk posed by nightclubs, asking them ‘to do the socially responsible thing and make use of the NHS Covid Pass which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity – as a means of entry.’

He reiterated that the Government reserves the right to mandate certification at any point and gave notice now that by the end of September - when all over 18s will have had the chance to be double jabbed – of the intention to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. At this point proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.
 

Read his full statement as well as the press release issued earlier regarding England’s move to step 4 in it’s roadmap.
 

Updated guidance on the requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England
Guidance on the requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England has been updated. Transport operators are required to ensure that passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail from outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) are provided with information about coronavirus, and related duties and public health guidance. From 4am 19 July 2021 changes are being made to information to be provided at stages 1 to 3 of the passenger journey and the onboard announcement. Operators should begin to use the new prescribed messaging as soon as possible. A reasonable timeframe for implementation is permitted.

Safe use and management of outdoor public places in England
Advice for local authorities, owners and operators in England has been published to support the safe use and management of outdoor public places, such as urban centres, green spaces, outdoor playgrounds, outdoor gyms, tourist hotspots (including beaches, the countryside and coastal areas) while the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains.

Government strategy to regenerate high streets announced
The Government’s long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets has been published. The Build Back Better High Streets Strategy sets out the government’s long-term plan to support the evolution of high streets into thriving places to work, visit and live. As part of the plan the streamlined pavement licensing system will be extended for 12 months across England so more shops, cafes and restaurants can make use of outdoor areas, with an intention to make this permanent. See the press release for more detail.

Guidance reflecting the change to step 4 in England has been updated on the following pages:

Staffing summit webinar

We are working in partnership with the Caterer who is running a staffing summit webinar on Thursday 22 July. The summit will explore how the industry can better promote the career options available in the sector and highlight the organisations that can assist businesses in finding new recruits. This webinar will be dedicated to equipping operators with the tools to attract new employees and revealing ways to keep staff in long-term sustainable careers. You can register for free here.

14 July

Updated working safely during coronavirus: guidance from step 4 in England

The working safely during coronavirus guidance for England has been updated to reflect the changes from step 4. Please see a summary of the contents of the guidance below:

Priority actions to take across all the guidance:

Six steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus (COVID-19).

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from COVID-19. This should consider the points below in the rest of this guidance. It should also take into account any reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. You should share your risk assessment with your staff. You can find more information in the section on risk assessments and HSE guidance. There is additional advice for event organisers in the section on event planning.
  2. Turn people with COVID-19 symptoms away. Staff members or customers should self-isolate if they or someone in their household has a new, persistent cough; a high temperature; or loses/has changes to their sense of taste or smell, even if these symptoms are mild. They must also self-isolate if they or someone in their household has had a positive COVID-19 result, or if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. If you know that a worker is self-isolating, you must not ask or make them come to work. It is an offence to do this. You can find more information in the section on reducing risk to workers.
  3. Provide adequate ventilation. You should make sure there is a supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises and consider steps you can take to improve fresh air flow in these areas. In some places, a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated. Heritage locations should take into account the preservation of the building or artefacts displayed. You can find more information in the on section on ventilation and the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are touched a lot. Heritage locations should ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials. You should ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and clean their hands frequently, and provide them with advice to promote good hygiene. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility or event setting.
  5. Enable people to check in at your venue. You are no longer legally required to collect contact details, however doing so will help to support NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. You can enable people to check in by providing an NHS QR code poster, though you do not have to ask customers to check in or turn them away if they refuse. If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who ask to check in but do not have the app. You can find more information in the section on reducing risk to customers.
  6. Communicate and train. Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.

 

These are the priority actions to make your business safer during coronavirus (COVID-19). You should also read the full versions of the guidance relevant to your business.

 

Events and attractions

The visitor economy, heritage locations, organised events and performing arts guidance has been consolidated for step 4. The new events and attractions guidance will help businesses in these areas prepare for the move to step 4.

 

The guidance goes into detail on identifying risks and how to carry out a risk assessment (incl examples from Event Research Programme), managing your workforce including testing and vaccination and communications, reducing the risk for workers and visitors (additional measures such as face coverings, displaying NHS QR codes, considering using the NHS COVID pass to reduce transmission at venues or events), managing customers and audiences, practical advice on cleaning, hygiene and ventilation. There are also additional sections for heritage locations and event planning.

 

Restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services

To help businesses in England to prepare to move to step 4 of the roadmap, the updated guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, nightclubs or takeaways also suggests ways to help keep customers safe, including, the use of the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event, how to manage security, managing service of food and drink at a venue, etc.

 

Hotels and guest accommodation

The guidance has been updated to help owners and operators of hotels and other guest accommodation facilities (including hotels, motels, inn, pubs, holiday parks, B&Bs, short term lets, guest houses, caravans, boats, camp sites etc.) to help keep their customers safe, including information on communicating safety measures, displaying the NHS QR code, identifying areas of risk, considerations to avoid congestion, processes for guests who have to quarantine and practical information on cleaning, hygiene and ventilation.

 

New risk management template for event organisers

A resource to help event organisers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in event settings. The template sets out examples of the types of risk mitigation measures event organisers can put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events. This should be used in conjunction with the events and attractions guidance, which explains the types of events which may need to take additional measures and how these measures can help to reduce risk. It also includes more detail on how you can put these measures in place in different settings.

 

12 July 

Move to Step 4 of the roadmap for England confirmed

In a press conference this evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that England will move to step 4 from 19 July. He said that we cannot return instantly to how life was before COVID-19 and while cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. The next steps have been set out in the moving to step 4 guidance published today. (see below)

 

Moving to step 4 of the roadmap guidance for England

The moving to step 4 guidance outlines the key protections that will remain in place, the pathway through the summer and the five-point plan to manage the virus in the next phase. At step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. The Government will continue to manage the virus and provide guidance over the coming months.

 

Key protections that will be kept in place:

  • Testing when people have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
  • Isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace or when advised to by the NHS COVID-19 app.
  • Border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries, and for those people arriving from amber list countries, other than those UK residents fully vaccinated in the UK vaccine programme.
  • Cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
    • Whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer;
    • Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
    • Being outside or letting fresh air in; and
    • Minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
  • Encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings to help to limit the risk of infection. The Government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating the NHS COVID Pass in certain venues at a later date.

 

Pathway through the summer

  • On 12 July and in the days following, the Government will publish guidance on how to reduce risk through practising key behaviours:
  1. For individuals: while there is a move away from most legal restrictions, the guidance is there to help us all act responsibly. While prevalence is high, it is essential that everybody follows the guidance and takes action to protect themselves and others.
  2. For businesses, setting out advice for how to understand and mitigate risks as we start to live with COVID-19.
  3. For those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.
  • On 19 July, most legal restrictions will end, removing social distancing and social contact restrictions and enabling remaining businesses to reopen. All adults have now been offered a first dose of the vaccine.
  • By the end of July, the Government will publish an updated COVID-19 contain outbreak management framework for local areas.
  • On 16 August, the rules on self-isolating as a contact will change for people who are fully vaccinated, and for under 18s. Those not fully vaccinated will still need to isolate if they are contacts, and everyone will still have to isolate if they test positive, to protect themselves and others.
  • In September, the Government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter, which will consider whether to continue or strengthen public and business guidance as winter approaches, including on face coverings and test, trace and isolate, and will review the remaining regulations.

 

The five-point plan to manage the virus in the next phase

The five point-plan also set out in the COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 will help manage the risks of living with the virus on the careful and cautious pathway back to normality.

  1. Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up. Government will encourage vaccine take up among young adults and those yet to be vaccinated, ensure all adults have had the opportunity to receive two doses of the vaccine by mid-September, and offer booster jabs to the most vulnerable subject to final advice from the JCVI.
  2. Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws. Government will reopen the remaining closed settings and remove regulations from 19 July, provide guidance for individuals, businesses, and those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable on the behaviours that can help to protect everyone. Government will look to operate public services in a way that supports everyone feeling safe to access them, and work with businesses to the same effect.
  3. Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans. Government will keep our testing system in place; continue to offer free lateral flow tests to help people manage their personal risk; maintain current domestic isolation requirements until 16 August before introducing an exemption for fully vaccinated contacts and under 18s; and maintain support for self isolation, with practical and financial support available until the end of September.
  4. Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK. Government will continue to operate a traffic-light system for international travel, reassessing the red, amber and green lists this week, and every three weeks, through the summer; remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated UK travellers returning from amber countries from 19 July, while retaining PCR testing crucial for identifying new variants; and accelerate global vaccination by prioritising access to vaccines in developing countries.
  5. Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19. Government will continue to monitor the data on a regular basis to ensure there is no danger of the NHS facing unsustainable pressure; work with local authorities and provide national support to local areas that need an enhanced response to COVID-19; and maintain contingency plans for re-imposing economic and social restrictions at a local, regional or national level if evidence suggests they are necessary to suppress or manage a dangerous variant. Such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

 

5 July 

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, set out plans for the final step of the roadmap in England

The Prime Minister held a press conference today outlining more details about step 4, the final stage of the England roadmap, which is expected to start on 19 July. At step 4, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. Guidance will be provided to the public and to businesses on how they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

There are 5 principles for managing COVID-19 as England learns to live with the virus:

  • Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
  • Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
  • Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
  • Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
  • Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.

More details can be found in the COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (see summary below).

He also announced that the Government will work with the travel industry on removing the need for full-vaccinated people to isolate when entering the country from amber countries. The Transport Secretary is due to set out more details later this week.

A decision will be made on 12 July if this move can be made on 19 July.
View the speech and the slides.

 
‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’ Published

The UK government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’, setting out the details of Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap in England. 
In summary, at step 4:

  • All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
  • All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements.
  • All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees. There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
  • COVID-status certification will not be required in law as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting. Organisations can choose to ask visitors for proof of COVID-status, as long as they meet existing legal obligations including under equality law. The Government is providing a way for individuals to easily demonstrate their COVID-status. This can be achieved by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity - through the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS app.
  • The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. Guidance will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce personal risk and the risk to others, when coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted. Social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances: ports of entry for passengers between disembarkation and border control in order to manage the risk of Variants of Concern being transmitted between individuals; and people who are self-isolating should also continue to socially distance from others, particularly where they have had a positive test.
  • Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, will be lifted. ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. Employers should take account of this guidance in preparing the risk assessments they are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety rules.
  • The Government will no longer instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
  • Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to ask staff and customers to clean their hands regularly and clean surfaces that people touch regularly. The Government will provide guidance on how businesses can reduce unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. Operators will still be encouraged to use outside space where practical, and to consider the supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors could be used to help identify where a space is poorly ventilated with businesses encouraged to take steps to improve ventilation if CO2 readings are consistently high.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, to support NHS Test and Trace, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.

Building on the updated guidance on meeting friends and family, announced as part of step 3, the Government will provide advisory guidance on how people can manage the risks to themselves and to others, including:

  • Meeting in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open.
  • Wearing a face covering where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
  • Staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community.
  • Considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status.

The Government will continue to urge people to get vaccinated, and to self-isolate and get tested if they have symptoms. It will remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The public will continue to be encouraged to download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The Government intends to exempt people who have been fully vaccinated from the requirement to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case, with a similar exemption for under 18s. Anyone who tests positive will still need to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status.

Travel restrictions will continue as part of the UK Government’s plan to prevent the continued emergence of Variants of Concern.

 

Other government updates

The social distancing review and COVID-Status Certification review reports have been published. These reviews, alongside other Roadmap reviews into events, have informed the approach to step 4.

New guidance to check if you need to change your Self Assessment return for SEISS

New guidance has been published to help individuals find out if and when they may need to make a change to their Self Assessment tax return for SEISS payments, and how to do it.

Individuals need to check their Self Assessment return if they have:

  • Already submitted their 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax return online
  • Claimed a Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant during 2020 or 2021

HMRC may have made an adjustment to individuals returns if:

  • The amount of the SEISS payments put in the SEISS box does not match their records
  • There was no SEISS amount entered
  • A Self Employment or partnership page (SA103 or SA104) was not submitted and SEISS payments were received

Individuals need to check their Self Assessment tax return to make sure any adjustments are accurate. The adjustment (and how to check it) depends on individual circumstances and how returns were submitted. See the full guidance for more information.

 

17 June

Funeral and commemorative event guidance updated
From 21 June, the rules on funerals and commemorative events, such as stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes or a wake, will change. There will no longer be a maximum number of attendees set out in law for funerals or commemorative events. Instead, the number of attendees will be determined by how many people the venue or outdoor space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body (such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue), venues will advise organisers the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.

Group size for out-of-school residential visits increased
From 21 June, limits for out-of-school residential stays have also been increased in England, meaning that hotels and other forms of group accommodation will be able to offer residential visits for groups of up to 30 children, rather than groups of 6.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) guidance updates
The guidance for businesses to check if they are eligible for the ARG grant has also been updated to clarify which sectors are eligible to receive it. Whilst local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants, the government has set out an expectation that the funding should help businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions. Local councils 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, including those which do not pay business rates.
  • Businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants. This may include the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses.

The spending allocation deadline for the ARG has been extended to 30 July 2021 and the guidance for Local Authorities has also been updated.

Eviction protection extended for businesses
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. Legislation will be introduced in this session to ring-fence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic. 

Landlords are expected to make allowances for the ring-fenced rent arrears from these specific periods of closure due to the pandemic, and share the financial impact with their tenants. The legislation will help tenants and landlords work together to come to an agreement on how to handle the money owed – this could be done by waiving some of the total amount or agreeing a longer-term repayment plan. This agreement should be between the tenant and landlord and, if in some cases, an agreement cannot be made, the law will ensure a binding arbitration process will be put in place so that both parties can come to a formal agreement. This will be a legally binding agreement that both parties must adhere to.

In order to ensure landlords are protected, the government has said that businesses who are able to pay rent, must do so. Tenants should start paying their rent as soon as restrictions change, and they are given the green light to open. The existing measures in place to protect commercial tenants from eviction will be extended to 25 March 2022.

Temporary insolvency measures extended
The Insolvency Service has announced that regulations are set to be laid that will mean restrictions on statutory demands and winding up petitions will remain for a further three months until 30 September 2021 with a view to protecting companies from creditor enforcement action where their debts relate to the pandemic.

Other Government updates

  • The domestic cruise ship travel guidance has been updated to say it is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. By step 4, the government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact. This includes lifting capacity limits for domestic cruises.
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been updated with a reminder that from 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
  • Guidance has been published for people who are organising a wedding or civil partnership, or funeral, wake or commemoration, including in a private home or garden.
  • Version 2 of the guidance and FAQs for local authorities have been published for the Welcome Back Fund which is to enable local authorities in England to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism.

15 June

Updated guidance for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations

From 21 June the rules for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies; and wedding receptions and civil partnership celebrations will change. There will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body (such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue) venues will advise organisers the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.

Some restrictions on ceremonies and receptions remain in place to enable them to take place safely. These include Step 3 requirements on table service, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing.

Viewings can continue to take place at any venue which is not required in law to remain closed, so long as appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures are in place. This includes, for example, any restaurant or indoor visitor attraction.

There is also new information available for those organising an event in venues such as private gardens or on private land

14 June 

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was joined by Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, at a press briefing this evening. 

As not all of four tests for proceeding to step 4 in the UK Government roadmap have been met, step 4 openings will be delayed until July 19th, with the exception of weddings and wakes of more than 30 guests which still can go ahead with social distancing.

The situation will be monitored daily and if after 2 weeks, the risk looks like it has diminished, it would be possible to move to step 4 earlier. In the meantime, pilots for sporting events, such as the Euros, and some theatre performances will continue.

View the Prime Minister's statement and the slides and dataset from the briefing.

The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England
The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England has been updated with a summary on changes from 21 June, including more information on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events.

From 21 June, the rules on the number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony, a wedding reception or civil partnership celebration, and a commemorative event following a funeral such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering, will change.

The number of people who can attend these events in a COVID-Secure venue or other venue (such as a garden of a private home) will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event.

Some restrictions on these events will remain in place to enable them to take place safely. This includes table service requirements, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing, as at present.

There is a little more information on these events if taking place in a private setting. The guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations is due to be updated by 15 June. The guidance on arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic is due to be updated by 17 June.
 

14 May

The heritage locations guidance has been updated for Step 3 of the roadmap (from 17 May). Please see some key information below;

From 17 May, the following will apply.

Heritage locations can open to the public.

  • This applies to indoor and outdoor heritage locations including stately and historic homes and castles, historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments. Locations can open indoor and outdoor facilities, including visitor centres.
  • Guests can visit these locations in line with the legal gathering limits. Outdoors, people can only gather in groups of up to 30 people (unless an exemption applies). Indoors, people can only meet in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles (unless an exemption applies). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.

Indoor and outdoor activities and guided tours are permitted, but must operate within the legal gathering limits.

  • Activities and tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 30 people outdoors, or up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors, unless exemptions apply).
  • Activities and tours can also be provided for multiple groups, provided that the organiser takes the required precautions and groups are kept separate throughout the activity or tour. Each group must adhere to the legal gathering limits (up to 30 people outdoors, or up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors, unless exemptions apply).

The rules on meetings and events will change:

  • Indoor and outdoor events can take place, with COVID-secure measures and capacity limits in place. This includes business events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality. Events permitted from Step 3 should follow all COVID-secure guidance, adhere to all legal requirements, and take all reasonable action to mitigate risk to public health. Capacity restrictions will apply to both indoor and outdoor events. Further guidance can be found in the section on meetings and events, the guidance for visitor economy settings and the organised events guidance for local authorities.
  • In-person meetings can take place when reasonably necessary. However, businesses should not hold meetings for the purposes of gathering staff if they are not necessary. Business show-rounds, viewings and site visits can take place at heritage locations. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events and the guidance for visitor economy settings.
  • Weddings/civil partnerships, funerals and other life events can take place, however restrictions will apply to some types of event. Wedding show-rounds, viewings and site visits can take place at heritage locations. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.

Hospitality:

Visitor attractions and recreational venues:

For more detail please see the full guidance which also includes information on managing operations and managing visitors.

11 May

Updates to the hotels and other guest accommodation guidance

The hotels and other guest accommodation guidance has been updated to include measures that will apply from Step 3 from 17 May in England. Please see a summary of the changes below, see the full guidance for more detail.

Business operations

  • All guest accommodation can open for leisure stays. This includes hotels, hostels, B&Bs and other types of accommodation that rely on sharing 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). More information on how to operate shared facilities is available in the section on changes to facilities and services.
  • Overnight stays in guest accommodation are restricted to groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles. People should stay socially distanced from anyone they do not live with or share a bubble with.
  • Where reasonably necessary, there is an exemption to the social contact limits for residential visits organised by schools, colleges, further education and higher education providers for educational or educational training purposes. See the full guidance for more information on educational bubbles. More information is also available in the guidance for schoolsfurther education colleges and providers and higher education providers.
  • Residential trips for out-of-school settings, such as youth groups and children’s extra-curricular clubs, should be restricted to groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support or childcare bubbles, including supervising adults. More information is available in the guidance for out-of-school settings.
  • All guest accommodation can open permitted businesses and services on-site for access by guests and by the general public, including where the entrance is within the guest accommodation. This includes indoor and outdoor sport facilities (such as swimming pools and gyms), spas and personal care facilities (such as hair, beauty, and massage services), and retail facilities. Saunas and steam rooms can reopen. Also check the guidance for sport facilitiesclose contact services and retail shops, stores and branches to ensure the relevant requirements are adhered to.
  • This also includes indoor and outdoor hospitality facilities, such as restaurants, cafes and bars. At any premises serving alcohol, customers are 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 can order and collect food and drink from a counter, however the venue must take all reasonable steps to ensure that customers remain seated while consuming food or drink on the premises. Hospitality venues may continue to provide takeaway food and drink. Customers must not consume takeaway food and drink on the premises or adjacent to the premises.
  • - Food and/or drink (including alcohol) can be provided through room service.
    - 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.
    - Indoor entertainment is permitted. This includes venues such as theatres, cinemas and concert halls, and performance/screening areas within the premises of another venue such as a pub, hotel or holiday park.
    See the section on hospitality in the hotel guidance and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services for other relevant measures.
  • For existing bookings, if guests are not able to take a planned holiday due to coronavirus restrictions, accommodation providers should give guests a chance to cancel their bookings. If a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, we encourage accommodation providers to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer. If this cannot be arranged, we expect businesses to provide a refund depending on the terms of the booking contract.

 

Business meetings and events

  • Permitted venues (including guest accommodation) can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely.
  • Permitted venues (including guest accommodation) can host business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking.
  • Indoor and outdoor business events can take place. This includes conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality.
  • More information is available in the section on meetings and events and the guidance for visitor economy settings.

10 May

Today the UK COVID-19 alert level was reduced from level 4 to level 3 following a joint statement by the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) recommending this change.

This afternoon the Prime Minister held a press briefing confirming England will move to Step 3 on 17 May. He outlined the measures that will change from that date. See changes below. The Prime Minister also said that subject to the impact of these relaxations on the data, we are on track to move to Step 4 on 21 June.

The what you can and cannot do guidance for England has been updated with measure that will change from 17 May.

  • Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules.
     

7 May

Updates to the visitor economy guidance
The visitor economy section of the working safely during coronavirus guidance has been updated to reflect step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) of the roadmap.

In Step 3, the following measures will apply:

Visitor attractions and recreational venues can open both indoor and outdoor areas.
This includes:

  • Games and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks) and trampolining centres.
  • Water parks and theme parks.
  • Animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres.
  • Attractions such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks.
     

Most indoor and outdoor entertainment venues can open to the public. This includes venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, arcades and bingo halls.

 
Indoor and outdoor events can take place, but measures apply including following COVID-secure and social distancing guidance.

  • Events permitted from Step 3 (which include business events such as conferences and exhibitions, live performances, and sport events) should follow all COVID-secure guidance, adhere to all legal requirements, and take all reasonable action to mitigate risk to public health. An event cannot take place in either Step 2 or Step 3 if it is unlikely that social distancing between groups of attendees can be maintained, or if other COVID-secure requirements cannot be met. This may be the case for events such as music festivals and carnivals.
  • Capacity restrictions apply to both indoor events (1,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower) and outdoor events (4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower).
  • Further guidance can be found in the sections for business meetings and events and other events and attractions, and in the organised events guidance for local authorities.

Tours and transport services:

  • Indoor and outdoor guided tours are permitted, but must operate within the legal gathering limits and follow COVID-secure guidance. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 30 people outdoors; up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors), or multiple permitted groups (of up to 30 people outdoors; groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors) that are kept separate throughout the activity. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • Private hire coaches are permitted for a private group of a single household/bubble, and may also accommodate groups containing multiple households travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey (e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour). This can only take place under certain conditions and where coaches operate in line with social contact limits, meaning that permitted groups (of 6 people or 2 households/bubbles) must be kept separate at all times whilst indoors on the tour. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • All heritage railway services are permitted to operate. This includes heritage railway services operating as public transport (journeys from point A to point B), as well as those provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes, or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations and the guidance on safer travel.
  • Private aircraft and hired self-fly aircraft are permitted for groups of up to 6 people or 2 household/bubbles. You can find more information in the guidance on safer travel, and guidance on international travel.
  • Self-drive day-hire of boats is permitted, within the legal gathering limits. There are different restrictions for different types of vessels. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by a group of up to 30 people). Boats which are enclosed can only be used by up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • Self-drive holiday-hire (where people make overnight stays) of boats is permitted for up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • Skippered boats can operate within the legal gathering limits. There are different restrictions for different types of vessels. Boats which are open-air can be used by groups of up to 30 people, and multiple groups are permitted under certain circumstances. Where boats are partially or fully enclosed, people should only gather indoors within their group (up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles) and groups should not mix. Multiple groups are permitted inside under some circumstances. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • Domestic cruises (departing from, and returning to, UK ports) can operate, with restrictions on capacity. They may operate beyond UK waters, but are restricted to UK port calls. Groups of more than 6 people or 2 households/bubbles will not be allowed to mix indoors, whether or not they originally booked in the same group. You can find more information in the guidance on domestic cruise ship travel and the UK Chamber of Shipping’s COVID-19 framework for operators.
  • People present in a work capacity (including volunteers), such as coach drivers, tour guides and skippers, are not counted as part of a group.

5 May

Update to restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance (England)

The guidance has been updated with some information for Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) of the roadmap and contains steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus. In addition to the info below, business should make sure that they are familiar with the UK government guidance to ensure that they make their business safe during coronavirus.

Following the move to Step 3, businesses will be able to:

  • Reopen indoor areas of their venues.
  • Serve customers in groups of up to 6 or 2 households indoors, or in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • There will also be some relaxation of rules around live performances, business events and soft play areas.

Businesses 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.

Table service will be required for venues that serve alcohol, even if no alcohol is ordered, this means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated. If a venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. But they must consume food and drink while seated at a table.

Entertainment within or outside restaurants, pubs, bars

At Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, more types of socially distanced indoor and outdoor events are allowed.  Some types of events, including live performance events and business events, should have a cap on attendance of:

  • 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower - indoors
  • 4,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower - outdoors

These events should be ticketed. Read the organised events guidance for more information on the types of event subject to these requirements.

If businesses are organising a performance event, they also should read the performing arts guidance. If they’re organising a business event, they should also read the visitor economy guidance.

Any events should be held in a separate room from regular food and drink customers to prevent mixing with event attendees.

Businesses can continue to provide other types of entertainment to food and drink customers. The following guidance should be followed: 

  • Determine the viability of entertainment and maximum audience numbers. Make this consistent with social distancing outside and within venues, and with other safety considerations.
  • Prevent entertainment, that is likely to encourage audience behaviours with increased transmission risk. For example, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting.
  • Reconfigure your entertainment spaces to ensure customers are seated rather than standing. For example, repurposing dance floors for customer seating.
  • Communicate clearly to customers your arrangements for entertainment. Clearly supervise them with extra staff if appropriate.

Changes to shops and branches guidance (England)

At Step 3, customers may attend shops in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households of any size indoors; or in groups of no more than 30 people outdoors.

Limit on mourners at funerals to be removed (England)

Legal limit on numbers of mourners at funerals to be removed in England at Step 3 of the roadmap. Venues such as places of worship are to set limits based on individual capacity. All organisers must continue to be COVID secure and follow social distancing rules

22 April

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. 

12 April

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.

9 April

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.

8 April

The visitor economyhotels 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 facilitiesclose 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 facilitiesclose 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
  • Cinemas
  • 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:

  • contractors
  • administrators
  • 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.

5 April

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.

31 March

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.

23 March

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

 

19 March

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.

Eligibility

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.

 

10 March

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.

Outdoor markets

  • 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.

Takeaways

  • 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 globaltraveltaskforce@dft.gov.uk

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:

3 March

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.

Highlights include:

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.

Restart Grants 

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.

25 February

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.

 

22 February

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

In addition:

  • 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.

In addition

  • 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:

  1. Social distancing and face masks
  2. 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.
  3. COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
  4. 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.

Other updates

 

11 February

New guidance for internationals arrivals from 15 February (England)

Details of the steps individuals need to take before entering England, on arrival and during quarantine have now been published on gov.uk

  • Take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before travel - this includes UK citizens. Proof of a negative coronavirus test is needed to travel to England – this includes UK citizens.
  • Book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine. Everyone must book a travel test package – this costs £210.
  • Complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will be home quarantining on arrival and the travel test package booking reference number

If people are travelling from somewhere in the Common Travel Area and you have not left the Common Travel Area for the past 10 days, they do not need a test before leaving or to home quarantine and take tests after arriving.

New guidance for booking and staying in a quarantine hotel for England

The guidance details how to book a place in a quarantine hotel (the link to the booking portal is due to be available later today) and arrange coronavirus (COVID-19) tests for people who have travelled to England from a country on the banned travel list.  The costs have been confirmed as follows:

  • Rate for 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights): £1750
  • Additional rate for 1 adult (or child over 12): £650
  • Additional rate for a child aged 5–12: £325

All package prices will be reviewed before the end of March and may change. While hotels normally set a zero fee for children aged under 3, the Government is setting this for children under 5 years old because they will not be tested. For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is only available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits, and they will be required to pay back in 12 monthly installments.

The only ports of arrival in England for people arriving from banned travel list locations currently are - Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Birmingham Airport, Farnborough Airfield. Other ports of entry may be added in the future. People are responsible for changing their own booking if they are not due to land at one of these airports. After 15 February carriers will not be permitted to carry anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other port of entry other than those specified.

Read the full guidance to find out more about how the quarantine arrangements will work

8 February

Flexible repayment options announced for Bounce Back Loan borrower

Today, the Chancellor 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.

The new options include:

  • Extending the length of the loan from six to ten years (reducing monthly repayments by almost half),
  • Making interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan
  • Pausing repayments for up to six months. This will be available to all from their first repayment, rather than after six repayments have been made. This means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out.

This is in addition to the Government covering the costs of interest for the first year of the loan.

From today lenders should begin reaching out to borrowers to provide information on repayment schedules and how to access flexible repayment options. Borrowers should only expect correspondence three months before their first repayments are due.

Small and medium-sized businesses can apply to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

If a business already has a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than they were entitled to, the existing loan can be topped up to the maximum amount. The top-up request must be made by 31 March 2021.

 

5 February

Mandatory hotel quarantine to be introduced from 15 February

Today the Government announced that from 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

The Department for Health and Social Care have issued a commercial specification to hotels near ports and airports, asking for proposals on how they can support the delivery of managed quarantine facilities ahead of formal contracts being awarded.

Further details will be set out next week on how passengers will be able to book into the designated accommodation facilities.

The government is also working closely with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the changes come into effect.

Read the press release on hotel quarantine.

3 February

Guidance published on how to apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
  • Associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

Find out more information on eligibility, how to apply and the job placement criteria here.
 

1 February

Applications for Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs extended (England)

The Christmas Support Payment (CSP) supports wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions. The deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment has been extended to 28 February 2021.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update

Claims for the third SEISS grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021. Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021.

Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 27 January the UK Government announced new rules for outbound and inbound passengers. The page has been updated to reflect this - under current UK COVID-19 restrictions. People must stay at home. They must not travel, including abroad, unless they have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes. Check the rules that apply in England

29 January

Applications are open for the Government’s Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS)

The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme is now open to commercial airports and ground handlers who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commercial airports and ground handlers will be able to apply for up to £8 million each to support with fixed costs while travel restrictions remain in place.

Find out more about eligibility criteria and how to apply here.

28 January

Travel ban extended to the United Arab Emirates, Burundi and Rwanda

From 13.00 on Friday 29 January, the UAE, Burundi and Rwanda will be added to the travel ban list for the UK.

This means people who have been in or transited through these countries will be denied entry, except British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights who must self-isolate for ten days at home.

Passengers must still have proof of a negative test and must have completed a Passenger Locator Form before arrival – or they could face a £500 fine for each.

26 January

Deadlines for The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

There are now monthly deadlines for claims for the CJRS. View the deadlines here. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme step by step guide outlines information that employers need to provide to HMRC to make a claim.

25 January

Changes to the Kickstart scheme in England, Scotland and Wales

Today the government announced changes to the kickstart scheme, which provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on universal credit. The Government has removed the minimum requirement of creating 30 vacancies to apply direct. Employers have a choice to apply direct or through one of the Kickstart gateways. There are now more than 600 approved gateways. Please note that applications for new kickstart gateways will close on Thursday 28 January but businesses that wish to sign up with the support of an existing gateway will still be able to do so.

Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021. Guidance is available to help employers apply for a kickstart scheme grant (kickstart gateway).
Read the press release or read more on the kickstart scheme.

22 January

Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania added to travel ban list

People who have been in or transited through the Democratic Republic of Congo or Tanzania in the last 10 days will not be granted access to the UK.
This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, who will be able to enter the UK but are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.

Other updates

The requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England page has been updated to include requirements for transport operators to ensure provision of coronavirus information.
Transport operators are required to ensure that passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail from outside the common travel area are provided with information about coronavirus, and related duties and public health guidance. From 22 January changes are being made to the required information at Box A, including to highlight the requirement for passengers to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 3 days of departure to England will apply.

Passengers must be provided with information at 4 stages of the passenger journey:

  • at the booking stage
  • at check-in stage
  • notification 24 to 48 hours prior to departure to UK 
  • on board the vessel, aircraft or train

Find out more information here.

21 January

New Government guidance is now available on two coronavirus funding schemes for businesses in England - the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG (Closed) Addendum) and the Closed Business Lockdown Payment.

Tourism and hospitality venues in England that have been required to close, as well as businesses that operate primarily as an in-person venue, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead may be eligible for one or both of these grants. Eligible businesses must occupy property on which they pay business rates and are the ratepayer.

For those required to close due to the national restrictions beginning 5 January 2021, the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP) supports eligible businesses based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.

  • Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £4,000.
  • Business with a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £6,000.
  • Business with a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a one-off cash grant of £9,000.

Businesses that were open as usual, but then required to close due to national restrictions imposed by government (for each period) may be eligible for the LRSG (Closed) Addendum schemes:

  • From 5 January 2021 onwards
  • Between 5 November and 2 December 2020

The grant will be based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions.

For national restrictions from 5 January 2021

  • Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £2,001 for each 42-day qualifying restrictions period.
  • Businesses with a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £3,000 for each 42-day qualifying restrictions period.
  • Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £4,500 for each 42-day qualifying restrictions period.

For national restrictions between 5 November and 2 December 2020

  • Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,334 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
  • Businesses a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, may be eligible for a cash grant of £2,000 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.
  • Businesses with a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, may be eligible for a cash grant of £3,000 for each 28-day qualifying restrictions period.

The grants are administered by local councils. Find your local council website

20 January

The application deadline for an animal welfare grant of up to £730,000 for zoos or aquariums affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) has been extended to 26 February 2021. Find out more information on the Zoo Animals Fund.

19 January

18 January

Travel corridors suspended

From 4.00 am today, Monday 18 January all travel corridors with the UK have been suspended – meaning that all international arrivals who have departed from or transited through any country outside the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days will be required to both take a pre-departure test, and self-isolate immediately for 10 days on arrival. This includes British and Irish nationals.

This move will be supported by increased enforcement, both at the border and across the UK, with Border Force increasing the number of spot checks on passengers that have entered the country. The new measures will be reviewed on Monday 15 February. The government’s Test to Release scheme for people who arrive in England will remain in place, giving passengers the option to shorten the mandatory self-isolation period.

Pre-departure COVID testing required for entry into the UK

From 04.00 on Monday 18 January 2021 passengers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to travel to EnglandScotland and Wales (Northern Ireland from 21 Jan). The test must be taken in the 3 days before the journey.

Detailed guidance has now been published by the Department for Transport.
DfT has also shared a stakeholder partner guide with communications materials and advice for partners on travel corridors, test to release and the passenger locator form.

Guidance updated to reflect the suspension of travel corridors:

Guidance updated to reflect updates to testing requirements:

Supreme Court judgment in Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) business interruption insurance test case means many policy holders will receive payment

The Supreme Court has substantially allowed the FCA’s appeal on behalf of business interruption insurance policyholders. The legal process for impacted policies is now complete and means that covered policyholders will now have their claims for coronavirus-related business interruption losses paid. The judgment is legally binding on the eight insurers that agreed to be parties to the test case. 

The judgment also provides authoritative guidance for the interpretation of similar policy wordings and claims. The FCA has said it will be working with insurers to ensure that they move quickly to pay claims that the judgment says should be paid, making interim payments wherever possible. The judgment does not determine how much is payable under individual policies, but provides much of the basis for doing so. Each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy. Policyholders with affected claims can expect to hear from their insurer soon. Policyholders with questions should approach their broker, other advisers or insurer. 370,000 policyholders were identified as holding 700 types of policies issued by 60 insurers that may be affected by the outcome of the test case. 

The FCA has published draft guidance for policyholders on how to prove the presence of coronavirus, which is a condition in certain types of policy. The FCA will issue finalised guidance as soon as possible after the consultation which closes on 22 January. They will also publish a set of Q&As for policyholders to assist them and their advisers in understanding the test case. The FCA will also publish a list of BI policy types that potentially respond to the pandemic based on data that they will be gathering from insurers. Read more on the FCA website.

5 January

National lockdown in England

The Prime Minister addressed the nation last night outlining a national lockdown in England. In summary:

England will be entering a national lockdown, the Government is instructing people to stay at home and this will be backed up with legislation 

  • People will be permitted to leave home for limited reasons, including shopping for essentials, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, or to seek medical assistance.
  • Shielding will begin again, those at risk will receive a letter.
  • Primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges must move to online learning – except for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Nurseries will continue to be open.
  • All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol. 
  • Essential shops and garden centres can remain open. Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos must close, but the outdoor areas of venues such as heritage homes and botanical gardens can remain open, to be used for exercise. Playgrounds may also remain open.

Everyone should follow the new rules from now, and they will become law from 00.01 on Wednesday 6 January. Parliament will sit, largely remotely, on Wednesday to debate and vote on the measures. The restrictions are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improves.

The following guidance has been published on GOV.UK for people who are fit and well. 

People can exercise in a public outdoor place alone, with the people they live with, with their support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one), in a childcare bubble where providing childcare or, when alone, with one person from another household

Public outdoor places include:

  • Parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • Public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • The grounds of a heritage site
  • Playgrounds
  • Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.

Travel

  • People must not leave their home unless they have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If people need to travel, they should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys made overall.
  • People can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country being visited.
  • People cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not a primary residence.

Businesses and venues which must close

  • To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close will be available shortly in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:
  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks.
  • Animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.
  • Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services– for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services.

Businesses and venues which can remain open 
Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses will be available on GOV.UK shortly but some businesses in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector that can remain open include: 

  • Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Places of worship
  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and off-licences, market stalls selling essential retail
  • Petrol stations, taxi and vehicle hire businesses 

Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.
  • Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people and in exceptional circumstances.

View the stay at home guidance for England

New lockdown grants to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

The Chancellor has announced grants for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

The one-off top-up grants will be provided on a per property basis to businesses closed as a result of the latest restrictions as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.

The new one-off grants are in addition to the existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

30 December

England

In a statement to the House of Commons today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that several areas of England would face changes to their tier level from 00.01 on 31 December. 

The following areas will move into Tier 3 (Very High alert)

  • Rutland
  • Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin 
  • Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon, Wyre Forest) 
  • Herefordshire 
  • Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens) 
  • York and North Yorkshire (Scarborough, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Selby, Craven, Ryedale, Harrogate, City of York) 
  • Bath and North East Somerset 
  • Devon, Plymouth, Torbay (East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, West Devon, Plymouth, Torbay) 
  • Cornwall 
    Dorset 
  • Wiltshire 

View the full Tier 3 guidance, including information for businesses

The following areas will move into Tier 4 (Stay at Home)

  • Leicester City
  • Leicestershire (Oadby and Wigston, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Blaby, Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton) 
  • Lincolnshire (City of Lincoln, Boston, South Kesteven, West Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, East Lindsey) 
  • Northamptonshire (Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire, Wellingborough) 
  • Derby and Derbyshire (Derby, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Erewash, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak) 
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (Gedling, Ashfield, Mansfield, Rushcliffe, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, Broxtowe) 
  • Birmingham and Black Country (Dudley, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton) 
  • Coventry
  • Solihull 
  • Warwickshire (Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwick, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon) 
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (East Staffordshire, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent) 
  • Lancashire (Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Blackpool, Preston, Hyndburn, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre) 
  • Cheshire and Warrington (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington) 
  • Cumbria (Eden, Carlisle, South Lakeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland, Allerdale) 
  • Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan) 
  • Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees) 
  • North East (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland) 
  • Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham) 
  • Somerset Council (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset) 
  • Swindon 
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 
  • Isle of Wight 
  • New Forest 

View the full Tier 4 guidance, including information for businesses

The changes were also mentioned at a press briefing this afternoon by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and you can read his statement here.

The full list of local restriction tiers by area is available here

 

23 December

England

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today provided an update on the tier restrictions in England. He was joined by Dr Jenny Harries and Susan Hopkins. He began by reflecting on a difficult year, before moving onto the new variant which is spreading at a fast rate.

  • Against this backdrop, the following areas are moving tiers as of 00:01 on 26 December:
  • Areas going into tier 4: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Cambridgeshire. Those parts of Essex not yet in tier 4 (Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford), Waverely in Surrey, and Hampshire (inc Portsmouth and Southampton, but excluding new Forest).

See TIER 4 stay at home guidance. The updated visitor economy guidance has just been published. See more details below.

  • Areas moving to tier 3: Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Northamptonshire, Cheshire, and Warrington.

See tier 3 guidance, including information for businesses

  • Areas moving to tier 2: Cornwall and Herefordshire.

See tier 2 guidance, including information for businesses

 

The Health Secretary also spoke of two cases of another new variant. They have been identified amongst those who have travelled from South Africa recently. This new variant is yet more transmissible and has mutated further. The government has:

  • Quarantined cases and close contacts found in the UK.
  • Placed immediate restrictions on travel to/from South Africa.

 

Anyone who has travelled or is in contact with someone who has returned from South Africa must quarantine immediately.

You can read the press release here or check the full list of local restrictions by area.

Coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses)

The Local Restrictions Support Grant has updated its guidance to reflect that all Tier 4 businesses in England who are required to close will be eligible for grants of up to £1,500 for each 14-day period of closure; the grants will be administered by local authorities.

Business can check if they are eligible here.  

 

Updated visitor economy guidance

In light of the tier 4 restrictions in England the working safely during COVID-19 guidance has been updated with more detailed guidance for those working in the visitor economy, e.g. attractions, accommodation providers, coach and tour operators, event and exhibition venues and other hospitality businesses. There are also some updates to tiers 1 and 2 guidance.

Holidays

The guidance confirms that holidays in tiers one and two can continue as before.

In Tier 1, there are no restrictions on travel, though people should stay local and avoid travelling outside of their local area where possible, residents are able to travel within their local area or to other tier 1 areas and stay overnight in hotels and other holiday accommodation in groups of up to six people (or larger if from a single household/support bubble). Residents are allowed to travel to tier 2 areas, but should only do so within their own household/support bubbles.

In Tier 2, residents are able to travel within their local area and stay overnight in hotels and other holiday accommodation, but should only do so with members of their own household/support bubble and should stay local and avoid travelling outside of your local area where possible. Residents can leave tier 2 areas to go on holiday in tier 1 or other tier 2 areas within their own household/support bubbles, though are encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

Residents of both tier 1 and 2 to avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to tier 3, unless necessary for a permitted reason such as for work. And people should not travel into a tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for permitted reasons such as work, education and for caring responsibilities.

Multi-purpose venues table service exemption

In tier 1 and 2 areas:

  • Theatres, concert halls and cinemas are exempt from having to provide table service to audience members who have a ticket and are planning to consume the food or drink in the auditorium, or area of the venue where the performance / screening is taking place. Food and drink (including alcohol) must be consumed whilst seated in the auditorium, or area of the venue where the performance / screening is taking place. Venues should take steps to reduce queues for ordering, ensuring social distancing is maintained at all times.
  • This exemption extends to performance/screening areas within the premises of another venue such as a pub, hotel or holiday park. The exemption only applies to the specific performance/screening area, which must therefore be separate and distinct from the wider premises. The activity must be ticketed, and venues must have all relevant approvals and authorisations (e.g. licensing or planning) from the Local Authority. This means for example that a separate, standalone function room in a hotel could serve as a concert hall if

o   i. it is set aside and designated for that purpose,

o   ii. attendees are ticketed and

o   iii. the venue has the necessary authorisations for hosting live music or performances.

However, a concert performance in a hotel lobby or working restaurant would not be exempt by law as it is not a separate and distinct space, meaning that any alcohol would need to be provided via table service and in tier 2 accompany a substantial meal.

  • Theatres, concert halls and cinemas may stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm. Where venues are multi-purpose, these extended hours do not apply to any area outside the auditorium or performance area.
  • Hospitality services must take last orders at 10pm, and close at 11pm.

 In tier 2 areas:

  • Theatres, concert halls and cinemas are exempt from only being able to serve alcohol with a substantial meal, provided it is limited only to customers with tickets who intend to consume alcohol drinks in auditoriums or area of the venue where the performance / screening is taking place. This applies to performance/screening areas within other venues as above. Venues should also only serve alcohol without a substantial meal to ticketed customers during the performance and for a maximum of 60 minutes, which can be split either side of the performance or screening if required. 

 

Restrictions for areas who are in tier 4 have also been added. View the guidance as well as to find out the restrictions in place for your business, including, for example, social contact rules, advice for guided tours and coach tours, as well as guidance for wedding, civil partnership, wakes and commemorative events. The guidance also includes the exemptions of when a hotel and other guest accommodation in tier 4 in England can remain open, plus examples of when a business event and meeting venues can be used.

Advice on organised outdoor events in tier 4 has also been published. Entertainment venues must close including: fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks as well as outdoor Santa’s grottos. Outdoor business events (such as trade shows and exhibitions) and elite sporting events are not permitted. Performing art venues will be closed to audiences, including outdoor performing art activities. All other outdoor events organised by businesses, charitable organisations and public bodies, such as car boot sales, and literary fairs are not permitted.

View the updated visitor economy guidance.

Guidance on waterways

The Environment Agency waterways have issued guidance following the introduction of tier 4 in England. For waterways in tier 4: Essential travel only. Travel on waterways and overnight stays are only permitted where the boat is the permanent residence or it is necessary for work, education or similar reasons. People should stay local where possible and not travel outside of a tier 4 area.

Travelling to maintain your boat is permitted in and between tiers 1 and 2; and within tier 3 only. Travel to maintain your boat is not permitted in tier 4.

You should not visit a tier 3 or 4 area from another tier or travel from a tier 3 or 4 area to another tier to visit your boat.

Read the guidance.

 

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has issued advice on travel within the Common Travel Area. People should only travel within Northern Ireland when it is essential to do so. Guidance for visitors from Great Britain, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands includes:

  • People should not travel in or out of Northern Ireland except where it is essential to do so. Guidance on what is essential is listed here.
  • If a person arrives into Northern Ireland from within the Common Travel Area and plans to remain there for at least 24 hours, they must self-isolate upon arrival for 10 days in the same way as international arrivals.
  • Household members do not need to self-isolate, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene. People are permitted to leave self-isolation in order to leave Northern Ireland, should their intended stay be shorter than 10 days.

 

21 December

England

As COVID rates are rising rates in London, the South East and East of England, believed to be due to a new variant of the virus which may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant, the Government has announced that areas of London, the South East and the East of England in tier 3 will move to a new tier 4 where the restrictions will be broadly equivalent to national restrictions which were in place in England in November. 

The full list of areas moving to tier 4 has been published. The following areas will be moving tier from the beginning of Sunday 20 December:  London (All 32 London boroughs plus City of London), Kent and Medway, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead and West Berkshire), Surrey (excluding Waverley), Hastings and Rother, Havant, Gosport and Portsmouth, Hertfordshire, Essex (excluding Tendring, Uttlesford and Colchester), Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough.

These tier 4 restrictions will come into effect from Sunday morning:

  • People in tier 4 areas must stay at home (with limited exemptions) and work from home where they can. 
  • Non-essential retail, indoor gyms and leisure facilities and personal care services must close. 
  • People should not enter or leave tier 4 areas and residents of tier 4 areas should not stay overnight outside their local area. 
  • Individuals can only meet one person from outside their households in outdoor public spaces. 
  • Communal worship can continue to take place.

Businesses and venues which must close

These include:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods - these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor tennis and basketball courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor climbing walls
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
  • Indoor attractions at botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. It is also prohibited to provide these services in other people’s homes
  • Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

These businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • Education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • Childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • Hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • To provide medical treatment
  • For elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • For training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • For the purposes of professional film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and Christmas tree retailers, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • Market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor gyms, pools, sports courts and facilities
  • Golf courses
  • Archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
  • Outdoor riding centres

Staying away from home overnight

People who live in tier 4 cannot leave home for holidays or stays overnight away from their main home unless permitted by law. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, or staying with anyone they do not live with or are in a support bubble with.

People are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if they:

  • Are unable to return to their main residence
  • Need accommodation while moving house
  • Need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • Require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • Are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • Are homeless, seeking asylum or a vulnerable person seeking refuge
  • Are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

People on holiday in a Tier 4 area, you should return to their home as soon as practical.

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing. Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with Local Authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups including the homeless in tier 4 areas.

Find out the guidance for those in tier 4 areas in England and which areas will be placed in tier 4 from the beginning of Sunday 20 December. You can also see the full list of local restriction tiers by area. All tiers will be formally reviewed on 30 December. 

New advice on travel is that everyone in all tiers should stay local and carefully consider whether to travel abroad. Those in tier 4 will not be permitted to travel abroad (except in exceptional circumstances).

Travelling within a tier 4 area

  • If people live in a tier 4 area, they must stay at home and only travel for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If they need to travel they should stay local - meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where they live - and look to reduce the number of journeys made overall.
  • If they need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.

Travelling out of a tier 4 area

  • People most on leave Tier 4 area for legally permitted reasons such as travel to work where they cannot work from home, to education and for caring responsibilities. The full list of exceptions will be published in the Regulations.

Travelling to a tier 4 area from a tier 1, 2 or 3 area

  • People must not travel into a Tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for reasons such as travel to work where it is not possible to work from home, etc

International travel to or from a tier 4 area

  • If people are in Tier 4, they should not be travelling abroad unless it is permitted and the public health advice in the country being visited needs considering.
  • For people who live outside a tier 4 area, they may still transit into or through a tier 4 area to travel abroad if they need to, but they should carefully consider whether they need to do so. In addition, the public health advice in the country being visited should be followed.

See the rules in place at destination being visited and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice.

Also worth noting:

  • People must not leave or be outside of their home except for where they have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse’, such as work and volunteering, essential activities such as shopping for essential items, including collecting food or drink -ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, education and childcare, fulfilling legal obligations, exercise and recreation, medical reasons, communal workshop and life events.
  • In general, people must not meet with another person socially or undertake any activities with another person. However, they can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people they live with, their support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person. 
  • People can exercise or visit a public outdoor place, alone, with the people they live with, their support bubble or, when on their own, with one person from another household. Children under five, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit. 
  • Public outdoor places include: parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests, public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments, the grounds of a heritage site, outdoor sports courts and facilities and playgrounds. 
  • Larger groups are permitted for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances, for example where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover ('deathbed wedding') or due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. These weddings are limited to six people. 
  • Funerals - up to a maximum of 30 people can take place. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to six. 

 

Update to Christmas arrangements

The Christmas rules in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been revised.

 

Level four restrictions in Wales brought forward

The First Minister of Wales has announced that the new restrictions will come into effect from midnight tonight instead of during the Christmas period. This will mean non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality will close at the end of trading today. Stay-at-home restrictions will also come into effect from midnight.

The current rules, which allow two households to come together to form a Christmas bubble over a five-day period will now apply on Christmas Day only.

 

New restrictions announced for Scotland

A strict travel ban has been announced between Scotland and rest of the UK in both directions. This will remain in place over Christmas. International travel is being reviewed and there will be an update next week.

Indoor mixing should be avoided where-ever possible, but will be permitted legally in a bubble (max 8 people, excluding children under 12) on Christmas Day only. Caring responsibilities can still be undertaken if essential.

Level 4 measures will be applied to all of mainland Scotland at one minute past  midnight on Boxing Day for three weeks. Exceptions are Orkney, Shetland  and Western Isles and the other island communities which will go to level three with strict restrictions on who can travel to them. These restrictions will be reviewed after two weeks. Non-essential shops, pubs restaurants and cafes will close. Takeaways will still be allowed. View the full list of businesses that must close in level 4.

 

18 December

Updates to loan scheme deadlines

Further to yesterday’s announcement by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the following loan scheme application deadlines have been updated to 31 March 2021:

 

17 December

Extension of furlough and loan schemes 

The Chancellor announced today that the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages. In addition, businesses will have now until the end of March to access government loan schemes. 

A successor loan scheme has already been announced to provide support beyond March. We will share more details on the scheme when available. The government has said it will provide a further update on wider COVID-19 economic support at the Budget on 3 March. 

 

16 December

Review of tiers in England

London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire to move to tier 3 restrictions from 16 December. Read the full statement.

On the first review of the tier system the following changes will come into place at one minute past midnight, Saturday 19 December: 

  • Moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Surrey (with the exception of Waverley), Hastings and Rother, Portsmouth, Havant and Gosport.
  • Moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2: Bristol and North Somerset
  • Moving from Tier 2 to Tier 1: Herefordshire

 

For the full guidance for each tier see the guidance for each tier below:

See the full list of local restriction tiers by area and visitor economy guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows. 

Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs (England)

The Christmas Support Payment is for wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the festive season due to temporary local restrictions. Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of £1,000 from their local council in areas under Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions. See more details and eligibility criteria.

Self-isolation period reduced from 14 to 10 days from 14 December

This change will apply in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 00:01am on Monday 14 December this also applies in Wales.  Read more. 

Travel Corridors

For the latest updates on travel corridors see the list on GOV.UK.

Business evictions ban extended until March  (England)

Business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Read the latest updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Guidance on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus (England)

COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created for people who run businesses or organisations. Sector-specific ‘action cards’ have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. including - residential workplaces, food and drink, small and large gatherings workplace, travel, commercial workplaces.

26 November

Following the announcement on Monday of the Government’s Winter Plan for managing COVID-19 and the new regional tier system which will come into place in England on Wednesday 2 December, the Government has now announced which areas will be in which tier. 

Please see below a list of areas by restriction level. The first review point for the tier allocations will take place by Wednesday 16 December.

Decisions on tiers are made by ministers based on public health recommendations informed by the following factors: 

  1. case detection rate (in all age groups and, in particular, among the over 60s)
  2. how quickly case rates are rising or falling
  3. positivity in the general population
  4. pressure on the NHS – including current and projected (3 to 4 weeks out) NHS capacity – including admissions, general/acute/ICU bed occupancy, staff absences
  5. local context and exceptional circumstances such as a local but contained outbreak.

Regions of England by local alert level from 2 December 2020

Tier 1: Medium alert 

  • South East
    • Isle of Wight
  • South West
    • Cornwall, Isles of Scilly

Restriction guidance for Tier 1: Medium alert 
 

Tier 2: High alert 

  • North West
    • Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Warrington and Cheshire
  • Yorkshire
    • York, North Yorkshire
  • West Midlands
    • Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
  • East Midlands
    • Rutland, Northamptonshire
  • East of England
    • Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough, Norfolk, Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
  • London
    • All 32 boroughs plus the City of London
  • South East
    • East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Surrey, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Windsor and Maidenhead, West Berkshire, Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire
  • South West
    • South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor, Bath and North East Somerset, Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon, Devon

Restriction guidance for Tier 2: High alert 

Tier 3: Very High alert 

  • North East
    • Tees Valley Combined Authority, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington, North East Combined Authority, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, County Durham, Northumberland
  • North West
    • Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen
  • Yorkshire and The Humber
    • The Humber, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire
  • West Midlands
    • Birmingham and Black Country, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull
  • East Midlands
    • Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, Lincolnshire
  • South East
    • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert), Kent and Medway
  • South West
    • Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset

Restriction guidance for Tier 3: Very High alert 

Summary posters showing what the guidance is in each tier level are available for download on GOV.UK

23 November

This afternoon Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan. The Prime Minister confirmed that the national restrictions in England will end on 2 December and that the country will move back into a regional tiered approach. These tiers will be tougher than previously. On Thursday 26 November the government is due to announce which areas are in which tier. A postcode checker will also be available to show which restrictions apply in which area.

In the meantime guidance on the restrictions that will be applicable in each tier has been published. Please see the key guidance from each area below. The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December, from which time people will be able to leave home for any purpose and meet people outside their household subject to the rule of 6, collective worship and weddings can resume, shops and gyms can reopen (see caveats below). 

Tier 1: Medium alert 
In tier 1:

  • People must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies.
  • Businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • Provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol
    • Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)
    • Stop taking orders after 10pm
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

People who live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier should follow the rules for that area while they are there. Travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas should be avoided other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey is permitted. 
 

Tier 2: High alert 
In tier 2: 

  • People must not socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space.
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
  • Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • Provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
    • Stop taking orders after 10pm
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
  • People who live in a tier 2 area, must continue to follow tier 2 rules when travel to a tier 1 area. Travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas should be avoided other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey is permitted.

 

Tier 3: Very High alert 
In tier 3:

  • People must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they do not live with, or who is not in their support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.
  • Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:
    • play centres and areas, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, trampolining parks,soft play, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades, adult gaming centres, laser quests and escape rooms, snooker halls
  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (although indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within:
    • zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves, aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions, model villages, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs, visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes, landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms.
  • Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close.
  • There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.
  • Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.
  • Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place.
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. See full guidance for exceptions. 
  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

Travel to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays should be avoided, other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through other areas as part of a longer journey is permitted.
 

See the full guidance for the exemptions from gathering limits in all tiers

Other Government updates

New venues required to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace (England)
Cinemas, concert venues and theatres have been added to the list of venues that must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus and support NHS Test and Trace. The list of indoor sports and leisure centres has been updated to include gyms.

Updates the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance

  • Information on what HMRC may deem to be a reasonable excuse for missing a claim deadline has been added to the claim wages through CJRS page. The guidance has also been updated to make it clear that if a claim deadline falls on the weekend or a bank holiday then claims should be submitted on the next working day.
  • The CJRS calculation guidance has been updated to clarify how to work out 80% of employees average earnings between the date their employment started and the day before they are furloughed.

12 November

The Secretary of State for BEIS, Alok Sharma, gave a press briefing on COVID-19 today, along with Prof Steve Powis of NHS England, in which he confirmed that the Government will be distributing £2.2 billion to local authorities in England tomorrow, to allow them to make grant payments to businesses which have been affected.

Meanwhile, BEIS has published guidance on five grant schemes.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Closed) Addendum)

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Closed) Addendum) supports businesses in England that have been required to close due to the national restrictions between 5 November and 2 December 2020. Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 28-day period under national restrictions.

Eligibility
Your business may be eligible if it:

  • is based in England
  • occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • has been required to close because of the national restrictions from 5 November to 2 December 2020
  • has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

To support businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed, this scheme provides local councils with grant funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but which are impacted. In addition, larger grants can be given than those made through Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed).

Eligibility
Local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. However the funding is expected to help those businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions.

This could include:

  • businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
  • businesses in the events sector
  • business required to close but which do not pay business rates

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LSRG (Sector))

Businesses including nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques adult entertainment venues and hostess bars that have been required to close due to the national restrictions introduced in March 2020, and which have not been able to re-open, may be eligible for this grant. Eligible businesses are entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 14-day period they are closed. This funding is available from 1 November 2020 and is not retrospective. The grant will be based on the rateable value of business owners properties on 1 November 2020.

Eligibility
Your business may be eligible if it:

  • is based in England
  • occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • has been closed since 23 March 2020 because of national restrictions

Eligible businesses can get one grant per non-domestic property.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses)

Businesses in England that were open as usual and were then required to close due to local restrictions (Local COVID alert level: Very High) may be eligible for the local restrictions support grant. Eligible businesses are entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 14-day period they are closed. 

Eligibility
Your business may be eligible if it:

  • is based in England
  • occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • is in an area of local restrictions and has been required to close because of local restrictions that resulted in a first full day of closure on or after 9 September
  • has been required to close for at least 14 days because of the restrictions
  • has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises

Local Restrictions Support Grant (for open businesses)

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Open)) supports businesses that have been severely impacted due to temporary local restrictions. Businesses that have not had to close but which have been severely impacted due to local restrictions (Local COVID alert levels: High or Very High) may be eligible for LRSG (Open). Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 28-day period under local restrictions.

Eligibility
Your business may be eligible if it:

  • is based in England
  • is in an area subject to ‘High’ or ‘Very High’ local restrictions since 1 August 2020 and has been severely impacted because of the local restrictions
  • was established before the introduction of Local COVID alert level: High restrictions
  • has not had to close but has been impacted by local restrictions

Local councils have the freedom to determine the precise eligibility criteria for these grants. However, the funding is expected to be targeted at hospitality, hotel, bed & breakfast and leisure businesses.

05 November

Today, the Chancellor announced further support for businesses across the UK including a five-month extension of the furlough scheme until spring 2021.

Key points from his announcement are: 

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of March 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers will need to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked, this accounts for just 5% of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month. The extended CJRS will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being able to claim either shortly before, during or after running payroll. Claims can be made from 8am Wednesday 11 November. The CJRS extension will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions.
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will increase from 50% to 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500, for the period November to January. The window for claiming a grant will open on 30 November, two weeks earlier than previously announced.
  • The Jobs Retention Bonus (JRB) will not be paid in February and the Government will redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time.
  • An increase in the upfront guarantee of funding for the devolved administrations from £14 billion to £16 billion. This uplift will continue to support workers, business and individuals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Further to the above, the Government announced:

  • Businesses in England that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions will receive up to £3,000 per month.
  • Local authorities in England will receive one-off funding of £1.1 billion to support businesses more broadly over the coming months as a key part of local economies. They can use this at their discretion. This will be distributed to local authorities on the basis of c.£20/head of population.
  • Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors in England that suffered from reduced demand due to local restrictions introduced between 1 August and 5 November will receive backdated grants at 70% of the value of closed grants, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month for this period.
  • Plans to extend the existing Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Future Fund, and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to the end of January 2021. This will give businesses two extra months to make loan applications (relative to the current deadline of 30 November).
  • Adjustment of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum (i.e. the lower of £50,000 or less than 25% of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan.
  • An extension to the mortgage payment holiday for homeowners.
  • Up to £500 million of funding for councils to support the local public health response.

Government guidance updates 

Following the recent national lockdown restrictions that came in to place today, 5 November 2020, the Government has updated its Visitor Economy Guidance

As you will know from previous updates, certain businesses and venues have been ordered to close. Look at the guidance to see the list. 

The Visitor Economy guidance states that event spaces, including in conference centres and exhibition halls, can be used for reasons permitted by law, including for business events of up to 30 where reasonably necessary, for education and training purposes where reasonably necessary, or to provide socially beneficial public services such as Nightingale hospitals or food banks. Conference centres and exhibition halls should remain closed for conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining or banqueting events. 

There is also detailed guidance for accommodation providers and heritage locations

Guidance for heritage locations
Some heritage locations can still be visited because they are outside, as long as the current social distancing rules are observed. These include historic parks, gardens, landscapes, and ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where these are paid-for attractions. You should only visit them with:

  • the people you live with
  • your support bubble
  • or, when on your own, one person from another household

Children under five, as well as disabled people dependent on round-the-clock care, are not counted towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

Roofed historic buildings and fully-enclosed spaces will be closed, although their attached grounds, including car parks, toilets and outdoor play areas, can remain open.

 
Hotel and other guest accommodation guidance
The latest guidance states that accommodation providers, whether in a hotel, hostel, B&B, holiday apartment, home, cottage or bungalow, campsite, caravan park or boarding house, canal boat or any other vessel must close unless the exemptions set out in law apply. Accommodation providers should only open for those who:

  • Are unable to return to their main residence.
  • Use that accommodation as their main residence.
  • Need accommodation while moving house or attending a funeral.
  • Need to self-isolate as required by law.
  • Need accommodation for the purposes of their work, or children who need accommodation for the purposes of education.
  • Are elite athletes, their coach or (in the case of an elite athlete who is a child), the parent of an elite athlete, and need accommodation for the purposes of training or competition.
  • Are currently in that accommodation at the time when national restrictions come into force.
  • Are visiting from abroad on holiday or for work purposes.
  • Are being provided accommodation to relieve homelessness.

Other guidance includes that accommodation providers: 

  • May keep their business open to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups including the homeless or for the purposes of a women’s refuge or a vulnerable person’s refuge; to host blood donation sessions; or for any purpose requested by the Secretary of State, or a local authority.
  • Should take all reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing guests of restrictions when taking bookings and communicating to all customers, including those with existing bookings, reminding them not to travel unless it is essential (such as for work purposes or attending a funeral).
  • Should not intentionally facilitate bookings that do not adhere to government restrictions. Those not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed.
  • Should give guests a chance to cancel their existing bookings if they intend on no longer travelling and staying at the accommodation.
  • May refuse or cancel bookings. The decision to refuse service is at the discretion of the business owner, and the terms of the booking contract may allow for discretionary cancellations.
  • Are encouraged if a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer or if this cannot be arranged, to provide a refund (as they have for customers during the broader lockdown period, which may depend on the terms of the booking contract).

Restaurants and bars within guest accommodation should remain closed although 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 be encouraged not to gather and social distancing should be observed. 

Business meetings and events are advised against, but may take place with up to a total of 30 people if reasonably necessary - for example for the purposes of work that cannot be done at home - if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. Event spaces can be used for reasons permitted by law, including for education and training purposes where reasonably necessary.

Other guidance updates 

The following guidance has also been updated in line with current national restrictions:

Other updates

  • A new graphical poster displaying information about the national restrictions in England is available to download.
  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated to explain that overseas services and in-country immigration services will remain open, but dependent on local country restrictions. Also, the period for requesting exceptional assurance has been extended when applying to enter the UK or remain on the basis of family or private life. 

 

04 November

The national restriction guidance (England)

The national restriction guidance has been updated with some further information and clarifications. Please see some areas that would be of interest to tourism businesses.

  • The guidance for those currently on holiday has been updated: If you were already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon as practical and comply with the ‘stay at home’ requirements in your holiday accommodation in the meantime. 

Further updates to businesses and venues that can remain open, these now include:

  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas.
  • Outdoor grounds of botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks (indoor attractions at these venues must close).

The full list of venues that must close/that can remain open can be found on page 29-32 of the regulations.

Further clarifications on weddings and funerals:

  • Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in the 15 or 30. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’). These weddings are limited to 6 people.

 

Support for the self-employed 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme - the Government has announced it is increasing support through the third installment of the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, people will receiving 80% of their average trading profits for November. The claims window is also being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November. New guidance on how to claim is due to be published shortly.

Other financial support available to self-employed people who are getting less work due to coronavirus has been updated in the guidance including: 

  • Test and Trace Support Payment
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit

Loan schemes application deadlines extended to 31 January 2021

The application deadlines for the following schemes have been extended until 31 January 2021:

Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until December 2020.The current guidance on GOV.UK is due to be updated shortly and will include the rules relating to the extension and when you will be able to claim.

    Other Government updates

    We are expecting the Visitor Economy and Hotel and Other Guest Accommodation guidance to be published shortly to be in line with the new national lockdown which is due to come into force at 00:01 on Thursday 5 November 2020. We will continue to keep you updated.

    We are expecting further guidance to be available shortly. We will continue to keep you updated.

    01 November 2020

     

    The Prime Minister has  announced a second national lockdown for England. View the full speech. In summary, this lockdown comes into effect on 00.01 Thursday for 4 weeks (following a Commons vote on Wednesday and regulations published on Tuesday), so until 2 December 2020. After the four weeks, the Government will seek to ease restrictions, going back into the tiered system on a local and a regional basis according to the latest data and trends.

    Key points from his speech are:

    • The public must stay at home from Thursday, only leaving home for specific reasons, including:
      • For education
      • For work, say if you cannot work from home
      • For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household
      • For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm
      • To shop for food and essentials
      • To provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
    • Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.
    • Single adult households can still form exclusive support bubbles with one other household, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.

    A press release on the PM’s statement on upcoming national restrictions in England has since been published which outlines some further details on restrictions applicable to tourism. The key points to note are:

    • There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday. This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work.
    • Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach, and those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse.

    There is also a new guidance page on gov.uk on the changes in England. Please be aware that this is initial topline guidance and more detail will be available in the coming days. Of particular note:

    • The Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close, including:
    • All non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
    • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,
    • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens
    • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
    • Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
    • Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
    • Playgrounds can remain open.
    • Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
    • Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.
    • A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law.
    • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

    All non-essential travel by private or public transport should be avoided. Essential travel includes, but is not limited to

    • Essential shopping
    • Travelling to work where your workplace is open or you cannot work from home
    • Travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
    • Hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health.

    Financial support

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended through November. Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2,500 a month. The flexibility of the current CJRS will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can. Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November – making this more generous than support currently on offer.

    The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

    Here is a link to the new Style Employment and Support Allowance

     

    30 October

    West Yorkshire to move to local COVID alert level very high from 2 November

    All of West Yorkshire, comprising the 5 districts of Calderdale, City of Bradford, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield will move from local COVID alert level high to very high from 00:01 on Monday 2 November. 

    In addition to the baseline guidance for very high areas (including the closure of pubs and bars unless serving substantial meals, avoidance of travelling outside and into the area for non-essential purposes as well as the avoidance of residents staying overnight in another part of the UK and others staying overnight in the very high alert area), the following restrictions will be in place:

    • Adult gaming centres, betting shops, car boot sales, casinos, soft play centres and areas will not be allowed to open.
    • Hospitality venues are not permitted to provide shared smoking equipment (such as for shisha) for use on the premises. These venues may continue to operate as cafes.
    • Indoor classes in gyms and sports facilities should not take place. Gyms and leisure centres can remain open more generally.

    The measures will be in place for 28 days, after which they will be reviewed. 

    Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update

    The online service for the next grant for SEISS will be available from 14 December 2020. HMRC will provide full details about claiming and guidance in due course.

    29 October

    Nottinghamshire to move into local COVID alert level very high 

    The whole of Nottinghamshire, including the 8 districts of Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, Nottingham and Rushcliffe, will move from local COVID alert level high to very high from 00:01 on 30 October. 

    In addition to the baseline guidance for very high areas (which includes the closure of pubs and bars unless serving substantial meals, avoidance of travelling outside and into the area for non-essential purposes as well as the avoidance of residents staying overnight in another part of the UK and others staying overnight in the very high alert area), a number of further restrictions will apply in Nottinghamshire. Of particular note for the tourism and hospitality industry. 

    Hospitality

    • Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs (whether or not they serve alcohol) must only open where they are serving substantial meal, like a main breakfast, lunchtime, or evening meal. People will not be able to sit in a cafe or restaurant to drink coffee or eat a snack. Premises not serving substantial meals must close, or operate on a takeaway or delivery service only basis.
    • In line with national restrictions, premises serving alcohol must take orders and serve food and drink to customers that are seated. Premises that do not serve alcoholic beverages can take orders at the counter but customers must be seated to eat or drink.
    • Hospitality venues are not permitted to provide shared smoking equipment (such as for shisha) for use on the premises.
    • Although alcohol is not permitted to be sold in retail settings (such as off-licences) after 9pm, it can continue to be purchased in hospitality venues where accompanying a substantial meal, up until 10pm, when they must close in line with the national restrictions.

    Indoor entertainment and leisure

    The following indoor settings will not be permitted to open: 

    • Exhibition centres and conference halls, museums and galleries, games and recreation venues, along with bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks (other than ice skating rinks), amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, play areas, including soft play centres and areas.

    Indoor parts of the following outdoor attractions are also not permitted to open, such as:

    • Animal attractions, including indoor viewing platforms at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and farms, biomes, greenhouses, and botanical gardens, model villages, heritage sites and homes, and castles, circuses, fun fairs, and fairgrounds, adventure parks, playgrounds and activities, theme parks, landmarks, including observation wheels or viewing platforms.

    Leisure and sporting facilities are permitted to remain open. However:

    • Saunas and steam rooms must close.
    • The provision of group indoor exercise classes (including fitness and dance classes) is strongly advised against.

    Public buildings

    • Public buildings, such as town halls, community centres and libraries can continue to open for specific purposes, including: childcare (registered or otherwise), communal worship, support groups (as permitted by law), and targeted activity for vulnerable youth, blood donation, and food banks. They should not host events for private hire, such as birthday parties or other social activities.

    Personal care and close contact services

    • Personal care settings such as tattoo parlours, tanning and nail salons, and piercing services must close. Hairdressers and barber salons can remain open but cannot perform services that are otherwise closed. It is advised that personal care services do not take place in private homes.

    Areas in Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England and South East to move to local COVID alert level in high from 31 October

    After close discussions with local leaders, the following areas will move from local COVID alert level medium to local COVID alert level high from 00:01 on Saturday 31 October.

    • Yorkshire and the Humber: East Riding of Yorkshire, Kingston-Upon-Hull, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire
    • West Midlands: Dudley, Staffordshire, Telford and Wrekin
    • East Midlands: Amber Valley, Bolsover, Derbyshire Dales, Derby City, South Derbyshire, High Peak (whole of), Charnwood
    • East of England: Luton
    • South East: Oxford City

    This means that for these areas new restrictions will be put in place. This includes people not socialising with anybody outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place, including pubs and restaurants. View the full guidance for local COVID alert level high. These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

    View the full list of COVID alert levels by area or use the postcode checker
     

    Updates to the working safely during coronavirus guidance

    The guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities has been updated in the following sections: 

    • (Section 2) Keeping your customers and users of sports and gym/leisure facilities safe.
    • (Section 4) Social distancing.
    • (Section 6.4) Changing rooms and showers.
    • (Section 8) Cars, accommodation and visits.

    Other Government updates 

    • Information on asking employees for a shielding note or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield has been added to the employer guidance on claiming employees’ coronavirus-related statutory sick pay.
    • The Kickstart Scheme guidance has been updated with a new link that helps users find a Kickstart Gateway. If you’re creating fewer than 30 job placements, a Kickstart gateway can act on your behalf and apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant for you. If you’re creating more than 30 job placements, you can apply by submitting an online application yourself.
    • The Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government has announced that Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Norwich, Torquay and Warrington are the first of 101 places to be offered a Town Deal.

    26 October

    Warrington to move into local COVID alert level very high 

    Warrington will move into local COVID alert level very high from 00:01am on Tuesday 27 October. 
    This means that new baseline measures will come into place including: 

    • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
    • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.
    • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals, any alcohol must only be served alongside such a meal.
    • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ alert level or entering a ‘very high’ alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey.
    • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the ‘very high’ alert area.

    In addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from 00:01am on Tuesday 27 October additional closures will include betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres and areas. 
    The government will provide a financial support package of £1.68m to Warrington, as well as £4.2m in business support funding. 

    Recent clarification from DCMS on tourism-related guidance:

    DCMS has shared the following guidance updates which you may find useful. 

    Hotels in local COVID alert level: very high. 
    Hotels in ‘very high’ alert level areas can remain open and accept overnight bookings, but people must not stay overnight with other people who are not members of the same household or support bubble. Food and drink must not be served from 10pm - 5am and hotel restaurants must remain closed during these hours. Hotel bars not serving substantial meals are not permitted to open. Where food is served, it must be seated table service only and alcohol can only be consumed with a meal. Room service can continue past 10pm provided orders are placed online or over the phone, and alcohol is permitted in room service. 

    Hotels’ responsibility to ensure guests adhere to local COVID alert level: very high rules. 
    The Government strongly advises against people in ‘very high’ alert level areas travelling or staying overnight outside their local area. However, there are certain circumstances in which travel is necessary, for example for work or education purposes or to fulfill caring responsibilities. As such - whilst we expect all businesses to act responsibly to stop the spread of the virus - businesses are not legally responsible for ensuring that customers are adhering to government guidance nor for enforcing that guidance. Enforcement remains for the police and Local Authorities. 

    Closure of cafes and coffee shops in local COVID alert level: very high areas. 
    Cafes and coffee shops are treated as restricted businesses for the purposes of the new local alert level regulations (the same as restaurants, bars & pubs etc). The expanded Job Support Scheme provides temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK. 

    Are marquees considered indoor or outdoor spaces. 
    As set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2)(England) Regulations 2020 a place is indoors if it would be considered to be enclosed or substantially enclosed. This includes enclosed or partially enclosed structures, such as marquees or tented structures. Therefore, businesses with marquees need to follow indoor COVID secure guidelines such as limiting capacity so that social distancing can be maintained along with any additional mitigations and restrictions associated with the tiers. 

    Other Government updates 

    • Updates to the hotels and other guest accommodation guidance including updates on managing risk (section 1.1), keeping your customers, visitors and contractors safe (section 2), and who should go to work (section 3).
    • The full list of local COVID alert levels by area has been Updated to reflect that Slough, Stoke-on-Trent and Coventry have moved into ‘local COVID alert level: high’ and Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire have moved into ‘local COVID alert level: very high’.

    22 October

    Today, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced further financial support for businesses and workers affected by COVID-19 through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas. 

    Job Support Scheme (JSS)
    The employer contribution to employees’ wages for hours not worked is being reduced from a third to 5%, and the minimum hours required for employees to be working from 33% to 20%, so that those working one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the Government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44. This change will come into effect on 1 November. 

    Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. The Job Support Scheme for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged. 

    Self-employed grant
    The amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants will increase from 20% to 40%, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750. 

    Business Grants
    Additional funding has also been announced 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. These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Local Alert Level very high (tier 3).

    Stoke on Trent, Coventry and Slough to move to local COVID alert level high
    Stoke on Trent, Coventry and Slough are to move from local COVID alert level medium to high, coming into effect from 00:01 on Saturday 24 October. 
    This means that for these areas, the following measures will be in place:

    • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
    • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
    • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible; if they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

    These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate. 
    Find out more about the measures that apply in high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

     

    21 October

    South Yorkshire to move to Local COVID alert level very high

    South Yorkshire will move from local COVID alert level high to very high. The change in alert level will take effect across all parts of South Yorkshire including Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and the City of Sheffield and will come into effect from 00.01 on Saturday 24 October.

    This means that new measures will come into place including:

    • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
    • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
    • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals
    • People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey
    • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area

    In addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from 00.01 on Saturday 24 October:

    • Additional closures will include: betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres
    • Gym classes will not be allowed and social distancing guidelines should be followed between people from different households (but gyms will remain open)

    COVID alert level guidance updates

    Liverpool City Region's tier-3 restrictions will be updated to align with those in Lancashire from Friday 23 October 2020. This means that gyms will be allowed to reopen and soft play areas will close.
     

    20 October

    This evening Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gave a briefing on the latest COVID-19 measures. During his statement the Prime Minister announced that Greater Manchester will move to the ‘Very High’ local alert level from midnight on Thursday 22 October.

    This means that:

    • Pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals.
    • Households can’t mix indoors or in most outdoor settings.
    • In some public outdoor spaces, groups must be limited to the rule of six.
    • Travel into and out of the area is strongly advised against.

    In line with the additional measures taken in Lancashire, casinos, bingo halls, betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play areas must also close. The regulations will be laid in Parliament on Thursday and come into force just after midnight.

    Greater Manchester will receive £22 million of funding, in addition to funding already provided to local authorities in England to support them.

    Discussions on moving to the ‘very high’ alert level continue with local leaders in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East. We will continue to keep you updated.

    Update on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
    Guidance has been made available for those who need to return to their Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim. The online service allows users to check the status of their payment, if they think the grant amount is too low or HMRC has asked for claim details to be updated (please note applications for the second grant are now closed).

     

    16 October

    Further changes to COVID alert levels have been announced today with Lancashire moving from COVID alert level high to very high on Saturday 17 October. Please see below the new measures that will be introduced, the support package for Lancashire and other updates.
     

    Local COVID alert level update for Lancashire

    Lancashire will move from local COVID alert level high to very high on Saturday 17 October. The local COVID alert level very high will take effect across all parts of Lancashire including, Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre.

    The new measures that will come into place include:

    • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
    • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.
    • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals.
    • People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey.
    • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area.

    In addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from Monday 19 October:

    • The adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops, and soft play areas must close.
    • Car boot sales would not be permitted.

    These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate. 

    An overview of what the different alert levels mean and associated restrictions can be found on GOV.UK alongside a postcode checker that shows which alert level applies in each area.

    Support package for Lancashire

    To support the local authority during this period, the government will be providing a support package worth £12 million as well as establishing a dedicated, ministerial-led taskforce with additional funding to work with Lancashire leaders to support local businesses to recover over the coming 6 months.

    Please see below some recent guidance clarifications from DCMS, which you may find useful.

    Travel and overnight stays in local COVID alert level: high areas
    People can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but should only do this with other people in their household or support bubble. People can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but must only do so with other people in their household or support bubble.

    Travel and overnight stays in local COVID alert level: very high areas
    Residents of very high alert areas should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, except if they need to do so for work, education or caring responsibilities and they must not stay with anyone they do not live with elsewhere in the UK. People are being asked to avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area where possible, except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities. Residents from a very high alert level area may travel to hotels and other guest accommodation within that area but should only do so with people in their household or support bubble.

    How local COVID alert level: medium differs from previous national regulations
    Local COVID Alert levels introduced earlier this week have seen the nationwide regulations that were in place, replaced by ‘Local COVID Alert Level: medium’. There are some differences which are worth noting for tourism and hospitality as follows:

    • Motorway services, airports and seaports will be exempted from the 10pm hospitality curfew (though no alcohol is to be served between 10pm and 5am).
    • In addition to delivery and drive-thru, hospitality venues will now be able to offer a click-and-collect service for the sale of food and non-alcoholic drink between 10pm and 5am, provided customers have pre-ordered by phone, online, or by post.
    • Theatres, concert halls and cinemas will be exempt from requiring people to be seated whilst ordering food and drink.
    • The restrictions on singing, dancing and loud music in hospitality premises will be removed, for further details please see the working safely during coronavirus guidance.

    Guidance for outdoor events catering

    • Where there is seating in an adjacent area to a stall or outlet that is serving food and drink, and customers will be using it, their orders must be taken and served at the table if the stall or outlet sells alcohol. Where the sale of alcohol is not offered, customers will need to be seated when eating but can order food from the counter.
    • Customers eating and drinking at tables will need to sit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6). Signs should be put up to remind customers to only interact with their group.
    • Where there is no seating available, the stall or outlet will be providing a take away service. The customer can order their food and drink including alcohol to eat and drink anywhere in the outdoor setting.
    • 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.
    • Customers eating and drinking in the outdoor setting should not gather in groups of more than 6 people.

    Guidance on NHS QR codes in hotels

    Displaying an official NHS QR code poster and collecting contact details for NHS Test and Trace is a legal requirement for hotels. However, if a guest chooses to check in by scanning the NHS QR code, they do not also need to complete the customer log. In this case the guest should scan the hotel’s QR code for each day of their stay.

    If a hotel has different venues within it, such as a restaurant or bar, separate QR code posters should be displayed in each of these. Guests can check into these spaces allowing them to be sent notifications with public health advice if needed. Further guidance can be found here.

     

    15 October

    Update to local alert levels in England 

    Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has given a statement in the House of Commons today on COVID-19, after discussions with local leaders.

    The following areas will move from local COVID alert level: medium to local COVID alert level: high from Saturday 17 October 00:01:

    • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
    • Elmbridge
    • Essex (area covered by Essex County Council only)
    • Barrow-in-Furness
    • York
    • North East Derbyshire
    • Erewash
    • Chesterfield

    This means that for these areas, the following additional measures will be in place:

    • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
    • People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.
    • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

    These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

    In areas where prevalence is highest, discussions are still ongoing with local leadership about moving from local alert level: high to local alert level: very high. A decision is yet to be made. 

    An overview of what the different alert levels mean and associated restrictions can be found on GOV.UK alongside a postcode checker that shows which alert level applies in each area. 

    Guidance for event organisers and local authorities on outdoor events 

    The outdoor events section (Annex A) of the visitor economy guidance has been updated with ten steps for event organisers to protect themselves, their staff and customers including:

    1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, taking into account emergency situations and any security risks.
    2. Consult with your local authority as early as possible.
    3. Engage with neighbouring businesses, transport operators and Local Transport Authorities to assess any risks to the local area of increased visitors from other locations and potentially apply additional mitigations.
    4. Clean more often.
    5. Ask your customers to wear face coverings.
    6. Make sure everyone is social distancing.
    7. Let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people.
    8. Increase ventilation.
    9. Meet NHS Test and Trace requirements.
    10. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away.

    The guidance for local authorities on assessing applications for large outdoor events has also been updated in Annex A.

    Business Events guidance from Cabinet Office

    DCMS has shared the following guidance they received from Cabinet Office confirming the current national position on business events will apply in Local Alert Level: Very High areas. Therefore, currently, venues can host business meetings for up to 30 people in Liverpool. 

    In very high alert level areas, additional restrictions may apply depending on discussions between central and local government. Businesses should find out what additional measures apply in the Liverpool area and restrictions that are in an area with the Local Alert Level: Very High.

    Business meetings and events of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. The rule of six does not apply to work, education and training activities.

    Exhibition and conference centres are permitted venues, if they have small, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities as part of the site, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 secure guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. Business meetings and events of over 30 people should not currently take place in any venue. Banqueting and private dining events should not currently take place in any venue.

    Travel corridors

    Italy, San Marino and Vatican City State will be removed from the travel corridors list at 4:00am, Sunday 18 October 2020. People arriving in the UK from these destinations after 4:00am Sunday 18 October will need to self-isolate. 

    The Greek Island of Crete has been added to the travel corridor list, from 4:00am Sunday 18 October, people arriving into the UK from Crete, will no longer need to self-isolate.

    Other Government updates

     

    13 October

    On 12 October the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons. The announcement sets out how the Government plans to standardise and simplify local lockdown measures, by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England - set at medium, high, and very high. You can view the areas in England listed as local COVID alert level high and local COVID alert level very high and the postcode checker is available on https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

    Please see below for more details and guidance on each alert level, further updates to the Job Support Scheme and other recent government updates. 

    Local COVID Alert Level - Medium

    Covering most of the country - this will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. For areas where national restrictions continue to be in place, this means: 

    • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
    • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
    • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
    • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
    • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
    • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
    • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors.

    See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Medium

    Local COVID Alert Level - High 

    This is for areas with a higher level of infections. The “high” alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country. This means the following additional measures are in place: 

    • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
    • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
    • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

    Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the “high” alert level. As a result of rising infection rates Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the “high” alert level. 

    See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is High. 

    Local COVID Alert Level - Very High 

    This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures. 
    The baseline means the below additional measures are in place: 

    • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
    • Wedding receptions are not allowed.
    • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
    • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
    • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

    Local Authorities in the Liverpool City Region will move into the “very high” alert level from Wednesday. In addition, to pubs and bars, in Merseyside and the Liverpool City Region gyms, dance studios and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close. 

    See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Very High

    The regulations were laid before MPs yesterday and will be debated today, and come into force from Wednesday 14 October. There will be a 4-week sunset clause on interventions in very high areas. 

    During last night’s press conference, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak outlined the financial support measures being taken. 

    • The new Job Support Scheme starts in November (for 6 months) to subsidise wages for staff on shorter hours and has been expanded to support businesses that are asked to close by covering two thirds of each employees’ salary. The current furlough scheme will continue until the end of October.
    • Those businesses legally required to close can claim a cash grant of up to £3,000 per month depending on the value of their business premises and the grants can be used to cover any business costs.
    • Additional funding for local authorities entering level three will be available, up to half a billion pounds to fund enforcement, compliance, and contract tracing. Also to protect vital services the Government will be providing around a billion pounds of additional funding for all local authorities.

    Job Support Scheme guidance updated 

    The Guidance for the Job Support Scheme has been updated to include businesses required to close as a result of the new Alert Scheme. New information has been added to clarify the support for businesses with different rateable values: 

    • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).
    • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).
    • Properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).

    Other Government updates 

     

    9 October

    Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to COVID restrictions

    This afternoon the Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out new measures and support for businesses in lockdown areas.

    • The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK who are legally required to close their premises due to local or national coronavirus restrictions.
    • The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
    • To be eligible to claim the grant businesses must be subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
    • Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but will be asked to cover NICS and pension contributions
    • The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review in January. Payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service, available from early December.
    • Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
    • These measures will sit alongside the original Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus.
    • It was also announced that cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdown areas will also increase to be up to £3,000 per month and will be paid every two weeks.

    Meeting with others safely

    The Coronavirus meeting with others safely guidance has been updated. Meetings with friends and family outside of your social bubble should not exceed six people. In England this limit now includes children of any age.

    2 October

    Further lockdown restrictions confirmed for North East and North West of England 

    An extension of lockdown measures to the Liverpool City Region, Halton, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough has been announced. From midnight on Saturday 3 October, residents in these areas will not be permitted by law to meet anyone outside their household or bubble in any indoor setting, including private homes and gardens. People are also advised not to meet with anyone outside their household or bubble in outdoor public spaces, including outdoor hospitality, and are advised to avoid non-essential travel.

    Changes to lockdown measures for Bolton, government grants available up to £1,500 for impacted businesses

    From Saturday 3 October, lockdown measures in Bolton will be brought into alignment with measures in Manchester, meaning that: 

    • Hospitality businesses including bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants can resume table service subject to early 10pm closure and the rule of 6 restrictions.
    • Bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, casinos, indoor play, including soft play and conference centres and exhibit halls will also be able to reopen in Bolton. Previous advice against restarting indoor theatrical or concert performances will no longer apply. Restrictions on attending weddings, wedding receptions and funerals will be brought in line with the rest of Greater Manchester and the country.

    The government has also announced that businesses that have been closed for three weeks due to local lockdown restrictions in Bolton will now be eligible for grants of up to £1,500 each. In addition to having been closed for three weeks, eligible businesses must fit the following criteria:

    • eligible business properties with rateable values of less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £1,000
    • eligible business properties with rateable values of £51,000 and over will receive a grant of £1,500
    • eligible businesses with more than one affected property will receive a grant in respect of each property

    In addition, Bolton Council will receive an additional 5% of funding to run a local discretionary grant fund which could be used to support businesses that do not pay business rates and other severely impacted businesses that are prioritised locally. As with the grants to business-rate paying businesses, this additional top-up grant will be paid every 3 weeks to businesses where closures persist.

    Interactive map of lockdown restrictions

    The House of Commons Library has built an interactive map to track local lockdown restrictions and link to detailed COVID guidance across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (last updated 1 October).

    New government proposals to protect small businesses with action on late payments

    New proposals have been outlined by government to give the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) new powers to support businesses and resolve late payment issues. Proposed new powers include ordering businesses to pay in good time and issuing fines if they do not, ordering companies to share information on payment practices and the power to launch investigations.

    New Job Retention Bonus guidance

    The new guidance sets out the information employers who have furloughed employees need to know in order to claim the bonus. The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to employers for each eligible employee that they furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will work alongside the Job Support Scheme.

    Who can claim

    • Employers can claim the bonus if have furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Employees must have been eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for employers to be eligible for the bonus.
    • Employers can still claim the bonus if they make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme. Guidance on the Job Support Scheme will be published soon.

    The bonus will be able to be claimed between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021, employers do not have to pay the bonus to their employees.

    Updates to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Guidance

    The last day businesses can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 October 2020 is 30 November 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims.

    30 September

    Restrictions in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport 

    New restrictions have come into force in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport

    People who live in these areas are not allowed to gather in a private dwelling or garden with any other household unless in a support bubble. Also residents and visitors in these areas are advised not to meet people outside their household or bubble in any setting, whether a bar, shop or leisure facility – indoors or outdoors.

    Indoor inter-household mixing restrictions in parts of the North East of England 
    From midnight on 30 September, measures will be brought into law restricting inter-household mixing in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants, in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland. 

    COVID-secure schools and workplaces are not affected by this update. As announced last week, childcare bubbles will be able to form in areas of intervention to allow families to share caring responsibilities with another household, as long as they are consistent. This includes formal and informal childcare arrangements. People in support bubbles in these areas can also continue to meet in any setting. 

    Other local restrictions
    Last week the Government reviewed the position in Leicester, the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Bolton, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and the remaining local authorities in Greater Manchester and decided to maintain their position on the watchlist as areas of intervention, as well as the current restrictions in these areas. 

    Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses
    Businesses can now check if they are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG). The grant is for businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by government. The grant is for businesses that pay business rates on their premises. Local councils may at their discretion also provide funding for businesses that don’t pay business rates.

    Guidance clarifications from DCMS
    We have received several queries from industry around details in the guidance, please see below some clarifications DCMS has shared with us you may find useful. 

    • Wearing face coverings behind perspex screens: Face coverings must be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas which are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public. If businesses have taken steps in line with HSE guidance for COVID Secure workplaces to create a physical barrier (e.g. perspex) between workers and members of the public, then staff behind the barrier will not be required to wear a face covering. This position has been cleared by DHSC legal in conjunction with HSE.
    • Event venues and hotel function spaces: DCMS has confirmed with BEIS that if venues comply with the COVID Secure guidance and all the relevant planning and alcohol licencing requirements they can operate in the same way as restaurants with tables of six in a function room.

    Working safely during coronavirus guidance updates 

    The visitor economy guidance has also been updated. We specifically wanted to highlight:

    • Coach Tours: If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six (or larger if they are from one household) do not mingle on a tour, it can go ahead. People must stay in their own group on all parts of the tour - for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach. Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide COVID Secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people. DfT will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.
    • Guided tours: If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six (or larger if they are from one household) do not mingle on a guided tour, it can go ahead. People must stay in their own group at all times throughout the tour. Tours may take place indoors or outdoors provided businesses undertake risk assessments in line with this guidance document and put any necessary mitigations in place.

    Other guidance updates

    24 September

    Winter Economy Plan and latest COVID-19 guidance

    Further to today’s announcement by the Chancellor, we are pleased to share a summary of the next phase of Government support as well as the latest updates to guidance to help you run your business.

    Today the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced new measures in his Winter Economy plan, the next phase in the Government’s support for businesses and the economy. This includes help for the hospitality and tourism sectors, which he described as “two of our most affected sectors”.

    Key announcements include a new Jobs Support Scheme, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors until March 2021, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.

    Tax cuts and deferrals

    • The VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be extended until the end of March 2021.
    • Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months next financial year.
    • Self-assessed income tax payers who need extra help can now benefit from a 12-month extension on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

    New Jobs Support Scheme

    The furlough scheme will not be extended. Instead a new six-month Jobs Support Scheme will start in November:

    • The Government will directly support the wages of people in viable work. Businesses facing reduced demand can avoid making employees redundant by keeping them on shorter hours.
      • The employee will work at least a third of their normal hours paid by the employer.
      • For the hours not worked, the Government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.
      • The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.
    • All SMEs are eligible for the scheme, but larger firms can apply too if their turnover is affected by coronavirus.
    • Employers that are retaining furlough staff on shorter hours can claim both the Job Support Scheme and the Jobs Retention bonus.

    Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS)

    • SEISS will be extended on similar terms as the new Job Support Scheme
      • An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus.
      • The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January 2021, worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.
      • An additional second grant to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April – this may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances.

    Government-backed loans

    • A new Pay as you Grow repayment system will provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan. This includes:
      • Extending repayments from 6 to 10 years
      • Interest-only payments,
      • Suspending repayments for up to six months if needed.

    Credit ratings won’t be affected.

    • The Government has said it intends to give Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders 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.
    • The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes – including the future fund - has been extended to 30 November

    See more details on today’s announcements

     

    Further updates for businesses

    The new NHS COVID-19 app is now available

    The new NHS COVID-19 app is now available to download for free in England and Wales and is the fastest way to see if you or your business are at risk from coronavirus.

    Hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses are required to request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display the official NHS QR code poster. You should have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

    For a reminder on what businesses need to do to prepare visit the gov.uk website where you can also find instructions on how to create a code and poster.

    Updated guidance reflecting the new restrictions in England

    This week, the Government announced further updates to their guidance and provided some useful points of clarifications.

    You can also see a summary of what has changed including face coverings, working from home, businesses and meeting people safely. This includes confirmation food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table in licensed premises.

    Face coverings

    Guidance on when to wear a face covering and the exemptions is available. The guidance defines a face covering as “something which safely covers the nose and mouth" and "must securely fit round the side of the face". A visor is not classed as a face covering. Also in shops employees need to wear masks even if they are behind a screen.

    Businesses need to promote the wearing of face coverings by staff and customers and compliance through signage and other appropriate means in order to be COVID-secure. There is no obligation on businesses to enforce these new measures. Rather than simply refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering, a business may instead ask that individual to put one on, bearing in mind that some people are exempt. If an individual is acting anti-socially or against the rules, staff will be able to ask them to leave, or call the police if necessary. This is a matter for the police, who can take measures if people do not comply with this law without a valid exemption. The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

    The safer transport guidance for operators reflecting new legislation on social contact and the requirement for passengers to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles.

    Business meetings of up to 30 remain permitted 

    Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. 

    Changes to hospitality services within hotels
    Hospitality services within hotels, such as hotel dining rooms and bars will need to follow the new requirement to close to the public between 10pm-5am. Hotels will still be able to provide food and drink through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online.

    Update to coach operators and whether coach tours can go ahead

    If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a tour, coach tours of over six people on the coach can go ahead. People must stay in their groups of up to six (or larger if they are from one household) on all parts of the tour - for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach. 

    Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide Covid-secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people. DfT will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.

    Other guidance updates

    • The Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do
    • Meeting with others safely guidance reflecting the new guidance in the areas of social distancing, seeing friends and family and rules in other venues and activities. The guidance outlines the exceptions where more than six people can meet including that where a group includes someone covered by such an exception (for example, someone who is working), they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit.

     

    22 September: 

    The Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon to outline the Government’s response to the rising number of Coronavirus cases, including new restrictions in England.

    • From Thursday 24 September all pubs, bars, and restaurants must operate a table service only (except for takeaways)
    • Also, from Thursday, all hospitality venues must close at 10:00pm. Takeaways should also close, but they can continue to provide delivery services after 10:00pm
    • The requirement to wear face coverings has been extended to include staff in retail, all users of taxis/private hire and to staff and customers in indoor hospitality with the exception of when seated at a table to eat or drink.
    • In retail, leisure, tourism and hospitality settings, the Government’s COVID-19 secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and can be closed if they breach the rules.
    • From Monday 28 September a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. Up to 30 will still be able to attend funerals.
    • Business events, and large sports events, will not be able to reopen from 1 October as intended.
    • Office workers who can work from home have been asked to do so. In professions where this is not possible, people should continue to go into their workplace.
    • The rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports.

    These rules will be enforced by tighter penalties. The penalty for breaking the rule of 6 or not wearing a mask when required will double to £200 for a first offence. The police will be provided with extra funding, and given the ability to draw on military support when needed. 

    Read the full statement
     

    New measures to support and enforce self-isolation in England from 28 September 

    From 28 September, people will be legally required to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace. Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000, in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel, and can increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for more serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating. For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work. A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules. 

    A payment of £500 will be available for people in England who are on lower incomes, cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating. Local Authorities are setting up these self-isolation support schemes which are expected to be in place by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority. 

    Read the full announcement here
     

    17 September

    Tighter restrictions to be introduced in North East England from 18 September

    In a statement today Health Secretary Matt Hancock outlined the tighter restrictions that will come into force from tomorrow 18 September for Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham

    From tomorrow:

    • Residents of these areas should not socialise with other people outside their own households or support bubble.
    • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
    • Late night restrictions of operating hours will be introduced, so leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am.

     

    Residents of these areas have also been advised to adhere to the following guidance:

    • Not to socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues.
    • To take holidays only within your own household or support bubble
    • Only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
    • To avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

    14 September

    New NHS COVID-19 app to support test and trace

    Launching on 24 September, the new NHS COVID-19 app will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises.
    Following the launch of the new COVID-19 app, customers and visitors in England will be able to check-in on entry with their phone instead of filling out a check-in book or tool specific to a business. This will allow NHS Test and Trace to contact customers with public health advice should there be a COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses who are already using their own QR system are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code. An alternative check-in method must be maintained to collect the contact details of those who don’t have the app, for example a handwritten register.

    You should create and display a QR code if you are:

    • A business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public
    • An event which is taking place in a physical location
    • Once you have registered for your QR code you are being encouraged to display the NHS QR code posters in a place that is visible on entry to the business. Find out more 

    New measures and restrictions in place 

    From 14 September new measures are in effect, including a restriction on social gatherings of more than 6 people and a requirement for businesses to collect visitor data to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

    Review what people can and can’t do, and note that locations impacted by local lockdown measures may be subject to different rules.

    The guidance on working safely during COVID-19 has been updated with priority actions for businesses to take, including steps for collecting information for the Test and Trace system and rules on gatherings of more than 6 people. Sector-specific guidance is available for the following:

    Following requests for more detail, please see the following clarifications from DCMS:

    • COVID-19 secure venues will be able to host business events of up to 30 people taking into account Visitor Economy guidance, including social distancing requirements.
    • The intention remains to reopen exhibition and conference centres from the 1 October but this will need to be continually assessed in light of the recent spike in cases.
    • If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a guided tour, it can go ahead. This would potentially be the case for a day trip or shorter tours of a visitor attraction.

     

    Areas with restrictions

    Despite the introduction of new national restrictions in England, people in areas with local restrictions should continue to follow the rules in their specific area within private homes and gardens, and in public venues including pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks. These areas include Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and PendleBoltonLeicester CityNorth of EnglandBirmingham, Sandwell and Solihull.

    Local lockdown updates:

    New restrictions in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull announced

    New restrictions on meeting other people have been announced in order to push down the coronavirus rate of infection in Birmingham (city council area), Sandwell (metropolitan borough council area), Solihull (metropolitan borough council area). From Tuesday 15 September residents in these areas will not be able to mix with any other households, indoors or in private gardens, except for those in a support bubble. This applies both inside and outside the city boundaries.

    Leicester City – reopening of some businesses

    From 15 September, the following businesses and venues can reopen or restart in Leicester City

    • casinos
    • skating rinks
    • bowling alleys
    • indoor play areas, including soft play areas
    • exhibition centres and conference halls for external attendees
    • indoor performances
    • close contact services, which are any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application
    • wedding receptions and celebrations, including for up to 30 people in the form of a sit-down meal

     

    Calculate how much to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Updated guidance is available to help employers calculate employees’ working and furloughed hours for workers who came off furlough partway through a claim period. Employers using this calculation do not need to amend previous claims.

    Guidance and tools are available for employers to check their eligibility to claim through the Job Retention Scheme, calculate how much they can claim for and submit claims online.

    9 September

    This afternoon the Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference with the introduction of some new measures from Monday 14 September in England. 

    General measures and rule of six

    • From Monday 14 September, it will no longer be legal to meet socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes and hospitality settings like the pub. There will be a limited number of exemptions.
    • This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing 2 households to meet indoors.

    Work settings and weddings and funerals

    • Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday 14 September, this limit will be enforceable in law.

    COVID Secure venues – tourism and hospitality

    • COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together.
    • Premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required.
    • The government will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.
    • Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.
    • The government will boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing COVID Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.
    • The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future.

    Simplified guidance is available on gov.uk.

    Events, conferences and sport

    • Plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month will be reviewed along with the intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from 1 October. That doesn’t mean the programme will be scrapped entirely. The Culture Secretary is expected to provide an update in due course.
    • Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high.

    International travel

    • The government will take steps to improve compliance with border requirements. They will simplify the Passenger Locator Form needed for travelling to the UK, and take measures to ensure these are completed and checked before departure.
    • Border Force will step up enforcement efforts at the border to ensure arrivals are complying with the quarantine rules.

    New grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns

    Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000. Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a 3-week lockdown period. Each new 3-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment. Currently these payments are available in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham as part of an ongoing trial scheme.

    26 August

    Update on local lockdowns: The Government has published a list of areas under local lockdown which includes links to area-specific guidance for each region impacted by local restrictions.

    Guidance for guests who become unwell while on holiday in England: The government has outlined advice for people who become unwell while on holiday in England:

    • Guests who develop coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while staying in overnight accommodation should inform the accommodation provider immediately, self-isolate and request a test by calling 119 or online at nhs.uk.
    • Guests who test positive should return home as quickly and directly as possible, continuing to self-isolate until they can arrange for private transport.
    • In most cases it will not be possible to self-isolate in the holiday accommodation and guests should arrange to return home as safely and quickly as possible.
    • If the accommodation provider agrees, guests may extend their stay in order to self-isolate until they are well enough to travel. Unless otherwise provided for in contractual terms of the booking, the guest will be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances.

    As a reminder, here is guidance for accommodation providers on hosting guests that have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

    14 August:

    The Government has announced the resumption of the easement of restrictions from 15 August. Some of remaining aspects of England’s culture, sport, leisure and business sectors will be permitted to reopen from Saturday in England – except for specific areas where local restrictions are in place - as follows.

    • Indoor theatres, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences under updated performing arts guidance published by the Government.
    • Wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure location for up to 30 guests will now be permitted.
    • A number of pilots will now be able to take place at event venues across the country to help plan how best to restart indoor business events and implement social distancing practices. Business events and conferences will be permitted to resume from 1 October provided rates of infection remain at current levels.
    • Indoor play and indoor soft play, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will be permitted to reopen.
    • Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services – including front of the face treatments such as eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments and facials from August 15 under new guidance.
    • The piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from August 15 with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place from 1 October. This will commence with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre during 15-16 August, with a full pilot programme to follow.

    At the same time, the Government has announced a series of tough new enforcement measures targeting the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions, including significantly increasing fines in the coming weeks for repeatedly not wearing face coverings where mandated. All staff offering close contact services, including hairdressers, are now required to wear a face mask (type 2 surgical), in addition to a clear visor that covers the face.

    Updates to travel corridors

    People arriving in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba from 4:00am Saturday 15 August 2020 will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks as the countries are removed from the travel exemptions list.

    All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a completed passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.

    10 August:

    The Government has published guidance for England on what people should do if they are on holiday in an area with local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, or live in a restricted area and are planning on taking a holiday outside the area. Advice for accommodation providers has also been updated to cover this scenario and can be found in the Working Safely guidance.

    The guidance for individuals covers:  

    Staying inside the area 
    Steps you should take:

    • If you live inside the area, you should only socialise indoors with members of your own household or support bubble.
    • You can only stay in a private home - which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats - with members of your own household or support bubble.
    • You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household, but should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other's rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.
    • Sharing a caravan with another household is being advised against. You should not share private vehicles to travel to your holiday destination.
    • You can travel into an area with local restrictions on holiday. Whilst inside the area, you should follow the guidance set out above.

    Travelling outside the area 

    Steps you should take: 

    • If you live inside an area with local restrictions, you can go on holiday outside that area but you should only socialise indoors with members of your own household or support bubble.
    • You can only stay in a private home - which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats - with members of your own household or support bubble.
    • You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household but should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other's rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.
    • Sharing a caravan or boat with another household is being advised against. You should not share private vehicles to travel to your holiday destination.

    Advice for accommodation providers in the Working Safely guidance is as follows:

    • People resident inside an area with local restrictions are advised to only socialise indoors with members of their own household or support bubble.
    • People resident inside an area with local restrictions can go on holiday outside that area, but whilst there should only socialise indoors with members of their own household or support bubble.
    • They must only stay in a private home - which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats - with members of their own household or support bubble.
    • People can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household but should avoid sharing rooms with people they do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars. Sharing a caravan with another household is advised against.
    • At the time that local restrictions are brought in, if you are currently on holiday with another household in an area with local restrictions and are staying in a private home - which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats - and it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay, you should finish your holiday as planned. Until the end of this holiday, you should make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance.

    Responsibilities of the accommodation provider:

    • Within the area, you should not intentionally facilitate interaction between more than one household/support bubble indoors. This includes renting rooms in your private home to holiday makers.
    • Outside the area, you should not intentionally facilitate interaction indoors between more than one household/support bubble from within an area with local restrictions. This includes renting rooms in your private home to holiday-makers. Those not complying with these responsibilities may be at risk of the premises being closed.
    • All accommodation providers are encouraged to consider their approach towards guests from inside areas with local restrictions. You may wish to communicate to all customers with existing bookings, reminding them of the law and giving them a chance to cancel their bookings if they intend on travelling with another household.
    • If guests are not able to take a planned holiday due to local restrictions, the Government is encouraging they offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer. If this cannot be arranged, they are encouraging businesses to provide a refund as they have for customers during the broader period of national restrictions, which may depend on the terms of the booking contract.
    • If a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, the Government is encouraging the offer of alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer or, if not possible, the provision of a refund as you have for customers during the broader lockdown period, (subject to the terms of the booking contract).

    Business meetings and events:

    People should only socialise indoors within their own households or support bubbles in areas with local restrictions. However, businesses and venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host groups, if this is in accordance with the relevant guidance for their sector. This includes hosting business meetings and events of up to 30 people in permitted venues.

    Other Government updates

    Travel corridors update for arrivals in England
    Andorra, the Bahamas and Belgium were removed from the exempt list for arrivals on 8 August 2020.
     

    Filming and broadcasting update

    Filming and broadcasting at permitted visitor economy venues can take place subject to those using the premises following the guidance issued for filming from the British Film Commission or, in the case of TV production, the BBC. The number of persons allowed on site will be in accordance with the filming or TV production guidance. However, arrangements for meetings, accommodation or food and refreshments will need to follow the relevant visitor economy guidance. Exhibition and conference centres are not permitted venues presently and therefore not able to use their facilities for these purposes

     

    4 August:

    Following Friday's anouncement regarding the postponement and changes to the reopening of events, the Government has updated its Visitor Economy guidance to reflect these changes and respond to questions raised by the industry. We are pleased to share a summary with you, along with other relevant updates.

    The Visitor Economy guidance for England has been updated to reflect the changes to the current permissions. Of note:

    1. Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
    2. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
    3. Business meetings and events of over 30 people should not currently take place in any venue.
    4. Banqueting and private dining events should not currently take place in any venue. [NB. If a banqueting venue is able to operate as a restaurant (following the relevant BEIS guidance, adhering to rules on social distancing, keeping household groups/bubbles separate, etc) this would be allowed.]
    5. Conference centres and exhibition halls remain closed. They will reopen when the balance of risk allows. Where such venues have small, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities as part of the site, these may be used to host business meetings and events of up to 30 people if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. Business meetings and events of over 30 people should not currently take place in conference centres and exhibition halls.
    6. Academic venues (Universities and Colleges) can use their lecture theatres and classrooms for external meetings of up to 30 people and as above, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities can be used as long as groups are kept separate and all other guidance is followed.
    7. Basic catering can be provided at meetings and events, following the COVID-19 guidance for bars, pubs and takeaway services. However, it is advised not to hold extended sit down meals for large groups. The UKHospitality guidance may also be useful; it recommends grab and go and pre-packed food rather than buffet.
    8. The guidance states that events should operate at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigations. This should be the fundamental principle. It notes that for conferences and events, venues should consider social distancing approximately equivalent to a density of 10m2 per person, given the additional risks of large groups interacting in this specific environment. The pilots (when they take place) will assess the guidance and whether the mitigations suggested are appropriate/sufficient.

    Wedding receptions of up to 30 will be kept under review with the earliest start date of 15 August. Guidance will be shared as soon as it is available and will cover dining provision for these specific events.

    Receptions, award ceremonies, examinations, filming, fashion shows, product launches and team building exercises are not expected to take place until restrictions on business events are lifted. The current provisional date for this is 1 October, if public health assessments allow. It is expected that risk assessments in line with Visitor Economy and AEO guidance will need to be undertaken. The pilots will assess whether that guidance is sufficient or needs updating in any way. We will keep you updated. Venues may also need to consider mitigations depending on specific aspects of their events (e.g. performing arts guidance on singing/dancing if relevant).

    Changes to claims on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme from 1 August 

    The rules for the scheme have changed. Unless you’re making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if:

    • You have previously furloughed the employee for three consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June
    • You submitted your claim before 31 July

    Self-Employment Income Support Scheme update for those with a new child 

    A new form and accompanying guidance is available for those who have a new child which affected their trading profits or total income reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019. You can use the new form to ask HMRC to verify that you had a new child. HMRC will review your application and contact you within two weeks, if HMRC tells you that your information has been verified you should make a claim from 17 August 2020 to find out if you’re eligible for the grant.

    Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders announced 

    The Government has announced two new training programmes for small businesses on management, productivity and problem-solving skills.

    There are 2,000 places available on the Small Business Leadership Programme and 6,000 on the Peer Networks programme.

    Other Government updates 

     

    29 July:

    We are working closely with the Cabinet Office and Department of Health and Social Care to raise awareness of the Government's guidance for tourists who fall ill whilst on holiday in England.
    Businesses are asked to raise awareness of the guidance by directing your customers to the advice displayed on the VisitEngland website. You can also use the copy below to communicate this message to your customers: 

    • If you develop Covid-19 symptoms whilst on holiday, please arrange a test using your holiday address. You can order a test from www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119. You MUST notify your accommodation provider immediately. 
    • If you are contacted by Test & Trace whilst on holiday you MUST notify your accommodation provider immediately that you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate.
    • If you are well enough to return home by private transportation then please do so and self-isolate at home. Do not use public transport. 

    You may wish to include a link to this information as part of the customer booking confirmation and to adopt the messaging on your marketing channels – to help protect your staff and customers.

    Other Government updates

    Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus (COVID-19). Action cards have also been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face.

    An overview of the government’s approach to managing local coronavirus outbreaks is available.

    Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the exempt list of countries and territories for travel into England.

    Guidance on how to inform HMRC if you have been overpaid or were not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

    27 July:

    If your business is taking part in the Government’s new Eat Out to Help Out scheme this August, which is offering diners discounts of up to 50% on their meal, a new claims website will be launched on 7 August for you to claim your reimbursement.The claims service will be available from 7 August to 30 September. It’s not too late to register your business for the scheme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

    20 July: 

    Further to the Prime Minister’s update on Friday, some further details around the next phase of reopening and pilots in England are now available. 

    Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. 

    From the 1 August, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, the Government will take the following steps: 

    • Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, in line with COVID- 19 secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible.
    • Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds, particularly where congregating from different places, including business events. The pilots (some of which will begin late July) will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules.
    • Enable wedding receptions - sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 secure guidance.
    • Exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan future events and to enable Government-backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.

    From 1 October

    • It is expected that events of all types, including sporting events as well as business events and conferences, will be permitted to resume from 1 October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels. The Government will hold a number of pilots at event venues around the country to plan for the return of large-scale events and test how to implement social distancing practises. Details of these pilots will be finalised in the coming weeks.

    Guidance on working safely in the visitor economy has been updated to include business events and consumer shows. 

    Customer logging toolkit for businesses 

    Public Health England has published the Customer Logging Toolkit. This contains a variety of template materials for businesses to display, as well as guidance on how the policy works. Businesses should be storing the information securely for 21 days and sharing it with NHS Test and Trace if asked to do so. Businesses do not need to do anything else with the information. If a customer tells you they have tested positive for coronavirus, you should tell them to self-isolate as soon as possible and to register their contacts with NHS Test and Trace. You should not use the log of customer details you have collected to contact other customers yourself. Instead, if NHS Test and Trace assess that the customer was on your premises while potentially infectious, they will contact you to provide support and to obtain the details of anyone who may have been exposed to the virus. 

    HMRC support for VAT reduction for tourism and hospitality
    If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can contact:

    • Telephone: 0300 200 3700. Outside UK: +44 2920 501 261

    Email: VATtourismandhospitality@hmrc.gov.uk

    Face coverings at work
    Guidance on face coverings, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored is available here. There is no universal face coverings guidance for workplaces because of the variety of work environments in different industries. Employers should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines

    Visa Application Centre (VACs) update
    More than 130 VACs have now reopened in total. It has been confirmed that a number of additional VACs will now also reopen later this month. To see the most up-to-date information on which VACs are open you can visit the relevant websites:

     

    Other Government updates:

    • Guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms has been updated to reflect additional requirements on face coverings.
    • Closing certain businesses and venues in England guidance has been updated to show further easing of restrictions for more businesses and venues to reopen from 25 July and 1 August.
    • Sporting events will allow fans to return from 1 October with social distancing in place, if it is safe to do so. The Government has announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August.
    • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been updated to clarify that notice periods being served by furloughed employees include contractual notice periods.
    • Leicester lockdown: what you can and cannot do guidance has been published.

     

    17 July:

    Today, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced the latest measures for reopening as well as a framework to contain future outbreaks in England. The conditional timeline covered indoor performances, wedding receptions of up to 30 people and some sports resuming from 1 August. Conferences and Business Events that operate in a COVID-secure way will be able to take place from October subject to successful pilot events.

    From 17 July

    • Anyone may use public transport but they will be encouraged to use alternative transport where possible.
    • As previously stated, from the 25th July – indoor gyms and pools can reopen.
       

    From 1 August

    • There will be an update to the guidance on returning to work. Businesses will have discretion for what works for them and their employees.
    • Most remaining leisure settings, bowling, skating rinks, and close contact beauty services will be allowed to reopen. Nightclubs and soft play will remain closed for now.
    • Live performances will also restart, following some successful pilots this month. They will begin to pilot larger gatherings, for example in sport stadia for reopening later in the autumn.
    • Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be able to take place. 

     

    September

    • Schools, nurseries, and colleges to open on a full time basis.

    October

    • Conferences and Business Events to resume in a COVID secure way, subject to successful pilots.
    • Audiences to return to stadia.

    November

    • More close contact between friends and family in time for Christmas.

    The Prime Minister also said that from tomorrow 18 July local authorities will have new powers to be able to close specific venues, shut public places and cancel events. A paper will be published next week.

    15 July:

    Extending the season for holiday and caravan parks

    Last night MHCLG laid a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) that encourages Local Authorities to allow holiday and caravan parks to extend their season. The statement also encourages local planning authorities not to undertake enforcement action which would unnecessarily restrict the ability of caravan and holiday parks to extend their open season.  This WMS has been published to support the sector through COVID-19 disruption. The statement came into effect on 14 July 2020 and will remain in place until 31 December 2022 unless superseded by a further statement. Guidance for Local Authorities and park owners has also been published.

    Access to Work: Travel cost evidence now needed

    Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. The programme will provide money towards any extra travel costs associated with disabled people getting to and from work if they can’t use available public transport during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This guidance has been updated to say that people now need to provide evidence to support a claim for travel costs.

    14 July:

    Mandatory face coverings in shops from 24 July

    The Government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory from 24 July when shopping.  To protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely. Those who do not wear a face covering in shops will face a fine of up to £100. Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. We will share further guidance for businesses when it becomes available.

     

    Self-Employment Income Support Scheme updates

    The scheme is now closed for the first grant. A number of updates have been made to the scheme guidance:

    • Guidance on how HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income has been updated to include that losses are not included in your non-trading calculation.
    • Guidance on how different circumstances affect the scheme has been updated to include what supporting evidence you may be asked for if having a new child affected the trading profits you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019.
    • New guidance has been published on how to pay back some of the SEISS grant if you’ve been overpaid, made a claim in error and were not eligible for the grant or would like to make a voluntary repayment

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) updates

    A number of updates have been made to guidance on the CJRS:

    • New guidance has been published on claiming for individuals who are paid through PAYE but not necessarily employees in employment law.
    • Guidance on calculating how much you can claim has been updated with information on claim periods ending on or before 31 August 2020.

    Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak

    • Guidance has been updated to confirm that the flexibility to suspend level 2 functional skills for level 2 apprentices has been extended, and to provide more information on support for redundant apprentices.

     

    13 July:

    ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme open for registrations today

    The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher incentive scheme is now open for registration. Restaurants and other eating establishments that sell food and non-alcoholic drinks for immediate on-site consumption may register. Through the scheme, eating establishments can offer a discount to diners of up to 50%, up to £10 per diner, and then claim the difference back from the government. The discount is eligible for purchases made on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3-31 August. Learn more about the scheme and how to register.

    Promotional materials and guidance have been shared to support businesses in promoting the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.

    Planning rules revised to protect performing arts spaces

    Changes to the planning system will protect theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues from being demolished or redeveloped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Councils will need to take the temporary impact of coronavirus into account when considering permission for change of use, redevelopment or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue. The new rules will go into effect next week and remain in effect until 31 December 2022.

    Outdoor events resuming in England from 11 July

    Outdoor performances in front of a live audience are allowed to restart in England as of Saturday 11 July. According to The Events Industry Forum Guidance that was approved by DCMS, the range of outdoor events now permitted includes:

    • Air Shows
    • Agricultural Shows (including town and country shows)
    • Carnivals, Fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies and Community Fairs
    • Car boot sales
    • Circuses
    • Display and Performing Arts including Street Art Events
    • Firework Displays
    • Flower Shows and Gardening Events
    • Historical re-enactment events
    • Literature Fairs / festivals
    • Pet and Animal Shows
    • Some music concerts
    • Outdoor theatres and performing arts

    9 July: 

    Today, Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden MP, announced the latest measures for the easing of lockdown and the reopening of the economy. He encouraged the public to support local businesses by buying tickets, visiting galleries and taking advantage of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ offers. He also announced the following: 

    • Outdoor performances and recreational sport may resume this weekend, and outdoor gyms, swimming pools and water parks may reopen. Venue capacity will be reduced and electronic ticketing will be implemented to control crowds and support Test and Trace.
    • Indoor gyms and swimming pools may reopen from 25 July, with appropriate measures such as enhanced cleaning protocols and pre-booking systems in place.
    • Guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms is also now available.
    • A number of indoor performances will be piloted by Public Health England, in collaboration with organisations including the London Symphony Orchestra and Butlins. These test events will support related research to work out how indoor performances may resume safely.
    • The planning system is also being altered to protect theatres from demolition and change of use. This comes in addition to the £1.5 billion package announced last week.

    Other Government updates

    VAT - reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions: Guidance is now available following the Government’s announcement that VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate may be applied between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021. Eligible attractions for the temporary reduced rate of VAT include shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and other cultural events and facilities, but do not include admission to sporting events. Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption. Find more information about which attractions are eligible for the reduced rate of VAT

    More information has been released on the new Eat Out to Help Out Scheme including information for businesses on how to register your business for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

    Advice for British people about cruise ship holidays has been updated in line with the countries exempted on the FCO’s revised travel advisory. 

    Business advisors to provide free services to support small businesses in post-COVID recovery.

    8 July: Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, gave his summer economic statement in which he set out a Plan for Jobs’ to continue the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak. The Chancellor noted that tourism has been one of the worst affected sectors and below is a summary of the key points from the Chancellors statement for tourism businesses.

    • The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will also be cut from 20% to 5%.
    • To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government has set up a new Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme. It will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
    • A bonus scheme worth up to £9 billion for firms has been announced to re-employ furloughed workers. An employer who brings someone back off furlough, and keeps them in a job until January, will get a £1,000 bonus. To get the bonus, firms must pay at least £520 each month.
    • A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create fully subsidised jobs. Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment already provided for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

    The BTA (VisitBritain/VisitEngland) Chairman, Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH, welcomed the announcement. Read his statement.

    Today’s statement  follows an announcement earlier this week of a £1.57 billion support package for the arts, culture and heritage industries, through which organisations from a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage sites, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans. We will share more information as it becomes available.

     

    Other Government updates

    Please see below other recent guidance and announcements you may find useful.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for accommodation providers

    Guidance for those providing hotel and other accommodation in England has been updated to reflect changes in effect from 4 July 2020. As they prepare to reopen, accommodation providers may refer to specific guidance for:

    Certain individuals arriving from overseas will be required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, and businesses providing holiday accommodation may provide rooms to those required to self-isolate. Accommodation for these purposes should adhere to the same guidelines as for other permitted stays, including on social distancing and cleaning.

    If a guest is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should inform their accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate and request a test. Guests who test positive for COVID-19 should return home if they can do so safely, and if they cannot reasonably return home they should work with the accommodation provider and local health care professionals to determine next steps. Unless otherwise provided for in the contractual terms of the booking, the guest will be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances.

    Guidance for reopening in England

    The following guidance has been published or updated in line with the reopening of the visitor economy in England from 4 July:

     

    Travel corridors: Countries exempt from self-isolation requirement on arrival in England

    A written ministerial statement on travel corridors has been published outlining the process by which the government determined which countries and territories to exempt from mandatory self-isolation when arriving in England. The government will keep the requirements and exemptions set out in the regulations under review. The next review of the regulations will take place by 27 July 2020. For further information, please visit gov.uk/uk-border-control.

     

    Updated self-isolation guidance and further traveller exemptions

    Guidance on how to self-isolate when travelling to the UK has been updated to reflect exemptions for certain travel corridor countries and territories.

    Updated travel details and new coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance has also been published for individual travellers exempt from border rules in the UK, beyond those people travelling from travel corridor destinations.

     

    Defer your Self-Assessment payment on account due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Further information about the July 2020 payment on account deferment has been made available.

     

    Closing certain businesses and venues in England, social distancing in a local lockdown

    Guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England (or keeping them closed) has been updated following the further easing of coronavirus restrictions from 4 July, as well as location-specific guidance for closing businesses in Leicester. Leicester-specific guidance for social distancing during a local lockdown has also been updated.

     

    3 July:

    Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

    The following businesses providing an on-site service are required to collect and maintain data of staff, customers and visitors upon re-opening:

    • Hospitality, including pubs, bars and restaurants (it does not apply to businesses operating a takeaway/delivery only basis).
    • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
    • Facilities provided by local authorities including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres.
    • Places of worship including use for events and other community activities.

    The information businesses should collect: 

    Staff:

    • The names of staff who work at the premises
    • A contact phone number for each member of staff
    • The dates and times that staff are at work

    Customers and visitors:

    • The name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group.
    • A contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people.
    • Date of visit and arrival and, where possible, departure time.
    • If a customer will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer.

    This data needs to be kept for 21 days. You should collect this information in a way that is manageable for your establishment. 

    Guidance on collection and maintenance of data from Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
    The ICO has also published a statement and a short data protection checklist for protecting customer data:

    • Ask for only what’s needed
    • Be transparent with customers and what the information is being used for
    • Store the data carefully
    • Don’t use it for other purposes
    • Erase the data in line with the government guidelines

    Coronavirus Travel Corridors
    The Government has today announced that passengers returning or visiting from around 60 destinations including France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Australia, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England from 10 July 2020. All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK, including details of countries or territories they have been in or through during the previous 14 days. Existing public health advice on hand hygiene, face coverings and social distancing must also be followed. 

    The Devolved Administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there.

    £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package announced
    The Government has today announced a new package to support small businesses in tourist destinations. Grants of up to £5,000 will be available to help adapt businesses following the coronavirus pandemic. 

    The funding will be able to be used to pay for specialist professional advice, to adopt new technology and online systems, or to purchase new equipment. 

    Funding will be allocated to each Local Growth Hub based on how much of their employment base is linked to tourism and hospitality businesses. We will share more information when available.

    Other Government updates

    • Businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis time from 1 July. The flexibility includes hours and shift patterns of employees.
    • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme page has also been updated with new information including employees being able to be recorded as on furlough during time spent on holiday, how to calculate furloughed hours for different sets of circumstances and how to treat statutory payments received in the claim period.

    New examples for how a business could be adversely affected by coronavirus have been added to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) claim page.

    1July:

    Businesses who have furloughed their staff under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can, from today, bring them back to work part-time. The scheme will remain open until the end of October and will continue to support jobs and businesses as they return to work. Firms will be given the flexibility to decide the hours and shift patterns of their employees – with the Government continuing to pay 80% of salaries for the hours they do not work. 

    24 June:

    Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday regarding the re-opening plans for a number of tourism businesses in England from 4 July, the visitor economy guidance has been published.

    The guidance is aimed at business owners, operators and workers in the following areas:

    • hotels and other guest accommodation (including self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, hostels, camping, holiday homes, caravan parks, boats and other types of accommodation including short-term letting). This guidance should be read in conjunction with the working safely in hotels and other accommodation guidance.
    • indoor and outdoor attractions (e.g. arcades, walking tours, theme parks, family entertainment centres, static funfairs, zoos, and aquariums). The events and entertainment guidance may also be useful for attractions that move around (e.g. roving funfair)s to be published shortly.
    • business events and consumer shows (e.g. events taking place in meetings, conference, convention and exhibition centres). Business conferences, events, exhibitions and trade fairs are not currently allowed to take place in England.

    The guidance should also be read in conjunction with the working safely guidance, the safer travel guidance and other available sector guidance.

    New social distancing guidance, a list of businesses that can open from 4 July and updated guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars has also been made available. 

    23 June:

    The Prime Minister has announced today the re-opening plans for a number of tourism businesses in England from 4 July, providing the conditions laid out in the Government’s roadmap are met.
    In the announcement, it was outlined that from 4 July in England:

    • The two metre social distancing rule will be relaxed to one metre plus. Where it is possible to remain two metres you should continue to do so, but where this is not possible it should be a ‘one metre plus’ policy. New guidance will be published to support businesses – including changing office layouts, protective screens, closing non-essential communal areas etc.
    • Restaurants and pubs can open. Indoor hospitality is limited to table services and contact details will need to be collected from customers.
    • People will be free to stay in self-contained accommodation including hotels, B&Bs and campsites – so long as shared facilities can be kept clean.
    • Tourist attractions will be able to reopen if they can do so safely, outside gyms and playgrounds can also open.
    • Places of worship will be able to reopen, weddings can take place with up to 30 guests.
    • Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft play, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will remain closed. Taskforces will be established to help them become COVID secure. 
    • Indoor facilities for sports will remain closed, and close contact sports should only happen with people from the same household.
    • Two households of any size will be able to meet in any setting (inside or outside), they do not have to be the same household each time. They are not recommending multiple households meet indoors. 
    • Outside, the guidance remains that people from several households of up to six, or two households can meet regardless of size. 

    Guidelines will be published for these reopening sectors. We will share these as soon as they are available.

    Round-up of other recent updates 

    Updated guidance for accommodation providers if a guest displays symptoms of COVID-19 
    If a guest is displaying signs of the COVID-19 virus while staying in overnight accommodation for a permitted reason, they should inform the accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate where they are to minimise any risk of transmission, and request a test. If they are confirmed to have COVID-19, they should return home if they reasonably can. If a guest cannot reasonably return home (for example because they are not well enough to travel or do not have the means to arrange transport), their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional and, if necessary, the local authority. Guests should follow Government guidance on dealing with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme template updates
    A new template is available for employers who will be claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The new form is for claims on or after 1 July.

    Commercial property code of practice announced
    The Government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction until the end of September. A new code of practice has been developed with the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.

    The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund FAQ has been updated to provide information on websites and local authority delivery partners. Table 1 has been updated to reflect activities that are in or out of the scope of the Fund.

    • The VAT payment deferral period ends on 30 June. Information about the end of the deferral period has been updated.
    • A YouTube video offering guidance on how to make a claim for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been updated.

     

    15 June:

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance updated:

    Revised guidance has been published giving more detail on forthcoming changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) following the Chancellor's announcement last month. This includes:

    • From 1 July, employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June.
    • From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the CJRS grant for the hours not worked.
    • From 1 August, the level of the grant will be gradually reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August, these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
    • From 1 September, employers will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of their furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they are on furlough.
    • Parents returning from maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental bereavement leave after 10 June are exempt from the cut-off date for new entrants. This applies to employers who have previously submitted a claim for any other employee (between 1 March-30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and be returning after 10 June and need to have been on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
    • HMRC are running two webinars - Thursday 18 June, 9:45-10:45 and Friday 19 June, 11:45-12:45 - giving an overview of the changes to the scheme, how employers will be affected, flexible furloughing, key dates and support available. Sign up here.

    Self-Employment Income Support Scheme guidance update:

    Updated guidance is available on the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Eligible individuals are able to claim a second and final grant in August.

    • Those eligible for the first grant must claim on or before 13 July 2020.
    • Applications for the second grant will open in August.
    • The eligibility criteria remain the same as the first SEISS grant.
    • Those claiming for the second grant will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.
    • Individuals can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.

    Guidance published for aviation passengers and operators, inland and coastal boats:

    Updated guidance for holiday accommodation providers on accommodating those arriving into the UK:  

    • Businesses providing holiday accommodation can provide rooms to those required to self-isolate because they have arrived in England from outside the UK, or arrived in England from elsewhere in the UK but have within the preceding 14 days been outside the UK. Read the guidance to find out more.

     

    Other Government updates:

    Tools and resources available:  

    • A new platform called Digital Boost has been launched. The platform hosts a community of digital experts who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses free of charge.
    • The High Streets Task Force has announced that they will provide access to tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June. This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

    Update to the Business Advice Hub: 

    We have published a new page on our Business Advice Hub for businesses getting ready to open. The page includes information, advice and links to guidance on reopening along with practical information on operating under social distancing guidelines. 

    10 June: 

    • The PM announced that from Monday 15 June, atttractions where people are in the cars can open for visitors, including safari parks and open-air cinemas. The outdoor areas of zoos can also open if they follow Government guidance on social distancing. 
    • Also from 15 June, all non-essential retail shops can open for business, as long as COVID-19 safety rules are adhered to. The Government is working towards 4 July 2020 as a target date to reopen the hospitality and service sectors including pubs and restaurants.

    8 June: Business Secretary launches working groups to help plan economic recovery

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating five new business-focused groups as part of the Government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Focused on five key themes, each group will explore how business can work with Government to deliver economic growth and jobs:

    • The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development
    • Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions
    • Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business
    • Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
    • The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK

    Further details including membership of the five working groups will be published in due course.

    From 8 June, transport operators are required to provide information about coronavirus and health information to all passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail, from outside the common travel area, at 3 stages of the passenger journey: the booking stage, the check-in stage and on-board the vessel, aircraft or train.

    5 June:  Updated COVID-19 advice has been published for accommodation providers. The advice still states that businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) should remain closed for leisure related stays. No person should stay overnight away from their own home for a holiday or similar purpose. Included in the guidance is advice for businesses who provide holiday accommodation and how they can accommodate those required to self-isolate.  From 8 June, certain individuals travelling from overseas will be required by law to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Businesses providing holiday accommodation can provide rooms to those required to self-isolate because they have arrived in England from outside the UK, or arrived in England from elsewhere in the UK but have within the preceding 14 days been outside the UK. Accommodation for these purposes should adhere to the same guidelines as for other permitted stays, including on social distancing and cleaning. Read the full guidance on Gov.uk

    4 June: The Government has announced that Trade Credit Insurance, which provides cover to business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees. The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK. The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses to trade during the coronavirus pandemic and continue to be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment. The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available from insurers operating in the UK market.

    3 June: New border measures will be introduced from 8 June, there will be new rules in place for entering the UK because due to COVID-19. The rules are for residents and visitors. When these rules are in place, people will need to provide their journey and contact details when they travel to the UK and will have to self-isolate and will not be allowed to leave the place they are staying for the first 14-days they are in the UK except in very limited situations. Arrivals will not need to complete the form or self-isolate if they are travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man if they were there for 14 days or more. Some travellers, including some specific workers, will be exempt from new English border rules. 

    1 June: The Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund has opened. The grant is for small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible.

    29 May: Today the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced changes to the UK-wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. 

    Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

     The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August. The eligibility criteria remains the same as for the first grant, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

     The grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. This is in line with changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as the economy reopens.

    The first SEISS grant, which opened for applications on 13 May, will close to new applications on 13 July. Eligible individuals will be able to make their claim for the first grant any time until this date, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim.

    Further details are available in this factsheet. Further guidance on the second grant will be published later this month.  

     

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

     From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work.

     From August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work:

    • In June and July, the Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.
    • In August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work - 5% of average gross employment costs of those currently furloughed.
    • In September, the Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
    • In October, the Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,50

     

    The cap will be proportional to the hours not worked. To enable the introduction of flexible furloughing, and support those already furloughed back to work, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers currently using the scheme and previously furloughed employees. The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS.

     The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June for new entrants.

     From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked. Employers will need to agree any flexible furlough arrangements with employees, and when claiming the CJRS grant will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

    Further details are available in this factsheet

    Other Government updates include: 

    Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme now live

    Employers with fewer than 250 employees can now claim for up to two weeks of coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). In order to file a claim businesses must be registered with PAYE Online and must have already paid employees’ SSP. Forms are now open for employers to check whether they are eligible and file a claim online.

    Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers has been published.

    The Test and Trace Service launched across England on Thursday and the new guidance means that anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms. This guidance explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS test and trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.

    26 May:

    UK Government announces new public health measures for all UK arrivals: The UK Government has announced that from 8 June everyone arriving in the UK via all modes of transport will be required to inform border force authorities where they will be staying and immediately self-isolate for 14 days. This includes returning British nationals. A very small group will be exempt from these requirements including diplomats, defence personnel and officials working on border security, as well as those returning from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. 

    • While the new regime will be in place across the United Kingdom, enforcement measures and implementation date will be set individually by the Devolved Administrations.
    • These measures will be subject to review every three weeks to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and support the UK’s roadmap to recovery. 
    • Contact locator form: All arriving passengers will be required to fill in a form to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with, develops the disease.
    • Enforcement: British citizens and foreign nationals who fail to comply with the mandatory self-isolation condition could face enforcement action, including a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine. The Devolved Administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches.

    Other Government updates:

    • Guidance on accessing green spaces in England has been updated to include a provision for visiting ticketed gardens in line with social distancing guidelines
    • Businesses can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees during COVID-19
    • Changes have been made to insolvency law to relieve burden on businesses and support recovery.  
    • The Government has also announced a timeline for retail businesses to reopen in June along with an update to their Working Safely guidance to include the retail sector. Outdoor markets and car showrooms can open on 1 June, while other non-essential retail can open from 15 June if they are COVID-secure. This is subject to progress on the five tests and social distancing measures will need to be observed by the public.

    19 May: 

    Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) maximum loan size increased 

    The Government has extended the maximum loan size available through CLBILS from £50 million to £200 million. The change is to help larger firms who do not qualify for the Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The expanded loans will be available from 26 May. Companies that receive help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay.

    Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opens for claims on 26 May 

    Small and medium-sized employers will be able to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees through an online portal from 26 May. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP. 

    Repayments will be at the relevant rate of SSP that has been paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers. Guidance on making a claim is available on Gov.UK

    Other Government updates: 

     

    12 May: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended until October

    The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended until October. Until the end of July there will be no changes, however, from August to October there will be more flexibility to enable people to return to work part time. Businesses will also be asked to share the burden to pay people’s salaries at this time but the 80% will not be reduced. These changes will be available to all sectors. More specific details around the changes will be made available by the end of May. Download a step-by-step guide for employers.

    The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens for applications 13 May 

    The scheme will allow those who are self-employed to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended. Check if you are eligible to claim

    To make a claim you will need:

    • Self-Assessment UTR (unique taxpayer reference)
    • National Insurance number
    • Government Gateway user ID and password
    • Bank account number and sort code that you want the Government to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)

    When claiming you will have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. 

    Guidance for employers

    New guidance for employers has been made available for construction and other outdoor work, factories, plants and warehouses, homes, labs and research facilities, office and contact centres, restaurants offering takeaway or delivery, shops and branches and vehicles to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely. 

    Industry bodies have been contributing to industry-specific guidance which is awaiting sign off and will be available over the coming weeks.

    Other Government updates

    • New guidance on safe travel has been published by the Department for Transport, this includes specific sections for each type of transport.
    • Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been published
    • Revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021, to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by impacts of COVID-19.
    • Safer transport guidance for operators has been published, the guide will help businesses, agencies and others understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport.
     

    11 May:

    Today the Government has published its roadmapOur plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy which outlines plans to move to the next phase of its coronavirus response. The document outlines a re-opening timetable with July 4 being the earliest date for the hospitality sector, including accommodations and attractions to start opening their premises to customers. 

    The tourism sector reopening forms the third stage of a tentative timetable to ease the country out of lockdown, following earlier stages which include starting to return children to schools, the re-opening of retail and some relaxing of rules around exercise. The ambition of the third step is to open some of the remaining businesses and premises that were required to close, including food service providers, pubs, accommodation providers, public places and leisure facilities such as cinemas. However, this is dependent on whether the appropriate social distancing guidelines can be adhered to and the Government’s five tests (see page 11)- 

    1. protecting the NHS
    2. a falling death rate
    3. R less than one
    4. testing and PPE in place
    5. no risk of a second peak being met

    It includes easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, stating: "In order to facilitate the fastest possible re-opening of these types of higher-risk businesses and public places, the Government will carefully phase and pilot re-openings to test their ability to adopt the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. The Government will also monitor carefully the effects of reopening other similar establishments elsewhere in the world, as this happens. The Government will establish a series of taskforces to work closely with stakeholders in these sectors to develop ways in which they can make these businesses and public places COVID-19 Secure."

    International travel

    In order to keep overall levels of infection down the Government has set out new restrictions around international travel, in line with many other countries. A series of measures and restrictions (see page 29) will be introduced at the UK border. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible.

    • The Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information.
    • Strongly advising arrivals to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.
    • All international arrivals not on a shortlist of exemptions will be required to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK.
    • Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.
    • All journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures.

    These international travel measures will not come into force on 13 May but will be introduced as soon as possible. Further details, and guidance, will be set out shortly.

    Other updates:

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: A step-by-step guide for employers has been published. 

    The Government has published new guidance on getting Brits back to work and working safely in the workplace during coronavirus. Read the news story

    The Government has published a FAQ on what you can and can't do during coronavirus.

    10 May: 

    The Prime Minister, in his address to the nation announced that the hospitality industry and other public places could open from July provided they are safe and enforce social distancing. This forms the third stage of a tentative timetable designed to ease the country out of lockdown, and will follow earlier stages to return children to schools in June and relaxing rules around exercise.  

    7 May: 

    Revaluation of business rates has been postponed to 2021 to help reduced uncertainty for firms affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    4 May:

    Bounce Back Loans are now open for applications from small and micro businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. 

    A £14 million support fund for licensed zoos and aquariums affected by coronavirus launched.

    1 May: Latest Government updates

    Updates to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance (CJRS)

    The following changes have been made to the CJRS guidance: 

    Employee guidance

    • Furloughed employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers.
    • Confirmation that Company Directors paid annually are eligible to claim.  
    • Employees receiving Maternity Allowance during a period of Maternity Leave should not receive furlough pay at the same time. 

    Employer guidance: eligibility

    • Updated in line with changes to Employee guidance.
    • CJRS grants are not classed as state aid.
    • Changed the date from 28 February to 19 March 2020 in the section on TUPE transfers and payroll consolidation.

    Employer guidance: how to calculate the grant

    • The June daily maximum wage rates have been added to the table now the scheme has been extended.
    • Improved clarity in the employer National Insurance contributions section, confirmed the direct percentage method or tables method can be used and added new information for company directors.
    • The scheme opened for applications last week on Monday 20th April, this week the first grants have been paid.

    Update on Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants Fund (England only):

    Local authorities in England are continuing to reach out to eligible businesses directly to arrange payment. The grants are of £10,000 or £25,000 and do not need to be paid back. To ensure all eligible businesses can access these funds, government is encouraging businesses to: 

    Find out more information about the schemes.

    Other updates:

    Business Improvement Districts will receive £6.1 million in funding to help high streets and town centres through the pandemic

    Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costsfrom 1 May 2020, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against COVID-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period.

    An update has been made to the information on tax on the guidance for Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

    Temporary changes have been made to the guidance on the destruction of spoilt beer, cider, wine or made-wine if you're a brewer, cider producer, winemaker or publican.

    £5.7 million government investment will protect Great Britain-Northern Ireland air passenger flights, the vital routes will be safeguarded for transporting critical workers

    HM Treasury and HMRC are setting out new timelines for tax policy consultations and other work in the light of the current COVID-19 crisis

    The social distancing guidelines have been updated to provide further clarification on the requirements of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, and additional information on clinically vulnerable people.

    29 April:

    The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) to investigate cancellation rights

    The CMA has launched a programme of work to investigate reports of businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its COVID-19 Taskforce, which monitors market developments and identifies the big problems facing consumers, the CMA has seen increasing numbers of complaints in relation to cancellations and refunds.

    The CMA has identified three sectors of particular concern: weddings and private events, holiday accommodation and nurseries and childcare providers. It will tackle these areas as a priority and then move on to examine other sectors, based on the information received by the taskforce. The CMA acknowledges that most businesses are acting reasonably in what are unprecedented circumstances, and the current crisis is placing everyone under pressure, but consumer rights cannot be ignored.

    28 April:

    A new free online learning platform has been launched, ‘The Skills Toolkit’ will help people to build their skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.

    Register to join a free webinar hosted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy at 11:00am on Monday 4 May to find out how small business can access the coronavirus business support measures that have been made available to UK businesses. The webinar will cover - eligibility for small business grants, applying for a loan, tax and claiming for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You will have the opportunity to ask questions during the webinar.

    HM Treasury and HMRC are setting out new timelines for tax policy consultations and other work in the light of the current Covid-19 crisis

    Update to the local authority payments to SMEs page. As of 27 April, over £7.59 billion has been paid out to 614,181 business properties. This is over 61% of the grant funding allocated to local authorities.

    27 April: 

    New Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses announced

    The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today, 27 April, announced a new Bounce Back Loans scheme that will be made available to small businesses from 9:00 Monday 4 May. These loans will be 100% government-backed. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest-free for the first 12 months and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. Loan terms will be up to 6 years with no repayments due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

    Eligibility

    You can apply for a loan if your business:

    • is based in the UK
    • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
    • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

    You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

    If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

    Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance on insurance
    The FCA has set up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - an independent body to provide arbitration for insurance claims of smaller businesses (with a turnover of less than £6.5 million and fewer than 50 employees). The decision of the FOS is binding on insurers up to £350,000. 

    To take your complaint directly to the FOS, please contact: The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR.

    Telephone: 0300 123 9123.
    Email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk
    Web: financial-ombudsman.org.uk

    G20 Tourism Ministers’ meeting
    The G20 Tourism Ministers held a meeting on COVID-19 on Friday 24 April, Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston was in attendance and addressed the group. He spoke of the importance of tourism to the UK economy, the Government’s support measures and the regular discussions he is in with the tourism industry about what their priorities are for the recovery period. He highlighted the key areas of concern including how businesses can operate while there are still social distancing measures in place; what further guidance is needed; and whether there is a need for tapered support as businesses adjust.
    The G20 Tourism Ministers also issued a statement on COVID-19 outlining their commitments.

    Other Government updates

    The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) COVID-19 survey 

    DCMS invites you to take part in a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms and tourism sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. Your answers will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts. 

    The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and the deadline for responses is 15 May 2020. Please follow this link to access the survey to begin submitting your response.

    22 April: 

    The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) is now open for applications.

    The scheme helps all viable large businesses with an annual turnover of £45 million affected by COVID-19 to access loans of up to £25 million. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million can apply for up to £50 million of finance. The scheme is available through a series of accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website. The government provides lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans, to give banks the confidence to lend to businesses impacted by COVID-19. CLBILS allows lenders to support businesses that were viable before the COVID-19 outbreak but now face significant cash flow difficulties that would otherwise make their business unviable in the short term.

    To be eligible businesses must:

    • Be based in the UK
    • Have an annual turnover of over £45 million
    • Be able to self-certify that their business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus
    • Not have received a facility under the Bank of England’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
    • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender could consider viable, if not for the coronavirus pandemic and believes it will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty

    The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website.

    Further updates

    • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has created a Coronavirus Business Support Blog to help business get the support they need to help with the impact of coronavirus. The blog contains additional information and resources, including case studies from businesses who have or will be accessing government support and posts from different people across government and business.

    20 April:

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has opened for applications for businesses who have put staff on furlough due to COVID-19.

    • HMRC has published new guidance on how to make a claim including step-by-step guidance and a calculator to help you work out your claim.
    • The online system can process up to 450,000 applications per hour and employers should receive the money within six working days of making an application. To receive payment by 30 April, you will need to complete an application by 22 April. Please keep a note or printout of your claim reference number as you will not receive a confirmation SMS or email.
    • HMRC are also holding webinars providing an overview of the scheme to help employers and employees deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

    Further updates to the CJRS eligibility guidance include moving the eligibility date from 28 February to 19 March; how to report fraud or abuse of the scheme; clarifying how holiday pay should be treated and clarifications on agency workers, fixed-term contracts and on claims for employees made redundant. 

    Recovery planning

    Today the Chancellor spoke about planning for recovery, and the need to encourage businesses and jobs of the future, to drive growth. Two initiatives to support this have been launched: 

    • A £500 million Future Fund for high growth companies, helping them to access the financial support they need. The Future Fund will provide UK-based early stage companies with convertible loans between £125k and £5 million. This fund is subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
    • Innovate UK, £750 million of funding for innovative firms across the UK.

    The new initiatives are part of a £1.25 billion government support package announced on Friday to help UK businesses driving innovation and development through the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    In addition, councils across England will receive another £1.6 billion in additional funding as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

    17 April:

    Chancellor expands loan scheme for large businesses

    The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms. All firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million. The scheme, which will launch on Monday 20 April, will be available through a series of accredited lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website.  

    Government is also clarifying the position for firms owned by private equity, which will be able to access the guaranteed loan schemes.This complements existing support including the Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses.

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended and open for claims from 20 April

    The Government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of June to reflect continuing social distancing measures. The online claim service for the scheme will be launched on GOV.UK on Monday 20‌‌ April. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

    To prepare to make your claim you will need:

    • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online
    • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can register here  
    • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for: Name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, PAYE/employee number (optional).
    • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

    You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims. You can find more information on the scheme and eligibility to claim

    Other Government updates

    16 April:

    Dominic Raab, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Chris Whitty led today’s press conference, the key area of focus was the continuation of the lockdown measure for three weeks.

    • Raab chaired COBRA earlier today to consider the SAGE advice. While the measures put in place are playing a role in slowing down the rate of infection, there is still concern that the virus will continue to spread in some settings. The infection rate is still now down as much as necessary.
    • Any changes to our social distance measures now would present a risk of a second peak, undoing progress to date. Risking public health and the economy.
    • Based on this advice the Government will be extending the lockdown by at least three weeks.

    Before adjusting any measures the Government must be satisfied of these things;

    1. The NHS’ ability to cope. Sufficient critical care and treatment must be available.
    2. Sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates.
    3. Reliable data to show that the rate of infection is decreasing.
    4. PPE and testing capacity is in hand.
    5. Confident that any adjustments will not result in a second peak.
    • When the Government is confident on these points, decisions will be taken based on the science on what economic activity can be resumed.
    • It may include strengthening some areas whilst relaxing others, all decisions will be based on evidence.
    • Raab acknowledged that people were keen for dates and plans, but said it was too soon to judge the evidence. The Government is looking to learn lessons from other countries as they change their advice, however decisions will be based on what is best for Britain.

    15 April: 

    Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) guidance updates

    The Self-employment Income Support Scheme guidance has been updated to provide clarifications on some of the areas that were unclear, including:

    • Detail of the treatment of losses, averaging and multiple trades
    • Clarifications on the calculation of self-employed profits and what is meant by total income
    • Confirmation that individuals are able to continue working, including taking on an employment role
    • Confirmation that owner-managers of Ltd companies can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their salary
    • Confirmation that individuals can access Universal Credit and the SEISS
    • Clarification on overlaps between the SEISS and CJRS (e.g. you can claim the SEISS and continue working).

     Further information can be found on how to claim a grant here and how HRMC works out total income and trading profits for SEISS scheme here

    Furlough eligibility cut-off date extended to 19 March 

    The eligibility cut-off date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) has been extended from 28 February to 19 March. Employers are now able to claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020. The scheme is due to be fully operational next week. 

    Under the scheme, employees can be on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts. Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed. 

    If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 28 February 2020, you can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme. This applies to employees that were made redundant or stopped working for you after 28 February, even if you do not re-employ them until after 19 March. 

    Read more about the eligibility extension and how to claim support through the scheme here

    Further guidance for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors can be found on gov.uk.

    8 April: New and updated guidance:

    • Additional guidance on social distancing in the workplace for businesses in England has been made available. The guidance is to help businesses and their staff to be able to stay open safely during COVID-19. Sector-specific guidance is available for shops running a pick-up or delivery service, retail, outdoor businesses, transport businesses as well as many more. For advice for business in other nations of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.
    • Updated guidance on the COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has been made available. This scheme allows small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees. HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.

    New content hub pages on GOV.UK:

    Announcements:

    3 April - The Chancellor has today announced the following:

    • An extension of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ensure all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, rather than just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time. 
    • The Government has also announced it will be stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, and will be making changes to speed up approvals.
    • The Government will continue to cover the first 12 months of interest fees. 
    • A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. 

    Other Government updates include:

    Cash support for food redistribution during the coronavirus outbreak to prevent food waste.

    Update on deferring VAT payments because of coronavirus, clarifying that import VAT payments are not included.

    Update to the guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), outlining information on state aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, post-payment checks and the eligibility of charities.

    The 2020 National Living Wage came into effect on Wednesday 1 April.

    The Business rates: expanded retail discount – guidance has been updated to confirm that the government’s assessment that the expanded retail discount is not a state aid, and that local authorities should therefore award relief to all eligible properties. 

    Further to this, the Local Government Association and the Tourism Alliance have identified some tourism businesses that are not explicitly mentioned in the business rates relief guidance, but it is felt that they fall into the intended category. Councils are being asked to give consideration to the premises listed below for inclusion in their local schemes:

    • Amusement arcades
    • Vehicle rental sites
    • Conference and exhibition venues
    • Travel and tour operators
    • Tourism Information Centres
    • Tourism Boards/Destination Management Organisations
    • Coach operators
    • English language schools
    • Travel/hospitality industry charities (offices)
    • Marinas/boat hire/passenger boat facilities

    BEIS is encouraging businesses across England to contact their local Growth Hub, they can provide a free to use, impartial and local single point of contact to all businesses so that they can access the right advice and support. The hubs can advise businesses on local and national business support including schemes in place to help businesses through the current COVID-19 situation.

    2 April - Update to the guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), outlining information on state aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, post-payment checks, and the eligibility of charities.

    The Business rates: expanded retail discount – guidance has been updated to confirm that the government’s assessment that the expanded retail discount is not a state aid, and that local authorities should therefore award relief to all eligible properties.

    1 April - The 2020 National Living Wage comes into effect today (Wednesday 1 April), a 6.2% increase on the previous rate

    Following the Government’s announcement that from grants and business rates packages from today we wanted to share the guidance published today for businesses on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund:

    Key information includes:

    Details on how grants will be provided:

    • Central Government will provide funding to local authorities that are responsible for business rate billing. Those local authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants. The business ratepayer will be contacted and receive the funds if they are eligible.

    Details on how much funding will be provided to businesses:

    • Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
    • Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.
    • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
    • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
    • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.

    Also covered is eligibility of businesses for both funds, exclusions to the funds, information around fraud and rating list changes. The full guidance is available for download from GOV.UK.

    30 March - Over the weekend Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave the Government's daily briefing including an update on the business support schemes:

    On the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Sharma confirmed that 40 accredited lenders are processing thousands of applications.

    Guidance has also been given to English councils on the grants to the smallest business (inc retail and hospitality). The first part of the funding arrived with councils on Friday 27 March, and should be with businesses as soon as possible.

    Other updates included:

    Updated information on the closing certain businesses and venues page around compliance. The new Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law due to the threat to public health.

    The Cabinet Office has produced COVID-19 FAQs detailing what you can and can’t do, which businesses may wish to share with their employees.

    Letter from Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing to caravan and park owners, asking them to remain open for key workers and vulnerable groups

    25 March - The Home Office has published new guidance on immigration provisions for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office is providing visa extensions for those affected by coronavirus. Nobody will be penalised for circumstances outside of their control. The Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open. Customers are asked to check gov.uk first as that is the central source of information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact the helpline at: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

    23 March - The PM's speech includes further "stay at home" measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19, including closing playgrounds, outdoor gyms and "non-essential" shops, as well as gatherings of more than two people including weddings and christenings (funerals are exempt). Police have been given powers to enforce social distancing through fines and dispersal. 

    The Government has announced two new pieces of guidance. The first, Guidance: Further businesses and premises to close and second, Social Distancing/Vulnerable people

    The Foreign Secretary has advised all British travellers to return to the UK.

    22 March - The Government has announced the launch of the business support measures outlined last week. As part of this, they have also launched a dedicated business website that collates information on the support available for businesses.

    The Government has also produced guidance for people planning to visit second homes or holiday premises during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Transport Secretary has confirmed that they are offering the opportunity for train operators to transition into ‘Emergency Measures Agreements’ for a period of six months (this can be extended), which will suspend normal financial mechanisms of franchise agreements and transfer all revenue and cost risk to the Government. These measures will ensure services operate for key workers, and minimise disruption to the rail sector in the long term.

    17 March - the UK Government announced a £330 billion financial rescue package to support and protect businesses affected by COVID-19, including those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Full details can be found on GOV.UK. Chancellor announces additional support to protect businesses

    Watch the Commons speech

    Read Rt Hon Rishi Sunak's speech

    In addition, information on the Coronavirus Bill (which will be pushed through the house this week) was published. This guidance outlines the powers the government will receive.

    The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. This advice takes effect immediately.

    16 March - The UK public was asked to stop 'unnecessary travel and non-essential contact' for around 12 weeks

    11 March - In the 2020 budget, the UK Government announced support for businesses affected by COVID-19. 

    4 March - The UK Government announced that statutory sick pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating.

    The Government is asking for businesses to offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support. The support needed includes: 

    • Medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser

    • Hotel rooms, transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
    • Manufacturing equipment
    • Warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
    • Expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
    • Social care or childcare 

    Businesses can share the areas they can offer support through the online portal.

    Check the latest travel health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website.

    Message of reassurance and welcome to Chinese travel operators in China you can repurpose