Advice and support for businesses
You can watch a video of the recorded webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus – (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees.
Government updates affecting the tourism industry
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:
- Hotels and other guest accommodation
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- Small marriages and civil partnerships
- Outdoor playgrounds and gyms
- Multi-purpose community facilities
- Accessing green spaces safely
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:
- Updated guidance on small weddings and civil partnerships
- Guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 4 July
- Advice on using green spaces updated in line with 4 July changes
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.