Official Visitor Website

Tourism sector and Coronavirus updates

Accessing COVID-19 business grants through your local authority

Visit East of England have worked with local authorities and other DMOs on the New Anglia LEP Tourism Recovery Plan

VisitBritain ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard – how to sign up

VisitBritain Consumer Sentiment Survey

Visit East of England Covid-19 Business Survey May 2020

Visit East of England Covid-19 Business Survey June 2020

December 2

In light of the new local restriction tiers coming into effect in England today, 2 December, 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. 

Restrictions vary according to tier. View the updated guidance to find out the restrictions in place for your business, including, for example, social contact rules for guided tours and coach tours, business event and meeting caps in each tier as well as guidance for weddings, civil partnerships, wakes and commemorative events, which attractions can open in which tier, travel advice and use of hotel lobbies in tier 3.

It also highlights additional considerations for businesses as follows:

  • It is law for staff and customers to wear face coverings in retail and hospitality venues and in private hire vehicles and taxis, except when eating or drinking (or because they are exempt). Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.
  • Staff who can work effectively from home should do so. Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  • It is an offence for a relevant business to fail to take all reasonable measures to:
    • require adherence to social contact restrictions (respecting all exceptions to this) when taking a booking; or allowing entry and once groups are within the premises failing to take steps to advise groups not to merge in ways that breach the rules.
    • ensure adequate distance between tables (2m or 1m+ with appropriate mitigation).

Visit the Government’s website to find out more.

Please see below other guidance that has been updated to reflect the new local restriction tiers.

The guidance on accessing green spaces safely has been updated, some key updates include:

  • In Tiers 1 and 2, people can spend time outdoors with members of their household or support bubble or in a group of up to 6 people.
  • In Tier 3 people can visit a public outdoor place with members of their household or support bubble, or in a group of up to 6 people. This includes public places which do not charge an entry fee, outdoor sports grounds or sports facilities, botanical gardens, gardens or grounds of a castle, stately home or historic house, whether or not an entry fee is charged
  • In Tier 3 people must not mix with anyone outside their household or support bubble in private gardens, funfairs and fairgrounds, any location which charges an entry fee, other than outdoor sports grounds or sports facilities, botanical gardens, gardens or grounds of a castle, stately home or historic house.
  • There is no limit to the amount of time people can spend outside.

The safer transport guidance for operators has also been updated.

This guidance builds on that shared yesterday for each tier.

Other updates:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) new deadlines for claims
There are now monthly deadlines for CJRS claims, some of the dates mean employers may have to submit earlier than they were required to in earlier months.

  • 14 December 2020 – final date to submit claims for November 2020 by 11:59pm
  • 14 January 2021 – final date to submit claims for December 2020 by 11:59pm
  • 15 February 2021 – final date to submit claims for January 2021 by 11:59pm
  • 15 March 2021 – final date to submit claims for February 2021 by 11:59pm
  • 14 April 2021 – final date to submit claims for March 2021 by 11:59pm

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme step by step guide for employers has also been updated to reflect recent changes to the scheme.

November 31

New guidance for each tier 

The Government has published new guidance on what people and businesses can and can’t do in each tier level, with effect from 2 December. Please see some key points of clarification provided for each tier. Tier 1: Medium alert

  • Hospitality businesses – including cafes, restaurants, bars and social clubs – selling food or drink for consumption on their premises where this includes alcohol are required to provide table service only. In cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadia, alcohol can be ordered at a bar to be consumed when seated in the auditorium or area where the screening/performance is taking place. This should be limited to only those with tickets. When it is to be consumed in the bar area itself, full table service must be provided.
  • Hospitality venues that do not serve alcohol may allow someone to order from the counter, but they must still consume their meal from a seat if eating in.
  • Tour groups must operate in line with social contact rules. This means that larger tours where groups of more than 6 interact will not be feasible.
  • Accommodation, such as hotels, holiday lets and guesthouses, may open but businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that social contact rules are followed within their venues.

See the full guidance for businesses and venues for full details available to date

Tier 2: High alert 

  • Pubs and bars may not provide alcohol for consumption on the premises, unless with a substantial meal, so they are operating as a restaurant. They may remain open for take-away services.
  • Other hospitality businesses – including cafes, restaurants and social clubs – can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. If they are a business which serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, they must be table service only. In cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadia, alcohol can be ordered at a bar to be consumed when seated in the auditorium or area where the screening/performance is taking place. This should be limited to only those with tickets. When it is to be consumed in the bar area itself, it must be part of a substantial meal and full table service must be provided.
  • Hospitality venues that do not serve alcohol may allow someone to order from the counter, but they must still consume their meal from a seat if eating in.
  • Casinos, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, adult gaming centres and amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities, bingo halls, cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadia may open but early closure (11pm) applies.
  • Tour groups must operate in line with social contact rules. This means that larger tours where different households or support bubbles (or groups of more than 6 if outdoors) interact will not be feasible.
  • Accommodation, such as hotels, holiday lets and guesthouses, may open but businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that social contact rules are followed within their venues. People can still travel within Tier 2 areas to hotels and other guest accommodation with people in their household or support bubble. People who live in a Tier 2 area, must continue to follow Tier 2 rules when they travel to a Tier 1 area.

See the full guidance for businesses and venues

Tier 3: Very High alert 

  • Businesses and venues selling alcohol for consumption off the premises can continue to do so as long as this is through takeaway, delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • Food or alcohol purchased from a hospitality premises via takeaway or click-and-collect may not be consumed on any part of that premises, including beer gardens, as well as adjacent seating to the premises (with exceptions for motorway service areas, airports, seaports, the international terminal at Folkestone and public transport services although these places cannot sell alcohol after 11pm).
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close with limited exceptions.
  • Businesses that remain open in law, but are located within accommodation, such as a spa within a hotel, can remain open.
  • Please note: These restrictions on accommodation do not apply between 22 to 28 December 2020. This means that accommodation may open during this period for people to stay in order to be located near their Christmas bubbles. However other restrictions, such as those on hospitality and social contact still apply – so people cannot mix with their Christmas bubble in a hotel, for example, unless a member of their bubble lives there permanently. Please see separate guidance for more information on the rules for social contact during the Christmas period (23 to 27 December).
  • Indoor play centres and areas, trampolining parks, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, laser quests and escape rooms, cinemas, theatres concert halls – other than drive-in events, broadcasting performances, training or rehearsal, circuses, snooker and pool halls (other than for elite athletes) must close.
  • Indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, and aquariums, other animal attractions including farms, water parks and aqua parks, model villages, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses, theme parks, fairgrounds and funfairs, adventure playgrounds and parks, including ziplining, visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles, stately homes or heritage railways, landmarks including observation wheels and viewing platforms must close.
  • Outdoor tourism and entertainment venues can remain open subject to following the relevant rules and guidelines.
  • Outdoor cinemas, theatres and concert venues can remain open for drive-in only, but must close at 11pm, other than for the purposes of concluding a performance which began before 10pm.
  • Outdoor events, such as funfairs can continue to happen in line with COVID-secure guidance – other than large outdoor performance events (performances, shows and screenings), which must be drive-in only.
  • Retail premises may open, other than shops situated inside closed premises that cannot be accessed directly from the street – retail premises within accommodation may also stay open.

See the full guidance

Guidance for the Christmas Period

Guidance for the Christmas period has been published it covers where the guidelines differ between 23-27 December and where activities will not change. Some points to note include:

  • Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who you can meet in bars, pubs and restaurants will not change.
  • Although there are exemptions for work purposes, people must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in their tier of residence.
  • From 2 December, the rules on attending events, including performances and Christmas or other festive lighting ceremonies will depend on the tier the area is in. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor events. Check the rules for each tier. Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on indoor events will not change. Christmas bubbles can attend outdoor events during this period.
  • Between 23 and 27 December, people may travel between tiers and other nations of the UK if necessary to meet with other households in their Christmas bubble or return home. Once at the destination, they should follow the rules in that tier.
  • People can stay in a hotel in England, including in tier 3, during the Christmas period as long as they’re staying alone or with other members of their household, or support bubble. 
  • People can stay in private rented accommodation with members of their household, or their Christmas bubble. 

Heritage locations guidance updates

In tiers 1 & 2 indoor and outdoor heritage sites can open to the public, subject to the relevant social contact rules. As heritage buildings and landscapes can be used for a multitude of different activities, organisations must check if individual activities are permitted under the rules in their respective tier. This includes caps on attendance at large indoor and outdoor events, where applicable.

In tier 3, indoor heritage attractions will be required to close. Outdoor heritage locations including historic parks, gardens, landscapes, and ruins and monuments open to the elements, can remain open as long as the social distancing rules are observed. In tier 3, such outdoor sites are subject to the rule of 6, whether you pay to access them or not (as public outdoor spaces similar to public parks). See the full guidance here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 

The online service to apply for the third grant is now available.

 Face covering guidance 

The guidance on face coverings has been updated with information on wearing visors, a face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth.

November 26

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, you can also use the postcode checker on GOV.UK to find out the tier in your region. 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.

November 23

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 they 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.

November 12

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.

November 9

Prime Minister’s press conference

 The Prime Minister was joined by Jonathan Van Tam and Brigadier Joe Fossey at a press conference this evening.

  • He began by touching on the progress toward a vaccine. He said that the Pfizer vaccine’s results are showing 90% effectiveness, but they have not yet seen the full safety data. If/when it is approved the UK will be ready – they have 40m doses of this particular one (for around a third of the population – two doses per person).
    • If this is successful they will carry out a NHS led roll out of vaccination, prioritising the who gets vaccinated based on scientific advice.
    • The Prime Minister stressed that these were early days, and this news cannot be seen as the only solution.
  • Irrespective of a vaccine or not, more must be done to bring the virus down – mass testing is part of this plan – currently being trialled in Liverpool.
    • The Brigadier provided an update on the programme.
  • Jonathan Van Tam touched on the new vaccine announcement by Pfizer.
    • He warned people to stand fast and not get over excited. The next step would be to see the safety data of the 22,000 people given the vaccine.
    • He doesn’t see this vaccine making any difference to this Winter wave, but it may help prevent future waves. He urged the public not to relax and to continue to comply to restrictions.

Q&A

  • There was a question about travel around the UK at Christmas – the PM said the more we comply with guidance now, the better all of our chances of a close to normal Christmas are.
  • The final question asked if London would be released from lockdown early due to declining rates in the city. The PM said this progress was due to people following the rules, but in some places the virus is still doubling.

View the Prime Minister’s full statement.

Changes made to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme
New options are available to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Businesses in the UK can now top up existing loans, extend the loan period, make interest-only repayments or pause repayments. Read guidance on applying for a bounce back loan.

Other updates

The Office for National Statistics has released the latest provisional International Passenger Survey (IPS) results covering April, May, June and Q2 2020. The latest figures are available on the VisitBritain website. The key points include:

  • The UK saw 398,000 inbound visits who spent £218 million in Q2 2020, 96% and 97% down on last year respectively.
  • For the year to date, January-June 2020, there has been 7.39 million inbound visits to the UK who spent £4.5 billion 60% and 61% down on the same period last year).

COVID-19 Situation update 9 November 2020

November 5

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.

November 4

The national restriction guidance 
The national restriction guidance has been updated with some further information and clarifications. Please see below 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/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 instalment of the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, people will receive 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

November 1

The Prime Minister has announced a second national lockdown for England. You can view the full speech here. 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
  1. Essential shopping
  2. Travelling to work where your workplace is open or you cannot work from home
  3. Travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  4. 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 £2500 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.

October 22

We are pleased to share the latest official updates including the Governments latest announcement of further financial support for businesses and workers, changes to COVID alert levels across England and updates to Government guidance.

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.

All updates and business guidance

October 12

Political Update

  • Today the Prime Minister gave a statement in Parliament which outlined a new three-tier system of local COVID alert levels in England. The system is due to be debated by Parliament tomorrow and will become law from Wednesday. Every part of England will be designated as one of the following three Alert tiers:
  • Medium Tier – Most of England will be in this alert level and is a continuation of the measures that are currently in place, such as the rule of Six, 10pm curfew, the need for table service, test and trace requirements and face coverings away from tables.
  • High Tier – This tier will introduce more stringent restrictions on household interactions, with people being prevented from mixing with other households or support bubbles in indoor hospitality venues. The Rule of Six will continue to apply outdoors, in public spaces and private gardens. 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 this alert level.
  • Very High Tier – These restrictions will apply to areas where transmission rates are causing the most concern. Wet-led pubs and bars will be required by law to shut in these areas, with all social mixing indoors to be banned. In addition to these baseline requirements, the Government and local government leaders in each very High Alert area will agree on other specific additional measures which could include further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment or personal care sectors. But retail, schools and universities will remain open.
  •  It was announced that Merseyside would be classified as a very High Alert area and in addition to the baseline requirements, gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close from Wednesday.It was also announced that Government engagement with local leaders in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire & Humber was continuing suggesting that these areas may also be designated as Very High Alert soon.
  • The regulations for closure for ‘high tier areas’ has just been published, replicated below and we will get more clarity on how this will operate:‘Requirement to close businesses selling alcohol for consumption on the premises:
  •  A person responsible for carrying on a business of a public house, bar or other business involving the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises must cease to carry on that business, unless paragraph (2) applies.
  • This paragraph applies if alcohol is only served for consumption on the premises as part of a table meal, and the meal is such as might be expected to be served as the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at either such meal.
  • For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) —
    1. alcohol sold by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service is not to be treated as being sold for consumption on its premises;
    2. an area adjacent to the premises of the business where seating is made available for customers of the business (whether or not by the business), or where customers gather to drink outside the business, is to be treated as part of the premises of that business.
  • For the purposes of this paragraph, a “table meal” is a meal eaten by a person seated at a table, or at a counter or other structure which serves the purposes of a table and is not used for the service of refreshments for consumption by persons not seated at a table or structure serving the purposes of a table.
  •  Post code checker – The Government will shortly be launching a postcode checker website that will show what alert level any particular areas is in.
  •  Job Support Scheme Guidance Updated – The Guidance for the Job Support Scheme has been amended to include businesses required to close as a result of the new Alert Scheme. It has also been updated 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 an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).
  •  Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme – The Government has published guidance on the Test and Trace Payment Support Scheme. People contacted through the Test and Trace system in England and told that they need to self-isolate  are eligible for a £500 payment if they meet the following criteria:
    • they’re employed or self-employed
    • they’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
    • they’re currently receiving at least one of the following:
      • Universal Credit
      • Working Tax Credit
      • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
      • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
      • Income Support
      • Housing Benefit
      • Pension Credit
  • People in England who do not fulfil the above criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if they meet the following criteria:
    • they have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
    • they are employed or self-employed
    • they are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
    • they are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
    • they are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating
  •  UKH will continue to review the key points of contention and push for clarity from Government into what these new rules mean for sector businesses. UKH will be holding a webinar on Tuesday 13th October at midday, so please do join us as we will have further details. Our Coronavirus FAQs page will be updated as soon as we get more details so please do make sure you regularly check that.

Government Update

  • Visa Guidance Update – The guidance on applying for visas has been updated to say that customers can now apply for a visit visa from any VAC
  •  Westminster Hall Debate on the Events Industry – Tomorrow from 11.00 am – 11.30 am there is a Westminster Hall debate on Fiscal support for the events industry during the covid-19 outbreak lead by the SNP whip Owen Thompson MP

Industry Update

  • VisitBritain Coronavirus Sentiment Tracker – The proportion feeling ‘the worst is still to come’ rises again, albeit by just 1 point to 59%.  Those expecting life will return ‘close to normal’ by December is also fractionally down to just 5% of the population, while ‘appetite for risk’ is unchanged at 2.5/4 following last wave’s dip.  The confidence in being able to take a domestic overnight trip in March 2021 fell significantly last wave to 48% and it’s declined yet again to 40%, indicating people are anticipating disruption well into next year.  As reported last time, ‘restrictions on travel from the government’ is the leading reason cited for this lack of confidence (51%), followed by ‘concerns about catching Covid-19’ (48%).  The subsequent leading reasons are also very reflective of the current situation; namely ‘it’s not responsible to travel in this period’, ‘restrictions on opportunities to socialise’ and ‘fewer things to do/places to visit’.  It would seem that barriers to ‘enjoyment’ of the trip may be just as crucial to confidence as the more fundamental restrictions and concerns associated with freedom of movement or health and wellbeing.

Other points of note:

  • National Mood: fractionally up to 6.6 (from 6.5 last wave)
  • The % feeling the ‘worst is still to come’: up 1 point 59%
  • The % expecting life returning ‘close to normal’ by December: down 1 point to 5%
  • Appetite for Risk: unchanged at 2.5/4
  • Confidence in taking an overnight trip next March: significantly down 8 percentage points to 40%
  • ‘Restrictions on travel from Government’ now takes the outright lead among the lack of near-term confidence (trips to end of October).
  • 38% of U.K. adults expect to be taking the same number or more domestic short-breaks over the rest of the year compared to normal and 37% express this for holidays respectively.
  • 10% anticipate taking an overnight trip during Oct, with a further 21% intending to take at least one trip between November-March.
  • Uncertainty is still evident, with 41% of October intenders yet to plan this trip and 54% yet to book.  The levels of planning and booking winter trips (November to March) stands at 27% and 16% respectively.
  • In terms of region likely to be visited between now and the end of October, the South West continues to dominate with 22% of intenders citing this as their destination, followed by Yorkshire & the Humber (on 13%).  For the winter period, the South West narrowly leads with 16% share, followed by North West (15%) and London (13%).
  • For trips up to end of October, countryside/village is the leading destination type with 37% share.  Cities receive a significantly greater proportion of trips scheduled during the winter period, ranking first with a 35% share.

Situation update 12 October 2020

October 9

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.

We will share further details with you as they become available.

Other government updates:

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.

Small marriages and civil partnerships
The COVID-19 guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated. Changes cover the rules on face coverings, distance between tables, singing in groups of more than six, dancing, music volume and enforcement.

Travel corridors
The Greek islands of Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos and Zakynthos will be added to the exempt list at 4:00am Saturday 10 October. People arriving in England from these locations after 4:00am Saturday 10 October 2020 will not need to self-isolate.

Heritage organisations receive funding
445 heritage organisations in England have received a share of £103 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is part of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which was announced in July.

October 2

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).

Guidance for the reopening of saunas and steams rooms from 1 October
Guidance on working safely during COVID-19 has been updated for providers of saunas and steam rooms.

  • Maximum capacity should be restricted to 50%. For example, a sauna designed for 4 people should only be used by 2 people at the same time.
  • Facilities should operate with 2m social distancing, including marked seating points in each room.
  • Guests should be given fixed times and staggered slots to enter the sauna or steam room.
  • For example, a sauna with a normal capacity for 4 individuals offers an appointment time of 12.00 – 12.15. Up to 2 individuals may book this slot. They must arrive at 12.00. They may leave and re-enter at any time but the sauna must be vacated by everyone at 12.15.
  • Where technically possible, increase air flow and air changes to the maximum possible.
  • Ensure that saunas, steam rooms and any equipment are cleaned regularly, at the beginning and end of the day and at regular intervals in-between, determined by the risk assessment.

See relevant guidance for close contact services and providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities.

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.

September 30

Restrictions in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport 

New restrictions have come into force in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and StockportPeople 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
Guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in England has been updated following the national measures announced last week:

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

September 22

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.

In summary:

  • 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. We will update you as and when more guidance becomes available.

Read the full statement

Other updates

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

See all business advice and Covid updates

September 24

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 included 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 6 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 that 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.

See all COVID-19 updates for businesses

See updates and support for reopening your business on the Business Advice Hub.

Don’t forgot you can now apply for a free UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure your customers that your business adheres to Government and public health guidance.

September 10

Prime Minister announcement 

Further to yesterday’s announcement, the following have been published:

We recognise that the sector would like further clarification on specific questions and we are working to get this to you as soon as possible. We will of course answer your questions as soon as we can.

Updated guidance documents 

In line with the Prime Minister’s announcement, the following pieces of guidance have been updated:

These pieces of guidance have been updated to reflect the rule of six, test and trace requirements, and the ‘ten things you should know’ at the top.

August 12 update

Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: June 2020 report

See an analysis of monthly growth for the production and services industries between May 2020 and June 2020, highlighting the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Other Government updates

  • The  Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance has been updated for vehicles including guidance on consulting the workforce before returning to work (section 2) and protecting people who are at higher risk (section 2.1).
  • Updated data is available for the use of transport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Industry updates

  • ABTA’s board has today confirmed that customers should be offered a full refund by their members when the FCO advice is against all but essential travel to a destination.
  • Holland America Line is extending its pause of cruise operations and cancelling departures on all ships through to 15 December 2020.
  • For the first time ever, ABTA’s flagship annual conference, The Travel Convention, will take place as a virtual one-day event on 15 October 2020.

Situation update 12 August 2020

August 11 update

New dates available for HMRC’s business support webinars

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • Costa Cruises is planning to restart its operations from Italian ports gradually from 6 September.
  • P&O cruises has extended their pause of operations until 12 November 2020 and cancelled a selection of longer term cruises until 31 March 2021.
  • Seabourn, has announced that it will cancel upcoming voyages for three cruise ships in its fleet as a part of its pause in global ship operations. The announcement applies to Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation, and Seabourn Sojourn with each ship having a different “effective through” date.

Situation update 11 August 2020

August 7 update

Guidance on holidays in areas with local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in England

The Government has today 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. The guidance 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 can be found in the Working Safely guidance.

Read the full guidance to find out more.

 Reopening update for Wales

Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms and leisure centres will be able to re-open from Monday 10 August, First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed today (Friday 7 August). Children’s indoor play areas will also be able to open their doors again as part of the latest changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales. However, areas such as ball pits, which cannot be easily cleaned, should remain closed.

The claims service for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is now live.

If you have registered your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme you can now submit claims.

 What you’ll need to claim

You’ll need the records you’ve kept for each day you’ve used the scheme, including the:

  • total number of diners (covers) who have used the scheme, including children
  • total amount of discount you’ve given
  • period you’re claiming for

If you’re making a claim for more than one establishment, you will need to have the:

  • records for each establishment
  • overall total value of the claim for all establishments ready before you claim

Travel corridors update for arrivals in England

Andorra, The Bahamas and Belgium will be removed from the exempt list for arrivals at 4am, 8 August 2020

Situation update 7 August 2020

August 6 update

Filming and broadcasting at permitted visitor economy venues update

The Business Visits & Events Partnership has sought guidance on filming and broadcasting at permitted visitor economy venues and can share that both 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.

Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report

The latest Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 11, based on fieldwork from 27-31 July.

These latest results may be being influenced by some of the negative publicity, both domestically and overseas, around the pandemic.  Here we’ve seen lockdown measures being re-introduced in Leicester and the Manchester/Bradford regions, while the spikes in cases in some parts of Spain resulted in holidaymakers returning from the country having to self-quarantine for 14 days.  This has manifested itself in just 16% of UK adults now thinking the worst has past (compared with 31% back in Week 4 of the survey).

Only 22% are now expecting ‘normality’ by the end of this year and confidence in the ability to take a domestic trip continues to slowly decline.  For those lacking confidence around winter trips, concerns around catching coronavirus is a major factor (with 52% citing this) but in second and third positions we see people saying ‘it’s not responsible to travel’ and ‘general unease about travelling’, which suggests reassurance is going to be a major factor in encouraging trips during this period.

More positively, over half of Summer Intenders have already planned their trip while 44% have committed to booking it.  Of course, the broader challenge is encouraging more bookings from Winter Intenders (for trips between October ‘20 – March ‘21) which currently stands at 17%, although this is +5 points up on Week 10

Please see the full report for further details.

Other Government updates

Situation update 6 August 2020

August 3 update

Political updates

  • 90 min Coronavirus Tests: The Government has announced that, from next week, it will be introducing two new tests that are able to detect the coronavirus in 90 minutes. Of particular note is that these tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them and can be used in non-clinical settings. This seems to increase the possibility of introducing a more sophisticated approach to people entering the UK than 14 day quarantining.

Government updates

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

  • 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 3 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 2 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.
  • Test and Trace: It is important to note that while the guidance states that if a person start to feel symptoms they should start 7 day self-isolation and a negative test will mean they can return to work, if they are alerted through Test and Trace they should then always complete a full 14 day self-isolation, regardless of whether they get a negative test result. This NHS FAQ document supports this stance and has been circulated to all Local Authorities and should be advising consistently on the basis of its contents.
  • Marriages and civil partnerships: Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated reflect additional requirements on face coverings and amendments to the roadmap for wedding receptions.
  • Playgrounds and outdoor gyms: Guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms has been updated to reflect the additional requirements on face coverings.

Local lockdowns

Devolved administrations updates

From 3 August:

    • The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
    • Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.
    • Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for 15 August.
    • The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2 metres distance from each other or from adults.

If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

    • Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
    • Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.
  • The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from 15 August.

Tourism update

  • VisitBritain has run a domestic impact model for 2020. As with their inbound forecast, this represents a snapshot in time and will be reviewed throughout the year. The forecast makes a number of assumptions to provide an estimate of impact. Subsequent developments could change the outlook.
    • They have forecast a central scenario for Britain of £46.8bn in domestic tourism spending in 2020, down 49% compared to 2019 when spending by domestic tourists in Britain was £91.6bn.  This comprises £12.6bn from overnight tourism, down from £24.7bn in 2019, and £34.2bn from day trips, down from £67.0bn in 2019.
    • This is a decline of 49% for both overnights and leisure day trips, although the pattern of the recovery will be different. While some categories of day trips started to recover first, others will be very limited for some months to come.

This represents a loss of £44.9bn (£12.1bn from overnights and £32.8bn from day trips) – greater than the loss from inbound tourism in absolute value terms, although lower in percentage terms.

More information is available on VisitBritain.org

 Industry update

  • The Betting and Gaming Council sent a letter to the Chancellor following Friday’s government announcement that delayed the opening of casinos.

Situation update 3 August 2020

August 1 update

Political Update

  • Further guidance has been published by the Government in respect of the introduction of new COVID restrictions following a small increase in incidence of the disease across the UK. You can find the link to the PM statement here.
  • Government has confirmed that the consideration will be given to reopening of bowling alleys, casinos, spas & beauty salons and wedding receptions from 15 August – this will be subject to a review of the health statistics, but a further delay is unlikely.
  • Government has postponed the pilots of live performances, large gatherings and conferences, with no date as yet for their resumption. This may call into question the reopening of business events and conferences from 1 October and an update will be given in two weeks’ time. Meetings of up to 30 are unaffected and may continue
  • New regulations will be introduced making face coverings mandatory for guests and visitors in corridors and public lobby areas of hotels (this was previously recommended under voluntary guidance and is now mandatory) as well as indoor tourist attractions such as aquariums, zoos, farms, museums and cultural sites, theatres, cinemas, beauty and hair salons, social clubs, indoor entertainment venues such as amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities escape rooms) and bingo and concert halls. Although mandatory from 8 August, face coverings are recommended with immediate effect.
  • An overview of the North West England lockdown has also been published. It emphasises that businesses should continue to work and operate as before, but that restrictions would mean that people would not be able to see friends and family from outside their immediate household in any indoor settings. The Government asked pubs and restaurants to take reasonable steps to avoid multi-household bookings indoors. The guidance also confirms that households from within affected areas will be able to continue to travel freely and to take holidays, but should do so with their own family group
  • Scottish Ministers have, however, advised its residents not to undertake unnecessary travel to the affected area and asked those living there to cancel planned travel to Scotland.

Health Update

  • Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday suggest infection rates in England are rising, with around 4,200 new infections a day – compared with 3,200 a week ago. The level of infection is still significantly lower than it was during the pandemic peak
  • PHE publishes a weekly COVID-19 epidemiology surveillance summary available here. Today a further 74 deaths were reported in the UK, taking the total number of people who have died after testing positive for the virus to 46,193.
  • The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result. This would also apply to those contacted through track and trace who have come into prolonged and sustained contact (more than 15 mins face to face) with someone who has tested positive
  • The CMO, Chris Whitty, suggested  the nation had “probably reached near the limit or the limits” of what can be done to reopen society. This has led to two scientists advising the government to suggest further trade-offs, including closing pubs or other activities, may be needed to allow pupils to return to classrooms next month as planned. Mr Johnson has previously pledged that both primary and secondary schools in England will return in September “with full attendance”. A trade off of this nature is not currently being considered by Government and other public health experts have suggested a trade off was not the right approach and would lead to a diversion of efforts away from track and trace and control of the virus through testing and isolation.

Other Government Updates

  • The Government has confirmed that dance music and nightclubs will be eligible to apply to the Cultural Renewal Fund for support during closure.
  • A new £20m funding is to be made available to Local Economic Partnerships to allow them to provide discretionary help to hospitality and other businesses in their area and to support COVID recovery measures. This is in addition to the £10m previously announced for tourism SMEs. The grants are up to £5k to provide access to specialist advice or to purchase new technology to help manage covid threat.
  • Further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s new Job Retention Bonus were unveiled by HMRC confirming workers who have been successfully TUPE’d will be eligible for the bonus to be paid in February.
  • A new law has been passed clarifying that furlough may be used for payment of statutory redundancy pay and notice, but that workers must receive 100% of their normal pay not the 80% furlough amount actually paid during the reference period. The new law took effect from 31 July.
  • ONS have produced their latest Social Impacts research update which has some relevant findings for tourism businesses. It finds that 34% of people say they are comfortable eating inside at a restaurant. Just 19% are comfortable using an outside pool with 12% comfortable using an indoor gym or indoor swimming pool.
  • The Met Police have reported being called to 80 Unlicensed Music Events with police action necessary in 20 cases.

July 31 update

Political Updates

  • Today the Prime Minister announced a reversal of further lockdown easing in England following spikes in reported cases. Certain businesses were due to re-open from 1 August 2020 as part of the Government’s roadmap to recovery. However the plans to open these venues will now be postponed for at least two weeks. The following businesses and venues will now not open before 15 August:
    • Casinos
    • Bowling alleys
    • Skating rinks
    • Indoor performances
    • Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres
    • Wedding receptions of up to 30 people
  • The vast majority of hospitality businesses will be unaffected by these changes including meetings of up to 30 which have been allowed from 17 July
  • Also announced was, from 8 August, face coverings must be worn in an increased number of settings including museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship. However, UKHospitality does not believe this will affect most hospitality businesses but is seeking clarity.
  • There has been no change to work-from-home guidance
  • The full speech can be found here.

 Local lockdown

  • Northern England lockdown: Yesterday the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that new rules on social gatherings will be introduced in parts of Northern England to stop the spread of COVID-19. These changes will also apply in Leicester city. More information can be found here.

The official guidance to accompany the Northern Lockdown can be found here. Almost all tourism businesses are allowed to remain open. The only businesses that have to close are the following ones in Blackburn, Darwen and Bradford

  • indoor gyms
  • indoor fitness and dance studios
  • indoor sports courts and facilities
  • indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks

People from outside are still able to enter the lockdown area to undertake a holiday (provided that they do not socialise with other people indoors). However non-essential travel outside the lockdown area is not allowed – unless it is for work or to attend a wedding. Clarity on this is being sought.

 Government updates

  • Eat out to Help Out: Information about the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme has been updated to include information on hospitality and golf packages.
  • Update on Job Retention Bonus: HMRC have published further details of how jobs will be protected through the government’s Job Retention Bonus. Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year. Further details can be found here.
  • SME grants: The Government has announced a £20 million fund to support the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in England. Businesses will be eligible to receive grants between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access technology, equipment or professional advice as they plan for recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.
    • Activities supported through the funding can include:
      • One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus.
      • Grants (£1,000 – £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.
  • SME support programmes: on Monday 3 August BEIS will be launching two new initiatives to help SMEs across England, in enhancing their resilience and recovery strategies, to ensure that they are in a great position to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and to develop their potential for future growth and productivity. These two schemes represent a £20m investment by BEIS:
    • The Small Business Leadership Programme is a fully-funded 10 week programme delivered online by a consortium of university business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter. The programme is designed to be manageable around participants’ busy schedules.  Participants businesses must have been operational for at least one year and have 5 to 249 employees.
    • Peer Networks will bring together diverse cohorts of business leaders to discuss their business challenges with their peers. Delivered through a series of virtual, high impact group sessions with the help of a trained facilitator ,from finance and HR to sales, marketing and more, participants will discuss their own challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback from their peers and identify practical solutions to overcome them. Peer Networks will be delivered locally and accessible through local Growth Hubs across England. Participants businesses will have been operating for at least one year and have 5 to 249 employees and a turnover of over £100,000.

Further information will be available on the gov.uk website at the point of launch.

  • Redundancy Pay: Government has brought in a law to ensure furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate. Further details on this can be found here.
  • Economic impact: A new report has been published on the economic impacts of the coronavirus in the UK. The indicators and analysis presented are based on responses from the voluntary fortnightly business survey, which captures businesses’ responses on how their turnover, workforce prices, trade and business resilience have been affected. This data relates to the period 29 June 2020 to 12 July 2020.

  Travel  and tourism Update

  • The latest UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report, also available on visitbritain.org, for week 10, based on fieldwork from 20-24 July found that 14% of adults claimed to have already taken a domestic overnight trip in July. Among those who intend to take a UK trip between now and the end of September, 50% say they have already planned it while 36% claim to have already booked it.

37% of UK adults believe the ‘worst is still to come’ with regards to Covid-19 which represents a significant decline on last week (-6%). As for when people feel things will be returning ‘close to normal’, slightly more are expecting ‘normality’ by December (27% versus 24% last week).

Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday during August is fractionally down to 32% (-1% on last week). The main reason cited among those lacking confidence is having ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’, especially for trips during the winter period. Other key barriers for summer trips continue to be structural such as fewer opportunities to eat/drink out or fewer things to do/places to visit, although ‘personal finances’ is emerging as a key concern for winter breaks.

Situation update 30 July 2020

July 27 update

  • The Government has today published its new Obesity Strategy. This includes new Better Health Campaign providing a range of education tools to support weight loss – aiming to encourage all of us to lose 5lbs to help the NHS, expanded weight management services – as well as information and public education through a ban on promotions and advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, the introduction of a new front of pack nutritional label and mandatory calorie labelling for all out of home businesses employing more than 250 employees. The Government will move to set out steps for new legislation and guidance to business to progress rapidly on implementation by the end of 2022. The Government will also launch a new consultation on calorie labelling of pre-packaged alcohol. Our detailed briefing note on the new proposals is available here.
  • The Government has re-introduced new quarantine restrictions for passengers returning from Spain requiring all those returning from Sunday 26 July to self-isolate for 14 days. The quarantine restriction has been imposed following a significant jump in new COVID cases in Mainland Spain over the last week. The rate of infection in Spain is 35 cases per 100,000 people, while the UK is just over 14 cases per 100,000 people. In light of the fact that there are lower rates of infection in the Balearic and Canary Islands, the UK Government is in talks with Spain about introducing air bridges for the islands later this week.
  • Questions have been raised about employees who are required to quarantine upon their return. ACAS has suggested that these employees will not automatically be entitled to statutory sick pay unless they are showing COVID symptoms or are required to self isolate because they have come into close contact with someone who has COVID (reclaim £95.85 per week) but may be eligible for extended annual leave (taking account of leave which will have accrued during furlough you could ask people to take extended leave) and could be placed back on flexible furlough during August. Downing Street has also highlighted that they may be entitled to enhanced universal credit.

Other Government Updates

  • The Government has published details on those who are exempt from the mandatory requirement to wear a face covering in transport, retail and takeaway settings. Face coverings are not mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 or those with disabilities or certain health conditions.
  • The Government has produced new guidance for businesses on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme which provides further details on how businesses can make a claim from 7 August and the records required to be kept. Under the scheme, businesses can make up to 5 claims before 30 September but is important to note that VAT needs to be paid on the full amount of the customer’s bill before the discount is applied – this can be reconciled at a later date. Customers can now find participating restaurants online.
  • The Government announced that £2.25m from £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Package would be allocated to grassroots music venues as emergency funding to help prevent them becoming insolvent. This funding will be administered by the Arts Council and will be used to provide grants of up to £80,000 to help an estimated 150 venues.
  • Draft legislation options have been published to show how government could respond to a local or regional coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak without returning to a national lockdown.
  • The first weekly COVID local stats have been published identifying areas of significant concern. National measures have been imposed in Blackburn, Darwen and Luton, with Government maintaining the lockdown restrictions on gyms, leisure and pools in those areas together with additional controls and testing in community settings. The latest data shows the incidence of COVID-19 in Blackburn with Darwen and Luton. Areas of heightened concern where additional local lockdown powers could be used are close by Blackburn and include Pendle, Rochdale, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield as well as Rotherham, Peterborough and Northampton
  • National Food Strategy: Henry Dimbleby – who was appointed by Michael Gove MP to leading an Independent Review of the food system – will launch Part One of the National Food Strategy virtually on Wednesday 29 July, 1.30 – 2.45pm. There will be an opportunity to ask Mr Dimbleby questions about the findings and his recommendations to government. Click here to register: https://nfs-launch.eventbrite.co.uk.

Devolved Administration

  • The UK Government has announced that the devolved administrations Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a minimum of £3.7 billion in additional funding this year.
  • The Northern Ireland Executive have made a number of announcements regarding relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions allowing people to come together from 4 different households, to reopen swimming pools, spas and leisure facilities, including bowling alleys to reopen from 24 July. Wet led indoor pubs will reopen from 10 August.
  • The visitor economy in Wales continued reopening over the weekend. From 25 July, tourist accommodation with shared facilities such as camping sites and all hotels, museums, galleries, amusement arcades and underground attractions may start re-opening. From today face coverings are compulsory on public transport in Wales, including taxis.

Tourism Update

  • Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the list of travel corridors coming into effect from Tuesday 28 July in England
  • The FCO has updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. The travel exemption list has been updated with an additional 19 countries including Laos, Cambodia, Fiji, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Guadeloupe, St Barthelemy, St Martin, St Maarten, Aruba, New Caledonia, Curacao, Cook Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cuna
  • The travel advice for outbound travel has been revised and now states – ‘You should carefully consider your holiday and travel options, in light of the continuing COVID-19 threat. A ‘staycation’ is one way of mitigating the risks – while also supporting the local economy. If you’re holidaying abroad, you may have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on your return home – depending on which country you have visited’.

Situation update 27 July 2020

July 23 update

  • The Government published new Regulations and official guidance (here) to require face coverings to be worn in a shop, supermarket, shopping centre and transport hubs in England from Friday 24 July. Face coverings will not be mandatory for anyone under the age of 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.
  • The guidance confirms that if a shop or supermarket has a café or seating area for you to eat and drink, then you can remove your face covering in this area only. You must put a face covering back on once you leave your seating area. If you are in a cafe or takeaway restaurant that does not provide table service, you must wear a face covering unless you are in a designated seated area. For absolute clarity, this means that when entering a takeaway, customers must be wearing face masks and should only remove them if they sit down to eat
  • Premises offering table service are exempt from the regulations as are restaurants, pubs and gyms. Earlier press briefings suggesting counter service would be banned, have also not been taken forward. It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops.
  • For transport hubs in England, the requirements mean face coverings must be worn in indoor train stations and terminals, airports, maritime ports, and indoor bus and coach stations or terminals but can be removed if using pub, restaurant or coffee shop seating.
  • In Scotland, the regulations only make a face covering mandatory in retail shops and transport – coffee shops and takeaways are not covered. In Wales, the requirement only applies to public transport.
  • You can read our detailed briefing and FAQ here, https://bit.ly/UKHFaceCoveringBriefing

Local Lockdown

  • Guidance on closing certain businesses in Leicester has been updated to reflect the amendments to the Leicester Regulations coming into force on 24 July.
  • Public Health England has published the latest weekly Covid surveillance report and as a result Luton and Blackburn have both been marked as “areas for intervention” due to a spike in cases. Leaders of both town councils said they would postpone the planned lifting of restrictions on Saturday 25 July (see below) and that further phased lockdown could be applied from Monday if the virus is not brought under control – however, in both areas there are still relatively low levels of infection, roughly half the rate of Leicester.
  • A drop in cases in Bradford means it has moved down from the “enhanced support” category – one below intervention – and is now classed as an “area of concern”.  Pendle, Calderdale, Northampton, and Rotherham have become “areas of concern” with enhanced measures in place to try to control the outbreak

Government Update

  • Further regulations will come into force on Saturday 25 July, to open more businesses and venues to the public. This will include swimming pools and water parks, indoor fitness and dance studios, gyms and sport courts.
  • HMRC has confirmed that operators are able to make a manual reconciliation for VAT after the EOTHO scheme ends in September. Under the rules of the scheme, the discount must be applied to the gross amount of the cost of the meal, which is usually not possible to tender at till. The HMRC agreement means that till systems will now not need to be reprogrammed. They have also confirmed that the EOTHO may be applied on top of any staff discounts

Tourism Update

  • The Parliamentary DCMS Select Committee today published its report into the impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors, including Tourism, following which a letter was sent to the Tourism Minister. The report calls for sector specific VAT cuts, clear timelines on reopening for mass gatherings, a national campaign to restore consumer confidence in domestic holidays and a Data Hub.
  • A Government study into the travel behaviour of people in the UK during the lockdown period has been published, covering 15-22 May in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and from 28 May – 4 June in Wales. It is the first of 4 reports:  4 in 10  adults worked at home more during lockdown and 58% used public transport less often. More than a third of adults said they had cancelled plans to travel abroad and a similar proportion had cancelled a long distance car journey.
  • The latest VisitBritain UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 9, based on fieldwork from 13-17 July has been published. It shows that over a quarter of respondents are confident in their ability to take a short break or holiday during July and 13% said they had already taken a trip so far. A third of adults intend to, or have already taken a domestic short break or holiday between July-Sept.
  • The time horizon for when people expect things to feel ‘close to normal’ continues to be pushed further into the future. Presently, just 9% expect normality by September and 24% expect ‘normality’ by December. This compares to 54% feeling normality would return by the end of the year in week 1 (fielded between 18-22 May).  43% of UK adults now believe the ‘worst is still to come’ with regards to Covid-19
  • The main reason cited among those lacking confidence is having ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’, especially for trips during the winter period. Other key reasons continue to be structural, such as fewer opportunities to eat/drink out, places to visit.

Situation update 23 July 2020

July 22 update

  • The Planning and Business Act has received Royal Assent and will have immediate effect. The Act introduces a new streamlined procedure to apply for a pavement licence for eating and drinking out on the public highway. The cost is capped at £100 and licences may be granted to September 2021. The local authority will consult for 7 days and the licence will be deemed granted after 14 days.
  • As a result of amendments tabled in the House of Lords, some changes have been made. Las must have regard to the needs of disabled people when considering whether to grant a pavement licence and licence holders must make reasonable provision for outside seating where smoking is not permitted – in the areas covered by the new pavement licence. Pavement licences guidance published: Guidance to accompany pavement licensing introduced in the Business and Planning Act 2020 has been issued.
  • There will also be a deregulation of the Licensing Act 2003 to allow all premises to automatically extend their permissions to cover off sales and consumption in all outside areas. Following amendments in the House of Lords, off sales may only take place up to 11pm and any new permissions for off sales do not apply to times when the premises licence does not allow sales of alcohol for consumption in outdoor areas. Guidance for temporary alcohol licensing provisions: This guidance relates to the alcohol licensing provisions in the Business and Planning Act 2020.

Other Government Updates

  • Government has published a series of updated COVID guidance following announcements on reopening: Small meetings and functions for fewer than 30 people can resume 1 August. Business events and conferences can resume from 1 October provided rates of infection remain at current levels. More information is available here. Guidance on how to work safely in the visitor economy and in hotels and other guest accommodation has been updated to include guidance on business events and meetings.
  • Government is hosting a series of free webinars for hospitality businesses and to hear your feedback on practical implementation, clarification and amendment needed:
    • Spa, gym and beauty 11am Tuesday 28 July Register here.
    • Restaurants, Pubs and Bars: 3pm, Tuesday 28 July Register here.
  • A new webinar on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is also now available on multiple dates register here
  • Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace includes a new section on collecting customer and visitor data, and with information on if a worker develops symptoms and orders a test.

Government Consultations

  • Business Rates call for evidence As part of a review of the business rates system, HMT has published a call for evidence from the industry here. This call for evidence seeks views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change and a number of alternative taxes. Responses will be collected in two stages: views on the multiplier and reliefs sections are requested by 18th September in order to inform an interim report in the autumn to look at interim rates to April 2023. Responses on all other sections are due by 31st October. UKH Working Groups will discuss options for reform and provide consultation with members to feed into Government submissions
  • The Government has today launched a public consultation on the Border Operating Strategy seeking views on what major transformations the UK needs to deliver an effective digital border for trade maximisation by 2025.  Input and expertise from businesses and industry will ensure that the future border is designed with the user in mind. There will be a series of stakeholder workshops on cross border trade email 2025borderstrategy@hmrc.gov.uk.
  • The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has opened a new enquiry on ‘Public Sector Procurement of Food’. In its Call for Evidence, which is open until 27th August, the Committee is asking for comment on procurement rules, government buying standards and future priorities. UKH will be making a detailed written submission in association with the Food Service Management Group

Situation update 22 July 2020

July 21 update

Political Update

  • The Chancellor today launched Comprehensive Spending review, setting Government departments’ resource budgets for 2021-24 and devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period. The CSR will seek to prioritise jobs and skills, levelling up economic opportunity ad investing in infrastructure, innovation and people as well as front line public services. Given the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the Chancellor did also ask for reprioritisation of spending and delivering savings. The date of concluding the review will be confirmed in due course, with outcomes set out in the Autumn Statement.  Representations to the CSR can be submitted here.
  • As part of the CSR package of announcements, the Chancellor also launched a  call for evidence on root and branch reform of business rates. This call for evidence seeks views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change and a number of alternative taxes. Responses should be submitted online and will be collected in two stages. Views on the multiplier and reliefs sections are requested by 18 September in order to inform an interim report in the autumn. Responses on all other sections are due by 31 October.
  • The Government also confirmed that a call for evidence will be launched before September on reform of alcohol duties and advantage of opportunities of exiting the EU in order better to support the pub sector and alcohol producers.
  • UKHospitality will be responding to all of these reviews to secure additional support for hospitality and out of home businesses
  • The Business and Planning Bill made its way through the House of Lords yesterday, with Lords amendments being discussed this afternoon on the floor of the House of Commons. UKH worked on members behalf to lobby against heavy handed amendments that would have provided significantly more red tape to a bill that had been designed to make it easier for businesses to operate. Our representations were heard, with a number of these amendments withdrawn during yesterday’s Lords session.
    • UKH supported the amendment to Clause 5, which calls for businesses to make ‘reasonable provisions for seating where smoking is not permitted.’ Given the strength of lobbying against the clause, we felt it was a sufficiently light touch compromise, allowing businesses to make certain provisions to ensure that there is a non-smoking area, but not placing undue strain or regulation on businesses at a time when they are already dealing with significant changes to their operation. UKH will keep members updated on all the provisions of the Bill when it makes its way through the House of Commons and into law.
    • The following advice note has been developed by UKH, National Police Chiefs’ Council, Local Government Association and licensing experts as to how conditions for outside areas should be developed and applied – i.e. in a constructive and proportionate way and to fulfil the purpose of the legislation which is to support businesses and local economies. This guidance will be kept updated, and UKH will monitor examples of supportive or excessive conditions applied to the new pavement permissions. The advice note can be found here

Other Government Updates

  • Guidance on the reduced VAT rate for tourism and hospitality has been updated to cover catering companies using retail schemes.
  • The government has published the latest data on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The figures include the total number of applications, the total number of approved applications and the value of loans approved as of 19 July 2020 and reveals that a total of £47.88bn has been approved and issued as loans (out of a total loan facility of over £300bn originally announced), with the bulk of the loans being Bounceback – £32.79bn with an 82% success rate – and £12.2bn lent under CBILS and £2.89bn under CLBILs, both with a 50% success rate.
  • The government issued a reminder today that all passengers are required to complete the passenger locator form before entering the UK, including those who are arriving from the select list of countries and territories that are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement. The only people who do not need to provide passenger locator information are those arriving from within the Common Travel Area and a small group of others.
  • BEIS is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday 22 July at 11am about the most common cyber threats faced by businesses during and after COVID-19 and how to mitigate being the victim of a cyber incident. A representative from the National Cyber Security Centre will provide an overview of the risks, as well as a look at the range of resources freely available from the NCSC for businesses. Please register here.

Situation update 21 July 2020

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard

July 20 update

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:

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 to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees.

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.

See our Business Advice Hub for advice on reopening and more.

July 17 update

Further to the Prime Minister’s update this morning some further details around the reopening and pilots is now available. Please note, this and the updated Visitor Economy guidance on Gov.UK is for England only.

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 1st 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 (e.g. trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigation). Where such events involve people speaking loudly for prolonged periods of time, any mitigation must include particular attention to the ventilation of the spaces. This will be subject to the latest public health advice.

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

If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can contact:

Face coverings at work

Guidance on face covering, 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 to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees.

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.

Member updates – ALVA visitor sentiment research

Some key findings include:

  • Those previously claiming that they would revisit ‘as soon as the opportunity arises’ appear to be true to their word, with 21% of the market (around 8.5m adults) claiming to have already visited since re-opening
  • Among those visiting attractions since re-opening, reaction to safety measures has been fairly good, although nervousness among visitors to attractions which were only allowed to open recently is apparent
  • However, around half the attractions-visiting market remains stubbornly cautious about visiting. Main visit barrier is lack of confidence in attractions’ ability to control distancing, led by concerns over fellow visitor’s compliance. Can we demonstrate and communicate that these are working well in our attractions – especially those indoors, where concerns are highest?
  • There is strong evidence that the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark will have a much-needed, major positive impact upon visit confidence and almost a quarter of the market already claim to have seen this mark
  • There is clear and increasing demand for a full visit experience to be available on re-opening, with significant proportions not visiting if services and facilities were to be closed. Opening with mitigation measures is better than keeping closed
  • However, as indoor attractions re-open, high anxiety in the market remains around these indoor facilities – especially toilets, catering outlets, interactive visit elements and events. Demonstrating and communicating safety measures pre-visit will be even more critical than for outdoor attractions
  • Two-thirds of the market would feel more comfortable about visiting an attraction if masks / face coverings were compulsory, a significant growth since June and reflecting wider public opinion and growth in use in recent weeks. Is now the time to take the socially responsible line and embrace their use in attractions?
  • Attractions located in tourism hotspots, perhaps more than ever, need to keep local residents onside as they seek to attract summer visitors – 71% of residents in these areas would rather visitors stay away

 Situation update 17 July 2020

July 15 update

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 and the Tourism Minister has shared on Twitter. Any support in sharing the news through your networks and with interested stakeholders would be greatly appreciated.

Sector specific Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) statistics

HMRC has today published a second release of statistics on CJRS .

On the sectoral section worth noting:

  • the accommodation and food services sector has had the highest proportion of employers furloughing at least some staff (87%) and the highest proportion of total employments furloughed at 73%. 109,800 employers have furloughed staff in the accommodation and food services sector
  • the accommodation and food services sector has seen a 73% take-up rate in terms of employments, with over £4.1 billion claimed through CJRS.
  • arts, entertainment, recreation and other services, have seen 75% of employers in this sector furlough at least one employment – with a total of 443,000 employments furloughed in this sector with a take-up rate of 66%. Claiming in total £1.1 billion
  • in London 63% of employments in the arts, entertainment, recreation and other services sector have been furloughed – Wales and the South West had higher take-up rates in this sector at 73% and 68% respectively.

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.

Other Government updates

  • On guidance for the safe use of multipurpose community facilities, links have been added to guidance on rehearsal and training; to guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace; and to guidance on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.
  • ‘The ‘Register’ section of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme now gives more information about which Government Gateway ID you can use and the registration information that is available to the public. A restaurant finding service is due to be launched next week where you will be able to search for participating restaurants within a one mile radius of the postcode entered.
  • The number of individuals claiming the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant up to 30 June 2020 by age, gender, industry sector and geography is now available.
  • Companies House is offering a temporary service to users to allow them to can request to have the authentication code sent to a home address instead of the company’s registered office. Time updated
  • The Migration Advisory Committee has published a technical note that sets out the methodology they recommend for how salary thresholds are calculated, the note also provides illustrative examples.

Member updates

  • Visit Kent has shared an article that sets out the Caring Customer and Support Your Local initiatives which they are running with their partner organisation, Produced in Kent. It builds on the #RespectProtectEnjoy campaign and encourages people to support their local hospitality business but to do so in a way which protects communities and public health.

Travel industry updates

  • Hilton has announced a global cleanliness and customer service programme specifically for meetings and events. Hilton EventReady with CleanStay is the next phase of the company’s Hilton CleanStay initiative.

Situation update 15 July 2020

To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard.

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard.

July 14 update

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.

Latest statistics available

  • Weekly data (up to end of Sunday 12 July) for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now available.
  • HMT management information about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme has been updated with the new weekly stats up to 12 July
  • Updated data is available (up until 12 July) on how local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus.
  • New statistics analysing the monthly growth for the production and services industries between April 2020 and May 2020, highlighting the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been published.

UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 8

As shared at the TIER meeting today, the latest consumer sentiment tracker report based on fieldwork from 6-10 July is now available. Whilst there has been an increase in the proportion of UK adults claiming to be confident they would be able to take a domestic short break or holiday during July and August, the numbers expecting life to return ‘close to normal’ anytime soon is continuing to fall, as it’s done each week, with just 11% currently expecting ‘normality’ by September and 26% by December. This compares to 54% in week 1 (fielded between 18-22 May). 42% of UK adults now believe the ‘worst is still to come’ with regards to Covid-19; the highest proportion recorded so far.

Please see the full report for more details

Situation update 14 July 2020

To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard.

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard.

July 13 update

Political Update

  • The Government today outlined details of the new border and immigration regime to take effect from 1 January 2021 after we exit the EU.
  • A new public information campaign alerts the public on actions they need to take to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. The campaign will target UK citizens intending to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, UK nationals living in the EU and EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK and includes advice on passports, travel insurance and healthcare, mobile phone roaming policy and pet passports.
  • The Border Operating Model has also been published outlining the processes for moving goods between GB and the EU from 1 January 2021 onwards, including processes to be introduced in April 2021 and July 2021, paperwork requirements for importers.
  • Finally, the Home Office has announced the new points based immigration system that will take effect from 1 January 2021. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now. New immigration routes will open later this year for applications to work, live and study in the UK from 1 January 2021. Migrants will be able to apply and pay for their visa online.
  • From January 2021, the job a migrant is offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). Migrants will also need to be able to speak English and be paid the relevant salary threshold by their sponsor. This will either be the general salary threshold of £25,600.
  • If a migrant earns less than this – but no less than £20,480 – they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points. For example, if they have a job offer in a shortage occupation or additional skills. Find more information on the points based system here.
  • Discussions remain ongoing about a youth mobility scheme for the EU

Brexit & Tourism

  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months and will be able to use the ePassport gates. They will also be able to come to the UK to look for work during this period. All other visitors or migrants looking to enter the UK will need to apply for clearance in advance.
  • Until at least January 2026, the UK will continue to recognise identity cards used for travel by EU citizens and their EU family members who are both resident in the UK before the end of the transition period and hold status under the EU Settlement Scheme. They will also recognise ICAO-compliant identity cards from this group beyond 2026.
  • As part of a phased programme to 2025, the UK will introduce a universal ‘permission to travel’ requirement which will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel to facilitate the passage of legitimate travellers whilst keeping threats away from the UK border.
  • Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) will be introduced for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling.
  • At the border, a passport will be required to demonstrate identity. During 2021, EU citizens (other than those with protected rights under the Withdrawal Agreement) will have to use a passport rather than a national ID card to cross the border. Further details on changes to border control procedures affecting EU citizens will be announced in due course, following the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

Government Update

  • The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher incentive scheme is now open for registration – registration will remain open until 31 August and is likely to take up to a week to process. The scheme is eligible to any establishment selling food to eat on the premises, providing that business has been registered as a food establishment with the local authority before 7 July. Through the scheme, eating establishments can offer a discount to diners of up to 50%, up to £10 per diner covering food, soft and non alcoholic drinks, 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 and it is applied to the gross price, with VAT charged on the full amount. 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.
  • Changes to the planning system will protect live music venues, clubs, theatres, concert halls and other 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. The new rules will go into effect next week and remain in effect until 31 December 2022.
  • 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, carnivals, fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies, car boot sales, circuses, street performance, firework displays, gardening events, historical re-enactment, literature, pet and animal shows, some music concerts and outdoor theatres
  • Updated guidance for managing beaches, the countryside and coastal areas

Situation update 13 July 2020

July 10 update

Political update

  • Outdoor performances with social distancing can resume from 11 July, guidance for the performing arts sector has been updated and is available.
  • Guidance has been added on entertainment permitted in venues for restaurants, pubs and bars see (section 4.5) and fire risk assessments for repurposed spaces (section 4.8).
  • Closure of businesses advice updated to include easing of restrictions applying from 11 and 13 July
  • Eat Out to Help Out – The Government’s new Eat Out to Help Out Scheme will open for registration on Monday 13 July for businesses that sell food for immediate consumption on-premises. The discount can be applied to food and non-alcoholic drinks sold for immediate consumption, up to a maximum £10 per diner (inclusive of VAT). Further information on eligible businesses, what sales are eligible, how to apply the discount and how to register your restaurant or eating establishment for the scheme is now available.
  • VAT reduction – Wider guidance is now available for hospitality including accommodation and attractions. Eligible attractions for the temporary reduced rate of VAT include admission to 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.
  • FAQs for the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund has been updated to reflect the latest developments.
  • UKHospitality will continue to focus its lobbying efforts to secure a swift reopening for the parts of the sector that remain closed – bowling alleys, nightclubs and business and leisure events.

Devolved administrations update

Wales

From 11th July

    • Self-contained holiday accommodation

From 13th July

    • Hairdressing salons and barbershops, including mobile hairdressers.
    • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outdoors.
    • Outdoor cinemas.
    • Indoor visitor attractions, but a small number of underground visitor attractions will remain closed for the time being because of the higher risks associated with these environments. The Welsh Government will continue to work with these attractions towards safe re-opening.
    • Places of worship. Faith leaders can begin to gradually resume services when they are ready to do so safely.

From 20th July

    • Playgrounds, community centres and outdoor gyms
  • The following provisional dates have also been announced:

From 25th July

    • Tourist accommodation with shared facilities, such as camping sites.

From 27th July

    • Beauty sector and other close-contact services, including tattooists and nail salons
    • Indoor cinemas, museums, galleries and archive services.
  • A final decision about reopening these sectors will depend on conditions and feedback from the initial opening of the tourism industry, indoor attractions and hairdressing sector.
  • The next formal review of the regulations is due by 30 July. Detailed discussions about how indoor hospitality can operate in a coronavirus-safe way are ongoing. Options for reopening will be considered from 3 August, if conditions allow.
  • The Welsh Government is also making changes to the regulations to allow larger gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors only where these are organised and supervised by a responsible person for sports and other leisure activities and classes.
  • The law in Wales will continue to make the 2m distance the default position for physical distancing, but given he challenges faced by the hospitality, beauty industry and other sectors, where a 2m distance cannot be reasonably maintained at all times. the regulations will require businesses to put in place a set of additional measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

Scotland

  • The First Minister confirmed yesterday that the country will enter phase three of lockdown, lifting lockdown restrictions starting today (10 July), with indoor areas of pubs, restaurants and holiday accommodation opening on 15 July, subject to conditions. No date has yet been set for the reopening of non-essential indoor spaces including offices, indoor gyms, entertainment venues such as theatres, or the resumption of live outdoor events.
  • Hospitality venues may be granted an exemption from the 2m social distancing rule as long as other mitigating measures are in place such as clear information for customers, revised seating plans and the collection of contact details for all customers to support Test and Protect. The updated details have been included in the current consolidated Scottish Government guidance under the exemption to 1m for hospitality section.

Government updates

  • Updates to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Guidance
  • A Trade and Agriculture Commission has been announced. The Commission represents farmers, retailers and consumers in the UK, advising Government on trade policies to adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers. UKHospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, has been appointed as a member of the commission. This will enable UKHospitality to reflect the needs and concerns of the hospitality supply chain in the trade deals being negotiated.
  • The CMA has published an open letter to all businesses involved in organising package holidays for UK consumers. The letter outlines their concern that many companies are not adhering to the Package Travel Regulations as well as what the consumer protection law requires of companies and the CMA’s expectations.
  • DfT has shared a link to their extranet where you can download resources (please download in chrome) including:
    • A downloadable Q&A Word document covering some of the key information on these travel exemptions
    • Graphics providing further information for people travelling abroad this summer, to use in consumer facing social media
    • Updated Port and Carrier poster assets

Industry update

  • UK Coasts and Waters inquiry – Following the successful conclusion of the Pathways to Recovery inquiry, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism, of which UKHospitality is the secretariat, will hold the first inquiry session of its UK Coasts and Waters inquiry on Wednesday 15 July from 10:00am to 11:30am. If you are interested in hearing more about the inquiry, or in attending the session on Wednesday, please get in touch with Richard on rclifford@ukhospitality.org.uk

Travel update

  • Arrivals from Serbia to England have been removed from the exempt list
  • The Scottish government has also announced an exemption from the 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in Scotland from a list of 57 overseas destinations with similar or lower levels of COVID-19 infection than Scotland, plus the 14 UK overseas territories. The two countries currently excluded from Scotland’s exemption list (but included for England and Wales) were Spain and Serbia. The exemptions go into effect on 10 July. A further review will be conducted on 20 July.
  • The Welsh government has announced that travellers from a list of countries will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirements put in place by COVID-19 regulations. These exemptions will come into effect on 10 July and are in line with those countries exempt in England.

Situation update 10 July 2020

July 9 update

Government press briefing

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden led this evening’s press conference. 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.
  • 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 £1.5bn package announced last week.
  • Beauticians and tattooists may reopen from 13 July, with some restrictions on high-risk services.

Northern Ireland announces quarantine exemptions, lifts further lockdown restrictions

The Executive Office has announced that travellers arriving in Northern Ireland from low or medium-risk countries will be exempt from quarantine requirements. This list is the same as for England

Ministers have further confirmed that the following may reopen from tomorrow, 10 July:

  • Indoor fitness studios and gyms
  • Bingo halls and amusement arcades
  • Outdoor leisure playgrounds, courts and gyms
  • Cinemas
  • Indoor baptisms, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies at places of worship or local government venues

Outdoor competitive games and sporting events including horse racing and equestrian competitions may resume from 11 July without spectators.

Libraries may reopen from 16 July with social distancing measures in place. Indoor sport and leisure facilities, including skating rinks and leisure centres but excluding swimming pools, may reopen from 17 July.

Scotland moving to phase 3 from Friday, list of quarantine exemptions announced

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland will move to phase 3 of lifting lockdown restrictions starting on 10 July, and that the tourism sector and indoor hospitality may reopen from 15 July. No date has yet been set for the reopening of non-essential indoor spaces including offices, indoor gyms, entertainment venues such as theatres, or the resumption of live outdoor events, but some key changes for next week are noted below.

From 10 July:

  • Face coverings will be mandatory in shops.
  • Some sectors will have exemptions to the 2m social distancing rules, such as on public transportation or in retail settings with other mitigations in place.
  • A maximum of 8 people from up to three different households will be able to meet indoors.
  • A maximum of 15 people from up to five different households will be allowed to meet outdoors, as long as they stay 2m apart.

From 13 July:

  • Organised outdoor play and contact sport may resume for children and young people under 18 years old.
  • Non-essential shops inside shopping centres may reopen.

From 15 July:

  • The tourism industry and indoor hospitality may reopen.
  • All holiday accommodation, museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries can reopen with social distancing rules in place, and in some cases advanced ticketing.
  • Hospitality venues may be granted an exemption from the 2m social distancing rule as long as other mitigating measures are in place such as clear information for customers, revised seating plans and the collection of contact details for all customers to support Test and Protect.

The Scottish government has also announced an exemption from the 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in Scotland from a list of 57 overseas destinations with similar or lower levels of COVID-19 infection than Scotland, plus the 14 UK overseas territories. The two countries currently excluded from Scotland’s exemption list (but included for England and Wales) are Spain and Serbia. The exemptions go into effect on 10 July. A further review will be conducted on 20 July.

Wales quarantine restrictions to be lifted 10 July

The Welsh government has announced that travellers from a list of countries will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirements put in place by COVID-19 regulations. These exemptions will go into effect on 10 July and are in line with those countries exempt in England

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.

Information about the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Businesses that sell food for immediate consumption on-premises are eligible to register with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, designed to incentivise customers by offering a discount on food that they can later claim back from the government. The discount can be applied to food and non-alcoholic drinks sold for immediate consumption, up to a maximum £10 per diner (inclusive of VAT).

Further information is available about which businesses and sales are eligible, how to apply the discount and how to register your restaurant or eating establishment for the scheme

Consumer Sentiment Tracker report from VisitBritain (Week 7)

Please find attached the latest draft of our UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 7, based on fieldwork from 29 June to 3 July

The major shift this week is a significant increase in the proportion of UK adults claiming to be confident they would be able to take a domestic short break or holiday during July, which has risen from 14% last week to 21%. However, this confidence shows only a slight increase in subsequent months, people are still adopting a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach. This is supported by the proportion of people expecting life to return to ‘close to normal’ anytime soon – currently 15% expecting ‘normality’ by September and just 35% by December

More positively, we again record an increase (albeit a small one of +1%) in the proportion of UK adults expecting to actually go on a domestic short break or holiday by September, with 25% now claiming they will do so.

Other Government updates

  • Advice for British people about cruise ship holidays has been updated in line with the countries exempted on the FCO’s revised travel advisory.
  • Businesses advisors to provide free services to support small businesses in post-COVID recovery.
  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will open a further 36 visa application centres (VACs) on 12-13 July, where local conditions allow. To confirm whether a local VAC is open and determine which services are available, please visit uk.tlscontact.com (Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East) or vfsglobal.co.uk (all other regions).

Situation update 9 July 2020

To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard – https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – https://covid19.who.int/

July 8 update

Political update

  • Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered a very positive financial statement in Parliament outlining a package of measures to support jobs across the UK and give businesses the confidence to retain and hire.
  • The Chancellor noted that tourism has been one of the worst affected sectors and recognised hospitality and tourism as vital parts of the UK’s economy and a pillar of social life around the UK.
  • Included in Mr Sunak’s announcement were the following measures:
  • VAT rate reduction: The announcement of a 6-month reduction in the rate of VAT from 20% or 5% on tourism and hospitality-related activities. The reduction will come into force from 15 July 2020 and remain until 12 January 2021. Further guidance on the scope of this relief will be published by HMRC in the coming days.
    • In response to this, KPMG is hosting a leisure and hospitality webinar covering, what will the VAT rate cover, how to update accounting system and other areas of considerations. It is scheduled to take place at 12:30 – 1:30pm on Friday 10 July 2020. Please email Nicola Robson at KPMG here to register.
  • Job Retention Bonus: UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021. This support will help businesses retain the 1.5 million workers in our sector that are still furloughed.
  • Eat Out to Help Out: To encourage people to safely return to dining out, the Government’s new Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which opens next week, will entitle every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020. Companies interested in participating should email us.
  • Kickstart Scheme: A new £2 billion scheme will pay employers to create new fully subsidised jobs for those aged 16-24 and at risk of long-term unemployment, with those claiming Universal Credit also being eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up. 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.
  • Employment and support schemes: A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. This means Government will provide £2,000 to employers for each new apprentice they hire ages under 25 between August and January 2021. To get the bonus, firms must pay at least £520 each month.

Government update

  • DWP has announced a significant package that builds on and bolsters the existing support offered by their jobcentres. The measures include:
    • Doubling the number of frontline Work Coaches to 27,000 by March 2021 to support people looking for work and helping them to access any additional support including training and work experience.
    • An Expanded Youth Offer to support 18 to 24 year olds, this will include a 13 week programme and further support through Youth Employment Coaches and Youth Hubs.
    • Expanding the Work and Health programme to provide personalised, light touch support for up to 6 months for those who have been unemployed for three months.
    • Increasing participation in sector-based work academies programmes, aiming to support 40,000 placement jobseekers to get the right skills for the roles that are on offer.
    • £150 million to boost the flexible support fund and allow jobcentres to put in place the right support for their community and to increase capacity of the rapid response service that can be deployed for large local redundancies.
    • Job finding support service – The government will provide £40 million to fund external capacity to introduce a job finding support service in Great Britain.
    • Development of a new large-scale support offer, targeted at those who are out of work for longer periods and in need of support.
  • The Government has announced the ability to defer Self-Assessment payments on account due to coronavirus. Further information about the July 2020 payment on account deferment is available here.
  • Updated videos are available on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughing to reflect the extension of the scheme.

Industry updates

  • The DFDS ferry route from Newcastle to Amsterdam will re-open on 15 July.
  • In July and August Etihad plans to return to resume a wider network to include 58 destinations (subject to the lifting of international restrictions).This will include major gateways in Europe including London.

Situation update 8 July 2020

July 7 update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for accommodation providers
Updated 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.

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. Decisions were informed by analysis on a range of data from each country, including the estimated proportion of the population that is currently infectious, trends in virus incidences and deaths and information on each country’s testing capacity and the quality of data available.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.

Countries exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revised its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel, sharing a list of countries that no longer prove an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. These exemptions came into effect on 4 July.Travellers should note that the FCO’s list of safe destinations does not match the list of travel corridor countries, so British travellers who visit certain countries on this list will still need to self-isolate upon returning.

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.

Industry updates
·       The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Carnival Corporation will host a virtual scientific summit focused on the coronavirus on 23 July. The summit will be free and open to the public and will share the latest scientific knowledge and best practices related to prevention, detection, treatment and mitigation of the virus.
·       Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line will collaborate to develop enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to COVID-19.

Situation update 7 July 2020
·       To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard – https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/
·       To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – https://covid19.who.int/

July 3 update

Government press briefing

The Prime Minister, and professors Whitty and Vallance gave a Government Press Briefing this evening. The Prime Minister noted that lockdown had saved many lives, but had had a significant impact on the economy. He acknowledged some sectors remained closed and said that he wanted them to reopen as soon as possible. A timetable for their reopening will be launched next week. He also said that the Government would avoid national lockdowns and closures, instead favouring local lockdowns and quarantine from countries where the virus is not in control.

He went on to speak about Leicester, who have a localised lockdown for two weeks and outlined the five steps to local lockdowns:

    1. Monitoring – looking out for emerging trends and indicators of increased infections using localised data.
    2. Engagement – if monitoring identifies local problems the Gov will work with the local authority to provide a solution and inform the community.
    3. Testing – We now have the ability to target testing at areas of need.
    4. Tracing – restricting access to location and tracing those who have been in contact with the virus.
    5. Local Lockdown – closing shops, schools, etc

Looking ahead to the weekend, the Prime Minister called on people to support local businesses, calling out tourism in particular, who have been working to reopen in a safe way. He reminded people to act responsibly, and warned that the Government would not hesitate to re-impose rules if it begins to get out of hand.

During the Q+A there was a question on the Events Industry, who do not yet have a timetable for reopening, the Prime Minister said that the events and arts sector would be supported, but recognised that many were keen to reopen. He said that next week’s timetable would provide some assurance about when they could reopen.

£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.

Coronavirus Travel Corridors

The Government has today announced 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.

Updated FCO Travel advice

The FCO has updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. The full list of countries can be found here, the exemptions come into effect on 4 July. All the advice will be kept under constant review and may change

The FCO is advising travellers that the global coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. No travel is risk-free, and disruption is still possible. If you plan to travel:

  • read the coronavirus travel guidanceto make sure you are prepared for your travel
  • read the Travel Advicefor your destination, for information on local coronavirus measures that you will need to follow
  • sign up for email alerts for Travel Advice to ensure you are informed of any changes while you are travelling

 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 Commissioners 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

VAT payment update

The option to defer VAT payments during coronavirus has come to an end and businesses can no longer defer VAT.

Situation update 3 July 2020

July 2 update

Political Update

  • Track & Trace: Government guidance on the track and trace obligations has been published. UKHospitality has also produced its own industry best practice advice here and the ICO has published guidance on GDPR implications here
  • Consumer Pulse – reopening: UKHospitality is partnering with CGA and Yumpingo to give businesses access to a new consumer feedback tool which will enable us to track consumer confidence and get feedback on sentiment towards reopening and new mitigation measures. This real time information will be vital to provide meaningful insight to Government and will also identify issues and concerns as they arise. Members participating will receive free industry insight and benchmarked information on their premises.
  • EHO & Local Enforcement: following examples of very different approaches being adopted by police forces and local authorities across the country – many seeking to impose blanket restrictions or mandatory requirements on businesses – UKHospitality has raised concerns with the Business Secretary and has also written to Local Government Association and issued a joint statement with the National Police Chief Council to raise concerns. We have also drafted FAQs and briefing for manager facing local enforcement/licensing visits.

Other Government updates

Visit Britain

  • The latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain, covering the period 22-26 June 2020 has been published and shows the first signs of positivity in the national mood – up +0.1 to 6.7/10, however just over a third of people believe the worst is yet to come (+2% on last week) . 18% think we will return to normal by September and 39% by December (similar to last week)
  • Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score continues to inch up, currently standing at 2.38/4.  Levels of comfort are clearly related with proximity to people, with travelling on public transport remaining the activity people are least comfortable doing in the current circumstances.
  • Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday is beginning to exhibit some improvement compared to last week, at 14% for July (+2%), 29% in August (+4%) and 43% by September (+3%).
  • The main reasons cited among those lacking confidence have tended to be led by structural limitations such as having ‘fewer opportunities to eat or drink out’ or ‘restrictions on travel imposed by government’ (45%).  These remain key, but have been overtaken this week by ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’.
  • When asked to compare to last year, 39% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively.  These proportions remain stable week-on-week..
  • Of the reassurances people are seeking in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel, measures to encourage social distancing narrowly leads over measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes).  Offering free cancellations also remains important, being the second most cited reason.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.
  • New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) indicates that even modest increases in international tourism will provide a massive economic boost. For every additional 1 million international arrivals (including within the EU), an estimated £380,000,000 in GDP will be generated. The research highlighted that London has now fallen from No 1 to No 10 in the list of top world cities to visit

Situation update 2 July 2020

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – https://covid19.who.int/

July 1 update

Political Update

  • Boris Johnson gave a speech on the economy today, announcing a “New Deal” which puts jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy. The Prime Minister announced the bringing forward of £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery.
  • In the Autumn the government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste. UK Government also intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and will carry out a review to look at how best to improve road, rail, air and sea links between our four nations to create a more connected kingdom.
  • Announcements include an Opportunity Guarantee that every young person an apprenticeship or in-work placement and reform of the Use Classes Order. New regulations will give greater freedom to bring high street premises back to life
  • The PM also confirmed the Government will launch a planning Policy Paper in July setting out plans for comprehensive reform of England’s planning system and that later this year, the Government will bring forward a Local Recovery White Paper detailing how the UK government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recover.
  • During the Q&A the PM was question on the need for additional support of the hospitality sector and he recognised that these businesses were “essential to the lifeblood of communities” and pledged more help
  • The Prime Minister’s speech sets the backdrop for the Chancellor’s update on the economy next week. The summer statement – which will outline short-term support for growth – is being billed as the second phase of a three-part response to Covid-19, following the emergency support provided in the spring and ahead of the budget and a spending review in the autumn. Find more here.

Health Update

  • The Health Secretary announced in Parliament, that given the growing outbreak of coronavirus in Leicester, Leicester-specific measures will apply to the city of Leicester, and the surrounding area.
  • UK government recommends against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester.
  • The easing of the national lockdown, including the opening of bars, restaurants and hairdressers, will not happen in Leicester on 4 July.
  • From Tuesday 30 June non-essential retail will have to close.
  • Schools will close from Thursday 2 July, staying open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
  • The relaxation of shielding measures due on the 6 July cannot now take place in Leicester.
  • These local measures will be kept under review and will not be kept in place any longer than is necessary. The UK Government will review whether any measures can be eased in 2 weeks’ time. More information is available here.

Government updates

European Update

  • The European Commission has revised its State Aid Framework to relax the rules around loans and support for undertakings in difficulty. In particular the Undertaking in Difficulty test is abandoned for businesses less than 3 years old or with fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than E50m. The Treasury and British Business Bank are reviewing the changes and may take steps to improve funding for businesses of all sizes. Read more here

Travel updates

  • easyJet has entered into a formal consultation with employee representatives (including BALPA and UNITE) on the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. These airports would remain part of easyJet’s route network.

Situation update 30 June 2020

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – https://covid19.who.int/

June 30 update

Situation update – local lockdown measures in Leicester

The Health Secretary announced in Parliament on 29 June 2020, that given the growing outbreak of coronavirus in Leicester, Leicester-specific measures will apply to the city of Leicester, and the surrounding area.

Measures include

  • UK government recommends against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester.
  • The easing of the national lockdown, including the opening of bars, restaurants and hairdressers, will not happen in Leicester on 4 July.
  • From Tuesday 30 June non-essential retail will have to close.
  • Schools will close from Thursday 2 July, staying open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
  • The relaxation of shielding measures due on the 6 July cannot now take place in Leicester.

These local measures will be kept under review and will not be kept in place any longer than is necessary. The UK Government will review whether any measures can be eased in 2 weeks’ time. More information is available here.

Government updates

Speech by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the economy

Boris Johnson gave a speech on the economy today, announcing a “New Deal” which puts jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy. The Prime Minister announced the bringing forward of £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery. In the Autumn the government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste. UK Government also intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and will carry out a review to look at how best to improve road, rail, air and sea links between our four nations to create a more connected kingdom. Find more here.

Travel updates

  • easyJet has entered into a formal consultation with employee representatives (including BALPA and UNITE) on the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. These airports would remain part of easyJet’s route network.

Situation update 30 June 2020

June 29 update

UK border measures update to be announced later this week

  • In a written statement to Parliament today, Transport Minister Grant Shapps has confirmed that the government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This will apply to international rail, maritime, and aviation. Further details including a full list of countries and territories from which arriving passengers will be exempted from self-isolation requirements will be announced later this week. Although people will not need to self-isolate after entering the UK from these countries, they should follow the public health advice on hand hygiene and social distancing.
  • Separately, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing its travel advice. Further details will be announced later this week.

 Government updates

  • Government has announced a £200 million package to help innovative businesses. Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website from 29 June
  • A letter has been issued to councils, urging them to refer to advice on measures that can be taken to open toilets in a safe way that was included in COVID-19 guidance, if toilets that are still shut.
  • Zoos and aquariums in England to receive up to £100 million in additional support to help them continue to care for their animals through coronavirus pandemic. This is an expansion of the initial relief fund and will run until the end of March 2021.
  • Updated guidance for food businesses which includes a new section on the prevention of infection and a revised section on the management of outbreaks including contact details for health protection teams.
  • Additional guidance has been added for publicans on the process of destroying spoilt beer, ciders, wine or made-wine.

Other updates

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has published a new set of guidelines for ‘Safe and Seamless Travel’. The guidelines aim to provide the travel sector with an extensive framework to help governments and private business work in collaboration to create aligned testing and contact tracing programmes.

Situation update 29 June 2020

June 25 update

Government support for pubs, cafes and restaurants announced

The Government has announced that there will be a simpler licensing process for outdoor seating for pubs, restaurants and cafes. They will simplify and reduce the cost of the licencing process for outdoor seating and stalls. Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Also pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas, using their existing seating licenses.  The proposed planning freedoms will also mean that outdoor markets and summer fairs will not need a planning application. The Government is encouraging councils to reduce red-tape and create more outdoor markets.

Social distancing reduced in Northern Ireland  

The First Minister of Northern Ireland has announced in today’s briefing that social distancing will be reduced to 1 metre from 29 June for the tourism and hospitality sector where appropriate mitigations are made. Mitigation could include face coverings, exposure times, Perspex screens. etc. and these will be confirmed following discussion as soon as possible between the Office for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and the industry.

Launch of UK wide ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard

The national tourist organisations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have today launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening. The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place. The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry. To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We’re Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online. The scheme has been developed in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales to ensure a standard-led approach across the UK with input from more than 40 industry bodies including UKHospitality, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, the British Beer and Pub Association and the National Caravan Council as well as destination management organisations across the country. So far over 2,800 businesses have registered on the platform to apply.

Other Government updates

  • Draft guidance to accompany pavement licensing proposals introduced in the Business and Planning Bill.
  • The Statutory Sick Pay guidance has been updated to include information about employees who have transferred under the TUPE regulations
  • New guidance has been published on how to claim exceptional costs related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

 Situation update 24 June 2020

June 24 update

New guidance for reopening the visitor economy to take effect on 4 July in England

In case you missed our update earlier today, the Government has published  new guidance for reopening the visitor economy to take effect in England on 4 July. Specific advice on safety in the workplace has been published for:

New guidance has also been released on social distancing, including maintaining 1m of social distance when 2m is not possible, as well as meeting with people outside of your household after 4 July. Review the updated coronavirus outbreak FAQs on what you can and can’t do after 4 July.

Reopening dates for Scotland – Phase 2 and early Phase 3 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced indicative dates for moving through the remainder of Phase 2 and early Phase 3, on the condition that health and safety criteria are met. The amended timeline is as follows:

  • 29 June – Indoor (non-office) workplaces including factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities may reopen with relevant guidance implemented.
  • 3 July – Travel distance restriction is relaxed, permitting people to travel more than 5 miles from home. Visits to self-catering accommodations and second homes (without shared facilities) are permitted.
  • 6 July – Outdoor hospitality may reopen, subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice.
  • 15 July – All holiday accommodation, indoor hospitality, and tourist attractions including museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries may open in line with relevant guidance.

 Northern Ireland guidance for reopening visitor economy

Northern Ireland has published official guidance for reopening the visitor economy. Conditional on the application of relevant guidelines and continued management of the rate of transmission of the virus, self-catering accommodations will be able to reopen on 26 June and other tourist accommodations including hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs may reopen from 3 July.

Latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker report – Week 5, 15-19 June 2020

Please see attached the latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain, covering the period 15-19 June 2020. Some key updates from this week’s report:

  • 30% now believe the worst has passed regarding COVID-19, which is virtually unchanged from last week.  A third, however, still believe the ‘worst is yet to come’.
  • There continues to be little expectation things will return to normal anytime soon, with significantly fewer expecting ‘normality’ by September (18% versus 23% last week). Extending the period to December also yields a significant decline in expectations of ‘normality’ (41% compared to 49% in week 4).
  • Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score has inched up to 2.35.Levels of comfort are clearly related to proximity to people, with travelling on public transport remaining the activity people are least comfortable doing in the current circumstances.
  • Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday continues to be subdued,at 12% for July, 25% in August, rising to 40% by September. Positively, the majority (54%) are now confident they’d be able to take a domestic overnight trip by the end of the year.
  • Main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are similar to previous weeks, although ‘fewer opportunities to eat or drink out’ (46%) has narrowly overtaken ‘restrictions on travel by government’ (45%).
  • When asked to compare to last year, 39% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively. These proportions remain stable week-on-week.
  • The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short break or holiday by September declined for the second successive week to 20% (versus 22% last week and significantly below the 23% reported in Week 3).
  • In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and September, the South West extends its lead (from 19% to 21%) followed by Scotland which is stable at 12%. The South West and Scotland also lead for visits planned from October onwards.
  • For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations continue to lead with 33% and 32% shares respectively.  Cities are again promoted into joint second place for trips scheduled from October.
  • For the June-September period, we continue to see a broadly even split between the leading four accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns are significantly more likely to attract visitors.
  • People are seeking reassurances in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel: measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes) are important, although the single most cited factor is for them to offer the provision of free cancellations.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

 Other Government updates

Situation update 24 June 2020

June 23 update

In the announcement it was outlined that from 4 July;

    • 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 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.

    Other Government updates

    • 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.

Sign up for free Business Recovery webinars

We have developed a series of webinars to help you get your business back on track. Packed with practical insights, tips and guidance, the webinars will focus on topics ranging from domestic and inbound insights, business adaptation and reopening, customer communications, travel technology, accessibility, skills and more. The first session focusing on insights will take place on 30 June so register now.

Also see information on getting your business ready to open on the Business Advice Hub

June 22 update

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, joined by Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. The briefing focussed on the latest testing data and changes to shielding measures for vulnerable people. Tomorrow the Prime Minister will announce the next stages of relaxing the lockdown.

Mandy from Salisbury asked about travel corridors. Hancock replied a lot of work is being done on this, and that he was working on them over the weekend. Quarantine will be reviewed on 29 June, but Hancock said the Government will produce new advice by then. Another question asked whether it is safe to open borders when the World Health Organisation has recorded a record increase in daily global cases? Hancock says that helps to explain why the Government has introduced quarantine in the first place. View the full briefing here.

UK Visa and Immigration services enter second phase of reopening

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have reopened a number of visa application centres (VACs) and immigration services on 22 June, where local conditions allow. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Services will reopen in phases. Where services have resumed, existing customers will be contacted.

Visa customers and British nationals overseas who want to apply for a passport can find a VAC in their country, or check the status of VACs outside of the UK here:

  • TLS contactfor services in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS globalfor all other countries

Visa applicants in the UK can check the status of VACs and available services near them. Find further guidance on applying for a visa or passport during the pandemic.

Face covering rules for aviation sector in Scotland

Safer aviation guidance has been updated to reflect face covering rules specific to Scotland. Passengers are required to wear face coverings on aircraft and in airports. Staff must wear face coverings in all public spaces, and in non-public areas where determined necessary by an operator risk assessment. Review further safety guidance for the aviation sector here, and see official face covering guidance in Scotland here.

Other Government updates

 Latest ALVA visitor sentiment report June 9-12

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) have published their third consumer sentiment report. The latest summary findings are:

  • Strong improvement in visitor confidence in early June, driven primarily by successful opening of some outdoor attractions and the media coverage around zoos and safari parks.
  • 10% of the attractions-visiting market – an estimated 4m adults – have already made a visit after re-opening, mainly to country parks (3.0m) but also to gardens (1.5m).
  • Early returning is:
    • more likely among younger people aged 16-34 years
    • not just among those who visit attractions frequently; local people desperate for a ‘different’ trip out?
  • However, confidence in visiting indoor attractions has declined since the start of lockdown. The importance of implementing and communicating safety measures in these environments will be even more important when re-opening.
  • Main visit barrier is increasingly around worries about fellow visitors adhering to distancing measures or attractions’ ability to enforce these measures. How can we demonstrate and communicate that these are working well in our attractions?
  • Evidence that the ‘advanced booking only’ approach is successfully reassuring potential visitors: the limited capacity this implies indicates ‘control’, providing reassurance on crowds, distancing and queuing.
  • The lack of a full visitor offer will be a significant visit barrier on re-opening. In the eyes of potential visitors, providing as complete an experience as possible, applying appropriate safety measures, is preferable to keeping elements closed.
  • Toilets are currently in the ‘high priority but high anxiety’ area for visitors – half will not visit an attraction at all if these are closed, but safety measures are hugely important in building confidence in their use. It’s not enough just to open toilets with no safety measures – key for pre-visit communication.
  • Indoor catering outlets and interactive visit elements are the two other visit experience areas generating most anxiety around use. Again, preferable to make available with mitigating measures than keep closed.
  • Anxiety around using facilities at indoor attractions is higher among older people – starting as young as 55. Measures at indoor attractions with older age profiles are even more important to apply and communicate.
  • Visitors are focussed on the short term at present – overwhelmingly about safety, but also about wellbeing. Wider societal issues are for another day in the eyes of visitors.

 Industry updates

  • The European Tourism Association (ETOA), the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA) have collaborated on a set of health and sanitization guidelines specifically for their tour operator members called TOURCARE Guidelines for Tour Operators.
  • Virgin Atlantic has announced they will return to 17 international destinations from August 2020. The airline has previously announced plans to resume international flights next month, beginning with a route from London Heathrow to Hong Kong on 20 July and to New York JFK and Los Angeles on 21 July.
  • London City Airport resumed passenger flights on Sunday 21 June and has announced that British Airways subsidiary BA CityFlyer will resume 8 routes this summer, flying from London to the Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Ibiza, Florence, Malaga and Palma.

Situation update 22 June 2020

June 19 update

The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, gave today’s press briefing. The Education Secretary gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases and an update on education. He also said that the COVID-19 alert level has moved from level 4 to level 3 and that the devolved administrations have agreed with this. During the Q+A he was asked which countries the UK will have travel corridors with. He replied that he hopes that people will be able to visit all four nations of the UK this summer and that the Transport Secretary is working on this. View the full briefing here.

UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report:  Week 4

The latest results of the UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report, based on fieldwork from 8-12 June is now available.  Some key points include:

  • Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday continues to gradually improve over time, but it’s still just 23% in August, rising to 40% by September but remaining at under 50% by the end of the year.
  • 31% now believe the worst has passed regarding COVID-19 which is a significantly higher proportion than last week (27%).  Significantly fewer also consider the ‘worst is yet to come’.
  • There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with just 23% expecting ‘normality’ by September (versus 29% last week) and 49% by December (compared to 52% in week 3).
  • Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score is unchanged at 2.33.  Using public transport continues to be the activity (among those asked) people are least comfortable in undertaking.
  • Main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are virtually identical this week, again led by restrictions on travel by government (52%), fewer opportunities to eat or drink out (50%) and concerns about catching COVID-19 (46%).
  • When asked to compare to last year, 41% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks, while for holidays the corresponding figure is 40%.  These proportions remain stable week-on-week.
  • The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short-break or holiday by this September is also stable, with the trend over the past three weeks being 22%, 23% and 22% respectively.
  • In terms of region/nation to be visited between now and September, the South West still leads (19%) followed by Scotland (12%), but as per last week there’s little to separate the places ranked 2-5.  The South West and Scotland also lead for visits planned from October onwards.
  • For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations continue to lead with 32% and 30% shares respectively.  Cities move into joint second place for trips scheduled from October.
  • For the June-September period, we again see a broadly even split between the leading four accommodation types, although from October we see hotels/motels/inns take a clear lead, with caravan/camping moving down the rankings.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

Wales announces the next stage of their re-opening

The Welsh First Minister has made a statement about the next stage of their reopening approach.

From Monday 22 June:

  • Non-essential retail to reopen.
  • Private prayer in places of worship where social distancing is maintained and gatherings do not take place
  • Restarting the housing market by enabling house viewings to take place in vacant properties and house moves where a sale has been agreed but not yet completed
  • Lifting the restrictions on outdoor sports courts but social distancing must be maintained. No contact or team sports will be allowed
  • Enabling non-professional elite athletes, including Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, to resume training.

At the next review on 9 July, the Welsh Government will consider a range of specific options for opening:

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation
  • Personal care services, such as hairdressing and beauty, by appointment only.

Stay local advice remains for the next three weeks, unless it is for compassionate grounds, they will look to lift this from 6 July. With the requirement lifted, people will be able to travel to tourist attractions across Wales. Although tourism accommodation is being considered for reopening from the beginning of July, the First Minister said that hospitality was not yet in a position to reopen and they will not be considered in this package of measures, and will only be considered when safe to do so. He also said that the tourism industry must now use the next three weeks to work with local communities to prepare for reopening.

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.

Further details include:

  • A statutory instrument will be laid to amend the Coronavirus Act to extend the time period for suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from June 30 to September 30, meaning no business will be forced out of their premises if they a miss a payment in the next three months.
  • Also a secondary legislation will be laid to prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 days of unpaid rent. The time period for which this measure is in force will be extended from June 30 to September 30.
  • An amendment to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill has been tabled which will extend the temporary ban on the use of statutory demands and winding-up petitions where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus until 30 September.

 Other Government updates

  • A new template is available for download 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.
  • A New tool  has been developed to help businesses in England identify whether they can reopen safely during coronavirus.  This tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen.
  • The Home Office has published the paper considered by SAGE on 27 April 2020, COVID-19 – measures at the border.
  • The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended that the COVID-19 alert level should move from Level 4  to Level 3. This has been reviewed by the Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who agree with this recommendation to move to Level 3 across the UK.

 VisitEngland recovery webinars for businesses

VisitEngland is hosting a series of free business recovery webinars to help businesses get back on track following the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar programme covers a number of topics to provide businesses with practical insight and valuable information from within VisitBritain/VisitEngland and across the wider travel industry. The programme starts on Tuesday 30 June with a spotlight on inbound and domestic research and insight. The full list of webinars and booking information for each webinar can be found on the website

Situation update 19 June 2020

June 18 update

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Dido Harding, Chairwoman of NHS Improvement. The briefing included updates on the latest testing data and vaccine developments. The test and trace system is working, although the contact tracing app being tested on the Isle of Wight is still under review. Questions focused on the test and trace scheme. One question asked about visiting family and staying overnight, to which Hancock replied he was keen to see people holidaying this year, and the Government would be updating guidance on social distancing in due course.

View the full briefing here.

Scotland announces changes for phase 2 of route map to recovery

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced further changes to Scotland’s lockdown restrictions as the country moves through phase 2 of its route map to recovery. Review changes to the updated reopening plan here. Public services will continue to gradually reopen, and other phase 2 changes will be introduced as follows:

From 19 June:

  • People who are shielding are able to leave their home for exercise and to meet with 1 other household outdoors (max 8 people in total) with physical distancing from 18 June. They are also able to take part in non-contact outdoor activities such as golf, hiking, fishing.
  • People who are not shielding can meet with more households outside. Limit increased from meeting 1 household to meeting 2 households; 8 person overall limit and need for physical distancing remains.
  • Certain household types can now meet others indoors in an ‘extended household’.
  • Those visiting another household in a private garden will be permitted to use the household toilet, with increased hygiene measures urged. This does not include a household of someone who is shielding.
  • People should continue to stay in their local area as much as possible and should not travel more than broadly five miles for leisure or recreation.

 From 22 June:

  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport.
  • Places of worship can re-open for individual prayer and contemplation.
  • Professional sport can resume – with public health restrictions remaining in place.
  • Dental practices can re-open to see patients with urgent care needs.
  • Construction sector can implement remaining phases of sectoral plan.
  • College and university staff can return to make essential preparations for restart in Phase 3.
  • Consistent with Phase 2, accommodation allowed for those required to stay away from home for work purposes.

From 29 June:

  • Indoor (non-office) workplaces resume once relevant guidance is implemented.
    • Includes: factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities
    • Excludes: indoor workplaces due to open in Phase 3 (e.g. non-essential offices and call-centres)
  • Street-access retail can re-open once guidance is implemented. Interiors of shopping malls/centres remain closed for non-essential shops until Phase 3.
  • Outdoor markets can re-open once guidance implemented.
  • Relaxation on restrictions on housing moves.
  • Outdoor sports courts and playgrounds can re-open.
  • Registration offices open for high priority tasks.
  • Marriages and civil partnerships allowed with minimal attendees – outdoors only.
  • Zoos and garden attractions can open but should remain limited to local access only (broadly within 5 miles) in this phase.

Fáilte Ireland releases guidance for opening pubs in Republic of Ireland

Fáilte Ireland has released guidelines for reopening pubs (including pubs, gastropubs and bars) in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Seating time has been extended from 90 minutes to 105 minutes, with 15 minutes reserved for cleaning between guests (2 hours total).
  • Contact tracing: Businesses will now be required to collect the contact information of just the party lead. Previously, the original HPSC guidance stated that this should be collected for the full group.
  • Businesses may implement 1 metre physical distancing in controlled environments, provided other risk mitigation requirements have been met and pre-booked time slots are in place.

 Data on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on UK economy, personal and economic well-being

 Other Government updates

  • 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.

Industry updates

  • Manchester Airport will trial offering passengers free pre-booked 15-minute timeslots to pass through security.
  • Virgin Voyages has released its Voyage Well plan, outlining measures for health screenings, on-board social distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols and flexible booking policies as the company prepares to resume sailing in October.
  • Hilton has announced they will reduce approximately 2,100 corporate roles globally and will extend furloughs, reduced hours and pay reductions for another 90 days.

 Situation update 18 June 2020

June 17 update

Today’s briefing was led by DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden. After reviewing the latest testing data he acknowledged that the Premier League resumed playing today and spoke of the benefits that sports can have on mental health in our communities. He spoke further on the challenges that the arts and culture sectors are facing, particularly in regards to the 2m distancing rule. Progress has been made through the five working groups, but greater flexibility will be needed to reopen theatres and discussions will continue this week to develop a roadmap for reopening.

The first question asked about the Job Retention Scheme supporting theatres, and Dowden outlined the Government support available for the sector. Another question asked about seating people side-by-side in theatres and Dowden said he has been talking to the industry but realises that it is a big challenge, and more difficult for theatres than for cinemas due to profit margins. In response to a question about restarting the tourism industry, Dowden referred to the roadmap that sets 4 July as the target date for the next stage of reopening and said that guidance will be published in due course. Asked about air bridges, Dowden replied that the quarantine remains in place and that air bridges are being looked at by the Transport secretary, but any decisions will be guided by science. The final question asked about people who are struggling due to losing jobs in hospitality, to which Dowden replied that safely reopening the sector will support people in returning to work.

View the full briefing here.

Coronavirus grant funding: local authority payments to small and medium businesses

Local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus. As of 14 June, £10.36 billion has been paid out to over 844,000 business properties. Review the local authority grant payments as of 14 June 2020 here.

DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey

Some top line findings have been released on how DCMS sectors are responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Review the latest data tables here.

Industry updates

  • Norwegian Air will resume flights from London Gatwick to Oslo and Copenhagen, and from Edinburgh to Oslo and Copenhagen starting 1 July.
  • Cameron Mackintosh Limited and Delfont Mackintosh Theatres have announced that their London productions of Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, Hamilton and Phantom of the Opera will not return until at least 2021.
  • Air Malta will commence its summer schedule in July, adding flights from Malta to London Heathrow from 15 July and flights to Manchester in August.

Situation update 17 June 2020

June 16 update

The Prime Minister gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Peter W Horby, University of Oxford. The Prime Minister gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases and an update on COVID-19 treatments. The Prime Minister says he is “all too aware” that the two-metre rule has implications for schools and hospitality sector and he will do everything in his power to get life back to normal. But he will proceed carefully, and will only act in a way that minimises the risk to life. During the Q+A Sophia of the Evening Standard asked about Spain threatening to impose quarantine restrictions on UK visitors in response to the UK’s quarantine measures. She also asked if the PM would discuss travel corridors with President Macron when he visits the UK? Johnson says he will be talking to Macron about all sorts of things, including this, when they meet later this week. And he says they will be talking to Spain too about this.

View the full briefing here.

Global Britain

The Prime Minister today made a statement to the House of Commons on “Global Britain”. He has announced the merger of Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This follows a review conducted by Lord Bew.

Other Government updates

  • Updated weekly data (up to end of Sunday 14 June) is available for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Latest figures available for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.
  • See the businesses, business representative organisations, regulators and academics who took part in the five economic recovery roundtables chaired by Business Secretary Alok Sharma last week and the topics discussed. The roundtable topics included green recovery, increasing opportunity, backing new business, the future of industry and the UK open for business.
  • The guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students on temporary concessions in response to the outbreak of coronavirus has been updated.

Industry updates

  • TUI Group will gradually resume some of their summer 2020 programme from this week, in line with the easing of travel restrictions in Europe. The group plans to restart activity in the UK later this summer and expects to operate at around 30% of their original capacity in Q4 this year.
  • Six organisations have come together to form The Future of Tourism Coalition, with the global mission to place tourism destinations at the centre of recovery strategies.
    • The organisations include the Centre for Responsible Travel, Destination Stewardship Centre, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
  • Traveller Made, a network of 440 travel agencies in 70 countries, has created an interactive map tracking the opening status of its preferred hotel partners.

Situation update 16 June 2020

June 15 update

Today’s briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He reviewed the latest testing data and recounted some of the measures taking effect this week to relax the lockdown: steps were taken over the weekend to enable private prayer and to allow single adult households to form social support bubbles, and from today retail and outdoor attractions including zoos, safari parks and outdoor cinemas may reopen. Face coverings are mandatory on all public transportation from today.

A question was asked about reviewing and possibly reducing the 2 metre rule for social distancing. Raab replied that the rule remains under review and a report is expected in two weeks.

View the full briefing here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance updated

Guidance has been published outlining the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme following the Chancellor’s announcement on 29 May. These include:

  • From 1 July employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June.
  • Flexibly furlough employees, meaning employees can come back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.
  • Still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period
  • From 1 August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
  • From 1 September, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough. Find more information on how the amount of grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.
  • 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 and 30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and are returning after 10 June and they have to be on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

HMRC are running two webinars, one to be held on Thursday 18 June 9:45am-10:45am and one on Friday 19 June 11:45am-12:45pm. It provides 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 updated

Updated guidance has been made 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 for 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.

Northern Ireland accelerates reopening of tourism and hospitality sector

This afternoon the NI Economy Minister announced a conditional acceleration of the reopening of Tourism & Hospitality as follows:

  • 26 June – reopening of caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation
  • 3 July – reopening of other tourist accommodation being permitted to open from 3 July 2020 (date again conditional). In addition the 3 July will see the opening of:
    • Restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, etc.
    • Indoor spaces of pubs and bars for the provision of substantial meals, with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. Pubs and bars opening on this basis will be encouraged to avoid providing activities such as bands, live sport screening, etc.
    • Pubs and bars with outdoor spaces (e.g. beer gardens) permitted to sell alcohol in these spaces on a table service basis
    • Hotel restaurants permitted to open, in line with guidance. Hotel bars to be restricted to the provision of substantial meals with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. As with pubs and bars, hotels with outdoor spaces will be permitted to sell alcohol in these spaces. Spas and leisure facilities would not be permitted to open at this stage and would open in line with relaxation of restrictions on the wider spa and leisure sector.
    • Visitor attractions – a diverse sector comprising museums, historic houses, culture and heritage venues, and outdoor attractions – will likely see a phased re-opening in line with site or building-specific risk assessments. The outdoor areas of some attractions are already open.

 Other Government updates

Other updates

  • The EU Commission has now formally launched the Re-open EU website, which is designed to support a safe relaunch of travelling and tourism across Europe. It will provide real-time information on borders and available means of transport and tourism services in Member States as well as practical information provided by Member States on travel restrictions, public health and safety measures. The creation of this website was announced in previous EU Tourism Ministerial meetings and May’s EU tourism guidance package. The UK, as a non-Member State, isn’t included on the website. Further info in the full press release here.

Situation update 15 June 2020

June 12 update

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by the chair of Network Rail, Peter Handy, and Prof Stephen Powis. The Secretary of State gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases. He also highlighted that transport is vital for reopening the economy but provides a challenge for controlling infection. He reiterated that if you can work from home you should continue to do so, if you can’t, you should try to avoid public transport. Shapps said that from Monday, you must wear face coverings on public transport. Transport operators will be able to refuse permission to travel where someone isn’t wearing a face covering, he says, and fines can be issued for refusal to comply. He noted that even the aviation sector wants to see a greener future and that DfT have created the Jet Zero Council, formed of environmental groups and aviation sector, will be charged with making net zero emissions possible for future flights.

During the Q+A the Sun asked about Air Bridges. Is the UK looking at air bridges, who are they in discussion with and have any countries refused the offer? Shapps said that the term “travel corridor” is more accurate and that they are actively working on travel corridors. The next review of quarantine rules is 29 June so there won’t be any announcements on changes to the rules until then. When asked what he would like to see replace the quarantine rules, Shapps said that travel corridors with countries with lower infection are a potential way forward, along with testing at ports and airports. View the full briefing here.

UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report:  Week 3

The latest results of the UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report, based on fieldwork from 1-5 June is now available.  An interesting trend this week is the nation appears more negative in mind-set (overall mood and perceptions of when ‘normality’ will return are marginally down, while the proportion of people feeling the ‘worst is still to come’ has increased significantly).  However, sentiment towards travel appears to be slightly improving e.g. in terms of likelihood to take a holiday, higher confidence in trips going ahead and marginally higher confidence in doing various leisure activities.

Other points of note:

  • 27% believe the worst has passed regarding Covid-19.  This is a slightly lower proportion than last week (29%), while a significantly higher proportion consider the ‘worst is yet to come’.
  • There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with just 29% expecting ‘normality’ by September and 52% by December.
  • Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score is fractionally up at 2.33 (based on a 1-4 scale on how comfortable people claim to be at doing selected activities e.g. eating in a restaurant or using public transport).
  • 28% consider themselves fairly or very confident they would be able to take a holiday or short-break during the peak July/August period this year, which represents a fractional increase on last week.
  • The main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are again led by restrictions on travel by government (52%), fewer opportunities to eat or drink out (51%) and concerns about catching Covid-19 (45%).
  • 41% expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively compared to last year, which is unchanged from week 2.
  • However, the proportions believing they will be taking a domestic short-break or holiday by this September is again up, albeit not significantly (23% vs 22%).
  • In terms of region to be visited between now and September, South West still leads (19%) followed by Scotland (12%), although in reality little actually separates the second to eighth ranked regions.  A clearer hierarchy of preference is visible for visits from October onwards, with South West and Scotland having more obvious leads.
  • For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations lead with 31% and 30% shares respectively.  Cities move into second place for trips scheduled from October onwards.
  • Focusing again on the peak June-Sept period, we see a broadly even split between the leading accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns take a clear lead, with caravan/camping moving down the rankings.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

New support for reopening and recovery of high streets

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.

New ONS report: Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: April 2020

The report provides an analysis of monthly growth for the production, services and construction industries in the UK economy between March 2020 and April 2020, highlighting the early impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism’s report Pathways to Recovery published

The report was researched and written by UK Hospitality, who provide the secretariat for the group, highlighting the scale of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors and outlining a series of recommendations to help businesses recover.

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Centre has created an interactive map tracking COVID-19 travel regulations by country.
  • United Airlines has introduced a customer acknowledgment form for passengers to fill out when they check in to confirm they have not experienced Covid-19 related symptoms in the last 2 weeks.
  • LaLiga will join the Spanish government and the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) in a new campaign to promote Spain as a safe tourist destination.

Situation update 12 June 2020

June 11 update

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock joined by Baroness Dido Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement. The briefing focussed on the test and trace system and the importance of self-isolating for those who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms. The Q&A covered social distancing at work, child care and coronavirus testing. View the full briefing here.

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

The Government has published new guidance for aviation passengers and operators, setting out advice for air travellers and measures that operators should implement to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance for passengers covers the travel experience step by step, including advice on journey planning, social distancing, cleaning, face coverings, use of PPE and ventilation.

The guidance for operators has been published to help manage risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide safer workplaces and services for workers and passengers.

The UK Government is engaging with a number of key international organisations including the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on a shared agenda on public health measures for international travel.

New guidance has also been published on using a boat inland or on the coast.

Review the latest guidance for other transport and travel sectors here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme datasets updated for June 2020

The tables in this publication show the number of individuals claiming the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant by 31 May 2020, and the value of these claims.

 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme datasets updated for June 2020

This statistical release provides estimates of the number and value of claims made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to HMRC by 31 May 2020. Data is broken down by employer size, sector and geography.

Analysis on potential impact of coronavirus lockdown on household spending

A new analysis looks at the potential impact of the coronavirus lockdown on household spending in the UK. It categorises data from the financial year ending March 2019 according to whether or not spending has been possible under measures in place since 23 March 2020. Spending breakdowns are available by housing tenure, region and age of household reference person.

 Meeting people from outside your household, other coronavirus outbreak FAQs updated

New guidance has been published advising people how they can see people they do not live with, while maintaining precautions to protect against coronavirus.

Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have also been updated to reflect the Prime Minister’s announcements on 10 June 2020.

Industry updates

  • Heathrow Airport will continue to lay off employees after passenger levels hit an all-time low in May, down 97% over the same time last year.
  • Etihad Airways has launched a Travel Voucher programme: customers who purchase a voucher between 10-24 June can use it to book travel in the next two years, and will receive an additional 50% cash value for future travel after 1 August 2020.
  • Air Transat plans to resume international flights from 23 July, including routes from Toronto to London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Situation update 11 June 2020

June 10 update

The Prime Minister gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Witty. The Prime Minister shared the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases, he also explained how the 5 tests for relaxing lockdown had been met. The Prime Minister said the devolved administrations can move at the right pace for them, highlighting that the measures he announced apply to England only.

    1. On retail, he noted that it has been 82 days since the Government asked shops to close but retail businesses can reopen from Monday.
    2. Social contact – people on their own and single parent households may form a support bubble with one other household. They would then be treated as a single household when it comes to social distancing measures.
    3. From Monday, outdoor attractions which you can stay in the car for, such as safari parks and outdoor cinemas, can open. Zoos will be able to open as well as long as people can social distance.
    4. Places of worship will reopen for prayer from this weekend.

During the Q+A the first question came from a member of the public they asked if people serving food to the public should be wearing masks or gloves. Johnson says guidelines will be introduced as to how shops should open up in a COVID-19 secure way. Vallance says the Sage advice is clear. Face coverings have benefits in closed environments and touching and surface contact is a major way of spreading the disease. On the possibility of axing the two metre rule the PM was asked if it was a political decision and if he is willing to ignore his scientific advisers? Johnson says there is a balance of risk to be struck. It is important to get the rate down. Only one in 1,000 has it. But it is not down yet as far as he would like. The Daily Echo asked about the cruise industry. The Prime Minister said that he is confident that the cruise industry can return in a COVID secure way.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Parliamentary statement on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism

Key points from the statement given by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing to the Scottish Parliament include:

  • The Scottish Government has provided a package of support worth over £2.3 billion – “going above and beyond the UK Government consequentials”.  Provided rates relief, developed grant schemes not available elsewhere in the UK and have met with and listened to businesses to understand where gaps still exist.
  • He commended the work of organisations like the Scottish Tourism Alliance and UKHospitality in representing their sectors and providing a vital bridge between the Scottish Government and businesses.
  • Kate Forbes and Ewing have written to the Chancellor to request a discussion on how they can work together to further support the sector and alleviate some of the pressures on businesses, including through a review of VAT rates.
  • He outlined that the UK Government must lead on a financial recovery plan for tourism in the UK with significant funding attached, and that they will use those consequentials for the industry in Scotland.
  • Statutory reviews of the current restrictions are required on 18 June and 9 July. As things stand just now, our hope is that the Scottish Government will be able to give the go ahead to a re-opening of the sector at the 9 July review.
    • The Tourism Secretary encouraged tourism and hospitality businesses to prepare – within appropriate safety guidelines – for re-opening on 15 July.
  • They will soon be publishing guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector that will help businesses make the necessary changes.
  • He admitted that there will be a key role for the industry in building confidence in communities who may understandably be hesitant to welcome back visitors.
  • The Sottish Government is setting up a Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce to take forward strategic oversight of, and provision of advice on, recovery plans in response to the COVID-19 impact on Scottish tourism and hospitality. This taskforce will be responsible for ensuring that the tourism recovery plan is fully coordinated with the wider Scottish Government and other recovery plans. It will also take into account wider actions being taken by the UK Government, other devolved administrations and international best practice, including that of the European Union.
    • looking at recovery needs for the sector
    • working with devolved administrations and UK Government on UK level interventions
    • developing a domestic visitor marketing campaign
    • clear public messaging around the safe recovery of tourism and the economic benefits for communities

Read more here

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • From 15 June  Gatwick Airport will expand its hours of operation and resume activity in its North Terminal with EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island flights.
  • Thames Clippers will resume service on 15 June with social distancing and cleaning measures in place on piers and on-board the vessels.
  • Eastern Airways will launch a daily weekday flight from Leeds Bradford to Newquay on 9 July.
  • Jamaica will reopen its borders to international tourists on 15 June.

Situation update 10 June 2020

June 9 update

Today’s briefing was led by Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Sharma confirmed that retail outlets that have previously been closed will be permitted to open from next Monday 15 June. Businesses will need to complete a Covid-secure risk assessment and are asked to display publicly a sign confirming that they are compliant with health and safety guidance. Further guidance for hospitality businesses such as restaurants and pubs will be published as soon as possible, and the Government continues working towards 4 July 2020 as a target date to reopen the hospitality and service sectors.

This week, Sharma will lead five roundtable sessions with representatives from the five business-focused working groups to engage with the business community and discuss plans for economic recovery.

Q&A:

  • The first question was about when people can book domestic holidays, including camping and self-catering. Sharma said that the economy would be reopening in a phased, careful manner and reiterated the date of 4 July at the earliest.
  • Sharma said that the further guidance would be published in advance of 4 July in order to give businesses time to prepare.
  • Sharma was asked about possibly changing from 2m to 1m social distancing in order to help hospitality businesses. He said that the 2m had been recommended by SAGE, and would be kept under review. He recognised that some countries had reduced to 1m but said they were further along in their reopening.
  • Responding to a question on levelling up, the Business Secretary said he did not want to pre-empt any future announcements but that the Government was still committed to the levelling up agenda.

You can watch the full briefing here.

UK Visa and Immigration services enter second phase of reopening on 22 June

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) began a phased reopening of a limited number of visa application centres (VACs) and immigration services on 1 June. An additional number of VACs will open on 22 June, where local conditions allow. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Services will reopen in phases. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.

Visa customers and British nationals overseas who want to apply for a passport can find a VAC in their country, or check the status of VACs outside of the UK here:

  • TLS contactif you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS globalfor all other countries

Visa applicants in the UK can check the status of VACs and available services near them.

Find further guidance on applying for a visa or passport during the pandemic.

Self-isolation rules specific to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Guidance on the new border rules has been updated to reflect that travellers are subject to different self-isolation rules and penalties depending on whether they are travelling to:

 Industry updates

  • Vacation Rentals, the parent company of brands including Hoseasons and Cottages.com, is now offering refunds for cancelled bookings following an announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it would start investigating cancellations and refunds in the holiday accommodation sector.
  • Ryanair is waving change fees for all flights booked in July or August this year. Customers will be able to exchange for flights departing through 31 December 2020.
  • Cunard has cancelled all sailings for the ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through 1 November, and for the ship Queen Elizabeth through 23 November.
  • Austrian Airlines has secured a €600 million rescue package from the Austrian national government and the Lufthansa Group.

Situation update 9 June 2020

June 8 update

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, joined by David Pearson, Chair of National COVID-19 Social Care Support Taskforce. Hancock reviewed the latest datasets, noting that the rolling weekly infection rate is seeing a steady decline and that there were no recorded COVID-related deaths in London or Scotland yesterday (although to note that reports are often lower on a Monday due to delayed reporting over the weekend). Pearson introduced the Social Care Support Taskforce, a group that will combine the efforts of central and local government with care providers.

  • The first question came from a member of the public asking whether outdoor weddings would be allowed in England, like they are in Northern Ireland. Hancock replied that they could not yet, but he hoped that one day soon.
  • Andrew from Anglesey asked about regional lockdowns and how they wold be enforced. Hancock replied that the aim for the R number to be lower than 1 across the country, but if there is a localised outbreak then measures will be introduced at hospitals to help with capacity and to test local communities.
  • When asked why the government is enforcing two-metre distancing while other countries, such as France, use one metre, Hancock said: “The science is clear: the closer you are the more likely you are to pass on the virus.” He added that some other countries are also insisting on two-metre distancing and that the two-metre rule was not responsible for hospitality businesses not being able to open, but the virus. The two-metre rule is under review at all times.
  • Torcuil Crichton of the Daily Record asked about holidays, pointing out that Scottish school holiday dates are different from England’s. Hancock said that he hoped the Government would be able to get to a position where people were able to go on holiday this summer, including domestically.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Business Secretary launches working groups to help plan economic recovery

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating 5 new business-focused groups as part of the Government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Focused on 5 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

The membership of the 5 working groups will be published in due course. There will also be an opportunity for other parties and individuals interested in this initiative to share written submissions with the Business Department. Further details will be shared in due course.

Requirement for transport operators to provide coronavirus information for travellers

From today, 8 June 2020, 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, at 3 stages of the passenger journey: at the booking stage, the check-in stage and on-board the vessel, aircraft or train.

Updated border rules for international travellers, exemptions for Scotland

International travel guidance has been updated as the new rules for entering the UK (including providing contact details and self-isolating for 14 days) come into force.

Additionally, border rules that have been introduced due to coronavirus (COVID-19) have been updated to include exemptions extended to Scotland. Some rules in Scotland are different to those England and Northern Ireland.

 Other Government updates

  • Clarified guidance for zoos and other businesses that keep animals (not normally domesticated in England) for exhibition to the public.
  • Updated guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues as part of further social distancing measures.
  • FAQ page has been added to guidance to help local authorities and partners deliver activities supported through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

Industry updates

  • ABTA CEO Mark Tanzer has called on the Government to outline a plan for ending the 14-day quarantine and restarting international travel.
  • Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have delayed the resumption of flights and holidays to 15 July, a fortnight later than their previous target of 1 July.
  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has started awarding its Safe Travels stamp to destinations that have adopted its safety and hygiene protocols. Destinations having received the stamp of approval so far include Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and the Mexican destinations of Baja California Sur and Yucatan.
  • Sabre is planning to cut 800 jobs across 43 global offices as the company restructures following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Situation update 8 June 2020

June 4 update

Today’s briefing was led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. He was joined by Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail. Along with the health and testing update, Shapps made three points on public transport. First, if you can work from home, you should do so, If you can’t, you should try to avoid the rush hour. From 15 June face coverings will be mandatory on public transport – this will apply to buses, trains, aircraft and ferries. People will be refused travel if they do not comply.

During the Q&A the First question came from a member of the public. Charlotte asks about travel companies refusing to give people refunds for cancelled trips. Shapps says travel companies do have a responsibility to pay the money back. Trading standards can look into breaches, he says. He says he will be encouraging them to pay people back. It is not acceptable for them to just hold on to people’s money. The Metro newspaper asked whether there had been a discussion with the devolved administrations about face masks on public transport. Would people be boarding trains without a mask in Scotland and putting it on when they cross the border? Shapps says this is a measure for England. He says it is up to the devolved administrations to decide what they do. He says normally countries decide to move together, so he does not think we will end up with a confusing situation for passengers. Hendy said that he would expect passengers to be wearing masks when they get on a train, and again when they get off. He was also asked what message would you give to people thinking of going to the coast this weekend? And what help are you providing for the hospitality industry? Shapps says the cooler weather will help. But the message remains the same; stay alert means keep two metres away from people, As for the hospitality industry, the government has stood behind companies. But they best way to help them is by defeating the virus, When asked whether tourist locations, like Blackpool, are at particular risk from coronavirus when lockdown is relaxed? Shapps says, to answer that question, we need to know how the virus will continue to spread. There is a danger of people getting complacent, he says. But the virus is still very much with us. You can watch the full briefing here.

Earlier today during the House Q&A with DCMS, MPs raised a series of questions with regard to the tourism sector. Key points from their discussion:

  • Conservative MPs Tim Loughton, Cherilyn Mackrory and Dr James Davies asked the Secretary of State what steps his Department is taking to help the tourism sector to reopen safely after lockdown restrictions are eased. Oliver Dowden said a cultural renewal taskforce had been set up to help the tourism industry reopen safely and outlined the 4 July target. Following this, Mr Loughton asked if flexibility would be granted to allow the industry to reopen sooner, and whether VAT would be reduced for the industry? In reply, Mr Dowden outlined the Job Retention Scheme and said further measures would be considered.
  • Cherilyn Mackrory said the tourism sector supported one in five jobs in Cornwall and asked for assurances that the Government would promote Cornwall as a world-class tourist destination, once safe to do so. Dowden said they were hoping to get tourism back as soon as safely possible and would be encouraging British people to take “staycations”.
  • James Davies asked if the Government would support VisitBritain’s call for an October Bank Holiday. Dowden said he thought it was an excellent idea and noted he was discussing the proposals with BEIS.
  • Gavin Newlands (SNP) highlighted the plight of the tourism sector and asked if an extension to the Job Retention Scheme and an extension to the transition period would be granted to help it. Dowden said the scheme had already been extended and said the transition period would not be extended.
  • Rupa Huq (Labour) asked if the Government would introduce a scheme to allow holiday home lets to restart as soon as possible. Responding, Dowden said he hoped that the tourist sector would be able to begin to reopen from 4 July and that he hoped self-catering accommodation would be at the front of the queue.

A full readout of the MPs’ tourism-related discussion is available here.

Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

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. Please see further information here.

Travel industry updates

  • WTM London will take place at the ExCeL convention centre from 2-4 November.
  • London City Airport will resume domestic commercial flights at the end of June, with international flights to follow in early July.
  • Virgin Atlantic will resume passenger flights from London Heathrow to Orlando, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Hong Kong and Shanghai on 20 and 21 July.
  • Eastern Airways will resume service from Southampton Airport to Aberdeen, Belfast City, Dublin, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford and Teesside from 22 June.

Situation update 4 June 2020

June 3 update

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led today’s briefing, he was joined by Chris Whitty and Patrick Valance. The briefing focussed on testing, the test and trace app and the 14-day quarantine announced by Priti Patel earlier today (see further details below). The Prime Minister also said that future progress, including the reduction of the 2m rule, depended on the public’s ability to follow guidance and the R rate continuing to decline.

During the Q&A, the BBC asked if anyone should be booking holidays this summer, the PM said that everybody should avoid non-essential travel. On quarantine, there were questions about changing to a health test regime at ports instead. The PM mentioned that they were considering air corridors, but on testing he said there was a risk of false positives/negatives. The PM declined to go into detail on air bridges, instead saying that bilateral conversations were being held. You can watch the full briefing here.

Home Secretary Priti Patel’s statement on border force measures

Today the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s plans to impose a 14-day quarantine period for inbound travel to the UK.

  • Patel stated that the priority is to protect people’s health and that this scheme will play an important role. She said the scientific advice has been consistent and clear and we are past the peak – but are now more vulnerable to infections being introduced from abroad. She argued that quarantine would have made little difference earlier – when transmission rates within the UK were higher.
  • The scheme will start from 8 June with a limited number of exemptions from the self-isolation rule. These measures do not apply for those travelling from within the common travel area (CTA) in Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, unless they have arrived from outside of the CTA in the previous 14 days
  • All arrivals will have to fill in a contact locator form, including details of where they will be isolated, and how they can be contacted. The form will have to be completed before arrival. Passengers will need a receipt showing they have filled it in. Border Force officers will be able to impose a £100 fine on those who do not comply and a breach of quarantine rules could lead to a £1,000 fine in England, or potential prosecution.
  • The measures will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are proportionate. The first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June.
  • The proposals were criticised by both the Opposition and Conservative backbenchers – including former Trade Secretary Liam Fox. Many criticised it for coming at the wrong time – it should have come at the start of lockdown not at the end.
  • The Home Secretary confirmed that the Transport Secretary is looking at how air bridges could work.
  • The Transport Secretary will also host a roundtable discussion with the travel sector on 4 June and the broader business sector to develop a long-term plan for the industry.

Read the Home Secretary’s statement here

Travel updates

  • Every show in the London West End has cancelled performances until at least 2 August.
  • New research from Skyscanner shows levels of unease from travellers have reached their lowest point since the coronavirus lockdown began. The travel search service has been tracking sentiment and behaviour over the past nine weeks and says that while anxiety is still high, it is now reducing.

Situation update 3 June 2020

June 2 update

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He was joined by Prof John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The briefing focussed on a health update, testing and the PHE report and investigation to find out why some groups are more at risk from COVID-19.During the Q+A, George Parker from the FT asked about air bridges to countries with lower COVID-19 rates. Hancock replied that the air bridge work is being done by Home Office and DfT. He also asked about the scientific rationale for having a quarantine for people coming into the UK from countries with low rates of coronavirus, like Greece. Newton said that anyone coming into the country should be treated as an unknown and that would justify quarantine. You can watch the full briefing here.

VisitBritain’s consumer sentiment tracker results

VisitBritain has commissioned a weekly tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the UK and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time. The survey will address: the likelihood of UK residents to travel; when and where they plan to go; specific trip details such as accommodation type and activities undertaken and the type of reassurances they’re seeking from the sector. The survey will be repeated across a 13-week period with the first wave results published on 1 June 2020. The survey results will be published weekly on visitbritain.org. Download the report.

Other Government updates

Travel updates

  • From tomorrow (3 June), Italy will open its borders without a quarantine requirement to tourists from the EU states, states that are party to the Schengen Agreement, the United Kingdom, Andorra and Monaco.
  • P&O Cruises has announced an extension to their pause in operations until 15 October 2020.

Situation update 2 June 2020

June 1 update

Matt Hancock lead today’s briefing alongside Professor John Newton (co-ordinating national testing scheme), the briefing focussed on a health update and testing capacity. During the Q&A the first question was about the economic response to the expected recession. Hancock outlined the direct support the Government has given businesses in order to aid the retention of jobs, he recognised the need for a different economy – and said that the Chancellor and PM are working on these. In response to another question Professor Newton confirmed that the scientific advisors worked across the nations, and there is every effort to keep things consistent. However the nature of devolution means that some systems do work differently, and there is also differences in the levels of the virus in some parts of the UK. Watch the full briefing here.

Discretionary Grants Fund open to small and micro businesses in England

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are based in England and not eligible for other Government grant schemes may apply through their local council for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. Grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 may be given. Councils have been asked to prioritise businesses including bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates.

Northern Ireland – re-opening plan for hotels and other tourist accommodation

Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced plans to allow hotels and other tourist accommodation to re-open from 20 July. Key points include:

  • Holiday and home parks; caravan sites; self-catering properties. As they are self-contained and may require less advance notice before opening, the opening times for these types of accommodation may be advanced to earlier than 20 July depending on scientific advice;
  • Guesthouses; guest accommodation; B&Bs; hotels; hostels. The Tourism Steering Group will be asked to work with the sector to explore what facilities and amenities can safely be made available by hotels and recommendations will be brought to the Executive in due course.
  • The Tourism Recovery Steering Group and its supporting Working Group, will take relevant UK safe working guidance and make it specific to NI as overarching tourism sector guidance. A safety charter mark is also being considered.
  • The proposals have been informed by engagement with the tourism industry through the Tourism Recovery Working Group.

Easing of lockdown in Wales

On 29 May the First Minister of Wales signalled that non-essential retail businesses, which can comply with the physical distancing duty, should start to prepare to reopen over the next 3 weeks. A decision about whether non-essential retail will reopen will be taken at the next review on 18 June and will depend on the scientific and medical evidence.

From Monday (1 June), two households in the same local area will be able to meet outdoors. People must follow social distancing and strict hand hygiene practices to control the spread of the virus.

  • Members of 2 separate households in the same local area to meet outdoors at any one time as long as they maintain social distancing.
  • This does not need to be the same people from the same household every time.
  • ‘Local’ means not travelling more than 5 miles from home
  • The 2 households can meet in private outdoor spaces, such as gardens –  this comes with a higher risk of infection as people may have to pass through someone’s private home to reach a garden. The Welsh Government will provide guidance about the precautions which can be taken to minimise these risks
  • Allowing weddings and civil partnerships to take place if the bride or groom is terminally ill.

 Contact tracing system launched in Wales

  • From today 1 June anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 in Wales will be asked to provide details of their recent interactions and each contact will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days.

 Phased return of sport and recreation, domestic competitive sport returns 1 June

  • Updated guidance has been published for the public, athletes, personal trainers and outdoor sport facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation.
  • Guidance for reopening elite sporting competition has also been published. Domestic competitive sport is permitted to resume from today as the country enters Stage Three of the five stage framework to return to unrestricted elite sporting competition.

 Other Government updates

Travel updates

  • Lufthansa Group has confirmed plans to expand service in the second half of June. After 15 June the airlines in the group (including Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss) will serve more than 130 international destinations including 115 weekly flights to the UK and Ireland.

Situation update 1 June 2020

To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – https://covid19.who.int/

May 28 update

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led today’s briefing, joined by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance. After reviewing the country’s progress against the five tests for reopening, the PM announced that some lockdown restrictions will be lifted in England on 1 June:

  • Schools will open on Monday in England: nurseries, reception, year 1 and year 6 will be first, then on 15 June secondary schools will begin to provide face-to-face contact time for years 10 and 12
  • Outdoor retail and car showrooms will open on 1 June, with other retail opening 15 June
  • Up to 6 people will be allowed to gather outdoors, including in private gardens, provided that separate households maintain physical distancing measures
  • Shielded and vulnerable groups of people should remain in quarantine.
  • If and when local outbreaks arise, distancing measures will be reinstated as needed.

You can read the PM’s announcement or watch the full briefing here.

NHS Test and Trace system launching today

From today, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be asked to share details about their recent interactions, including household members, people they have been in direct contact with or people that have come within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. Each of those contacts will then need to self-isolate for 14 days, even if they are not showing symptoms, to avoid spreading the virus.

Related guidance has been published for employers, businesses and workers.

Scotland to start easing lockdown restrictions on Friday

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that tomorrow (29 May) Scotland will move to phase one of a four-step plan to lift lockdown restrictions. Some key changes from tomorrow:

  • People from two different households may meet outdoors in groups up to 8, while maintaining social distancing
  • Outdoor leisure activities such as golf, tennis, bowls and fishing may resume with distancing measures

Further changes from Monday 1 June:

  • Recycling centres may reopen
  • Teachers and other staff may return to schools to prepare for a “blended model” of education to begin 11 August

Other Government updates

Travel updates

 Situation update 28 May 2020

May 27 update

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and focused on the launch of the NHS Test & Trace programme. You can watch the full briefing here.

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.

Two new advisory boards to co-ordinate London’s COVID-19 recovery

The London Transition Board, co-chaired by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, will co-ordinate London’s response as it emerges from lockdown and safely reopens the economy. The London Recovery Board, co-chaired by the Mayor of London and Cllr. Peter John, Chair of London Councils, will advise on the city’s wider long-term economic and social recovery.

 Other Government updates

Travel updates

Global updates

Situation update 27 May 2020

May 26 update

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and he was joined by Professor John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The briefing focused on the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), a new drug trial and the latest testing numbers.

Phil Coleman from the News and Star newspaper in Cumbria asked what tools will be available to local health officials, given the release from lockdown will be nationwide but there may be regional outbreaks. He also noted that local health leaders in Cumbria are concerned about a regional flare-up in the Lake District brought in by visitors – the Lake District welcomed 47 million visitors last year, but the local health infrastructure can accommodate 0.5 million. Would the government consider regional lockdowns? Hancock replied that regional lockdowns in response to flare-ups will feature in future plans.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest guidance on accessing green spaces

Guidance on accessing green spaces in England has been updated to include a provision for visiting ticketed gardens in line with social distancing guidelines.

 Outdoor retail reopening 1 June, non-essential retail reopening on 15 June

On Monday the Prime Minister confirmed that outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen on 1 June, and that all other non-essential retail including shops and department stores will begin reopening on 15 June.

Official guidance has been updated for shops, branches and other retail spaces on working safely during COVID-19. Opening will be contingent on businesses following this guidance, and the Government will have the power to compel compliance.

Updated guidance on entering the UK and 14-day quarantine

Following the Government’s announcement on Friday, new information has been published to clarify the latest rules to enter the UK and the full list of exemptions to the 14-day quarantine requirement.

£50 million fund to support recovery of high streets

The Government has announced the new Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, making £50 million available for councils to support the safe reopening of local high streets and other public spaces.

Other Government updates

Travel updates

  • Portsmouth International Port has installed a thermal scanner to scan passengers’ temperatures before boarding cruises and ferries.
  • Ryanair will restore 40% of flights from 1 July, subject to Government restrictions on intra-EU flights being lifted and effective public health measures being implemented at airports.
  • LATAM Airlines Group, one of Latin America’s largest air carriers, have filed for bankruptcy.
  • Denmark on 25 May reopened its borders to individuals with permanent residence in the Nordic countries or Germany, permitting travel under four defined circumstances.
  • Spain has announced that the country will welcome international visitors starting in July, and that major professional sports leagues including La Liga will be allowed to resume during the week of 8 June.

Situation update 26 May 2020

May 22 update

Priti Patel lead this afternoon’s Government press conference, joined by the Director General of Border Force and Sir Patrick Valance. Priti Patel provided a further update on the quarantine measures, that will be introduced to protect the UK from a second wave of COVID-19. From 8 June everyone arriving in the UK (except a short list of exemptions) 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.

  • 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.
  • Exemptions: Those travelling to the UK from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man will not need to complete the online contact and accommodation form or self-isolate for 14 days. A very small group will be exempt from providing a contact detail declaration.  This includes diplomats, defence personnel and contractors and officials working on border security. There will be limited exemptions to the requirement to self-isolate and a full list will be published on gov.uk.
  • Anyone who has the virus, or has been in contact with someone who does, should not travel.

 The impact these measures would have on travel were noted and the need to work with the sector across Government to find new ways to re-open international travel and tourism. Communications will be ramped up to inform people of the new measures.

Q&A

During the Q+A there were several question relating to travel.

  • When asked whether summer holidays should be cancelled, Patel stated that the FCO were still advising no unnecessary travel.
  • When asked Patel about the rumours about France being exempt, and Air Bridges. Patel explained that she had been working in close contact with the French authorities, and the exemptions (haulage border security etc.) reflect those conversations. Patel reiterated the FCO travel advice, and said that we should be open for Air Bridges in the future. She said we should be looking to lead the world in reopening, but now is not the time.
  • On where people will be placed if they do not have somewhere to quarantine, Patel said that inbound visitors were down 99% and communications would be published in advance to ensure people are aware they need accommodation and what information they are required to provide. Border Force said that in the limited circumstances people do no not have accommodation or means to support them then there were procedures in place. A question on the impact on ‘Global Britain’, Patel said we remained open for business and trade, and we are not shutting down completely, but instead controlling the virus. They will continue to review the measures as necessary.
  • On pressures at honeypot destinations, Patel said the British public have complied and followed advice but the message is clear – enjoy being outdoors but it is conditional on following the advice.

 Member updates

Please find downloadable from wetransfer a case study from Visit Kent on the successful ‘Respect, Protect, Enjoy’ campaign, the download also includes a template for destinations to be able to do a similar campaign in their area.

Government updates

  • A new London Transition Board has been announced, the board will co-ordinate London’s response as it emerges from the lockdown and begins to reopen its economy.
  • The staying alert and safe (social distancing) advice has been updated to include some advice on face coverings – You should be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.
  • The Chancellor has made a further Treasury Direction under Sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, reflecting the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Travel updates

Situation update 22 May 2020

May 21 update

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He was joined by Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, and Professor John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The briefing focused on resources for mental health charities, the latest numbers on antibody testing and plans to continue antibody testing across the country.

Ian Swanson from the Edinburgh Evening News asked whether the furloughing scheme will be extended for the tourism and hospitality sector, noting that many hospitality businesses have not qualified for support. Hancock answered that he recognises the importance of tourism, especially in regards to Edinburgh and their annual festivals, and said he would take Swanson’s comments to the Chancellor.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Scotland outlines phased route map for reopening

The Scottish Government has today published their route map to guide Scotland through and out of the COVID-19 crisis. The framework for decision making specifies that changes to restrictions will not be made without considering:

  • Scale of the impact – who/ how many will benefit from the change?
  • Protection of vulnerable people – how will they remain supported?
  • Evidence on the impact – what is the scientific advice?

The plan outlines a phased approach to lifting restrictions. In Phases 1-3, physical distancing and hygiene measures should be maintained.

  • Phase 1 – R remains below 1 for three weeks, decline in infectious cases (tentative to commence on 28 May)
    • Phasing in seeing family and friends in outdoor spaces; small groups, no public gatherings.
    • Workplaces return if remote working is not possible, manage travel demands with flexible work patterns. Outdoor workplaces resume with physical distancing.
    • Staff may return to schools, increase available childcare provisions.
    • Gradual reopening of drive-through food outlets, garden centres, waste centres.
    • Unrestricted outdoor exercise.
    • Resume key community support and NHS services.
  • Phase 2 – R is consistently below 1, WHO six criteria for reopening are met
    • Meet family and friends in larger groups outdoors, small indoor meetings allowed.
    • Remote working remains default arrangement where possible.
    • Indoor non-office-based work resumes, including factories.
    • Small retail units may open.
    • Pubs and restaurants may open outdoor spaces.
    • Places of worship open for private prayer.
    • Scale up public services, including chronic disease management and expanding GP services.
  • Phase 3 – consistent decline in infectious cases
    • Gatherings of people from more than one household permitted indoors.
    • Public transport operates at full service, but limited capacity. Private vehicles may drive beyond local area.
    • Children return to school in blend of remote and on-campus learning.
    • Indoor office workplaces reopen, but remote working remains default.
    • Larger retail and gyms reopen.
    • Pubs and restaurants open indoor spaces.
    • Live events permitted with restricted numbers.
  • Phase 4 – virus is no longer deemed a significant threat
    • Physical distancing guidance will remain in place as necessary.
    • Further relaxation on meeting family and friends.
    • Public transport at full service and capacity.
    • Schools and childcare provisions operating.
    • All types of workplaces reopen, remote and flexible working encouraged.
    • Food outlets reopen.
    • Public services operating fully.
    • Further relaxation of restrictions on live events, mass gatherings resume.

Formation of Cultural Renewal Taskforce

Representatives from the arts, culture and sporting sectors have joined a new Cultural Renewal Taskforce to advise on the safe reopening of the country’s recreation and leisure industries.

Taskforce members include: Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary and Chair; Neil Mendoza, entrepreneur and Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal; Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet; Alex Scott, sports broadcaster and former England international and Arsenal footballer; Sir Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England Chair; Edward Mellors, Mellors Group Events; Lord Michael Grade of Yarmouth, former Chair of BBC and ITV; Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, founder of LastMinute.com; and Mark Cornell, Ambassador Theatre Group.

Other Government updates

  • The Government has unlocked £150 million from dormant accounts to support charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals.
  • BEIS has introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill in Parliament. Measures in the new Bill will:
    • Apply temporary easements on filing requirements and Annual General Meetings (AGMs), including deadline extensions
    • Introduce new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime
    • Temporarily suspend parts of insolvency law to support directors

Travel updates

 EasyJet has announced they will resume flying a small number of domestic flights on 15 June from 22 European airports, including 10 in the UK. Enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures will be in place.

    • Domestic flights will service London Gatwick, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Belfast and Isle of Man.
    • There will also be a route between the London Gatwick and Nice.
  • Heathrow Airport has launched a temperature screening trial, using thermal screening technology to detect elevated temperatures of arriving passengers in Terminal 2. Learnings from the trial will inform the creation of a Common International Standard for health screenings in the travel sector.

Situation update 21 May 2020

May 20 update

Today’s briefing was led by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England. After reviewing the COVID alert levels and plans to relax lockdown, Dowden announced the formation of a renewal taskforce that will advise on restarting live sports and the creative industries. As part of this group, Martha Lane Fox from LastMinute.com will advise on how tourism can be supported and driven by tech.

During the Q&A Dowden said that he would love to see the tourism sector reactivated by July, but that this will only happen if it can be done safely in order to avoid a second lockdown. The advisory task force on creative industries will include people from the tourism sector to advise on this process.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Other Government updates

  • The government’s £500 million Future Fund opens for applications today. UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors such including technology and the creative industries.
  • An additional £20million has been committed to the Fast Start Competition for innovative businesses and start-ups driving forward new technological advances.
  • On 19 May, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee listened to evidence in two sessions on the impact of Covid-19 on DCMS sectors. The first set of witnesses were: Bernard Donoghue, Director, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions; Samantha Richardson, Director, National Coastal Tourism Academy; Patricia Yates, Acting Chief Executive Officer, VisitBritain/VisitEngland. The second were: Hilary McGrady, Director General, National Trust; Ros Pritchard OBE, Director General, British Holiday and Home Park Association. Watch the full testimony.

Travel updates

  • IHG Hotels & Resorts have outlined their Clean Promise, a programme of enhanced cleaning protocols developed with hygiene and medical experts at Ecolab, Divesey and the Cleveland Clinic.

Situation update 20 May 2020

May 19 update

Today’s briefing came from the Environment Secretary George Eustice. He was joined by Professor Dame Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser. The update focussed on a health update and measures DEFRA are taking to ensure the harvest can be gathered this year due to labour shortages for fruit picking. During the Q+A there was a question from a member of the public who wanted to know what the government is doing to learn lessons from other countries about how to ease the lockdown. Eustice says the government is looking at the experience in other countries. McLean says two countries stand out. South Korea has used contact tracing particularly well to drive numbers down. They would also like to learn from Germany’s record on testing. McLean also was asked if the government is considering easing the lockdown in island communities more quickly? McLean says she cannot comment on policy, but she says whether to treat islands differently is an interesting issue. You can watch the full briefing here.

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

  • New figures on the UK-wide government support schemes for individuals and businesses have been published.
  • The Government have today published a draft Free-Trade Agreement with the EU, as well as draft Air Transport Agreement and Civil Aviation Safety Agreement. The chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, gave an statement to the House of Commons on the draft documents.

Situation update 19 May 2020

May 18 update

Today’s press briefing was led by Dominic Raab and Jonathan Van Tam. The update focussed on a health update, testing and the update of anosmia symptoms (the loss of smell and taste) being added to the self-isolate advice. During the Q+A there was a question on camping, Van Tam said that he stands ready to give advice on this when the Government asks for it. When asked about the proposed quarantine measures for passengers arriving into the UK, Van Tam explained that there was previously quarantine advice on people arriving from Wuhan and then Italy. On the new advice he said that the virus had now spread internationally, and as we drive down our infection rate there must be action to limit inbound infection. A question from Wales asked about the divergence in advice and tourists still visiting North Wales. Raab said that there had been good cooperation between the devolved nations, and that different levels of lockdown were understandable given different R rates. He said that people need to be mindful of the different regulations in place. You can watch the full briefing here.

Nicola Sturgeon gave a press briefing today announcing that a route map for the lifting of lockdown measures in Scotland will be published on Thursday. She said the measures could begin to be lifted from 28 May. She also said that this would mean people could meet someone from another household as long as social distancing is maintained and more outdoor activities and sports like golf and fishing will also be allowed. We will share a summary of the route map on Thursday.

First Minister Arlene Foster in a briefing today has announced some easing of lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland as part of the first step of their recovery plan. Outdoor gatherings of up to 6 will be allowed, places of worship can open for individual prayer and some outdoor activities will be permitted –  these measure are allowed but social distancing and public hygiene must be observed.

Latest Government updates

Situation update 18 May 2020

May 15 update

Today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He was joined by Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Dr Nikita Kanani, the medical director of primary care for NHS England. The briefing focussed on a health update including testing and care homes. During the briefing Matt Hancock said that the UK is ready to move from level 4 of the COVID alert levels to level 3. He noted that although the guidance has changed, for the vast majority of people, staying alert still means staying home as much as possible. During the Q+A Allison Morris of Irish News asked a question about business difficulties in Northern Ireland with both COVID-19 and Border checks after Brexit. Hancock reiterated that the Government was delivering on the mandate to deliver Brexit.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest Government updates

Travel updates

Situation update 15 May 2020

May 14 update

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps led today’s Government briefing, alongside Jonathan Van-Tam (Deputy Chief Medical Officer). The Transport Secretary gave an update on the number of tests before focussing on infrastructure and transport. Some of the key points included, the previously announced £2bn programme to encourage cycling, and today’s announcement of investment in road and rail to support the country’s economic recovery.

During the Q+A there was a question on the 14 day quarantine, Van-Tam explained that these measures were still being finalised. There was also a question about whether camping holidays would be safer than hotels. Shapps confirmed that at the moment people should not be staying in holiday accommodation. Van Tam went on to urge people to stay in household groups, he did say that outdoor environments were safer than indoor ones. Van Tam said there was more work to be done on understanding how we consider this and promised to think about this particular issue more. The Mayflower 400 celebrations and the loss in tourism income were raised by a Plymouth journalist, and there was a call for clear announcement on domestic tourism like in France. Shapps said that France is 2/3 weeks ahead and that steps could only be taken based on how the next few weeks go. Van Tam said that France has a larger land mass and therefore less dense in population, calling for this to be considered before making comparisons.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest Government updates:

EU guidance on tourism recovery

The EU has released guidelines and recommendations to help EU Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen while respecting necessary health precautions.

The Tourism and Transport package includes:

  • An overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond (also attached);
  • A common approach to restoring free movement and lifting restrictions at EU internal borders in a gradual and coordinated way;
  • A framework to support the gradual re-establishment of transport whilst ensuring the safety of passengers and personnel;
  • A recommendation which aims to make travel vouchers an attractive alternative to cash reimbursement for consumers;
  • Criteria for restoring tourism activities safely and gradually and for developing health protocols for hospitality establishments such as hotels.

Situation update 14 May 2020

May 13 update

Today’s briefing came from Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. The briefing covered a situation update on health, followed by Jenrick outlining of how the government will safely reopen the housing market. During the Q+A  Michael from London asked about support for the theatre and the performing arts given the closure of theatres. Jenrick replied by praising the arts sector and outlined the support the government is providing individual and that the Culture Secretary is working with the sector on how social distancing can be applied when theatres do open up. He was also asked by the Dundee Courier if the Treasury will continue to fund the furlough scheme for Scotland if it needs to keep people off work longer? Jenrick replied that the scheme will continue to reflect the needs of working people across the UK and there is no cliff edge.

You can watch the full briefing here.

New Ministerial taskforces announced

Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely. Each taskforce will lead on developing new COVID-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so. The taskforces will look at the following sectors:

  • pubs and restaurants (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy)
  • non-essential retail (including salons) (Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy);
  • recreation and leisure, including tourism, culture and heritage, libraries, entertainment and sport (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
  • places of worship, including faith, community and public buildings (Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
  • international aviation, reflecting the unique challenges that sector is facing (Department for Transport)

The Tourism Minister today confirmed that the Tourism Industry Council will be repurposed as the Visitor Economy group to feed into the Recreation and Leisure task force, chaired by the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden CBE. The group will look at the practicalities of coming out of lockdown and recovery.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opened for applications today

Latest guidance says that people will be able to make their claim on a specified date between 13-18 May, based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker. Applications cannot be made before the individual’s allocated claim date but can make a claim after that day. The aim is for payment to reach bank accounts by 25 May 2020, or within six working days of completing a claim.

Other Government updates

  • New guidance for the owners and operators of urban centres and green spaces has been published to help social distancing. Measures suggested in the guidance include:
    • introducing new cycle paths or extending existing paths
    • making high-streets streets pedestrianised or introducing one-way traffic
    • separate entry and exit routes in shops
    • changing car parking layouts
    • widening footpaths, temporary barriers or spray markings outside shops to support queueing
    • signs to encourage people to wait to allow others to pass on footpaths
  • New guidance on spending time outdoors is available with details on a range of outdoor activities which will be allowed in England from 13 May 2020 subject to social distancing rules.

Situation update 13 May 2020

May 12 update

There have been several announcements by Government today please find a summary of the key points raised in the briefings and questions:

Business Secretary Alok Sharma, Sarah Albon (HSE), and Stephen Powis (NHS England) led today’s daily press conference at 17.00, he went over many of the announcements and guidance published today (see further details below). Sharma also reiterated that although people are now able to travel, they should not be staying over-night and the guidance reflects this.

A question was asked about those businesses such as hospitality who cannot operate economically, and how these businesses would contribute to the furlough scheme after August in this way. Sharma said that the measures set out today provide certainty and that the furlough scheme, bounce back loan, and CBILS were a significant support schemes. Later in the Q&A Sharma said that  that The Government has supported the hospitality sector with various measures, and in order to avoid a second peak the hospitality sector will only reopen when it is safe to do so.

On aviation refund rights, Sharma said that refunds should be made within 14 days but that this sector was facing particular difficulties. He also noted the CMA investigation into this issue.

A briefing given by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today saw Lucy Powell call for cautious language around holidays, following the health minister’s comments earlier today. Shapps said that we know we are unable at the moment to take holiday as foreign office advice is to not travel, looking to the future he said ‘it will be a wait and see game’. The Transport secretary confirmed that people shouldn’t be travelling to Wales for their exercise, and said that there is a note in this guidance about how regulations might differ in the devolved nations.

A reduction in VAT on tourism was raised by Caroline Lucas, Sunak agreed that leisure and hospitality had been hardest hit and this is why they had received the most measures – business rates, loans/grants etc. It was confirmed that the SoS DCMS had been engaging in the sector. Following questions from the Isle of Wight and Delyn an industry taskforce to look at support for the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector (page 31/32) was mentioned.

There was also a call to replace the 14 day quarantine with tests on arrival, the Chancellor only confirmed that more detail on these measures would be published in due course.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended until October

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced that the Job Retention Scheme would 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. More specific details around the changes will be made available by the end of May.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens for applications tomorrow 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 3 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
  • National Insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password
  • Bank account number and sort code you want us 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.

Northern Ireland Executive have published their Coronavirus Recovery document

The ‘Approach to Decision Making’ sets out the approach that will be adopted to move out of lockdown. The guiding principles are:

    • Controlling transmission –  Progress on the path of recovery depends primarily on controlling the rate of transmission. A restriction or requirement should only be relaxed when there is a reasonable prospect of maintaining R at or below 1.
    • Protecting healthcare capacity – The healthcare system should have sufficient capacity to treat Coronavirus patients while phasing in the reintroduction of usual health and care services.
    • Necessity – A specific restriction or requirement should be retained only as long as it is considered necessary to prevent, protect against, control, or provide a public health response to the incidence or spread of Coronavirus.
    • Proportionality – The detrimental impacts on health, society and the economy that can reasonably be attributed to the restriction or requirement should be tolerated only as long as the risks associated with withdrawal or modification are assessed to be more severe.
    • Reliance on evidence – Proposals for change or retention of a restriction or requirement should be informed by the best available evidence and analysis.

The full document can be downloaded. There are no timelines only that there will be three week reviews and no specific guidance has been provided. NITA is part of the Tourism Recovery Steering Group, which will meet this Thursday, to develop a specific recovery plan for Tourism.

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.
  • 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.

 HMRC Business Webinars
HMRC are continuing to run business webinars on the following topics.

May 11 update

Summary of Prime Minister’s speech in House of Commons

The Prime Minister’s speech in the House of Commons this afternoon reiterated the key points from his speech yesterday evening, and the roadmap rdocument published earlier today (see below). As part of this he confirmed that these changes were not a green light for people to be travelling to another home for a holiday or to a second home. He was then questioned by Keir Starmer (leader of the opposition), and MPs. During the Q+A Johnson said that there will be further information about the next stages of the furlough scheme from the Chancellor tomorrow. There was a question about continued support for guesthouses and hospitality sector, the PM pointed to the Chancellor’s expected announcement tomorrow. He also said that protections have been made for airports and other large businesses through the loan schemes. He said that aviation was crucial for our economy and they will do everything they can to get Britain flying again.

Summary of UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

The Government has published the recovery strategy document : Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. Please note this document refers to ENGLAND ONLY. Please see a short summary for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland below.

International travel – in the document on page 29 international travel is referenced. The significant points are highlighted below:

  • As the level of infection in the UK reduces, and the Government prepares for social contact to increase, it will be important to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad.
  • Therefore, in order to keep overall levels of infection down and in line with many other countries, the Government will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible.
  • First, alongside increased information about the UK’s social distancing regime at the border, the Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.
  • Second, the Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions 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.
  • The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to coordinate implementation across the UK. Small exemptions to these measures will be in place to provide for continued security of supply into the UK and so as not to impede work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK’s international obligations.
  • 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, and the measures and list of exemptions will be kept under regular review.

An outline of the key points in the timeline include:

As part of this plan the UK Government has a carefully planned timetable for lifting restrictions, with indicative dates that should help people to plan. This timetable depends on successfully controlling the spread of the virus; if the evidence shows sufficient progress is not being made in controlling the virus then the lifting of restrictions may have to be delayed. They cannot predict with absolute certainty what the impact of lifting restrictions will be. If, after lifting restrictions, the Government sees a sudden and concerning rise in the infection rate then it may have to re-impose some restrictions. It will seek to do so in as limited and targeted a way as possible, including reacting by re-imposing restrictions in specific geographic areas or in limited sectors where it is proportionate to do so. Please note:

Step One – 13 May

  • Work – For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work.
  • Schools – The rate of infection remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet.
  • Travel – Everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. People should travel by bike, car or on foot where possible. Social distancing guidance on public transport must be followed rigorously.
  • Face Coverings –As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people’s immediate household. This increased mobility means the Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops. Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances. Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.
  • Outdoor Exercise – SAGE advise that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so the Government is updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can now also spend time outdoors subject to:
    • not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household;
    • continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household
    • good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces; and those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidance.
  • Vulnerable People – It remains the case that some people are more clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. These include those aged over 70, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women. These clinically vulnerable people should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households, but do not need to be shielded. Those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact; this is called ‘shielding’.

Step Two –  No Earlier than 1 June

  • Schools – Schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from 1 June. The Government expects children to be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller sizes, from this point. This aims to ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with their teachers.
  • Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning. The Government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible, though this will be kept under review.
  • The Department of Education will engage closely with schools and early years providers to develop further detail and guidance on how schools should facilitate this.
  • Retail – when and where it is safe to do so, and subject to those retailers being able to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. The intention is for this to happen in phases from 1 June; the Government will issue further guidance shortly on the approach that will be taken to phasing, including which businesses will be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved.
  • All other sectors that are currently closed, including hospitality and personal care, are not able to re-open at this point because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher. The opening of such sectors is likely to take place in phases during step three.
  • Sport & Cultural Events – cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.
  • Public Transport – re-opening more local public transport in urban areas, subject to strict measures to limit as far as possible the risk of infection in these normally crowded spaces.
  • Family Contact – As restrictions continue, the Government is considering a range of options to reduce the most harmful social effects to make the measures more sustainable. For example, the Government has asked SAGE to examine whether, when and how it can safely change the regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include one other household in the same exclusive group.
  • The intention of this change would be to allow those who are isolated some more social contact, and to reduce the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions, while continuing to limit the risk of chains of transmission. It would also support some families to return to work by, for example, allowing two households to share childcare.

Step Three –  No Earlier than 4 July

  • Remaining Businesses and Premises – The ambition at this step is to open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care (such as hairdressers and beauty salons) hospitality (such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation), public places (such as places of worship) and leisure facilities (like cinemas).
  • They should also meet the COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part.

Scotland:

As shared in yesterday’s update, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a press conference before the Prime Minister’s message, the key points in her statement included:

  • “the rate of transmission of the virus in Scotland – the R number you are used to hearing about – is still too high for any significant change to be safe at this stage.”
  • Sturgeon announced that the once-a-day limit will be removed which currently restricts exercise, but insisted that the advice remained to ‘stay at home’.
    • this new advice does not apply if you or someone in your household has symptoms of the virus, or if you received a letter explaining that you are in the shielded group
    • All other lockdown restrictions remain in place.
    • When you are exercising, you must stay relatively close to your own home and at all times at least two metres away from people from other households. Loosening of restrictions does not extend to outdoor leisure activities such as sunbathing, picnics or barbecues.
  • The Scottish Government will also consider over the coming days whether garden centres can re-open; and we will think about whether some additional forms of outdoor work – particularly where people work on their own or at a distance – can safely resume.

 Wales:

The First Minister of Wales set out the following instructions in response to announcements from the UK Government on 10 May

  • Wherever you can you should stay at home.
  • If you need to leave home for work, exercise or shopping, you should stay local and stay alert.
  • Coronavirus has not gone away
  • The way we behave over the weeks ahead will continue to have a profound impact on our NHS and our ability to save lives.
  • If you go out, stay local and stay safe.

On 8 May the first Minister announced that they had reviewed SAGE advice and concluded it was too early for a significant lifting of requirements and restrictions, and that the lockdown in Wales would continue and be reviewed in three weeks’ time. Some small adjustments were made (coming into effect 11/5/20)

  • Allowing people to exercise more than once a day, but people should stay local. Enabling local authorities to begin the process of planning how to safely reopen libraries and municipal recycling centres.
  • Allowing garden centres to open provided they comply with the physical distancing duty.
  • The Welsh Government are working to their framework for recovery this framework that was announce on 24 April is based on 3 pillars

 Northern Ireland

  • The Northern Ireland Executive confirmed there would be no dramatic ending of lockdown and that Northern Ireland would be diverging from the UK Government guidance based on the local situations. The current advice is to stay at home, respect the 2m distance when in public and wash hands regularly. You must also continue to avoid contact with vulnerable people. A five stage recovery plan is expected to be presented to the assembly on Tuesday for debate.

Other Government updates

 Situation update 11 May 2020

May 7 update

Today’s briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, joined by Sir Ian Diamond, Chief Statistician, ONS and Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. After reviewing the UK’s latest coronavirus numbers, Raab reiterated the 5 tests the country must pass to begin reopening and noted that the PM will outline a “roadmap” for moving forward on Sunday.

View the full press briefing here.

 Government updates

UNWTO reports that international tourism could fall 60-80% in 2020

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has released a report on international tourism numbers in the first quarter of 2020. Key findings:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 22% fall in international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2020.
  • This translates to 67 million fewer arrivals compared to the first three months of 2019, and a worldwide loss of US$80 billion.
  • The crisis could lead to an annual decline of 60-80% when compared to 2019. This estimate depends on three possible timelines for the gradual easing of travel restrictions and reopening of international borders:
    • Scenario 1 (-58%) based on gradual reopening in early July
    • Scenario 2 (-70%) based on gradual reopening in early September
    • Scenario 3 (-78%) based on gradual reopening in early December

 Germany will allow exhibitions to resume on a local basis

This week the German government outlined a plan to reopen. The plan classifies professional exhibitions (“Messen”) separately from mass gatherings (“Grossveranstaltungen”). While mass gatherings like festivals and concerts remain banned until at least 31 August, exhibitions are listed among those activities that may resume as soon as states determine they are able to operate within safety guidelines.

Other industry updates

  • Shanghai’s city legislature has passed a law enabling overseas companies to host trade shows in Shanghai without collaborating with local companies. This law went into effect on 1 May.
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) reported a total loss of €1.86 billion last quarter. They are planning a “meaningful return to service” in July 2020 at the earliest, and expect they will not return to 2019 levels until 2023.
  • Air France-KLM Group reported a net loss of €1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines reports it has raised more than $2 billion and can now withstand more than a year of suspended cruises.
  • Norwegian Air shareholders backed its financial survival plan on Monday, with more than 95% of voters supporting the conversion of nearly $1 billion of debt into equity and raising almost $39 million cash from the sale of new shares.
  • Updates on cruise line activity:
    • Princess Cruises has extended its global pause on activity through the end of the summer season.
    • Holland America Line has cancelled all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England routes for 2020.
    • Seabourn has extended its pause on activity until at least October.

 Situation update 7 May 2020

May 6 update

Today’s Government Update was led by Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Robert Jenrick, Professor Yvonne Doyle and Dr Nikki Kanani and focused on local communities. Some of the key points covered were:

  • As the lockdown is eased, MHCLG will be working to ensure local economies are supported to adapt and grow – in line with the levelling up agenda. Every local economy now needs a restart and recovery plan, the government will be feeding in to these plans including guidance how businesses can adapt for opening and public transport networks can be operated. Ambition to ensure people feel safe returning to work.
  • The Government are looking how more space can be created in town centres for pedestrians, make it easier to cycle and work to work. They will also work with areas hardest hit to help them recover. Infrastructure projects will also continue where safe to do so.
  • Working to ensure the right support is available for local businesses, last week many received the first grants and loans.
  • The 100 towns benefitting from the towns fund will continue to receive support.

During the Q+A Cornwall Live/Western Morning News asked a follow up question about Tourism. Raising concerns from businesses losing out on a whole year of business if they do not open by July, he asked what the Government will be doing to support them. Jenrick recognised that communities such as Cornwall will be very hard hit due to its reliance on tourism. He spoke about the previously announced business support, Cornwall council have paid out £202m worth of grants to 17,789 firms (one of the highest in England). PM confirmed that if further interventions are required to support a sector such as tourism, they will be considered and bring forward measures when needed.

There was also a follow up question about whether a regional approach to releasing lockdown would be adopted, and what support would be given to police in order prevent people rushing to these areas. Jenrick spoke generally about additional resources for police forces. Doyle said that as lockdown is relaxed the app and other programmes will be used to limit further spread by tracking people who are ill. This will be vital in enabling life to return to normal.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Government updates

 Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been published

Travel updates

  • Heathrow will begin COVID-19 detection trials this month
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said they support the wearing of face coverings for passengers and masks for crew while on board aircraft, however it does not  support mandating social distancing measures that would leave ‘middle seats’ empty.

Member updates

  • Read the paper that VisitBritain sent to Cabinet Office on behalf of the tourism industry, detailing how government can help the tourism industry recover from COVID-19. Thank you to all members who contributed to the response.
  • UKinbound has issued a press release based on their latest business barometer warning that ‘Undervaluing inbound tourism will hamper the UK economy’s recovery from Coronavirus’ (Please see press release attached).
  • In response to a clear ask from the industry, a new industry standard quality mark is in development to help tourism businesses, attractions and destinations provide reassurance to visitors and customers that they are taking the necessary steps to adhere to the official Government guidelines. Discussions are ongoing with industry and VisitEngland is in consultation with the national tourist boards for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on a common approach. We will keep you updated on any further developments

 Situation update 6 May 2020

May 5 update

Today’s briefing came from the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He was joined by Prof Dame Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor at the MoD. Today’s briefing highlighted that ONS figures show the UK has overtaken Italy as worst-hit European country. Raab reiterated the 5 tests and that the Prime Minister will outline the lockdown exit strategy later this week, saying that the second phase will require learning a new normal but the government will ensure that the steps are sustainable. He also noted that certain groups were using the current crisis to engage in cyber-crime for the purpose of profit and for espionage, cyber experts in the UK and the US have published a joint statement today warning of the threat. This can be accessed here.

During the Q+A session it was asked whether Brexit negotiations should continue under the current circumstances, Raab replied that the UK and EU should reduce uncertainty by reaching an agreement by the end of the year. You can watch the full briefing here.

Government updates

  • Update on how local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus.
  • Isle of Wight residents will be the first to get access to a new contact tracing app as part of government action to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Travel industry updates

  • Virgin Atlantic has announced a planned reduction of 3,150 jobs across all functions, ending its operation at Gatwick Airport and that Virgin Holidays will become Virgin Atlantic Holidays due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
  • Carnival cruises plan to relaunch cruises with a phased approach with North American service this summer from 1 August with a total of eight ships from Miami. All other operations in North American and Australian markets will be paused until 31 August.
  • Major hotel and lodging companies continued to announce enhanced cleaning regimens to protect and reassure guests including Marriott , Hyatt, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Airbnb.
  • The following US airlines have all announced they will require passengers to wear face masks – American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United.

Member updates

  • The New West End Company has shared a reopening guide for retail businesses with their members. The document provides operational recommendations of how to operate within social distancing guidelines, staff training and wellbeing as well as links to key guidance.
  • The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has shared the report from MIA mentioned during today’s meeting regarding social distancing impacts on the business events industry (also attached). Key findings include –
    • 82% of venues can operate with social distancing measures in place but 3/4 believe their capacity would reduce by 40% to accommodate this.
    • 59% would not break- even and there would be around 8,500 job losses.
  • The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has today launched its latest report titled ‘The UK Events Report’, which provides an in-depth examination into the £70bn industry, providing jobs for 700,000 people and how it will deliver the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Please find press release attached.

 Situation update 5 May 2020

In the UK there were 84,803 coronavirus tests were carried out yesterday and there have been 29,427 UK coronavirus deaths. The ONS figures show UK has overtaken Italy as worst-hit European country.

May 4 update

Daily Government press briefing

Matt Hancock led today’s Government briefing alongside John Newton and Jonathan Van-Tam, the briefing focussed on a health and testing update, you can watch the full briefing here.

Government updates

 Industry updates

  • Passengers on Eurostar services between London and mainland Europe must wear a face mask from 4 May. The train operator said a face covering should be worn at all stations and on-board, in line with guidelines announced by the French and Belgian governments.
  • World Routes has been postponed with new dates now confirmed – 14-16 November in Milan.
  • TUI China has resumed business operations, offering domestic tours for holidaymakers in China.

 Situation update 4 May 2020

There have been steady declines in the number of people in hospital and in critical care beds. There is a slow and consistent decline in the 7 day rolling average of deaths.

May 1 update

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He was joined by Professor Stephen Powis and Professor John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The focus of the briefing today was on testing. During the Q+A session Sam Lister of the Express asked if families would be able to go on holiday together by late summer. Hancock replied that they didn’t know yet and that the 5 tests had not been met. You can watch the full briefing here.

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.

Other Government updates

DFT has announced that air passenger services between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be safeguarded through a £5.7 million government investment. The package is being funded by the UK government and the Northern Ireland Executive and will temporarily support airlines and airports that are currently operating, allowing them to continue running air passenger services along 2 routes from Belfast City, and City of Derry, to London during the coronavirus pandemic.

 Government departments are hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses understand the support available including:

Brexit

For a change from COVID-19, we wanted to share VisitBritain’s latest Brexit sentiment research.

Industry updates

  • Ryanair will cut as many as 3,000 jobs due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hilton has announced a new cleaning programme ‘Hilton’s CleanStay’ that will be launching in June, the programme will deliver a high standard of cleanliness and disinfection in Hilton properties around the world. A range of new disinfection protocols across guest rooms, restaurants, fitness rooms and other public spaces will be implemented.

Situation update 1 May 2020

April 30 update

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, joined by Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Valance.

  • A comprehensive plan for exiting the lockdown will be set out next week, outlining:
    • Steps to get the economy moving
    • Getting children back to school
    • How we can travel back to work and make the workplace safer
    • Strategy to continue suppressing the virus as we restart the economy
  • Data indicates that the UK has passed the peak of COVID-19 infections. There has been a 16% decrease in the number of people in hospital with COVID-19, and the ‘R’ value – or rate of infection – is between 0.6-0.9 across the country.
  • A member of the public from Cornwall asked how tourism will be managed in the coming weeks, as she is worried about an influx of tourists to hot spots. Mr. Johnson said he sympathises with the tourism industry who have been hard hit and mentioned the support available through the Government business support schemes. He said he wants to see the industry bounce back and said that the public needs to be sensible, but that we cannot allow tourists to create a second spike. The plan to be announced next week will include further information.

You can read the Prime Minister’s statement or watch the full briefing here.

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.

These now account for 4 out of 5 complaints being received into the Taskforce and so far include concerns about businesses refusing refunds or firms pressuring people to accept vouchers for holiday accommodation, which can only be used during a more expensive period.

Based on the complaints received, the CMA has identified 3 sectors of particular concern:

  • weddings and private events
  • holiday accommodation
  • 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 has stated that it acknowledges that most businesses are acting reasonably in what are unprecedented circumstances, and the current crisis is placing everyone under pressure, but it says consumer rights cannot be ignored.

 Other Government updates

 Industry updates

Situation update 30 April 2020

April 29 update

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, he was joined by Professor Yvonne Doyle, PHE and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, the update focussed on a medical update. During the briefing Dominic Raab made clear that the Government does not want to relax the lockdown too early in case there is second wave of infection. He cited the example of Germany which has seen a spike in cases following the easing of measures. Government will review evidence following Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in May. He also noted that since the outbreak in Wuhan, the Government has helped an estimated 1.3 million British nationals return on commercial flights. You can watch the full briefing here

Update on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme wage payments for furloughed employees

  • If you have not yet made a claim: You can still claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month. You will receive the funds six working days after you claim, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme.
  • If you have already made a claim: Payment takes six working days from when a claim is submitted. Please do not call HMRC to chase payment as they will not be able to update you before the six working days have ended. It will automatically be sent to the bank account you nominated in your claim. Please retain all records and calculations for your claims in case HMRC need to contact you about them in future.
  • Please continue to keep your furloughed employees informed and ask them not to contact HMRC directly – HMRC will not be able to provide them with any information.

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 travel updates

  • TripAdvisor has announced they will lay off over 900 employees, approximately 25% of their international workforce.
  • Tui postpones all holidays until after 11 June and cruise sailings until after 30 June. Tui has also postponed the launch of TUI River Cruises until 26 November 2020.
  • The World Tourism Organisation is reporting that 100% of global destinations now have COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme, that may result in up to 12,000 redundancies (subject to consultation)

Situation update 29 April 2020

April 28 update

Daily Government press briefing

Health Secretary Matt Hancock led today’s press conference alongside professor John Newton and professor Angela McLean, the briefing focussed on a health care update including further rolling out of testing capacity. Matt Hancock reiterated that there will not be changes to the social distancing measures until the five tests have been met. You can watch the full briefing here

Further information on the Bounce Back Loan scheme

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be 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.

Other Government updates

Other travel updates

  • The Australian Government mobile app COVIDSafe was launched on Sunday 26 April, the app lets users know if they have come into contact, for more than fifteen minutes, with someone who has tested positive and is based on the Singapore TraceTogether software.
  • Delta Airlines reported a first quarter loss of $607 million. CEO Ed Bastian has said it could take up to 3 years for demand to return to what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • United Airlines reported a $2.1 billion pre-tax loss between January and March.
  • Air New Zealand will not resume operation of its suspended Auckland-Buenos Aires and Los Angeles-London routes due to the deep impact of COVID-19 on forward travel demand.
  • The Air France-KLM Group and Air France secure funding of €7 billion to help overcome the crisis and prepare for the future

Situation update 28 April 2020

April 27 update

Domestic COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker

Key take outs from the report include:

  • The majority of the GB population who have planned a holiday from July to September believe it unlikely to go ahead. This is true for both domestic and overseas holidays.
  • A minority of the population who have cancelled holidays are looking to replace them, but these replacement holidays are most likely to be from October onward.
  • The South West and Scotland are the top destinations being considered, with rural and coastal the top location type.
  • Those looking to replace an overseas holiday with a domestic holiday are more likely to be families, and aged 35-54 years old.
  • Those looking to replace a domestic holiday with another domestic holiday are more likely to be aged 55+.

Daily Government press briefing

This morning the Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement from Downing Street to mark his return to work following his recovery from the Coronavirus, advising that restrictions won’t be lifted imminently.  Following this, today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was joined by Chris Witty and Dr Stephen Powis. The update focussed on medical aspects and the government’s new life insurance scheme for NHS workers. Families of people in the NHS who die from Coronavirus will now receive a £60k payment.

During the Q+A session Seb Payne of the FT asked about reports over the weekend that the government may start quarantining people arriving in the UK and why they changed their mind on this? He also asked whether British families would be encouraged to holiday at home this year. Hancock said the government has been very clear that it is following the science. At the moment, given the levels of coronavirus in the UK and the low level of international travel, the impact of people arriving on the coronavirus epidemic is very low. But as these factors change, the judgment will change, he said.

The Sheffield Star asked a question about the ‘raise the bar campaign’ seeking to increase the threshold for the retail, hospitality, and leisure grant from 51k to 150k. A further 157 businesses would benefit in Sheffield city centre. They also asked about independent breweries and the risk of late opening for pubs and bars, he called for a cancellation of beer duty for 6 months. Hancock promised to take these points away to speak to the chancellor, but referenced the new loan scheme launched today (see below).

The briefings have had a slight change of format they will now also include questions from the public. So far 15,000 questions have been submitted. You can submit questions at www.gov.uk/ask.

New Bounce Back Loans facility for small businesses announced

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak 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.

Other Government updates

Other travel updates

Situation update 27 April 2020

April 25 update

Domestic COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker

Key take outs from the report include:

  • The majority of the GB population who have planned a holiday from July to September believe it unlikely to go ahead. This is true for both domestic and overseas holidays.
  • A minority of the population who have cancelled holidays are looking to replace them, but these replacement holidays are most likely to be from October onward.
  • The South West and Scotland are the top destinations being considered, with rural and coastal the top location type.
  • Those looking to replace an overseas holiday with a domestic holiday are more likely to be families, and aged 35-54 years old.
  • Those looking to replace a domestic holiday with another domestic holiday are more likely to be aged 55+.

Daily Government press briefing

This morning the Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement from Downing Street to mark his return to work following his recovery from the Coronavirus, advising that restrictions won’t be lifted imminently.  Following this, today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was joined by Chris Witty and Dr Stephen Powis. The update focussed on medical aspects and the government’s new life insurance scheme for NHS workers. Families of people in the NHS who die from Coronavirus will now receive a £60k payment.

During the Q+A session Seb Payne of the FT asked about reports over the weekend that the government may start quarantining people arriving in the UK and why they changed their mind on this? He also asked whether British families would be encouraged to holiday at home this year. Hancock said the government has been very clear that it is following the science. At the moment, given the levels of coronavirus in the UK and the low level of international travel, the impact of people arriving on the coronavirus epidemic is very low. But as these factors change, the judgment will change, he said.

The Sheffield Star asked a question about the ‘raise the bar campaign’ seeking to increase the threshold for the retail, hospitality, and leisure grant from 51k to 150k. A further 157 businesses would benefit in Sheffield city centre. They also asked about independent breweries and the risk of late opening for pubs and bars, he called for a cancellation of beer duty for 6 months. Hancock promised to take these points away to speak to the chancellor, but referenced the new loan scheme launched today (see below).

The briefings have had a slight change of format they will now also include questions from the public. So far 15,000 questions have been submitted. You can submit questions at www.gov.uk/ask.

New Bounce Back Loans facility for small businesses announced

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak 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.

Other Government updates

Other travel updates

Situation update 27 April 2020

April 24 update

The G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 was held today, 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 for the recovery period are. 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 issued a statement on COVID-19, outlining their commitments: ‘We, the Tourism Ministers of the G20, express our deepest sympathies for the tragic loss of lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the suffering faced by people around the world. The travel and tourism sector accounts for 10.3% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and plays a critical role in society by contributing to dialogue and understanding between peoples and cultures and facilitating cohesion in communities. Travel and tourism is one of the most heavily affected sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic, with preliminary estimates from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicating a 45% decline in international tourism in 2020, which could rise to 70% if recovery efforts are delayed until September. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has estimated that up to 75 million jobs are at risk in this labour-intensive sector. We commit to working together to provide support to the sector and welcome the national efforts to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic by G20 countries. We welcome the G20 Action Plan adopted by the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in response to the crisis, which includes measures to maintain businesses and support households most impacted by the crisis, safeguard employment, and ensure support for developing and low-income countries…’ You can read the full statement here.

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was conducted by Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary and Dr Jenny Harries. As well as the usual update on cases, Shapps announced new packages of measures for transport;

    • Safeguard the flow of essential goods. A Trilateral agreement with French and Irish government to keep freight routes open.
    • Protection of ferry routes between NI and GB, and links to the Isle of Wight, and Silly Isles (see announcement on the Emergency fund of up to £10.5 million)
    • Air links to Derry/Londonderry will continue.
  • A transport support unit to help fight the pandemic was also launched. Spare capacity on public transport services is to be used for logistics to spread resources.
    • 9,000 vehicles including aircraft, ships and trains enlisted to move patients, distribute food parcels and PPE.
    • Vehicles from Highways England will act as mobile COVID-19 testing centres.
    • Network rail is making its regional distribution centres available.
  • The green light has also been given to drone trials to distribute supplies. Trials will begin next week for St Mary’s Hospital in Isle of Wight to have deliveries via drone.
  • Light Rail will continue to operate in cities such as Manchester to allow key workers to get to work.
  • Shapps confirmed that there were no longer any British holiday makers stuck on cruise ships around the world.
  • During the Q&A, a question was raised about P&O ferries operating out of Dover who are in need of Government Support, and the request of Heathrow’s Chief Exec to have testing at airports. Shapps responded that the new announcements focused on critical freight (including P&O) and minimum levels of service, in regards to flights he explained that inbound numbers are down massively and have mostly been British nationals. The requirements for people coming to the UK are to “stay in one place, and not leave for any reason other than the four stated”. As we come out of the lockdown in the future the Government will review the advice to see if the procedures at airports should change.

 Welsh Government Statement on Exit Strategy

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has published a framework to help lead Wales out of COVID-19 lockdown.

The framework has three pillars;

  1. Measures and evidence on which the infection level and transmission rates will be judged – Factors considered include a sustained decrease in key metrics, evidence that the health service will cope, assurances on PPE, and international comparisons.
  2. Principles by which they will examine proposed measures to ease restrictions (based on scientific evidence and economy/social impacts) – Options for lifting lockdown will be considered on their ability to provide evidence as to the extent their adoption will have a negative effect on containing the virus, its ability to be enforced or withdrawn if necessary, and it’s economic/social benefit.
  3. A plan for enhancing public health surveillance and response system to track cases.

Northern Ireland has established a Tourism Recovery Group to lead the planning and preparations for the recovery of tourism in Northern Ireland.

 Other Government updates

Update on insurance  – FCA guidance 

The FCA has set up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – an independent body to provide arbitration for insurance claims of smaller businesses (with turnover of less than £6.5m 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

complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

DCMS COVID-19 survey

DCMS invites you to take part in a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus 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 15th May 2020. Please follow this link below to begin submitting your response.

Partner updates

  • The UK Events Industry believes that September 2020 is expected to be the most significant month when it comes to post COVID-19 recovery, as its forecasts a rise in both enquiry and booking levels, according to the COVID-19 Business Events Recovery Sentiment Survey. See the News Release – Business Events Sentiment Survey, conducted by Davies Tanner in association with the BVEP.

 Other updates

  • The WTM Portfolio has launched a new online portal, WTM Global Hub, to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The hub offers the latest guidance, knowledge and weekly webinars to help the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic.
  • Turismo de Portugal will recognise businesses in the tourism sector with an ‘Establishment clean and safe’ seal if they meet the recommendations of the general health directorate. The scheme will be available through Portugal’s National Register of Tourist Enterprises (RNET), National Register of Tourist Entertainment (RNAT) or National Register of Travel and Tourism Agencies (RNAVT) websites.

 Situation update 24 April 2020

 April 23 update

Today’s daily briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and focussed on testing capacity, the process for essential workers and their relatives to apply for tests as well as the introduction of a new contact tracing app, the full briefing can be viewed here.

In other news the Scottish Government has released a document which sets out their framework for decision-making in regards to the coronavirus restrictions. Although this is Scotland only it provides a potential template or indication for what a UK wide exit from the current restrictions might look like. The UK Government maintain that they will not remove restrictions before their five tests are met (see update on 16 April). Key points:

  • Scotland is planning for a managed transition away from current restrictions.
  • Appropriate physical distancing will need to remain in place.
  • Need to be prepared for restrictions to be re-imposed as well as lifted.
  • It is likely that gathering in groups, for example at pubs or at public events, will be banned or restricted for some time.
  • If transmission increases, restrictions could be re-imposed. It is possible that this cycle may happen more than once until there is an effective vaccine.
  • Different options will be considered, including easing restrictions in a phased manner or opening up different parts of the economy.
  • Some form of shielding for the vulnerable will still be required.
  • Enforceable measures will be reviewed at least once every three weeks.

Government updates

  • Register for the next HMRC live webinar about the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), there are four times available on Friday 24 April. The webinar provides an overview of the scheme, including: who can apply and how, the amount you can claim and other support available
  • New measures have been put in place to protect high street shops and other companies under strain from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Businesses are expected to receive almost £10 billion in business rate relief as part of the government’s comprehensive package of support for the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics published on 22 April by the government show the business rate relief predicted by councils for businesses across England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.
  • HM Treasury has announced a revision to the UK Debt Management Office’s financing remit 2020-21

Other updates

  • P&O Cruises and Cunard extend sailing suspension until end of July
  • Air Mauritius has entered voluntary administration after coronavirus related disruptions

 Situation update 23 April 2020

April 22 update

Today’s daily briefing was led by Dominic Raab (Foreign Secretary), Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer), and General Nick Carter (Chief of Defence Staff). Updates were focused on health and military-related news, and the full briefing can be viewed here.

Government 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
  • posts from different people across government and business

 Other updates

 Situation update 22 April 2020

April 21 update

Today’s Government update was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and focussed on a health care update, the full briefing can be seen here.

Government updates

  • A new ‘support finder’ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to determine what financial support is available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The tool on gov.uk asks business owners and the self-employed to fill out a simple online questionnaire.
    • Users are then directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for. Read more about the tool here.

Other updates

Situation update 21 April 2020

  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard – coronavirus.data.gov.uk
  • To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – covid19.who.int

April 20 update

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak provided today’s update which focused on applications for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Future Fund for high growth companies and an additional scheme for innovative firms.

New guidance has been published by HRMC on how to make a claim for the Job Retention Scheme:

  • The online system can process up to 450,000 applications per hour and employers should receive the money within 6 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 print-out of your claim reference number as you won’t 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 coronavirus.

Further updates have been made to the CJRS eligibility guidance including:

  • Moving the eligibility date from 28 February to 19 March (employees need to have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll and notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020);
  • How to report fraud or abuse of the scheme;
  • Clarifying how holiday pay should be treated;
  • Further clarifications on agency workers and fixed term contracts and on claims for employees made redundant.

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • Brittany Ferries has prolonged suspension of its passenger route to 15 May.
  • Norwegian Airlines pilot and cabin companies in Sweden and Denmark are now filing for bankruptcy.
  • Virgin Atlantic has delayed indefinitely the launch of their London Heathrow – São Paulo which was scheduled for 29 March and then postponed to 5 October 2020.
  • The US Treasury Department and airlines have reached a deal to begin dispersing the $25 billion in payroll assistance funds from the CARES Act. The Treasury has indicated that the following airlines will receive federal support:
    • Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and Southwest Airlines
  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new global marketing campaign called #TogetherInTravel, aimed at sharing a message of solidarity and inspiration with the worldwide travel community.

 Situation update 20 April 2020

  • To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard – coronavirus.data.gov.uk
  • To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard – covid19.who.int

April 17 update

Following yesterday’s update regarding the letter the FCA published from their CEO to insurance sector CEOs specifically about conduct in relation to business disruption insurance. DCMS are calling for evidence from businesses who have had insurance claims refused. They have asked if the following information can be shared:

  • The name of the insurer
  • The exact type of claim that is being made
  • The reason the insurer has provided for not giving a refund.

Feedback required on Insurance, PTR and bank loans

DCMS are still collecting information on refusal of bank loans and PTR, can you please ask your members to provide the specific information detailed in the attachment. Please send all responses to TIER@visitbritain.org.

Daily Government briefing update

Today’s briefing came from the Business Secretary Alok Sharma. He was joined by Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance and Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director of Public Health England.

  • 108,692 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus and 14,576 have died in hospital from COVID-19 so far.
  • Sir Patrick gave an overview of the daily slides and data sets. All modes of transport use are down, but this uneven across the country. In Britain, hospital admissions are seeing a fall in London and other areas, as well as a flattening in other parts of the country, indicating that the social distancing measures are being effective. The country will have a plateau followed by a decline in admissions. However, we are not there yet.
  • When asked what the government can say to the tourism sector and whether there be a summer holiday season, Sharma replied that the government has given support for businesses in this sector and that the furlough scheme has been extended, but made no specific reference to tourism in his answer. The question follows Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ recent comment that he would not book a summer break at the moment due to the current uncertainty.

Watch the full update here.

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 here.

Other updates

  • A recent report from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has found that 96% of worldwide destinations have introduced travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, 100% of destinations have adopted COVID-19-related restrictions since January 2020. In the Americas, 92% of destinations have taken similar steps, while in Europe, the proportion is 93% (as of 6 April).

Situation update 17 April 2020

April 16 update

Daily Government briefing update

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.

  • 13,729 people have died in hospital from COVID-19 so far.
  • 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;
    • The NHS’ ability to cope. Sufficient critical care and treatment must be available.
    • Sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates.
    • Reliable data to show that the rate of infection is decreasing.
    • PPE and testing capacity is in hand.
    • 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.

Watch the full update here.

Other Government updates

Other updates

Situation update 16 April 2020

April 15 update

Government updates

  • The Chancellor has made a Treasury Direction under Sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. It sets out that HMRC are responsible for the payment and management of amounts to be paid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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.
  • 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.

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

Please can TIER members continue to feedback on the SEISS scheme and share any issues their members are having with Davina.took@visitbritain.org.

Other updates

Situation update 15 April 2020

April 14 update

Daily Government briefing update
Tuesday’s Government update was led by Rishi Sunak, Yvonne Doyle and Stephen Powis
• Rishi Sunak spoke about the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) report into COVID-19’s effect on the UK Economy. Their report says that there will be a significant impact, Sunak conceded that not every business or job could be protected, but the OBR did confirm they expected this downturn to be temporary.
• Sunak went on to reiterate the measures put in place to protect the UK economy. The OBR confirmed that without these plans the economy would be much more badly damaged.
• He went on to talk about the priority to protect people’s health. The Government is following their step by step action plan, slowing the spread of the virus to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed.
Yesterday’s announcement of £14bn in additional NHS and public service funding was re-announced.
• 93,873 people have tested positive, numbers of those hospitalised has dropped, but there has been an increase of 778 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Other Government updates
Chancellor confirms further £350m to support the devolved administration in Wales to tackle coronavirus

Further information on Furlough scheme including information on employees on visas
“You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 28 February 2020. Employees hired after 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed and claimed for in accordance with this 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. Grants under the scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’, and you can furlough employees on all categories of visa. To be eligible for the grant, when on furlough, an employee cannot undertake work for, or on behalf, of the organisation or any linked or associated organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue. Employers are free to consider allocating any critical business tasks to staff that are not furloughed. While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.”
UKVI have also said:
“If sponsors cannot pay the salaries of sponsored employees because they’ve temporarily reduced or ceased trading:
• Sponsors can temporarily reduce the pay of their sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower.
• Any reductions must be part of a company-wide policy to avoid redundancies and in which all workers are treated the same.
• These reductions must be temporary, and the employee’s pay must return to at least previous levels once these arrangements have ended.”
Further guidance for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors can be found on gov.uk.

Partner updates
The Events Industry Forum (EIF), Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) and the Production Services Association (PSA) ran a survey between 3-7 April, 2020. The survey showed that “60% of the UK’s event industry’s supplier base is facing collapse within three months, unless event businesses receive further support from the Government”. Read the full press release attached.

Situation update 14 April 2020
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.

April 13 update

Political Update
• Today’s Government briefing, led by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, focused on reassuring the public that the NHS has not become overwhelmed by the coronavirus.
• The Health Secretary also announced a new NHS app to trace potential coronavirus cases. He announced a new NHS app to help trace those who potentially have contracted coronavirus. NHSX, the health service’s technology team, has been working with tech firms at “breakneck speed” on software which would use Bluetooth technology to track users and help prioritise testing for those who had potentially been exposed to Covid-19.
• 18,000 tests a day are now being done and the Government remains committed to a 100,000 a day target
• The UK is providing £200 million in aid to developing nations to help them fight the coronavirus, this includes £65 million for the WHO.
• The Prime Minister has been discharged from hospital after being in intensive care with Covid-19. He will not return to work immediately with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab continuing to deputise.
• House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed that Parliament will return from recess on 21 April. Officials are working to set-up a “virtual Parliament” to allow MPs to hold debates and question ministers remotely. Further details will be announced next week. It is expected that additional Coronavirus legislation will be published at this stage, including the pre-announced measure on insolvency and debt enforcement.

Business Update
• Speaking to Sky News Business Secretary Alok Sharma addressed concerns that only 1.4% of the 300,000 applications for business support had been processed. The Business Secretary said he had held conversations with lenders to speed up loan pay-outs. Business leaders, including UKH, and Labour are pressing for reform to remove restrictive eligibility requirements, grant 100% govt guarantees, expand lending for medium sized firms and a new scheme for larger businesses
• Furlough: HMRC has confirmed that the new portal for employers to register a claim for furloughed workers will be open on 20th April and will start making payments 4-6 days after claim through BACS. It has also issued new guidance for employers and employees on making a claim.
Key updates include:
o Confirmation that furlough can be used not only for workers who have previously been made redundant but also those who have voluntarily left the company since 1 March
o Details of how furlough rules apply to those on SSP and SMP – including how to calculate earnings
o Confirmation that employees covered by TUPE will be covered by furlough
o Details on the verification requirements and documents needed when making your first claim together with the detail on how to calculate how much is due
• The Business Department issued a series of updates on key issues:
o Hospitality grants: the Government has clarified that the State Aid rules will apply to the £25k hospitality grants, meaning that companies will be subject to a maximum claim of E800k. However, this may all be taken in this year and previous rate relief support will not count towards the cap. This will allow up to 28 premises of a multi-site business to receive the full grant. A briefing is available here
o Rent Enforcement: The govt has clarified the lease moratorium was designed to provide rent deferrals of 3 months and a degree of protection against enforcement in the event of non-payment. The govt has made clear landlords to respect the spirit as well as the letter of the law and confirmed it will consider further action due to unreasonable demands and debt recovery
o Loan Covenants: The PRA has issued guidance to all lenders requiring them to waive covenant breaches that arise from Covid-19. More detail is available here
o Debt Enforcement & Insolvency: the govt will introduce a moratorium for companies giving them breathing space for from creditors enforcing their debts for a period of time and protection of their supplies to enable them to continue trading during the moratorium as part of new insolvency protection

Health Update
• A further 737 people have died in UK hospitals, taking the total recorded death toll to 10,612.,
• In an interview this morning Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and Wellcome Trust Director said that the UK is “likely to be one of the worst, if not the worst, affected countries in Europe”.

April 8 update

Summary of daily Government briefing
The Chancellor of the Exchequer provided today’s Government update, alongside Professor Stephen Powis (NHS England), and Professor Angela McLean (Deputy Scientific Advisor).
• Rishi Sunak first laid out Government plans to help tackle the virus, including the increasing of NHS capacity and lockdown measures to ensure people stay at home.
• As of 5pm on Tuesday total of 7,097 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, up 938 from the day before.
• The Prime Minister remains in ICU, but his condition is improving.
• The Chancellor announced further measures to help the Charity sector, of which there are 170,000 in the UK. Charities can already use the current schemes (job retention scheme etc), but some charities are on the front line in tackling coronavirus, while others support vulnerable people.
• £750m in funding for the charity sector;
o £370m will support smaller local charities supporting vulnerable people. The funding will be distributed through organisations such as the National Lottery Community Fund.
o £60m through the Barnet formula to the devolved nations.
o £360m for charities providing essential services (hospices, St Johns Ambulance, Citizen’s advice etc).
o The Government will match fund the BBC’s big night in funding event.
• The success of lockdown measures can be seen by the number of hospital admissions not accelerating, with the curve flattening.
• The Chancellor admitted that this will have a significant impact on the economy, and did say that it would unfortunately not be possible to support every job/business/charity, but measures in place were designed to help as many as possible and enable the economy to bounce back as best it can.
• Questions in regards to the length of the lock down, reflecting earlier statement from Welsh Government that they will continue lockdown beyond next week, Rishi explained that there would be a discussion about the review of advice based on data available.
The full briefing can seen here.

Latest Government advice and links
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.
• 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
• A new page has been published offering guidance for businesses that are in distress. The page includes links to support available for businesses, restructuring and insolvency advice and financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.
• A new page has been published detailing all the financial support available for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)
• A new transport and travel guidance hub on gov.uk brings together information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Announcements
• The Government has announced that airlines will be able to temporarily defer the payment of air navigation charges in European airspace for up to 14 months.
• An update has been published on the Environment Agency’s flood defence work. Work is continuing on the £40 million Radcliffe and Redvales Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Situation update 7 April 2020
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.

April 7 update

Daily Government briefing

• Dominic Raab, Angela McLean and Professor Chris Whitty chaired todays press conference, the majority of the briefing focussed on a health care update. They also updated that Foreign and Commonwealth Office is working with the airlines to help British Citizens return home. Flights have also been chartered, and repatriations have also been made from cruise ships. Raab confirmed they are doing everything possible to return anyone who is yet to return home to the UK.
• The full update can be seen here.

Latest Government advice and links
• Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, thanked workers and businesses for their support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to every UK household to urge them to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
• The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has extended its advice against travelling overseas for an indefinite period, they have also shared further information about the repatriation of Briton’s stranded abroad.
• Updated guidance on access to green spaces and how they should be used has been published.
• UK businesses can apply for a share of £20 million in a fast-track competition run by Innovate UK to develop new ways of working for those sectors most impacted by COVID-19, including hospitality.
Situation update 6 April 2020
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.

April 3 update

Today’s Government briefing focused on a health care update, the full update can be seen here.
Latest Government advice and links
• Announcement on investment in bus routes, to keep services running for those who need to travel to get to work or buy food.
• UK Export Finance expands protection against non-payment for UK exporters, now covering major markets including the US and EU.
• Cash support for food redistribution during coronavirus outbreak to prevent food waste.
• Update on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19) page, clarifying that import VAT payments are not included.
• UKVI have produced a collection of resources on immigration and borders during the coronavirus. Advice on for Tier 2,4, and 5 sponsors has been updated today.
• BEIS Committee Chairman Rachel Reeves has written to the Chancellor calling on further changes to CBILS and self-employed support.
• The UK Government’s Business Support Website has a list of upcoming webinar events from Government and non-government partners. This includes webinars from HMRC, you can also watch a video of HMRC’s webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus – (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees
Updates to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ease liquidity for SMES and a new scheme for larger companies.
o The Chancellor has today announced the extension of the 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.
o 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.
o The Government will continue to cover the first 12 months of interest fees.
o 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.
The full announcement can be read here, we will share any further information and updates on these schemes as they become available.
Update on Business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector
Further to the guidance published earlier this week on business rate relief the Local Government Association and the Tourism Alliance have identified some tourism businesses that are not explicitly mentioned in the 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
Situation update 3 April 2020
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.

April 2 update

Latest Government advice and links
• The Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy 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.
• The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
o The £50m Heritage Emergency Fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000. It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.
o Organisations which have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply.
 Priority will be given where:
 there is limited or no access to other sources of support
 where heritage is most at risk
 where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19
• 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. Also now available is the grant funding allocations by local authority.
• 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.
• The 2020 National Living Wage comes into effect today (Wednesday 1 April), a 6.2% increase on the previous rate

April 1 update

Summary of latest Government briefing
The Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave today’s update along with Dr Yvonne Doyle, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE. Below are some of the key takeaways:
• The Business Secretary gave an update on the steps the government is taking to address the pandemic. There have been 563 more deaths since yesterday bringing the total number of UK deaths to 2352.
• From today £22bn of support is available to business with business rates relief.
• Local authorities have received £12bn for grants to small businesses.
• There are Government backed loans to businesses and Sharma warned banks that, “It would be completely unacceptable if any banks were refusing funds to good businesses in financial difficulty.
• Dr Doyle presented statistics on transportation use. There has been a small increase in recent days. Dr Doyle warned the public to stay at home.
• Global death comparisons will continue to have a lower trajectory than France and Italy.
The full briefing can be seen here.
Latest Government advice and links
• The Government has announced that from 1 April high street businesses will benefit from £22 billion in grants and the business rates package. With grants of up to £25,000 already being paid into bank accounts of high street businesses.
• The Government has published guidance for businesses on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.
Key information includes:
o 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.
o 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.
o 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 here.

March 31 update

• The Business Support Grant funding website was updated, adding information on state aid, monitoring requirements, post payment checks, and the eligibility of charities.
• Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This is to make it easier for employers to carry them out. As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:
o checks can now be carried out over video calls
o job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
o employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
• The Government is asking businesses if they can offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support. The support needed includes:
o medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
o hotel rooms, transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
o manufacturing equipment
o warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
o expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
o social care or childcare
o Businesses can share the areas they can offer support through the online portal.

March 30 update

Here is today’s update from the Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group (TIER) that includes two reports from Visit Britain.
• A solutions based approach to recovery for destination marketing organisations in response to COVID-19 from PATA.
• A report from Oxford Economics on the impacts of coronavirus on APAC tourism

Summary of latest relevant Government announcements
• On the business interruption loan scheme, Alok Sharma confirmed that 40 accredited lenders are processing thousands of applications. Further work is ongoing with BEIS and HMT to soften the criteria being used by banks in respect of CBIL and also to urgently address the issue of the ‘squeezed middle’ of companies who currently are unable to access government backed lending.
• Guidance has also been given to English councils on the grants to the smallest business and to hospitality and leisure businesses which qualify for a £25k grant. The first part of the funding arrived with councils on Friday 27 March, and should be with businesses as soon as possible. BEIS has confirmed that this should be subject to a basic eligibility check but that businesses will not need to apply for support. We are continuing to press for these grants to be extended.

Latest Government advice and links
• Government amends insolvency law to help companies keep trading while they explore options for rescue. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.
• DCMS Secretary of State provides an update on access to cultural attractions from home.
• 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 the public can and can’t do, which businesses may wish to share with their employees.
• Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online.
• HMRC has introduced a temporary measure to help brewers and publicans in the destruction of spoilt beer during coronavirus.

UKHospitality updates
• Our detailed guidance the on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which includes Frequently Asked Questions can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19Furlough 

March 27 update

New guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been announced today stating that:
• The UK Government will cover employer National Insurance and pension contributions of furloughed workers – on top of 80% of salary
• Those furloughed can volunteer for the NHS without risking their pay
• Businesses furloughing staff during the coronavirus outbreak will receive further financial support – with the costs of employer national insurance and pension contributions being covered by the government. Under the scheme, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month. Visit the gov.uk website to find out more.
Situation update: correct as of 17.00 27 March 2020
• As of 27 March, 2,506 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 12,288. The total for the UK now stands at 14,543, which includes 1059 in Scotland, 921 cases in Wales and 275 in Northern Ireland. A total of 113,777 people have been tested across the UK. There have been 759 deaths in the UK as of 5pm 26/03/2020.
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.
Latest Government advice and links
• Prime Minister Boris Johnson recorded a video message on testing positive for coronavirus. Read the full transcript on Gov.uk
• Further information on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme has been published on the business support website. A frequently asked questions page is also available.
• Further guidance on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus has been published
• HMRC has produced guidance to help employers find out what equipment, services or supplies are taxable if your employees are working from home due to coronavirus.
 Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19, workers will be able to carry it over into the next two leave years.
• A minor update to the guidance on closing businesses and venues has been made to reflect updated regulations.
• The Environment Secretary writes to Food & Drink industry to thank them for feeding the nation.
COVID-19 tourism industry impact survey – closing Monday
Last chance to fill in this round of VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s tracker survey. It will be conducted regularly to monitor the impact on all aspects of the UK tourism industry.  The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers and the Government to help support the industry through these challenging times. Please circulate the survey to your members. The survey will close 17.00 Monday 30 March.

March 26 update

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak gave the daily Government briefing. He announced a package of measures to support the self-employed who were not covered in previous packages Below are some of the key takeaways:
• Government will pay self-employed people 80% of their average monthly income over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month
• This will open over the next 3 months but may be extended.
• He noted that no other country was providing this level of support.
• The scheme is available for those earning up to £53k and 95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme.
• They expect people to access it no later than the beginning of June. If eligible, HMRC will contact you with an online form, they pay the grant straight to your bank account.
• They are also changing the welfare system so that self-employed people can now access Universal Credit in full. A self-employed person with a non-working partner and two children, living in the social rented sector, can receive welfare support of around £1,800 per month.
• The Chancellor noted that there is an inconsistency in the way self-employed and employed people are taxed whilst both are being supported equally and that the contributions to the tax system may be looked at in the future.
• The Deputy Chief Medical Officer was asked about the timing of the peak for COVID-19. She was optimistic that measures were working but that it was too early to tell.
• Detailed guidance on the employment retention scheme will also be published later today.
The press release for the Chancellor’s announcement on support for the self-employed can be found here.
Guidance for the self-employed here.
Situation update: correct as of 17.00 26 March 2020
• As of 26 March, 1,809 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 9,782. The total for the UK now stands at 11,658, which includes 894 in Scotland, 741 cases in Wales and 241 in Northern Ireland. A total of 104,866 people have been tested across the UK.
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• As of 26 March globally there has been 455,085 cases including: China 81,285, Italy 74,386, Republic of Korea 9,241, Iran 27,017, France 24,920, Germany 36,508, Spain 47,610 Japan 1,193, USA 54,367 UK 11,658, Switzerland 9,765, Netherlands 6,412, with 20,798 fatalities globally
• The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.
Latest Government advice and links
• New guidance for food businesses has been added to Gov.uk. the guidance includes need to know information about coronavirus and food, food hygiene guidance, managing employee sickness, social distancing and maintaining social distancing in specific food business settings.
• Further updates and guidance have been added to the businesses and premises to close page on Gov.uk
• A new HMRC helpline has been launched to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed. The new number is: 0800 024 1222.
• A Letter from the Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, Luke Hall, to hotel chief executives regarding the exemption for hotels, hostels and B&Bs to open so as to offer accommodation to support key workers and vulnerable people was sent on 24 March.
Further Guidelines Regarding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
• The Government has sought to make accessing CBILS as easy as possible and are therefore making further clarification on the subject of personal guarantees. Whether a lender requires a personal guarantee for a loan supported by the CBILS is at the discretion of the lender, who is accredited by the British Business Bank. However, a lender is not allowed to take a personal guarantee against a borrower’s principle residence under the scheme. So even if a personal guarantee is required under the lender’s credit policy, it cannot be taken against the borrower’s home. Some major lenders have announced that they are not going to require personal guarantees on loans under CBILS the scheme (of any size). If businesses are worried about the specific terms of finance facilities available under this scheme, they should speak to their usual lender. More information can be found here.

March 25 update

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 25 March 2020
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.
Summary of daily Government briefing
In today’s Government update the Prime Minister did not announce any further measures, instead giving a short update followed by Q&A.
• The Prime Minister reiterated the need to delay the spread of the disease in order to limit pressure on the NHS.
• He thanked the NHS, and those that have been following the guidelines.
• He provided an update on the NHS Volunteer Appeal, 405,000 have responded so far. These people will be transporting medicine, transporting patients from hospital, and making calls to check on vulnerable people at home.
• The PM confirmed that the Chancellor will be making announcements on Self-Employed measures tomorrow.
• Questioned on testing, Chris Whitty confirmed that the anti-gen test system is working well in hospitals. Testing NHS and Critical Workers who are self-isolating is the next priority, although there is a global demand for these tests and therefore a shortage. After that the next stage would be testing people more widely with mild systems. Finally, the anti-body test is being evaluated this week but is not quite available yet.
Latest Government advice and links
• There has been further guidance issued on businesses and premises to close. Guidance has been added for work carried out in people’s homes and additional details to the list of businesses and premises that must remain closed.
• From 25 March businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
o As part of the agreed measures, companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.
• The UK Government has today launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp.
• Coronavirus (COVID-19):update on guidance on business support grant funding. The update details hereditaments that were not eligible for percentage SBRR relief (including those eligible for the Small Business Rate Multiplier) are excluded.
• The Business rates: expanded retail discount guidance has been updated to cover certain properties previously excluded from the relief, but that have been forced to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions, will now be eligible for the relief.
• A Joint letter to the UK banks from HM Treasury, the Bank of England, and the FCA:  A letter from the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, and the CEO of the FCA to the CEOs of the UK Banks on the subject of COVID-19 and bank lending.
COVID-19 tourism industry impact survey
VisitBritain/VisitEngland has modified and reopened their tracker survey, they will be conducting it regularly to monitor the impact on all aspects of the UK tourism industry.  The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers, the Government and COBR to help support the industry through these challenging times. Please circulate the survey to your members. The survey will close 17.00 Monday 30 March.
Join VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s marketing response
VisitBritain/VisitEngland has launched a social marketing campaign to keep Britain top of visitors’ minds during international and UK travel bans. The campaign aims to share inspirational content based on popular British culture such as recipes, TV and film shows, literature and more, for people to enjoy in their own homes. Find out how to get involved
VisitEngland is continuing to update a page on their Business Advice Hub offering advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19.

March 24 update

COVID-19 tourism industry impact survey
VisitBritain/VisitEngland has modified and reopened their tracker survey, they will be conducting it regularly to monitor the impact on all aspects of the UK tourism industry.  The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers, the Government and COBR to help support the industry through these challenging times. Please circulate the survey to your members. The survey will close 17.00 Monday 30 March.
Situation update: correct as of 17.00 24 March 2020
• As of 09:00 24 March 2020, a total of 90,436 people have been tested with 8,077 confirmed as positive.
• As of 24 March, 1,258 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 6,843. The total for the UK now stands at 8,077, which includes 584 in Scotland, 478 cases in Wales, and 172 in Northern Ireland.
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• As of 23 March globally there has been 356,961 cases including: China 81,171, Italy 63,927, Republic of Korea 9,037, Iran 23,049, France 19,615, Germany 27,436, Spain 33,089 Japan 1,128, USA 33,386 UK 8,077, Switzerland 8,060, Netherlands 4,749, with 16,315 fatalities globally and total of 13,038 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China.
• The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.
Summary of daily Government briefing
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave the daily briefing from the Government along with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries. It follows a further 87 UK COVID-19 deaths bringing the total up to 422. it was a virtual press conference with journalists asking questions by video conference. Below are some of the key takeaways:
• He re-iterated that the social distancing measures are a directive and not a request.
• Today the Government is launching NHS volunteers – a call for 250,000 thousand volunteers for shopping and delivery of medicines for at risk individuals.
• Almost 12,000 former NHS doctors and nurses have returned.
• 5,500 final year medical doctor students and 18,700 final year student nurses are being mobilised.
• In total this means over 35,000 additional staff are available to the NHS.
• Next week new temporary hospital is being create. HHS Nightingale at the Excel Centre will have two wards of 2,000 people.
Latest Government advice and links
• The UK Government has sent out an SMS message to people across the UK alerting them of the latest coronavirus measures.
• Extra protection has been announced for commercial tenants to protect them from eviction if they are unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus.
• The UK Government has released guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises as part of further social distancing measures. It states that accommodation businesses should close unless they are providing for key workers or are a permanent residence. (repeat as per this morning’s update)
• New guidance on staying at home and away from others has been released – the guidance covers – staying at home, closing non-essential shops and public spaces, stopping public gatherings and delivering these new measures. (repeat as per this morning’s update)
• Updated guidance has been released which sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
Join VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s marketing response
VisitBritain/VisitEngland has launched a social marketing campaign to keep Britain top of visitors’ minds during international and UK travel bans. The campaign aims to share inspirational content based on popular British culture such as recipes, TV and film shows, literature and more, for people to enjoy in their own homes. Find out how to get involved.
VisitEngland is continuing to update a page on their Business Advice Hub offering advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19.

Greater Anglia update

From Monday 23 March, Greater Anglia are running a revised timetable, with fewer services. The service will be similar to a Sunday timetable, but starting earlier and finishing later. Most routes will see an hourly service throughout the day – although there will be a half-hourly service between Hertford East and Stratford and between Southend Victoria and London. The mix of services on the Great Eastern Main Line will see three trains an hour available from Colchester and Chelmsford to London.

MARCH 23 UPDATE

Please find below a summary of the PM’s latest statement this evening.
The Prime Minister addressed the nation this evening (8.30pm), where he outlined further measures the Government is taking to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Key points from the address;
• The PM warned that if too many people become ill at one time then the NHS will be unable to cope, and more people will die. He said that we must slow the spread of the virus to help with pressure.
• From this evening, the PM says you “must stay at home”. People will only be able to leave their home for the following reasons;
1. Shopping infrequently as possible for essentials.
2. Exercise once a day (alone or with members of your family)
3. Travel to and from work (only when absolutely necessary)
4. For medical treatment or to care for vulnerable people.
• The police will have the power to fine people and disperse gatherings.
• All shops selling nonessential products will be closed. The PM encouraged the use of online delivery for food.
• Playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be closed too. Parks remain open for exercise, but social distancing must be adhered to.
• Gatherings of more than two people will be banned, and weddings, christenings etc will be stopped, but funerals will continue.
• These measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
The full statement is available on this link.
Additional Government/Political Updates:
• The Coronavirus Bill is currently working its way through Parliament. This will give additional powers to the Government, enabling them to quickly bring in strict measures (if and when they are needed). Here is a short overview on the 329 page Bill.
Latest Government updates
Over the weekend, the Government released a statement confirming that visits to second homes, campsites, caravan parks etc. do not constitute essential travel. They advise people to stay in their primary residence to limit pressure on services.
The statement follows Friday’s announcement of business support measures including extending the interest-free period on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and cash flow support via the tax system including the deferral of VAT payments. Further details to support this have been launched today. In addition, a dedicated Government website that collates information on the support available for businesses is now available.
COVID-19 tourism industry impact survey
We have reopened our tracker survey to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on all aspects of the UK tourism industry. The results will provide impact data to brief Ministers, the Government and COBR to help support the industry through these challenging times. Please fill in this survey and circulate to your members or tourism business contacts. The survey will close 17.00, Monday 30 March.
Advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19
VisitBritain have published a dedicated page on their Business Advice Hub to help tourism businesses quickly access information and support during COVID-19. You will find signposts to the latest Government health advice, how to manage staff, cleaning guidance and financial support available to tourism businesses.

COVID-19 (new coronavirus) – latest information and advice for businesses from Visit Britain

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 20 March 2020
• As of 09:00 20 March 2020, a total of 66,976 people have been tested. As of 09:00 20 March 2020, 3,983 confirmed as positive. As of 20 March 2020 13:00 there have been 177 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK.
• As of 09:00 20 March, of the total of cases which tested positive for COVID-19 in the UK 3,384 were in England, 322 in Scotland, 191 in Wales, and 86 in Northern Ireland.
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• As of 20 March globally there has been 234,802 cases including: China 80,967, Italy 41,035, Republic of Korea 8,652, Iran 17,361, France 10,871, Germany 10,999, Spain 17,147, Japan 950, USA 10,442, UK 3,983, Switzerland 3,888, Netherlands 2,460, with 9,598 fatalities.
• A total of 6,350 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 60 countries.
• The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the global cases.

UK Government daily briefing summary

The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer today gave a further press conference on COVID-19. Today’s measures focus on employee/individual support and strengthen the tone on social distancing.
• Strengthening the guidance issued on Monday, and following agreement from all devolved administrations the Government is ‘telling’ bars, restaurants, pubs etc. to close (although they can continue to provide take-out services), theatres, nightclubs and gyms will also be told to close.
• The Chancellor announced further measures on employee protection:
Stepping in to pay peoples wages with a new scheme. A grant will cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 for those employees kept on the payroll. This will be backdated to 1 March, open for three months (may be extended). This will cover businesses of any size. HMRC working to get scheme running within weeks, with first payments made by end of April. In the Q&A the Chancellor stated that the scheme will cover everyone on PAYE (incl zero-hours contracts).Further details will be published on Gov.uk shortly.
Corona Virus Business Interruption Scheme interest free period will be extended to 12 months. Available from Monday.
Cash flow support via the tax system. Deferring next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now until the end of June. The payments will not be due until the end of the financial year.
New national advertising campaign to communicate business support. Chancellor calls for people to consider the support carefully before laying people off.
Increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 a year. Working tax credit basic element will also increase by £1k.
Suspending the minimum income floor for everyone impacted, allowing the self-employed to access Universal Credit up to the level of statutory sick pay.
Next self-assessment payments are deferred until January 2021.

Latest Government advice and links

• Further details about the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme have been published on Gov.uk today on the COVID-19 support for businesses page.
• The ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ announced in the 2020 Budget on 11 March has been brought forward, the new scheme is expected to become available in week commencing 23 March 2020.
• The UK Government has published updated educational provision advice, including a list of key workers.
• The online sick note system has launched on Gov.uk
• Updated guidance on what to do if you have a suspected case of COVID-19 in your household has been published by the UK Government.
• The Treasury has published guidance for Local Authorities on the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response, which sets out in more detail what is meant by ‘leisure, hospitality and retail’ when referring to the business rate holiday and other schemes.
• The UK Government has published a summary of impacts relating to the Coronavirus Bill.
• Following the UK Government’s announcement of increased measures to delay transmission, further guidance on social distancing has been published.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer today announced measures that focus on employee/individual support and strengthened the tone on social distancing.

Measures on employee protection:

• The Government will be stepping in to pay people’s wages with a new scheme. A grant will cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 for those employees kept on the payroll. This will be backdated to 1 March, open for three months (may be extended). This will cover businesses of any size. HMRC is working to get the scheme running within weeks, with first payments made by end of April. In the Q&A the Chancellor stated that the scheme will cover everyone on PAYE (including zero-hours contracts). Further details will be published on Gov.uk shortly.

• Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme interest free period will be extended to 12 months. The Scheme, announced in the 2020 Budget on 11 March, is expected to be available in week commencing Monday 23 March.

• Cash flow support via the tax system. Deferring next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now until the end of June. The payments will not be due until the end of the financial year.

• New national advertising campaign to communicate business support. Chancellor calls for people to consider the support carefully before laying people off.

• Increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 a year. Working tax credit basic element will also increase by £1,000.

• Suspending the minimum income floor for everyone impacted, allowing the self-employed to access Universal Credit up to the level of statutory sick pay.

• Self-assessment payments are deferred until January 2021.

Additional announcements:

• New measures include closing bars, restaurants, pubs, theatres, nightclubs and gyms (although take-out services are still allowed). Measure to be reviewed monthly.

• Further details about the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme, announced earlier in the week, have been published today: COVID-19: guidance for businesses

• An online sick note system for COVID-19 absences is now available.

See all Covid-19 updates for businesses

You can also visit the VisitBritain/VisitEngland website where they continue to share advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.

MARCH 19 UPDATE

The Minister for Tourism was present at today’s meeting and keen to understand the impacts on the sector following the Chancellor’s announcement earlier this week, as well as to understand what the Government could do to support further.

There were three key themes that were identified as crucial for the next stage:

  • A clear and inclusive definition of the business types that make up the tourism industry so that Government reliefs/schemes are available to all constituents of the sector
  • Increased measures to alleviate as much of the cost burden to businesses as possible, including support for wage costs
  • An ask for greater clarity on the details of the support for businesses and when it will be available in future announcements.

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 19 March 2020

As of 19 March, 574 further people in England have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in England to 2,756. The total for the UK now stands at 3,229, which includes 226 in Scotland, 170 cases in Wales, and 77 in Northern Ireland. there have been 144 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths in the UK.

To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard

As of 19 March globally there has been 211,781 cases, China 80,928, Italy 35,713, Republic of Korea 8,565, Iran 17,361, France 9,043, Germany 8,198, Spain 13,716, Japan 914, USA 7,087, UK 3,229, Switzerland 2,650, Netherlands 2,051, with 8,879 fatalities.

A total of 5,594 fatalities have occurred outside of Mainland China, in 60 countries.

The World Health Organisation has a global map that reports daily on the number of global cases.

The National Health commission of the People’s republic of China has reported that no new cases were confirmed in Wuhan on 18 March.

Latest Government advice and links

The UK Government has published a COVID-19 page which details the support available for businesses. Key information on the page includes: paying sick pay to employees,  business rates, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility,  Time to Pay service, Insurance.

The Treasury has published guidance for Local Authorities on the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response, which sets out in more detail what is meant by ‘leisure, hospitality and retail’ when referring to the business rate holiday and other schemes.

The UK Government has published a summary of impacts relating to the Coronavirus Bill.

The Bank of England and the Treasury are working to launch the COVID Corporate Financing Facility. An outline of the scheme can be found on the website.

The Bank of England has cut Bank Rate to 0.1%.

Following the UK Government’s announcement of increased measures to delay transmission, further guidance on social distancing has been published.

UK Government daily briefing summary

The Government held the fourth of its new daily briefings on the UK approach to tackling COVID 19. The Prime Minister, CMO and CSA gave today’s brief. The Prime Minister wanted to give an idea of timescales.

  • The Prime Minister believes that COVID19 can be brought under control in the next 12 weeks.
  • They are in the process of buying an antibody test for COVD 19 that will give an idea of who has had the disease and is therefore resistant to it in the future. It will help improve the management of the disease.
  • Reiterated the need to follow the PHE advice on social distancing.
  • We will hear more in the next day or so about further support for business and the PM asked businesses to standby their employees as the Government would standby businesses.
  • Laura Kuanssberg asked if the government would ban pubs opening. The PM said that they would only introduce further measures if the current approach doesn’t work. He believes the current approach is working.
  • The Prime Minister said that further “lockdown” measures of London was not imminent.
    Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance says Public Health England is ramping up to 25,000 tests per day for COVID19.
  • The Chancellor will make an announce tomorrow regarding financial support for workers and businesses.

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • VisitBritain has announced the postponement of both MeetGB and ExploreGBNI
  • The International Passenger Survey has been has paused due to the difficulty of collecting data at airports
  • In a joint statement from the Football Association, Premier league and the English Football League it has been announced that the season has been extended but all professional games are postponed to a 30 April at the earliest
  • Transport for London has announced that it is running a reduced service to enable London’s critical workers to make essential journeys. Some bus services will also be reduced.
  • Some train operators will be running reduced timetables across several routes due to COVID-19. Greater Anglia update.