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July 29

Please see the latest updates including the UK Government waives quarantine for arrivals fully vaccinated from Europe and USA to England, confirms international cruise restart and has shared further guidance on NHS Test & Trace COVID-19 compliance checks in hotels and other guest accommodation.

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

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

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

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

  • Complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England
  • A PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival.
  • Those vaccinated in the US will also need to provide proof of US residency.
  • Passengers from all countries cannot travel to the UK unless they have completed a passenger locator form.

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

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

All measures announced will be kept under review and be guided by the latest data. In their press release, the UK Government stated they will not hesitate to act should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed.
You can read the press release here or read the red, amber and green list rules for entering England.

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

Advice on NHS Test & Trace COVID-19 compliance checks in hotels and other guest accommodation 

The government has launch ed a service to carry out COVID-19 compliance checks on individuals who have a duty to quarantine following international travel from amber-list countries.

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

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

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

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

We will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, visit our Business Advice Hub for practical guidance to help you operate in a COVID-19 Secure way during the pandemic

July 28

Government waives quarantine for arrivals fully vaccinated from Europe and USA

The Government has today announced that from 4am on 2 August 2021, passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or in the USA with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, will be able to travel to England without having to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival. These updates also include restart of international cruise sailings and bespoke testing programmes for certain groups of workers. The updated rules can be found here.

Advice on NHS Test & Trace COVID-19 compliance checks in hotels and other guest accommodation 

The Home Office has issued further advice for hotels and accommodation providers on facilitating COVID-19 compliance checks on individuals who have a duty to quarantine following international travel from amber-list countries. Please see the attachment for more information and pass on to your relevant stakeholders.

New National Disability Strategy launches

More accessible housing, easier commuting and better job prospects are set to become reality for millions of disabled people in the UK through actions set out in the government’s National Disability Strategy which launched today.

July 19

Today the Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference with Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van Tam.
The Prime Minister spoke about the move to step 4 in England and the importance of the test, trace and isolate system in identifying people who are more likely to be infected. He also mentioned that some of life’s most important pleasures and opportunities are likely to be increasingly dependent on vaccination. There are already countries that require you to be double-jabbed as a condition of quarantine-free travel and that list seems likely to grow.
He then went on to express the concern of the UK Government by the continuing risk posed by nightclubs, asking them ‘to do the socially responsible thing and make use of the NHS Covid Pass which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity – as a means of entry.’
He reiterated that the Government reserves the right to mandate certification at any point and gave notice now that by the end of September – when all over 18s will have had the chance to be double jabbed – of the intention to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. At this point proof of a negative test will no longer be sufficient.

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

Updated guidance on the requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England
Guidance on the requirements to provide public health information to passengers travelling to England has been updated. Transport operators are required to ensure that passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail from outside the Common Travel Area (CTA) are provided with information about coronavirus, and related duties and public health guidance. From 4am 19 July 2021 changes are being made to information to be provided at stages 1 to 3 of the passenger journey and the onboard announcement. Operators should begin to use the new prescribed messaging as soon as possible. A reasonable timeframe for implementation is permitted.Safe use and management of outdoor public places in England
Advice for local authorities, owners and operators in England has been published to support the safe use and management of outdoor public places, such as urban centres, green spaces, outdoor playgrounds, outdoor gyms, tourist hotspots (including beaches, the countryside and coastal areas) while the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains.
Government strategy to regenerate high streets announced
The Government’s long-term plan to support the evolution and regeneration of high streets has been published. The Build Back Better High Streets Strategy sets out the government’s long-term plan to support the evolution of high streets into thriving places to work, visit and live. As part of the plan the streamlined pavement licensing system will be extended for 12 months across England so more shops, cafes and restaurants can make use of outdoor areas, with an intention to make this permanent. See the press release for more detail.Guidance reflecting the change to step 4 in England has been updated on the following pages:

BEIS Hospitality Strategy

BEIS has published its Hospitality Strategy, which sets out how the UK government will work with the hospitality sector, as it reopens and recovers from COVID-19, to build the sector’s longer term resilience. The aim is to ensure that the hospitality sector is well placed to reach its full potential and contribute to the UK government’s ambitious overall plans for growth, levelling up and environmental sustainability.

The strategy outlines 22 commitments across the themes of reopening, recovery and resilience. It also states that BEIS will establish a Hospitality Sector Council, comprising businesses, sector representatives and industry leaders. This Council will meet to agree an action plan to deliver the commitments, review progress against this plan and monitor the overall recovery of the sector as businesses transition from reopening through recovery to resilience. Please see below for all 22 commitments and do get in touch if you have any questions. The full document can be accessed here.

Reopening

  1. Support delivery of the final steps in the PM’s roadmap by developing practical COVID-secure guidance for hospitality businesses to help them ease back to normal operations.
  2. Provide continued sectoral support, via a dedicated Minister and support team, and help remove any remaining barriers to full operation.
  3. Help the sector overcome current recruitment challenges by actively signposting jobseekers to hospitality vacancies.

Recovery

  1. Work with the sector to boost demand by promoting hospitality and enabling businesses to trade more flexibly, for example by extending current easements, as set out in the High Streets Strategy.
  2. Work with the sector to help manage costs, including bringing forward legislation to ringfence rent debt accrued from March 2020 for tenants who have been impacted by Covid-19 business closures.
  3. Work with the sector on access finance, including working with the government-owned British Business Bank and its delivery partners

Resilience

Building business resilience

  1. Improve the long-term relationship between hospitality tenants and landlords.
  2. Work with Local Authorities and the hospitality sector to develop a model for hospitality-led regeneration hubs, with demonstrators delivered in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  3. Work with the sector to learn the lessons of the pandemic for businesses and enable investment in future resilience measures.

Jobs and skills

  1. Explore options for vocational training offers that support career paths in the sector.
  2. Work with the sector to raise the profile of skills and careers in hospitality.
  3. Encourage hospitality businesses to participate in Government programmes, including the Help to Grow scheme, to improve digital and management skills in the workforce.

International trade and tourism

  1. Showcase the best of UK hospitality in future international communications campaigns.
  2. Promote UK hospitality businesses overseas through inclusion in international ministerial visits and trade shows.
  3. Work with businesses to establish themselves abroad, by working with the sector to identify barriers and address export challenges, building on opportunities following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Hospitality for the environment

Will work with the sector to:

  1. meet, create, and share best practice on environmental guidance to help businesses decarbonise supply chains and achieve Net Zero, seizing the opportunity of CoP26.
  2. reduce waste and single-use plastic consumption.
  3. help ensure any recyclable waste produced is collected for recycling.

Innovation and investment

  1. Bring sector leaders and businesses together with the UK’s world leading innovation system, including universities and InnovateUK, to support the creation of the next generation of hospitality start-ups, and encourage them to take advantage of emerging technology and digital trends.
  2. Encourage technology adoption by leveraging the Help to Grow scheme and working with Be the Business and businesses to produce sector-led guidance.
  3. Work with the sector to develop dynamic new operating models, including by identifying and overcoming barriers to innovation.

Community and wellbeing

  1. Work with the sector to champion the role of hospitality in community wellbeing as we emerge from the pandemic.

July 14

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

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

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

Events and attractions

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

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

Restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services

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

Hotels and guest accommodation

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

New risk management template for event organisers

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

We will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, visit our Business Advice Hub for practical guidance to help you operate in a COVID-19 Secure way during the pandemic.

July 12

In a press conference this evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that England will move to step 4 from 19 July.
He said that we cannot return instantly to how life was before COVID-19. While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. The next steps have been set out in the moving to step 4 guidance published today (see below).
New guidance on moving to step 4
The Government has published new guidance on moving to step 4 of the roadmap for England that outlines the key protections that will remain in place, the pathway through the summer and the five-point plan to manage the virus in the next phase.

At step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. The Government will continue to manage the virus and provide guidance over the coming months.

Key protections that will be kept in place:

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

Pathway through the summer

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

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

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

See the full guidance.

July 5

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, set out plans for the final step of the roadmap in England
The Prime Minister held a press conference today outlining more details about step 4, the final stage of the England roadmap, which is expected to start on 19 July. At step 4, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. Guidance will be provided to the public and to businesses on how they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
There are 5 principles for managing COVID-19 as England learns to live with the virus:
  • Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
  • Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
  • Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
  • Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
  • Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.
More details can be found in the COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (see summary below).
He also announced that the Government will work with the travel industry on removing the need for full-vaccinated people to isolate when entering the country from amber countries. The Transport Secretary is due to set out more details later this week.
A decision will be made on 12 July if this move can be made on 19 July.
View the speech and the slides.
‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’ Published
The UK government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’, setting out the details of Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap in England.
In summary, at step 4:
  • All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
  • All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements.
  • All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees. There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
  • COVID-status certification will not be required in law as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting. Organisations can choose to ask visitors for proof of COVID-status, as long as they meet existing legal obligations including under equality law. The Government is providing a way for individuals to easily demonstrate their COVID-status. This can be achieved by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity – through the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS app.
  • The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. Guidance will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce personal risk and the risk to others, when coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted. Social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances: ports of entry for passengers between disembarkation and border control in order to manage the risk of Variants of Concern being transmitted between individuals; and people who are self-isolating should also continue to socially distance from others, particularly where they have had a positive test.
  • Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, will be lifted. ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. Employers should take account of this guidance in preparing the risk assessments they are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety rules.
  • The Government will no longer instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
  • Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to ask staff and customers to clean their hands regularly and clean surfaces that people touch regularly. The Government will provide guidance on how businesses can reduce unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. Operators will still be encouraged to use outside space where practical, and to consider the supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors could be used to help identify where a space is poorly ventilated with businesses encouraged to take steps to improve ventilation if CO2 readings are consistently high.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, to support NHS Test and Trace, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.

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

  • Meeting in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open.
  • Wearing a face covering where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
  • Staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community.
  • Considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status.
  • The Government will continue to urge people to get vaccinated, and to self-isolate and get tested if they have symptoms. It will remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The public will continue to be encouraged to download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app to help reduce the spread of the virus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HMRC may have made an adjustment to individuals returns if:

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

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

We will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, visit our Business Advice Hub for practical guidance to help you operate in a COVID-19 Secure way during the pandemic.

Covid updates and guidance for businesses

June 17

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the delay in the move to step 4 in the UK Government COVID-19 roadmap, here is a round-up of the latest official updates which include the wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations guidance, the funerals and commemorative events guidance, and the limits for out-of-school residential stays being increased to groups of up to 30 children from 21 June. In addition, extensions to temporary insolvency measures and eviction protection have been announced.

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

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

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

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

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

Funeral and commemorative event guidance updated
From 21 June, the rules on funerals and commemorative events, such as stone-setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes or a wake, will change. There will no longer be a maximum number of attendees set out in law for funerals or commemorative events. Instead, the number of attendees will be determined by how many people the venue or outdoor space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body (such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue), venues will advise organisers the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.
Group size for out-of-school residential visits increased
From 21 June, limits for out-of-school residential stays have also been increased in England, meaning that hotels and other forms of group accommodation will be able to offer residential visits for groups of up to 30 children, rather than groups of 6.Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) guidance updates
The guidance for businesses to check if they are eligible for the ARG grant has been updated to clarify which sectors are eligible to receive it. Whilst local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants, the Government has set out an expectation that the funding should help businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions. Local councils are encouraged to support:

  • Businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme, including those which do not pay business rates.
  • Businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants. This may include the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding-related businesses.

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

Eviction protection extended for businesses
Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction. Legislation will be introduced in this session to ring-fence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic.

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

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

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

Other Government updates

  • The domestic cruise ship travel guidance has been updated to say it is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. By step 4, the Government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact. This includes lifting capacity limits for domestic cruises.
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been updated with a reminder that from 1 July 2021, the Government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
  • Guidance has been published for people who are organising a wedding or civil partnership, or funeral, wake or commemoration, including in a private home or garden.
  • Version 2 of the guidance and FAQs for local authorities have been published for the Welcome Back Fund which is to enable local authorities in England to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism.

June 14

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was joined by Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, at a press briefing this evening.
As not all of four tests for proceeding to step 4 in the UK Government roadmap have been met, step 4 openings will be delayed until July 19th, with the exception of weddings and wakes of more than 30 guests which still can go ahead with social distancing.
The situation will be monitored daily and if after 2 weeks, the risk looks like it has diminished, it would be possible to move to step 4 earlier. In the meantime, pilots for sporting events, such as the Euros, and some theatre performances will continue.
View the Prime Minister’s statement and the slides and dataset from the briefing.
The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England
The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England has been updated with a summary on changes from 21 June, including more information on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events.
From 21 June, the rules on the number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony, a wedding reception or civil partnership celebration, and a commemorative event following a funeral such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering, will change.
The number of people who can attend these events in a COVID-Secure venue or other venue (such as a garden of a private home) will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event.
Some restrictions on these events will remain in place to enable them to take place safely. This includes table service requirements, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing, as at present.
There is a little more information on these events if taking place in a private setting. The guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations is due to be updated by 15 June. The guidance on arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic is due to be updated by 17 June.

May 14

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

From 17 May, the following will apply.

Heritage locations can open to the public.

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

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

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

The rules on meetings and events will change:

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

Hospitality:

Visitor attractions and recreational venues:

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

May 10

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

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

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

May 7

UK Government announces countries on the red, amber and green list
In a press conference today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that non-essential international leisure travel from England will be permitted from 17 May, but strict border control measures will remain in place. The Global Travel Taskforce’s traffic light system, which classifies countries by risk as red, amber or green, will be in place from 17 May.

He announced:

  • Australia, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel and Jersualem, New Zealand, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha will all be on the green list, and people can travel to these countries from 4am on 17 May.
  • The Maldives, Nepal and Turkey will move to the red list at 4am on Wednesday 12 May.

The full list of which countries are in which classification and the rules for each is available here.

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

In Step 3, the following measures will apply:

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

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

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

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

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

Tours and transport services:

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

People present in a work capacity (including volunteers), such as coach drivers, tour guides and skippers, are not counted as part of a group.