Official Visitor Website

Coronavirus update

New Anglia Growth Hub

New Anglia Growth Hub is Government funded and ready to offer free advice to all businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk.
If you feel your business has been affected by Coronavirus, whether you are experiencing supply chain issues, order or booking cancellations, a reduction in sales, or any other challenge, contact the Growth Hub to speak to one of our qualified business advisers. They offer free support and advice and can help you to access the support measures put in place by Government.
Email growthhub@newanglia.co.uk or telephone 0300 333 6536 (Mon- Fri 9am-5pm).

April 6 update

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.