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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.

May 5

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

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

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

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

Businesses may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.

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

Entertainment within or outside restaurants, pubs, bars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes to shops and branches guidance (England)

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

April 8

The visitor economyhotels and other guest accommodation and restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance has been updated with more detail on step 2.  Other updates to note also include events guidance for local authorities and additional information on NHS Test and Trace for hospitality venues and other settings.

 Visitor economy guidance – from 12 April, the following will apply:

Outdoor recreation and visitor attractions can reopen, but indoor areas and settings must remain closed. Locations which have both indoor and outdoor facilities can open the outdoor areas and facilities, but indoor areas and facilities must remain closed (other than toilets and facilities such as baby changing rooms). Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and drink as a takeaway service or to customers that are seated outdoors socially distanced (you can find more information in the section on hospitality. This applies to many visitor economy settings, including:

  • ziplining and other active outdoor leisure activities
  • adventure parks and activities
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • theme parks,
  • water parks, aqua parks,
  • drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances
  • animal attractions, including zoos, safari parks and aquariums
  • skating rinks and trampolining parks
  • visitor attractions at film studios
  • botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses, sculpture parks, landmarks (including observation wheels or viewing platforms) and model villages
  • museums and galleries
  • heritage locations such as stately and historic homes, castles, heritage sites and ruins

Non-essential retail can reopen. This will include but not be limited to: clothing stores, charity and antique shops, homeware stores, showrooms (such as for vehicles which would include caravans), retail travel agents, auction houses and markets and betting shops (subject to additional COVID-secure measures, such as limiting the use of gaming machines).

Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen.
This will include: hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas, which must remain closed), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology) and tanning salons. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services and the guidance for sport facilities (for saunas and steam rooms).

Indoor sports facilities will be permitted to open in addition to outdoor sports facilities. This includes sport facilities such as pitches, courts, golf and mini-golf courses, swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Self-contained accommodation can reopen for leisure stays for groups comprising a single household/support bubble.
This is defined as accommodation in which facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. See guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for more information.

Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”). You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies. From Step 2, this will include conference centres and exhibition halls, including conference centres located within hotels. Viewings of other venues can only take place from Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May.

Self-drive holiday hire of boats where people make overnight stays are permitted for people from the same household or support bubble.

See the full guidance to see more and find out what business must still be closed.

The hotels and other guest accommodation guidance has also been updated

Self-contained accommodation can open as follows:
Overnight leisure stays in self-contained accommodation will be permitted. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities including: kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as an indoor communal area if it is required in order to be open for check-in purposes, but it should only be used for the purposes of check-in. Guests may also use indoor public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, and facilities for laundering clothes, which are not to be treated as indoor communal areas. These areas should be cleaned regularly and kept well-ventilated and guests should try where possible to limit their interaction with other households whilst using these facilities. This will mean that any holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels and other accommodation in which kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open for leisure stays.

Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted to open for leisure stays provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are receptions, washing facilities (including facilities for laundering clothes), public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points. Shower facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated). Other facilities – receptions, facilities for laundering clothes, public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points – should be cleaned regularly and kept well-ventilated and guests should try where possible to limit their interaction with other households whilst using these facilities.

If a site is open to provide self-contained accommodation for leisure stays, permitted businesses or services can also operate on site and can be used by guests and by the general public. This includes:

  • Indoor and outdoor sport facilities (swimming pools and gyms), recreation facilities such as ziplining, spas and personal care, and retail. These facilities can open even where access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts or corridors, as long as those communal areas are used solely to access the facilities and not to access accommodation. Saunas and steam rooms must remain closed. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, close contact services and retail shops, stores and branches and ensure you adhere to any relevant requirements.
  • Outdoor hospitality such as restaurants, cafes and bars. These facilities can open even where access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts or corridors, as long as those communal areas are used solely to access the facilities and not to access accommodation. The use of indoor public toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) is permitted even if access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts or corridors, as long as those communal areas are used solely to access the facilities and not to access accommodation. You can find more information in the section on hospitality. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
  • Hospitality venues may provide takeaway food and drink (including takeaway alcohol).

If a site is not self-contained and therefore remains closed for leisure stays, permitted businesses or services can still operate on site and can be used by guests and by the general public:

  • Indoor and outdoor sport facilities (swimming pools and gyms), spas and personal care, and retail may open for access by the public as well as for guests staying for legally permitted reasons. These facilities can open even where the entrance is within the hotel and access is via shared indoor facilities such as lifts/corridors. Saunas and steam rooms must remain closed. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, close contact services and retail shops, stores and branches and ensure you adhere to any relevant requirements.
  • Outdoor hospitality such as restaurants, cafes and bars can open for the public as well as for guests staying for legally permitted reasons. Outdoor hospitality can open even where the entrance is within the hotel and access is via shared indoor communal areas such as lifts/corridors. The use of indoor toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) is permitted, even if accessed through shared communal areas such as lifts/corridors. You can find more information in section on hospitality. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. Food and/or drink (including alcohol) can be provided through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online.
  • Communal spaces such as lounges or lobbies may remain open to guests but no food or drink should be served in these spaces, people should not be encouraged to gather and social distancing should be observed.

If your business provides both self-contained and non-self-contained accommodation, both may only open subject to their respective restrictions, for example:

  • The hotel may open for legally permitted stays (only)
  • The self-contained chalets may open for leisure stays and for legally permitted stays
  • The hotel’s indoor facilities may open to the public and to all guests

Read the full guidance to find out more.

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance update
The Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance has been updated under section ‘2.3.2 with information on managing customer payment at the venue.

  • At venues serving alcohol, customers are required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (even if no alcohol is ordered).
  •  As a last resort, venues that serve alcohol can take payment indoors. Venues should take payment at the table or at another outdoor location. If it’s not possible to take payment outdoors, for example due to a technical issue, you can take payment indoors.
  • If you need to take payment indoors the customer should wear a face covering unless exempt, you should ensure only one customer is indoors at any time for the purpose of making payment, and you should operate a tab system to ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue.

Events guidance for local authorities

Guidance has been published which is designed to assist local authorities in ensuring that events are able to go ahead safely and in accordance with what is permitted at each step of the Roadmap. Key information is mentioned below for each step. The full page is available here.

An event can take place at Step 2 (no earlier than 12 April) if:
1. All three of the following conditions are met:

  • The event takes place outdoors
  • Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day
  • It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance, OR
  1. It is a drive-in performance or show.
    This could include:
  • Agricultural shows, steam rallies, flower shows, gardening shows and events, literary fairs, car boot sales, community fairs, village fetes, animal and pet shows, funfairs and fairgrounds.
  • Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events (eg comedy, dance, music, theatre and air shows). Attendees should remain in their vehicle for the duration of the performance.
  • Food and drink festivals are allowed. To note: where the festival resembles an outdoor food market or outdoor hospitality venue, but if people are consuming food and drink at the venue, the table service rule would apply.

Events and activities that are able to commence from Step 3 include:

  • Business events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality
  • Cinemas
  • Live performances (professional and non-professional/amateur)
  • Air shows, historical /battle reenactments, live animal performances such as falconry displays at events, and non-elite and professional sporting events.

All events recommencing at Step 3 will be subject to the following capacity caps:

  • 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at indoor events
  • 4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower at outdoor events

The government has also made a special provision for large, outdoor seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed around the venue. Read the guidance for more details.

Capacity restrictions must be adhered to at any point throughout the event. For example, a theatre can admit over 1,000 people in a single day, but no more than 1,000 people at one time. If an event runs over the course of multiple days, no more than 1,000 people should be admitted at any one time over that period. If a single venue hosts multiple different events at one time, and the attendees of each event are separated for the duration of the event (for example, a cinema with multiple screens, or an exhibition centre hosting multiple business events), the 50% capacity cap will apply to each individual event, rather than the venue.

For those events subject to capacity caps, the caps refer to the event attendees only. Staff, workers and volunteers are covered by the work exemption so should not be counted as part of the capacity cap. This includes:

  • contractors
  • administrators
  • delivery staff
  • operational team (such as reception, maintenance, cleaning security & stewarding and ticketing staff)
  • caterers and concession stand staff
  • presentation/production team
  • exhibitors, speakers, musicians and performers

Catering and hospitality
Permitted events at each step of the Spring Roadmap may provide hospitality in line with wider hospitality rules.

  • In Step 2, outdoor hospitality at events is permitted in groups of up to 6 people, or with one other household.
  • In Step 3, outdoor hospitality at events is permitted in groups of up to 30 people and indoor hospitality at events will be permitted in groups of up to 6 people, or with one other household.

In both steps, there is a requirement for food and drink to be consumed at the table. This means:

  • if the venue sells alcohol, then all food and drink must be ordered, served and consumed at a table
  • where the sale of alcohol is not offered, customers will need to be seated when consuming food and drink, but can order and collect food and drink from a counter
  • if the venue is a cinema, theatre, concert hall or sportsground, then customers with a ticket to the event are able to collect food and drink (including alcoholic drink) to consume at their seats, rather than having to be served at a table.

Where there is no seating available, the stall or outlet can provide a takeaway or delivery service. Takeaway food and drink cannot be consumed in the stall or outlet, or in an area adjacent to the stall or outlet, and customers should be reminded to adhere to safe social distancing when queuing for food and drink by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that customers can follow or employing extra marshals to enforce this.

In Step 3, indoor private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality, are permitted. COVID-19 guidance for bars, pubs and takeaway services should be followed for these events.

Additional information on NHS Test and Trace for hospitality venues and other settings – If someone does not wish to share their details, provides incorrect information or chooses not to scan the NHS QR code

  • Hospitality venues must take reasonable steps to refuse entry to a customer or visitor who does not provide their name and contact details or who has not scanned the NHS QR code. Some exemptions apply.
  • Hospitality venues should verify that an individual has checked in using the QR code by reviewing the individual’s phone screen. This is not necessary if they have already provided their contact details.
  • Venues in other settings do not need to refuse entry but should strongly encourage customers and visitors to scan the official NHS QR code poster or provide their contact details in order to support NHS Test and Trace.
  • If in the rare case that a customer or visitor becomes unruly, you should follow your own security procedures.
  • The accuracy of the information provided will be the responsibility of the individual who provides it. You do not have to verify an individual’s identity for NHS Test and Trace purposes, and we advise against doing so except where organisations have a reasonable suspicion that customer or visitor details are incorrect. You may refuse to allow entry if you have reason to believe the details are inaccurate.

Alternative to NHS Test and Trace App – Venues must make sure that there is a method of checking in that does not rely on the customer using a smartphone or other technology in order not to digitally exclude people without access to these technologies. You must therefore ensure that there is also a way for an individual to provide their contact details if they do not own a smartphone or have access to digital routes.

Read the full guidance on test and trace.

April 5

In his statement today, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that from Monday 12 April England will move to step 2 of its roadmap. As part of the roadmap early thinking on four reviews has been published, on the safe return of major events, on social distancing, the potential role of Covid status certification, and on the resumption of international travel. Please see the summary later in this update.
Updates to guidance on (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do (England)

 Some COVID-19 restrictions will be eased from 12 April:

  • Self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England for people with their household or support bubble
  • Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may only remain open for the specific reasons set out in law. A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

Key points from Update on Roadmap Reviews
policy paper has been published today updating on the roadmap reviews. Please see some of the key points below.
COVID-Status Certification Review
  • The Government believes that COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure.
  • Equally, the Government wants to be sure that the benefits of any such approach are fully interrogated in public debate and that the deliverability of COVID-status certification is rigorously tested, along with analysis of the potential economic impacts that COVID-status certification would have across different settings.
  • There are some settings (such as essential public services, public transport and essential shops) where COVID-status certification should never be required, in order to ensure access for all.
  • Equally, COVID-status certification could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity.
  • The Government will begin to trial COVID-status certification in certain settings, including large events, through the Events Research Programme. The Government will continue to work closely with sectors on its approach.
  • It is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings. However, the Government recognises this has significant implications for businesses and their customers, so this will be further considered in consultation with industry, as part of the review of social distancing rules and taking into account the equalities and other impacts.
  • For now, businesses should continue to plan to reopen in a way that follows the latest COVID-Secure guidance, and certification will not be required for reopening as part of step 2 or step 3

Global Travel Taskforce

  • The Government wants to see a return to non-essential international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern.
  • Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, the Government is not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from 17 May.
  • Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, they will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.
  • When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system.
  • This will add to the current system a new green category with no isolation requirement on return to the UK – although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed.
  • The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report, setting out more details on this system, later this week.
  • It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes.
  • For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.

Events Research Programme

  • The Events Research Programme will explore different approaches to social distancing, ventilation, test-on-entry protocols and COVID-status certification.
  • It will carry out pilots in a series of venues to gather evidence on the transmission risks associated with different settings, and potential approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risks. The pilots will use the domestic COVID-status certification standards.
  • Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity.
  • The Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings, from football matches to theatre performances, and the reopening of nightclubs.
  • The programme will be run across a range of venue and activity types, including the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield and the Circus nightclub in Liverpool, with the aim of admitting a crowd of up to 20,000 to Wembley for the FA Cup final on 15 May.
  • A second phase of pilots will take place from the end of May.

Social Distancing Review

  • Social Distancing Review is exploring whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings.
  • The review is looking at key baseline measures, including how and when to safely lift or amend the 1m+ rule and related COVID-secure measures, as well as guidance on working from home.
  • The extent of any relaxation in social distancing measures is linked to the questions being explored by the COVID-Status Certification Review – including whether COVID-status certification can enable changes to social distancing

Updates to NHS COVID app and twice weekly rapid testing to be available to everyone in England
Everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing from 9 April. To coincide with the offer of free rapid testing for everyone, there will be updates to the NHS COVID-19 app in England from 8 April. All venues in England in scope of the regulations are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster. There will be new posters displaying QR codes for hospitality venues in England. Find out how to create an NHS QR code for your venue.

Everyone in a group must check in

In line with new regulations, when a group enters a hospitality venue, every individual must check either by scanning the official NHS QR code poster with the NHS COVID-19 app, or by providing their contact details. Previously, only the lead member of the group needed to provide contact details to check in.

Venue history sharing
If an app user tests positive, they will be asked to share their venue history in a privacy-protecting way via the app. This will allow venue alerts to be generated more quickly, and improve the ability to identify where outbreaks are occurring and take steps to prevent the virus spreading.

Additional venue alerts
If a person has been at a venue on the same day as several other people who have since tested positive for COVID-19, they may receive an alert advising them to book a test immediately, whether they are showing symptoms or not. This is to support finding asymptomatic cases who may have caught the virus but are not displaying symptoms.

A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing.

The universal offer is currently for England only. The Devolved Administrations make their own policy decisions around testing.

Read the press release to find out more, including how the expanded regular testing offer will be delivered.

March 23

Clarity for accommodation and step 2 of the reopening roadmap for businesses in England
The UK Government has published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to the roadmap steps.

Along with this DCMS has shared some clarity on guidance on the reopening of accommodation.

  • From Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, separate and self-contained accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes.

What can open

  • At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.
  • Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
  • All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.

What cannot open

  • This phased approach to reopening means that the rest of the sector will follow at Step 3. Between now and Step 3 this means a continued closure of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation that relies on sharing these facilities. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.
  • From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.

Step 2 – will also see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed – if necessary – from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2, located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required.

The guidance for Hotels & Other Guest Accommodation will be updated in advance of each step of the roadmap with further detail.

Restart Grants guidance update
The updated information states that the grants will be available from 1 April 2021, but applications can be submitted in advance. Also the eligibility criteria on when a business needed to be trading has changed to be 1 April 2021.

Additional Restrictions Grants
The Government has updated its guidance regarding eligibility for the Additional Restrictions Grants. Of note is paragraph 27 (copied below) which now specifies a greater number of businesses as being eligible:

Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include, but is not limited to, group travel and tour operators, other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers), wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding. This list is not directive nor exhaustive, and Local Authorities should continue to issue grants at their discretion, based on local economic needs.

Regulations set out that pave the way for restrictions easing from 21 June in England
The government has set out regulations which will pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June. The regulations mean from 29 March outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed including in private gardens. The regulations will be voted on by Parliament this Thursday, and if approved, will replace the ‘all tiers’ regulations which were made to enact the tier system at the end of last year. Read the press release.

This comes as a new One Year report is published that details which powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are currently active.

Measures to support the reopening of high streets and seaside resorts in England
The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a package of support to help local economies and businesses in England. The package includes a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund that will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups. Part of this funding will be allocated to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months.

Other Government updates

March 10

The latest updates including the announcement of an increase in cap on COVID support grants, Government measures to support the reopening of outdoor hospitality, the opportunity to input into the Global Travel Taskforce and other relevant guidance updates.
Subsidy allowance increases and application deadlines for COVID support grants

The cap on COVID support grants has been increased from £3m to £10.9m for businesses in England and the guidelines for local authorities have been updated. In summary for businesses it means:

  • Grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance may be combined for a potential total allowance of £10,935,000 (subject to the exact amount applicable under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing Right calculator).
  • The updated scheme rules do not apply retrospectively. Therefore, where a Local Authority has previously rejected an applicant’s application before Thursday 4 March on the grounds that the applicant had reached previous scheme limits, the Local Authority must not revisit this decision. The applicant may however submit a new application if still within a current payment cycle.
  • Local Authorities should not accept applications or make retrospective payments to those businesses where the payment cycle has passed.

The following guidance has been updated with details of the new subsidy allowance and/or deadlines for applications:

Businesses should apply using their local council’s website.

Support for the reopening of outdoor hospitality
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has written a letter to local authorities outlining that in Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and the measures to support the safe re-opening of hospitality businesses. The letter states:

Al fresco dining

  • Continuation of the simplified route for pubs, restaurants and cafes to obtain a temporary pavement licence to place furniture including outdoor tables and seating on the highway, including a capped application fee of £100 and a 10-working day consultation and determination period.
  • Licences to be granted for 12 months or more unless there are good reasons not to, and an expectation that licences granted under these provisions to continue to apply into this summer so that businesses do not have to reapply or be charged a further application fee when they are able to re-open to serve customers outdoors.
  • Currently due to expire on 30 September 2021, but subject to Parliamentary approval, this will be extended for a further 12 months.

Freedom to use land for community events and outdoor hospitality

  • Continuation of greater flexibility for businesses to hold outdoor events such as summer fairs or motorsports on land without the need for a planning application.
  • Car-boot sales, or people or businesses such as pubs wishing to set up marquees will also be exempt.
  • Such temporary events to be allowed for 56 days until 31 December 2021.

Outdoor markets

  • A new temporary right, extended to March 2022, that allows local authorities, either by themselves or by others on their behalf, to use land to hold a market without having to apply for planning permission.

Takeaways

  • Measures to support restaurants, drinking establishments such as pubs and cafes to serve takeaway food when they were otherwise closed due to coronavirus restrictions extended until March 2022.

Business Events reopening guidance approved by DCMS (England)
There has been clarity around the situation regarding the conditions under which events will operate from 17 May and 21 June.

The Government have specified that in Step 3, which is no earlier than 17 May, sectors which will be reopening include some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower. There will still be social distancing and other interventions for events running in Step 3.

Pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing or using other mitigations such as testing.
The Government will use this research to determine a consistent approach to lifting restrictions on these events. Depending on the outcome of this work, the Government hopes to be able to lift restrictions on these events and sectors as part of Step 4.
The degree of relaxation of social distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions will be determined by the pilot test events to be held during April with the results incorporated into the Step 3 & 4 reopening guidance.
On this basis, businesses are strongly advised to ensure their customers are aware of the likelihood of continuing restrictions after reopening.
Businesses can register to order free lateral flow tests for employees
Businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can register to order free lateral flow tests for their employees. The lateral flow tests will remain free until the end of June and registration closes on 31 March. More information on rapid workplace testing is available on an online portal for businesses as well as information to plan and deliver a testing programme.
Have your say on the reopening of international travel
The Secretary of State Grant Shapps chaired the first meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce last week to set out a plan for restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way.

The Terms of Reference for the Global Travel Taskforce have now been published. There is an opportunity to offer your thoughts and share any written evidence or ideas by emailing globaltraveltaskforce@dft.gov.uk.Air Passenger Duty consultation to launch in spring

  • As part of the Prime Minister’s announcement on his vision to boost connectivity across the UK with improved transport infrastructure, a consultation is due to launch this spring on reforming Air Passenger Duty tax.

Other guidance updates:

March 9

Global Travel Taskforce: the Terms of Reference have been published here. Over the coming weeks government will be engaging with transport and tourism stakeholders through a range of meetings, as well as international partner countries, to ensure we have a comprehensive and workable plan. In addition there is an opportunity to offer your thoughts and share any written evidence or ideas by emailing globaltraveltaskforce@dft.gov.uk

Letter from Secretary of State Robert Jenrick to local authorities supporting hospitality reopening

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has written to local authorities on government measures to support hospitality businesses to reopen safely, including the intention to extend pavement licences for a further 12 months, making it easier and cheaper for pubs, restaurants and cafes to continue to make al fresco dining a reality with outside seating, tables and street stalls to serve food and drinks. See press notice here.

Mandatory form for international travel launched to prevent illegal trips

From 8 March 2021, passengers travelling abroad will need to carry a new form stating that their trip is permitted under national lockdown rules. Stay-at-home rules are still in place, which means it is illegal to travel abroad without a permitted reason, such as for education or work. The form must be completed for anyone travelling outside the UK from England. Different rules apply for international travel from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. People don’t need to complete the form for travel within the UK, to Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. For further details including downloading the form please read the news story here.

The State Aid cap on Covid-19 support grants has been increased 

Last week Paul Scully, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Market, confirmed on Twitter the cap on Covid-19 support grants has been raised to £10.9m and that extending the government’s support will help retail and hospitality chains and the thousands of staff they employ. The guidelines for local authorities have been updated. Grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance may be combined for a potential total allowance of £10,935,000 (subject to the exact amount applicable under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing Right calculator).  From Thursday 4 March Local Authorities must apply the updated scheme rules set out in updated guidance documents for the following

The updated scheme rules do not apply retrospectively. Therefore, where a Local Authority has previously rejected an applicant’s application before Thursday 4 March on the grounds that the applicant had reached previous scheme limits, the Local Authority must not revisit this decision. The applicant may however submit a new application if still within a current payment cycle.  Local Authorities should not accept applications or make retrospective payments to those businesses where the payment cycle has passed.

Free rapid tests for all businesses for regular workplace testing
Workplace testing is now available to all businesses, including those with fewer than 50 employees.

Businesses are encouraged to register interest by 31 March to access free workplace testing. Further details can be found from the press release. The portal to register interest is here.

March 3

This afternoon the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, outlined his tax and spend policies in the budget. Below is a summary of the budget for the tourism and hospitality industry. You can read the what you need to know page summary here or view the budget document here.

Highlights include:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extension
The CJRS will be extended across the UK for five months until 30 September 2021. Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September, as the economy reopens.

UK Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) fourth and fifth grants confirmed

SEISS fourth grant – the fourth SEISS grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will cover the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. Self-employed individuals must have filed a 2019-20 Self Assessment tax return to be eligible for the fourth grant.

SEISS fifth grant – there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September. The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. The final grant can be claimed from late July.

Restart Grants 

The government will provide ‘Restart Grants’ in England of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses. The government is also providing all local authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.

VAT reduction for the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector
The temporary reduced rate of 5% VAT for goods and services supplied by the UK tourism and hospitality sector will be extended until 30 September 2021. A 12.5% rate will apply for the subsequent six months until 31 March 2022.

Business rates relief
Eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England will receive 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021. This will be followed by 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.

New Recovery Loan Scheme for UK businesses
From 6 April 2021 a new Recovery Loan Scheme has been announced to enable businesses of any size to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close.

Launching on 6 April and open until 31 December, subject to review, the Government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. Term loans and overdrafts will be available between £25,001 and £10 million per business. Invoice finance and asset finance will be available between £1,000 and £10 million per business. Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years. Find out more, including eligibility criteria.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme
Small and medium-sized employers across the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible SSP costs per employee. This scheme is a temporary COVID-19 measure intended to support employers while levels of sickness absence are high.

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
Any business that took advantage of the original VAT deferral on VAT returns from 20 March through to the end of June 2020 can now opt to use the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay that deferred VAT in up to eleven equal payments from March 2021, rather than one larger payment due by 31 March 2021, as originally announced.

Extended loss carry back for businesses
To help otherwise-viable UK businesses which have been pushed into a loss-making position, the trading loss carry-back rule will be temporarily extended from the existing one year to three years. This will be available for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses.

  • Unincorporated businesses and companies that are not members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22
  • Companies that are members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £200,000 of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22 without any group limitations
  • Companies that are members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22, but subject to a £2 million cap across the group as a whole

This will be legislated in the forthcoming Finance Bill. Further detail on the group cap will be announced in due course.

Other measures include:

  • £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England.
  • £90 million for continued support for government-sponsored National Museums and cultural bodies in England.
  • £300 million for continued support to major spectator sports in England, supporting clubs and governing bodies.
  • Duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will be frozen for another year.
  • Employers in England who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.
  • Employers in England who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire, compared with £1,500 per new apprentice hire (or £2,000 for those aged 24 and under) under the previous scheme. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16-18 year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.
  • £7 million fund will be available from July 2021 to help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships to enable people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers.
  • A new Help to Grow training scheme over three years for SMEs on digital skills and management skills.
  • Airports and Ground Operations Support Scheme renewed for a further six months from the start of 2021-22, providing support for eligible businesses in England up to the equivalent of half of their business rates liabilities during 2021-22, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £4 million.
  • Zoo Animals Fund extended for a further three months until 30 June 2021, providing licensed zoos and aquariums in England with continued support for animal care and essential maintenance costs.
  • Funding (over £1 billion) for a further 45 towns in England through the Towns Fund.
  • Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
  • £18.8 million to transform local cultural projects in Hartlepool, Carlisle, Wakefield and Yeovil.
  • £28 million to fund the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, delivering a major celebration for the UK.
  • £2.8 million to support a UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup and £25 million investment in UK grassroots sports, enough for around 700 new pitches.
  • From the summer, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding (with some exceptions) through the £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses e.g. pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.
  • Publication of the prospectus for the £4.8 billion UK-wide Levelling Up Fund, providing guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding starting in 2021-22.

Increase in corporation tax
The rate of corporation tax will increase from April 2023 to 25% on profits over £250,000. The rate for small profits under £50,000 will remain at 19% and there will be relief for businesses with profits under £250,000 so that they pay less than the main rate.

Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates to increase in line with RPI from April 2022

This means that the reduced and standard short-haul rates will remain frozen, Long-haul rates will increase in line with RPI. The rates for long-haul economy flights from Great Britain will increase by £2, and the rates for those travelling in premium economy, business and first class will increase by £5. Those travelling long-haul by private jets will see the rate increase by £13.

March 1

UK Government announces independent review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs).

The UK Government has announced an independent review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) across England. This review aims to examine and assess how Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) across England are funded and structured, and how they perform their roles, in order to establish whether there may be a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at the regional level, and if so what that model may be. The structure of the national tourism boards, VisitEngland and VisitBritain, will only be in scope of the review where it is relevant to the structures and funding of DMOs.

The review will be led by the current Chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board, Nick de Bois, acting in an independent capacity and reporting directly to the Secretary of State. An experienced advisory panel will be convened to assist him with his review.

A diverse and representative spread of as many DMOs as possible will be consulted as well as a wide range of local, tourism and other related stakeholders The review will take place over spring 2021, with a written report, including recommendations, delivered to the Secretary of State by Summer 2021.

Read the terms of reference and find out how to get involved.

February 26

VisitBritain have announced today that businesses in the UK registered to the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard scheme are now automatically eligible for the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) international ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

The We’re Good To Go scheme, launched last year by VisitEngland in partnership with the tourism boards of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is a free UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure your customers that your business adheres to Government and public health guidance.

The Scheme has been recognised by WTTC as meeting international global standardised health and hygiene protocols and for its role in supporting the recovery of the UK tourism sector. The protocols for their global Safe Travels stamp were designed with the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines’ and developed alongside leading industry associations and international organisations.

Any business not already part of We’re Good To Go can apply to the scheme and indicate that you wish to use the additional global WTTC stamp. You will need to demonstrate that you are adhering to the latest Government and public health guidance, that you have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and that you have the required processes in place to aid social distancing and cleanliness.

Join the 44,000 businesses across the UK who have already registered as part of your preparations to re-open your business as soon as the time is right.

Apply now

February 25

New guidance on reopening businesses and venues in England
Further to the release of the UK Government’s COVID-19 four-step plan to ease lockdown in England, new guidance on reopening businesses and venues in England has been published. Please see a summary of the relevant guidance for tourism businesses below. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Step 1 – from 8 March
Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.

From 29 March
People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.

  • Outdoor sport facilities: Gyms, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues.

Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits – as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of six people or two households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble can reopen.
  • Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”).
  • Outdoor attractions can reopen at adventure parks and activities, animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums), drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances, film studios, funfairs and fairgrounds, model villages, museums and galleries, skating rinks, theme parks, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks.
  • Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions – such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.
  • Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits
  • This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of six people or two households.
  • Indoor events that bring people together – even if they do not mix with other households – must not run until Step 3. However, at this point, funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • Non-essential retail will reopen and includes retail travel agents.
  • Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen, including hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology).
  • Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen including gyms and leisure centres, sports courts, swimming pools, dance studios and fitness centres, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas, archery venues, climbing wall centres.

Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits – in a group of six people or two households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen.
  • Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen. As with outdoors, table service will be required.
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below).
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
  • Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation can be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance.
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.
  • Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.

Step 4 – no earlier than 21 June

  • The hope at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.
  • To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.

February 22

Roadmap for easing of restrictions in England announced

In his statement to the House of Commons today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government roadmap that outlines how lockdown restrictions will be eased in England. The roadmap is in four steps. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

  1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  4. Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.

The full roadmap document is available here. See below for a summary of the key points:

Step 1 (two parts split between 8 and 29 March)

From 8 March:
People will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise which is already permitted.

There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel. Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.

rom 29 March
People will no longer be legally required to stay at home, but some restrictions will remain such as continuing to work from home where possible and minimising all travel. The rule of six will return for outdoors, and meetings of two households will also be permitted. This includes in private gardens.

Outdoor sports and leisure facilities will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will be able to resume, subject to guidance.

Step 2 – from 12 April at the earliest, subject to an assessment of the data against the four tests
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households as in Step 1, and no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt. Additional premises will be able to reopen but should only be visited alone or with household groups:

  • Non-essential retail
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers, salons and close contact services
  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres
  • Hospitality venues for outdoor service, without any curfew or the requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal – customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
  • Most outdoor settings and attractions including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas/performances/events will reopen

In addition:

  • Domestic overnight stays will be allowed and self-contained accommodation – those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities – can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household.
  • Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • International holidays will not be permitted.

All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules. This will be accompanied by mitigations including workforce testing and continued social distancing guidance. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays will still be prohibited.

Step 3 – from 17 May at the earliest and at least five weeks after Step 2
Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal. Indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of 6, or with 1 other household (though it may be possible to go further than this at Step 3 depending on the data). COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits.

Sectors which will reopen include:

  • Indoor hospitality, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain;
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas;
  • Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas;
  • Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs;
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes; and
  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
  • Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
  • The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.
  • In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.

In addition

  • Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
  • A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 4 – from 21 June at the earliest, and at least five weeks after Step 3
With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme) and remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.

Read the press release here.

In parallel to these steps, four formal reviews will also take place on the issues of:

  1. Social distancing and face masks
  2. The resumption of international travel – the global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.
  3. COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
  4. The return of major events.

Further details of business support will come from the Chancellor’s budget next Wednesday. A plan for reacting to local outbreaks will also be published next month, with measures to tackle new variants. The Prime Minister could not rule out implementing restrictions at a local level if required.

Other updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing before you travel to England has been updated to state that Myanmar has been added to list of countries where you do not need to take a coronavirus test before travel to England.