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Coronavirus update

Accessing COVID-19 business grants through your local authority

New Anglia Growth Hub

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

May 28 update

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

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

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

NHS Test and Trace system launching today

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

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

Scotland to start easing lockdown restrictions on Friday

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

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

Further changes from Monday 1 June:

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

Other Government updates

Travel updates

 Situation update 28 May 2020

May 27 update

Daily Government press briefing

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

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme now live

Employers with fewer than 250 employees can now claim for up to two weeks of coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). In order to file a claim businesses must be registered with PAYE Online and must have already paid employees’ SSP. Forms are now open for employers to check whether they are eligible and file a claim online.

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

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

 Other Government updates

Travel updates

Global updates

Situation update 27 May 2020

May 26 update

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

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest guidance on accessing green spaces

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

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

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

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

Updated guidance on entering the UK and 14-day quarantine

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

£50 million fund to support recovery of high streets

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

Other Government updates

Travel updates

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

Situation update 26 May 2020

May 22 update

Priti Patel lead this afternoon’s Government press conference, joined by the Director General of Border Force and Sir Patrick Valance. Priti Patel provided a further update on the quarantine measures, that will be introduced to protect the UK from a second wave of COVID-19. From 8 June everyone arriving in the UK (except a short list of exemptions) via all modes of transport will be required to inform border force authorities where they will be staying and immediately self-isolate for 14 days.

  • While the new regime will be in place across the United Kingdom, enforcement measures and implementation date will be set individually by the Devolved Administrations.
  • These measures will be subject to review every three weeks to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and support the UK’s roadmap to recovery.
  • Contact locator form: All arriving passengers will be required to fill in a form to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with develops the disease.
  • Enforcement: British citizens and foreign nationals who fail to comply with the mandatory self-isolation condition could face enforcement action, including a Fixed Penalty Notice of £1,000 in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine. The Devolved Administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches.
  • Exemptions: Those travelling to the UK from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man will not need to complete the online contact and accommodation form or self-isolate for 14 days. A very small group will be exempt from providing a contact detail declaration.  This includes diplomats, defence personnel and contractors and officials working on border security. There will be limited exemptions to the requirement to self-isolate and a full list will be published on gov.uk.
  • Anyone who has the virus, or has been in contact with someone who does, should not travel.

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

Q&A

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

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

 Member updates

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

Government updates

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

Travel updates

Situation update 22 May 2020

May 21 update

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

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

Scotland outlines phased route map for reopening

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

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

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

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

Formation of Cultural Renewal Taskforce

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

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

Other Government updates

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

Travel updates

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

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

Situation update 21 May 2020

May 20 update

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

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

Other Government updates

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

Travel updates

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

Situation update 20 May 2020

May 19 update

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

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) maximum loan size increased

The Government has extended the maximum loan size available through CLBILS from £50 million to £200 million. The change is to help larger firms who do not qualify for the Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). The expanded loans will be available from 26 May. Companies that receive help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opens for claims on 26 May

Small and medium-sized employers will be able to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees through an online portal from 26 May. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Repayments will be at the relevant rate of SSP that has been paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers. Guidance on making a claim is available on Gov.uk.

Other Government updates

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

Situation update 19 May 2020

May 18 update

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

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

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

Latest Government updates

Situation update 18 May 2020

May 15 update

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest Government updates

Travel updates

Situation update 15 May 2020

May 14 update

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

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

Latest Government updates:

EU guidance on tourism recovery

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

The Tourism and Transport package includes:

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

Situation update 14 May 2020

May 13 update

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

New Ministerial taskforces announced

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

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

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

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opened for applications today

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

Other Government updates

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

Situation update 13 May 2020

May 12 update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended until October

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced that the Job Retention Scheme would be extended until October. Until the end of July there will be no changes; however, from August to October there will be more flexibility to enable people to return to work part-time. More specific details around the changes will be made available by the end of May.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens for applications tomorrow 13 May

The scheme will allow those who are self-employed to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended. Check if you are eligible to claim.

To make a claim you will need:

  • Self Assessment UTR
  • National Insurance number
  • Government Gateway user ID and password
  • Bank account number and sort code you want us to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)

When claiming you will have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

Northern Ireland Executive have published their Coronavirus Recovery document

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

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

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

Other Government updates

  • New guidance on safe travel has been published by the Department for Transport, this includes specific sections for each type of transport.
  • Safer transport guidance for operators has been published, the guide will help businesses, agencies and others understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers across all modes of private and public transport.

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

May 11 update

Summary of Prime Minister’s speech in House of Commons

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

Summary of UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

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

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

  • As the level of infection in the UK reduces, and the Government prepares for social contact to increase, it will be important to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad.
  • Therefore, in order to keep overall levels of infection down and in line with many other countries, the Government will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible.
  • First, alongside increased information about the UK’s social distancing regime at the border, the Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.
  • Second, the Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.
  • The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to coordinate implementation across the UK. Small exemptions to these measures will be in place to provide for continued security of supply into the UK and so as not to impede work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK’s international obligations.
  • All journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures. These international travel measures will not come into force on 13 May but will be introduced as soon as possible. Further details, and guidance, will be set out shortly, and the measures and list of exemptions will be kept under regular review.

An outline of the key points in the timeline include:

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

Step One – 13 May

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

Step Two –  No Earlier than 1 June

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

Step Three –  No Earlier than 4 July

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

Scotland:

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

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

 Wales:

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

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

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

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

 Northern Ireland

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

Other Government updates

 Situation update 11 May 2020

May 7 update

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

View the full press briefing here.

 Government updates

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

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

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

 Germany will allow exhibitions to resume on a local basis

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

Other industry updates

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

 Situation update 7 May 2020

May 6 update

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

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

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

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

You can watch the full briefing here.

Government updates

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

Travel updates

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

Member updates

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

 Situation update 6 May 2020

May 5 update

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

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

Government updates

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

Travel industry updates

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

Member updates

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

 Situation update 5 May 2020

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

May 4 update

Daily Government press briefing

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

Government updates

 Industry updates

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

 Situation update 4 May 2020

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

May 1 update

Daily Government press briefing

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

Updates to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance (CJRS)

The following changes have been made to the CJRS guidance

Employee guidance

  • Furloughed employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers.
  • Confirmation that Company Directors paid annually are eligible to claim.
  • Employees receiving Maternity Allowance during a period of Maternity Leave should not receive furlough pay at the same time. 

Employer guidance: eligibility

  • Updated in line with changes to Employee guidance.
  • CJRS grants are not classed as state aid.
  • Changed the date from 28 February to 19 March 2020 in the section on TUPE transfers and payroll consolidation.

Employer guidance: how to calculate the grant

  • The June daily maximum wage rates have been added to the table now the scheme has been extended.
  • Improved clarity in the employer National Insurance contributions section, confirmed the direct percentage method or tables method can be used and added new information for company directors.

The scheme opened for applications last week on Monday 20th April, this week the first grants have been paid.

Other Government updates

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

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

Brexit

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

Industry updates

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

Situation update 1 May 2020

April 30 update

Daily Government press briefing

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

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

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

The Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) to investigate cancellation rights

The CMA has launched a programme of work to investigate reports of businesses failing to respect cancellation rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its COVID-19 Taskforce, which monitors market developments and identifies the big problems facing consumers, the CMA has seen increasing numbers of complaints in relation to cancellations and refunds.

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

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

  • weddings and private events
  • holiday accommodation
  • nurseries and childcare providers

It will tackle these areas as a priority and then move on to examine other sectors, based on the information received by the taskforce. The CMA has stated that it acknowledges that most businesses are acting reasonably in what are unprecedented circumstances, and the current crisis is placing everyone under pressure, but it says consumer rights cannot be ignored.

 Other Government updates

 Industry updates

Situation update 30 April 2020

April 29 update

Daily Government press briefing

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

Update on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme wage payments for furloughed employees

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

Update on Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants Fund (England only)

  • Local Authorities in England are continuing to reach out to eligible businesses directly to arrange payment. The grants are of £10,000 or £25,000 and do not need to be paid back. To ensure all eligible businesses can access these funds, government is encouraging businesses to:

Find out more information about the schemes.

Other travel updates

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

Situation update 29 April 2020

April 28 update

Daily Government press briefing

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

Further information on the Bounce Back Loan scheme

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

 Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

 You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

    • If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

Other Government updates

Other travel updates

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

Situation update 28 April 2020

April 27 update

Domestic COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker

Key take outs from the report include:

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

Daily Government press briefing

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

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

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

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

New Bounce Back Loans facility for small businesses announced

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new Bounce Back Loans scheme that will be made available to small businesses from 9:00 Monday 4 May. These loans will be 100% government-backed. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Other Government updates

Other travel updates

Situation update 27 April 2020

April 25 update

Domestic COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker

Key take outs from the report include:

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

Daily Government press briefing

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

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

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

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

New Bounce Back Loans facility for small businesses announced

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new Bounce Back Loans scheme that will be made available to small businesses from 9:00 Monday 4 May. These loans will be 100% government-backed. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Other Government updates

Other travel updates

Situation update 27 April 2020

April 24 update

The G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 was held today, Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston was in attendance and addressed the group. He spoke of the importance of tourism to the UK economy, the Government’s support measures and the regular discussions he is in with the tourism industry about what their priorities for the recovery period are. He highlighted the key areas of concern including how businesses can operate while there are still social distancing measures in place; what further guidance is needed; and whether there is a need for tapered support as businesses adjust.

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

Daily Government press briefing

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

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

 Welsh Government Statement on Exit Strategy

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

The framework has three pillars;

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

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

 Other Government updates

Update on insurance  – FCA guidance 

The FCA has set up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) – an independent body to provide arbitration for insurance claims of smaller businesses (with turnover of less than £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees). The decision of the FOS is binding on insurers up to £350,000. To take your complaint directly to the FOS, please contact:

The Financial Ombudsman Service, Exchange Tower, London, E14 9SR

Telephone: 0300 123 9123

complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

DCMS COVID-19 survey

DCMS invites you to take part in a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. Your answers will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts. The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and the deadline for responses is 15th May 2020. Please follow this link below to begin submitting your response.

Partner updates

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

 Other updates

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

 Situation update 24 April 2020

 April 23 update

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

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

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

Government updates

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

Other updates

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

 Situation update 23 April 2020

April 22 update

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

Government updates

  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has created a Coronavirus Business Support Blog to help business get the support they need to help with the impact of coronavirus. The blog contains additional information and resources, including:
    • case studies from businesses who have or will be accessing government support
  • posts from different people across government and business

 Other updates

 Situation update 22 April 2020

April 21 update

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

Government updates

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

Other updates

Situation update 21 April 2020

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

April 20 update

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

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

  • The online system can process up to 450,000 applications per hour and employers should receive the money within 6 working days of making an application. To receive payment by 30 April, you will need to complete an application by 22 April. Please keep a note or print-out of your claim reference number as you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email.
  • HMRC are also holding webinars providing an overview of the scheme to help employers and employees deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus.

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

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

Other Government updates

Industry updates

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

 Situation update 20 April 2020

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

April 17 update

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

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

Feedback required on Insurance, PTR and bank loans

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

Daily Government briefing update

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

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

Watch the full update here.

Chancellor expands loan scheme for large businesses

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms. All firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million. The scheme, which will launch on Monday 20 April, will be available through a series of accredited lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website.

Government is also clarifying the position for firms owned by private equity, which will be able to access the guaranteed loan schemes. This complements existing support including the Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for small and medium sized businesses.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended and open for claims from 20 April

The Government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of June to reflect continuing social distancing measures. The online claim service for the scheme will be launched on Gov.uk on Monday 20‌‌ April. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

To prepare to make your claim you will need:

  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online.
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can register here.
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for: Name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, PAYE/employee number (optional).
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims. You can find more information on the scheme and eligibility to claim here.

Other updates

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

Situation update 17 April 2020

April 16 update

Daily Government briefing update

Dominic Raab, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Chris Whitty led today’s press conference, the key area of focus was the continuation of the lockdown measure for three weeks.

  • 13,729 people have died in hospital from COVID-19 so far.
  • Raab chaired COBRA earlier today to consider the SAGE advice. While the measures put in place are playing a role in slowing down the rate of infection, there is still concern that the virus will continue to spread in some settings. The infection rate is still now down as much as necessary.
  • Any changes to our social distance measures now would present a risk of a second peak, undoing progress to date. Risking public health and the economy.
  • Based on this advice the Government will be extending the lockdown by at least three weeks.
  • Before adjusting any measures the Government must be satisfied of these things;
    • The NHS’ ability to cope. Sufficient critical care and treatment must be available.
    • Sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates.
    • Reliable data to show that the rate of infection is decreasing.
    • PPE and testing capacity is in hand.
    • Confident that any adjustments will not result in a second peak.
  • When the Government is confident on these points, decisions will be taken based on the science on what economic activity can be resumed.
  • It may include strengthening some areas whilst relaxing others, all decisions will be based on evidence.
  • Raab acknowledged that people were keen for dates and plans, but said it was too soon to judge the evidence. The Government is looking to learn lessons from other countries as they change their advice, however decisions will be based on what is best for Britain.

Watch the full update here.

Other Government updates

Other updates

Situation update 16 April 2020

April 15 update

Government updates

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

Furlough eligibility cut-off date extended to 19 March 

  • The eligibility cut-off date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough scheme) has been extended from 28 February to 19 March. Employers are now able to claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020. The scheme is due to be fully operational next week.
  • If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 28 February 2020, you can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme. This applies to employees that were made redundant or stopped working for you after 28 February, even if you do not re-employ them until after 19 March.

Read more about the eligibility extension and how to claim support through the scheme here.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) guidance updates

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme guidance has been updated to provide clarifications on some of the areas that were unclear, including:

  • Detail of the treatment of losses, averaging and multiple trades
  • Clarifications on the calculation of self-employed profits and what is meant by total income
  • Confirmation that individuals are able to continue working, including taking on an employment role
  • Confirmation that owner-managers of Ltd companies can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for their salary
  • Confirmation that individuals can access Universal Credit and the SEISS
  • Clarification on overlaps between the SEISS and CJRS (e.g. you can claim the SEISS and continue working).

Further information can be found on how to claim a grant here and how HRMC works out total income and trading profits for SEISS scheme here

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

Other updates

Situation update 15 April 2020

April 14 update

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

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

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

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

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

April 13 update

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

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

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

April 8 update

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

Latest Government advice and links
New and updated guidance
Additional guidance on social distancing in the workplace for businesses in England has been made available. The guidance is to help businesses and their staff to be able to stay open safely during COVID-19. Sector specific guidance is available for shops running a pick-up or delivery service, retail, outdoor businesses, transport businesses as well as many more.
• Updated guidance on the COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has been made available. This scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees. HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.

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

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

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

April 7 update

Daily Government briefing

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

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

April 3 update

Today’s Government briefing focused on a health care update, the full update can be seen here.
Latest Government advice and links
• Announcement on investment in bus routes, to keep services running for those who need to travel to get to work or buy food.
• UK Export Finance expands protection against non-payment for UK exporters, now covering major markets including the US and EU.
• Cash support for food redistribution during coronavirus outbreak to prevent food waste.
• Update on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19) page, clarifying that import VAT payments are not included.
• UKVI have produced a collection of resources on immigration and borders during the coronavirus. Advice on for Tier 2,4, and 5 sponsors has been updated today.
• BEIS Committee Chairman Rachel Reeves has written to the Chancellor calling on further changes to CBILS and self-employed support.
• The UK Government’s Business Support Website has a list of upcoming webinar events from Government and non-government partners. This includes webinars from HMRC, you can also watch a video of HMRC’s webinar on the HMRC YouTube channel Coronavirus – (COVID-19): helping employers to support employees
Updates to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ease liquidity for SMES and a new scheme for larger companies.
o The Chancellor has today announced the extension of the CBILS to ensure all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, rather than just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.
o The Government has also announced it will be stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, and will be making changes to speed up approvals.
o The Government will continue to cover the first 12 months of interest fees.
o A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.
The full announcement can be read here, we will share any further information and updates on these schemes as they become available.
Update on Business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector
Further to the guidance published earlier this week on business rate relief the Local Government Association and the Tourism Alliance have identified some tourism businesses that are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance, but it is felt that they fall into the intended category. Councils are being asked to give consideration to the premises listed below for inclusion in their local schemes:
• Amusement Arcades
• Vehicle Rental Sites
• Conference and Exhibition venues
• Travel and Tour Operators
• Tourism Information Centres
• Tourism Boards/Destination Management Organisations
• Coach operators
• English Language Schools
• Travel/Hospitality Industry Charities (offices)
• Marinas/Boat Hire/Passenger Boat Facilities
Situation update 3 April 2020
• To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the Public Health England dashboard.
• To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation interactive map.

April 2 update

Latest Government advice and links
• The Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy is encouraging businesses across England to contact their local Growth Hub, they can provide a free to use, impartial and local single point of contact to all businesses, so that they can access the right advice and support. The hubs can advise businesses on local and national business support including schemes in place to help businesses through the current COVID-19 situation.
• The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
o The £50m Heritage Emergency Fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000. It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.
o Organisations which have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply.
 Priority will be given where:
 there is limited or no access to other sources of support
 where heritage is most at risk
 where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19
• Update to the guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), outlining information on state aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, post payment checks, and the eligibility of charities. Also now available is the grant funding allocations by local authority.
• The Business rates: expanded retail discount – guidance has been updated to confirm that the government’s assessment that the expanded retail discount is not a state aid, and that local authorities should therefore award relief to all eligible properties.
• The 2020 National Living Wage comes into effect today (Wednesday 1 April), a 6.2% increase on the previous rate

April 1 update

Summary of latest Government briefing
The Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave today’s update along with Dr Yvonne Doyle, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE. Below are some of the key takeaways:
• The Business Secretary gave an update on the steps the government is taking to address the pandemic. There have been 563 more deaths since yesterday bringing the total number of UK deaths to 2352.
• From today £22bn of support is available to business with business rates relief.
• Local authorities have received £12bn for grants to small businesses.
• There are Government backed loans to businesses and Sharma warned banks that, “It would be completely unacceptable if any banks were refusing funds to good businesses in financial difficulty.
• Dr Doyle presented statistics on transportation use. There has been a small increase in recent days. Dr Doyle warned the public to stay at home.
• Global death comparisons will continue to have a lower trajectory than France and Italy.
The full briefing can be seen here.
Latest Government advice and links
• The Government has announced that from 1 April high street businesses will benefit from £22 billion in grants and the business rates package. With grants of up to £25,000 already being paid into bank accounts of high street businesses.
• The Government has published guidance for businesses on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.
Key information includes:
o Details on how grants will be provided:
 Central Government will provide funding to Local Authorities that are responsible for business rate billing. Those Local Authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants. The business ratepayer will be contacted and receive the funds if they are eligible.
o Details on how much funding will be provided to businesses
 Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
 Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.
 Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
 Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
 Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
o Also covered is eligibility of businesses for both funds, exclusions to the funds, information around fraud and rating list changes. The full guidance is available for download here.

March 31 update

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

March 30 update

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

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

Latest Government advice and links
• Government amends insolvency law to help companies keep trading while they explore options for rescue. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.
• DCMS Secretary of State provides an update on access to cultural attractions from home.
• Updated information on the closing certain businesses and venues page around compliance. The new Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law due to the threat to public health.
• The Cabinet Office has produced COVID-19 FAQs detailing what the public can and can’t do, which businesses may wish to share with their employees.
• Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online.
• HMRC has introduced a temporary measure to help brewers and publicans in the destruction of spoilt beer during coronavirus.

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

March 27 update

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

March 26 update

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

March 25 update

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

March 24 update

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

Greater Anglia update

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

MARCH 23 UPDATE

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

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

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

UK Government daily briefing summary

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

Latest Government advice and links

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

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

Measures on employee protection:

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Self-assessment payments are deferred until January 2021.

Additional announcements:

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

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

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

See all Covid-19 updates for businesses

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

MARCH 19 UPDATE

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

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

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

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 19 March 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latest Government advice and links

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

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

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

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

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

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

UK Government daily briefing summary

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

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

Other travel measures, advice and updates

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