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Coronavirus Information

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Working Safely during Coronavirus              Accommodation Reopening 

                      Reopening Roadmap           Previous Coronavirus Updates   

  

On Monday 12th July Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that England will move to step 4 from Monday 19th July 

New Guidance on Moving to Step 4

The Government has published new guidance on moving to step 4 of the roadmap for England that outlines the key protections that will remain in place, the pathway through the summer and the five-point plan to manage the virus in the next phase.

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

 

Updated Working Safely during Coronavirus: Guidance from step 4 in England

 

On Monday 5th July The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson set out plans for the final step of the roadmap in England

The Prime Minister held a press conference outlining more details about step 4, the final stage of the England roadmap, which is expected to start on Monday 19th July. At step 4, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. Guidance will be provided to the public and to businesses on how they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
There are 5 principles for managing COVID-19 as England learns to live with the virus:
  • Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
  • Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
  • Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
  • Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
  • Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.
More details can be found in the COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (see summary below).
 
The Prime Minister announced that the Government will work with the travel industry on removing the need for full-vaccinated people to isolate when entering the country from amber countries. The Transport Secretary is due to set out more details his week.
 
A decision will be made on Monday 12th July if this move can be made on Monday 19th July.

View the speech and the slides
 
‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’ Published
 
The UK government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’, setting out the details of Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap in England. 

In summary, at step 4:
  • All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
  • All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements.
  • All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees. There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
  • COVID-status certification will not be required in law as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting. Organisations can choose to ask visitors for proof of COVID-status, as long as they meet existing legal obligations including under equality law. The Government is providing a way for individuals to easily demonstrate their COVID-status. This can be achieved by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity - through the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS app.
  • The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. Guidance will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce personal risk and the risk to others, when coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted. Social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances: ports of entry for passengers between disembarkation and border control in order to manage the risk of Variants of Concern being transmitted between individuals; and people who are self-isolating should also continue to socially distance from others, particularly where they have had a positive test.
  • Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, will be lifted. ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. Employers should take account of this guidance in preparing the risk assessments they are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety rules.
  • The Government will no longer instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
  • Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to ask staff and customers to clean their hands regularly and clean surfaces that people touch regularly. The Government will provide guidance on how businesses can reduce unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. Operators will still be encouraged to use outside space where practical, and to consider the supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors could be used to help identify where a space is poorly ventilated with businesses encouraged to take steps to improve ventilation if CO2 readings are consistently high.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, to support NHS Test and Trace, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.
Building on the updated guidance on meeting friends and family, announced as part of step 3, the Government will provide advisory guidance on how people can manage the risks to themselves and to others, including:
  • Meeting in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open.
  • Wearing a face covering where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
  • Staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community.
  • Considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status.
  • The Government will continue to urge people to get vaccinated, and to self-isolate and get tested if they have symptoms. It will remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The public will continue to be encouraged to download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app to help reduce the spread of the virus.
The Government intends to exempt people who have been fully vaccinated from the requirement to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case, with a similar exemption for under 18s. Anyone who tests positive will still need to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status.
 
Travel restrictions will continue as part of the UK Government’s plan to prevent the continued emergence of Variants of Concern.

 

 

On Monday 14th June The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson provided an update on the easing of Coronavirus restrictions in England

As not all of four tests for proceeding to step 4 in the UK Government roadmap have been met, step 4 openings will be delayed until Monday 19th July, with the exception of weddings and wakes of more than 30 guests which still can go ahead with social distancing.

The situation will be monitored daily and if after 2 weeks, the risk looks like it has diminished, it would be possible to move to step 4 earlier. In the meantime, pilots for sporting events, such as the Euros, and some theatre performances will continue.

View the Prime Minister's statement and the slides and dataset from the briefing.

The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England

The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England has been updated with a summary on changes from Monday 21st June, including more information on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events.

From Monday 21st June, the rules on the number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony, a wedding reception or civil partnership celebration, and a commemorative event following a funeral such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering, will change.

The number of people who can attend these events in a COVID-Secure venue or other venue (such as a garden of a private home) will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event.

Some restrictions on these events will remain in place to enable them to take place safely. This includes table service requirements, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing, as at present. 

There is a little more information on these events if taking place in a private setting. The guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations was due to be updated by Tuesday 15th June. The guidance on arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic was due to be updated by Thursday 17th June. 

 

On Monday 22nd February the Prime Minister announced the government's roadmap that outlines how lockdown restrictions will be eased in England. The roadmap is in four steps. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

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

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

The full roadmap document is available here. A simplified table of the steps can be found on pages 47-48. 

Reopening Roadmap  - step 1 from 8th March

Reopening Roadmap  - step 2 from 12th April 

STEP 3 - From Monday 17th May at the earliest and at least five weeks after step 2

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

Sectors which will reopen include:
  • Indoor hospitality, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain;
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas;
  • Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas;
  • Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs;
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes; and
  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
  • Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
  • The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.
  • In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.
  • Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
  • A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

 

STEP 3 POSTER

The Government has published posters that explain the main rules and restrictions associated with Monday 17th May move to Step 3. These posters are an excellent resource for making sure staff and customers are aware of the rules - they can be added to websites or attached to booking confirmations so that customers know what to expect during this phase prior to arrival. Download poster

Guidance on Reopening

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

  • Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen.
  • Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen. As with outdoors, table service will be required.
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below).
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
  • Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation can be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance.
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.
  • Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.
**UPDATE 5th MAY -  Update to restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance (England)
The guidance has been updated with some information for Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) of the roadmap and contains steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus. In addition to the info below, business should make sure that they are familiar with the UK government guidance to ensure that they make their business safe during coronavirus.
Following the move to Step 3, businesses will be able to:
  • Reopen indoor areas of their venues.
  • Serve customers in groups of up to 6 or 2 households indoors, or in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • There will also be some relaxation of rules around live performances, business events and soft play areas.

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

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

Entertainment within or outside restaurants, pubs, bars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes to shops and branches guidance (England)

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

**UPDATE FRIDAY 7TH MAY -In Step 3, the following measures will apply:

Visitor attractions and recreational venues can open both indoor and outdoor areas.
This includes:
  • Games and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks) and trampolining centres.
  • Water parks and theme parks.
  • Animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres.
  • Attractions such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks.
Most indoor and outdoor entertainment venues can open to the public. This includes venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, arcades and bingo halls.
 
Indoor and outdoor events can take place, but measures apply including following COVID-secure and social distancing guidance.
  • Events permitted from Step 3 (which include business events such as conferences and exhibitions, live performances, and sport events) should follow all COVID-secure guidance, adhere to all legal requirements, and take all reasonable action to mitigate risk to public health. An event cannot take place in either Step 2 or Step 3 if it is unlikely that social distancing between groups of attendees can be maintained, or if other COVID-secure requirements cannot be met. This may be the case for events such as music festivals and carnivals.
  • Capacity restrictions apply to both indoor events (1,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower) and outdoor events (4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower).
  • Further guidance can be found in the sections for business meetings and events and other events and attractions, and in the organised events guidance for local authorities.

Tours and transport services:

  • Indoor and outdoor guided tours are permitted, but must operate within the legal gathering limits and follow COVID-secure guidance. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 30 people outdoors; up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors), or multiple permitted groups (of up to 30 people outdoors; groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors) that are kept separate throughout the activity. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
  • Private hire coaches are permitted for a private group of a single household/bubble, and may also accommodate groups containing multiple households travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey (e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour). This can only take place under certain conditions and where coaches operate in line with social contact limits, meaning that permitted groups (of 6 people or 2 households/bubbles) must be kept separate at all times whilst indoors on the tour. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations
  • Skippered boats can operate within the legal gathering limits. There are different restrictions for different types of vessels. Boats which are open-air can be used by groups of up to 30 people, and multiple groups are permitted under certain circumstances. Where boats are partially or fully enclosed, people should only gather indoors within their group (up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles) and groups should not mix. Multiple groups are permitted inside under some circumstances. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
**UPDATE MONDAY 12TH MAY 
On Monday 12th May, the Prime Minister held a press briefing confirming England will move to Step 3 on Monday 17th May and outlined the measures that will change from this date. The Prime Minister said that subject to the impact of these relaxations on the data, we are on track to move to Step 4 on Monday 21st June.
 
The what you can and cannot do guidance for England has been updated with measures that will change from Monday 17th May including:
  • Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible). Please see below for additional information released relating to accommodation
  • There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country 
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules.
 
Business operations at Accommodation
  • All guest accommodation can open for leisure stays. This includes hotels, hostels, B&Bs and other types of accommodation that rely on sharing facilities (including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation). More information on how to operate shared facilities is available in the section on changes to facilities and services
  • Overnight stays in guest accommodation are restricted to groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles. People should stay socially distanced from anyone they do not live with or share a bubble with.
  • Where reasonably necessary, there is an exemption to the social contact limits for residential visits organised by schools, colleges, further education and higher education providers for educational or educational training purposes. See the full guidance for more information on educational bubbles.  More information is also available in the guidance for schools, further education colleges and providers and higher education providers.
  • Residential trips for out-of-school settings, such as youth groups and children’s extra-curricular clubs, should be restricted to groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support or childcare bubbles, including supervising adults. More information is available in the guidance for out-of-school settings
  • All guest accommodation can open permitted businesses and services on-site for access by guests and by the general public, including where the entrance is within the guest accommodation. This includes indoor and outdoor sport facilities (such as swimming pools and gyms), spas and personal care facilities (such as hair, beauty, and massage services), and retail facilities. Saunas and steam rooms can reopen. Also check the guidance for sport facilities, close contact services and retail shops, stores and branches to ensure the relevant requirements are adhered to. See the section on hospitality in the hotel guidance and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services for other relevant measures.
  • Food and/or drink (including alcohol) can be provided through room service. Communal spaces such as lounges or lobbies may remain open to guests but no food or drink should be served in these spaces, people should not be encouraged to gather and social distancing should be observed.
  • Indoor entertainment is permitted. This includes venues such as theatres, cinemas and concert halls, and performance/screening areas within the premises of another venue such as a pub, hotel or holiday park. More information on these measures is available in the sections on changes to operations, changes to facilities and services and hospitality.
  • For existing bookings, if guests are not able to take a planned holiday due to coronavirus restrictions, accommodation providers should give guests a chance to cancel their bookings. If a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, accommodation providers are encouraged to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer. If this cannot be arranged, businesses are expected to provide a refund depending on the terms of the booking contract.
 
Business meetings and events
  • Permitted venues (including guest accommodation) can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely.
  • Permitted venues (including guest accommodation) can host business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking.
  • Indoor and outdoor business events can take place. This includes conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality. More information is available in the section on meetings and events and the guidance for visitor economy settings 

**UPDATE FRIDAY 14TH MAY FOR HERITAGE LOCATIONS OPENING ON MONDAY 17TH MAY

Heritage locations can open to the public.

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

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

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

The rules on meetings and events will change:

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

Hospitality:

Visitor attractions and recreational venues:

STEP 4 - FROM 21ST JUNE AT THE EARLIEST, AND AT LEAST FIVE WEEKS AFTER STEP 3

With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme) and remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.
Guidance on Reopening
  • The hope at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues.
  • To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.
In parallel to these steps, four formal reviews will also take place on the issues of:
  1. Social distancing and face masks
  2. The resumption of international travel – the global Travel Taskforce will report on Monday 12th April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.
  3. COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
  4. The return of major events.
A plan for reacting to local outbreaks will  be published in March, with measures to tackle new variants. The Prime Minister could not rule out implementing restrictions at a local level if required. 

 

Working Safely: Hospitality Services

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) published on Thursday 8th April an update to the working safely guidance for hospitality services.

The updated guidance, which is relevant to restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and takeaways in England, now includes information on managing customer payments.

The guidance clarifies that, at venues serving alcohol, payment should be taken at the table or at another outdoor location. If it’s not possible to take payment outdoors, for example due to a technical issue, payment can be taken indoors as a last resort. Guidance can be read here  

 

Restart Grants Scheme - Available from 1st April 

The government will provide ‘Restart Grants’ in England of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses. The Restart Grant scheme supports eligible businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant, to reopen safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £18,000 from your local council.
Your business may be eligible if it:
  • Is based in England
  • Is rate-paying
  • Is in the non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care or gym sectors
  • Was trading on 1 April 2020
What you get - Local councils will use their discretion to determine whether businesses meet the eligibility criteria for this grant scheme.

Eligible businesses will be paid:
  • A one-off grant of up to £18,000 in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors
  • A one-off grant of up to £6,000 in the non-essential retail sector 

TO FIND OUT MORE AND APPLY FOR A GRANT PLEASE CLICK HERE

Updated guidance on the Additional Restrictions Grant

The guidance on the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) for local authorities in England has been updated to include the £425m top-up from 1st April 2021 announced in the Budget. The ARG funding scheme aims to support businesses severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions. Funding was first made available in Financial Year 2020-2021 and can be used across Financial Years 20/21 and 21/22. However, Local Authorities are encouraged to distribute funding to businesses who require support as soon as possible. You can read the full document here

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) guidance updates

The guidance for businesses to check if they are eligible for the ARG grant has been updated to clarify which sectors are eligible to receive it. Whilst local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants, the Government has set out an expectation that the funding should help businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions. Local councils are encouraged to support:
 
  • Businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme, including those which do not pay business rates.
  • Businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants. This may include the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding-related businesses.
 
The spending allocation deadline for the ARG has been extended to Friday 30th July 2021 and the guidance for Local Authorities has also been updated.

Business Rates Relief

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

New Recovery Loan Scheme for UK Businesses

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

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

Please check the dedicated Thanet Business Support Facebook group which is providing regular updates to businesses. 

 

Job Retention Scheme

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the 30th September 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Employers will need to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked, this accounts for just 5% of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month. 
  • The extended CJRS will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being able to claim either shortly before, during or after running payroll. Claims can be made from 8am Wednesday 11th November. The CJRS extension will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions. 
  • There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September, as the economy reopens.

There are now monthly deadlines for CJRS claims, some of the dates mean employers may have to submit earlier than they were required to in earlier months.

  • Thursday 1st July 2021 CJRS grants will reduce to cover 70% of employees’ usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50
  • Wednesday 14th July 2021 Final date to submit claims for June 2021 by 11:59pm

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

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

*SEISS fourth grant – the fourth SEISS grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will cover the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. Self-employed individuals must have filed a 2019-20 Self Assessment tax return to be eligible for the fourth grant.
 
*SEISS fifth grant – there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September. The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. The final grant can be claimed from late July.

 

Further Government announcements:

  • Businesses in England that are forced to close due to national or local restrictions will receive up to £3,000 per month.
  • Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors in England that suffered from reduced demand due to local restrictions introduced between 1st August and 5th November will receive backdated grants at 70% of the value of closed grants, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month for this period.
  • Following the recent national lockdown restrictions that came in to place on 5th November 2020, the Government has updated its Visitor Economy Guidance 

Testing Available 

If you have any symptoms or suspect you have the virus, get a test as soon as possible. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started. Details on how to book a test can be found here

  • Drive-through Testing Site – Ramsgate (Manston Airport)
  • Walk-through Testing Site – Margate (Dreamland Car Park 8am-8pm) 

 

If you have no symptoms, rapid lateral flow tests are available to collect from community pharmacies. Find your nearest pharmacy.

 

Tests by post

You can now order free packs of rapid lateral flow tests to be sent direct to your home. A pack contains 7 tests and you can order one pack per household each day. This is for people who wish to take a test but cannot get one from work, school, college or University. 

Further information on testing around COVID-19 can be found here

 

Thanet District Council

The Thanet District Council website has dedicated pages of Coronavirus information. It is regularly updated and is a useful resource with links to key public information including FAQs, a message from the Leader of the Council, updates to council service availability and reporting systems

There is a dedicated business support and advice section with links to a number of relevant organisations, providing the most up to date information for businesses around business rate grants and relief. 

Thanet District Council are waiting to receive further guidance on this funding. There have been lots of questions about the various business support grants and the recently updated Frequently Asked Questions section of the council's website should help answer these.

Please check the dedicated Thanet Business Support Facebook group which is providing regular updates to businesses. 

 

Visit Kent and Kent Information 

Visit Kent are part of the Tourism Industry Emergency Response group (TIER) receiving advice, useful links and information for tourism businesses that is available to view on their business website

Visit Kent has launched a new Linkedin Forum ‘Visit Kent Tourism & Hospitality Group’ for all Kent tourism and hospitality businesses to share updates, ask questions and support each other. Anyone can request to join here

The Visit Kent business website includes a FAQs section  

 

Revi-VE: Small grants for the Visitor Economy

The Revi-VE grant fund is offering small 100% grants of between £1,000 - £3,000 to visitor economy businesses that need to adapt their offering as a result of COVID-19 and changed market conditions.


The fund will open for applications 9:00 15th July 2021 until 11:59 18th July 2021 and is part of a wider package of South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) COVID-19 Recovery programmes. The Revi-VE programme is designed to support innovation and deliver long-term resilience in the hard-hit visitor economy and will be delivered by a consortium of partners across the South East (Visit Kent, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Visit Essex, Sussex Modern, East Sussex County Council).

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

The Kent and Medway Growth Hub have launched a COVID-19 Business Support Hotline that will be open Monday - Friday from 8.30am - 6.30pm and can provide information, support and advice for your business.

Business Support Hotline 03333 602300.

For any other queries on how the Chamber can support businesses, contact them through their website www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk or email info@kentinvictachamber.co.uk

 

VisitEngland/VisitBritain

Regularly updated information for tourism and event businesses as well as government updates  Learn more 

VisitEngland Business Advice Hub

  

Government Information

Updates and information on the latest advice for employers and businesses can be found on the gov.uk website. It offers guidance on COVID-19 and how to give advice to staff. It also has details of the support available to business including

Other Useful Information