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Coronavirus Information

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                   Accommodation Reopening      Reopening Roadmap         Previous Coronavirus Updates      

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

STEP 2 – FROM 12TH APRIL AT THE EARLIEST, SUBJECT TO AN ASSESSMENT OF THE DATA AGAINST THE FOUR TESTS 

Accommodation Reopening   

Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to 6 people or 2 households as in Step 1, and no indoor mixing will be allowed unless otherwise exempt. Additional premises will be able to reopen but should only be visited alone or with household groups:

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

In Addition 

  • Domestic overnight stays will be allowed and self-contained accommodation - those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities - can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household.
  • Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • International holidays will not be permitted.
All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules. This will be accompanied by mitigations including workforce testing and continued social distancing guidance. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays will still be prohibited.
 
Guidance on Reopening
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits - as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of six people or two households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
23RD MARCH - CLARITY FOR ACCOMMODATION AND OTHER BUSINESSES FOR STEP 2 OF THE ROADMAP 
The UK Government has published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to the roadmap steps.

Along with this DCMS has shared some clarity on guidance on the reopening of accommodation.
  • From Step 2, no earlier than Monday 12th April, separate and self-contained accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes.
What can open
  • At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.
  • Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
  • All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.
What cannot open
  • This phased approach to reopening means that the rest of the sector will follow at Step 3. Between now and Step 3 this means a continued closure of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation that relies on sharing these facilities. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.
  • From Step 3, no earlier than Monday 17th May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.
Step 2 will also see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed - if necessary - from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2, located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required.

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

Monday 5th April - Updates to guidance on (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do 

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

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

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

 

Updates to NHS COVID app and twice weekly rapid testing to be available to everyone in England

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

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

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

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

 

New Events Guidance
DCMS has published new events guidance which includes roadmap Step 2 and Step 3. Further information can be found here

 

 

 

 

STEP 3 - FROM 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.
In addition
  • Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
  • A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

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.

STEP 4 - FROM 12TH 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

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.

  • Wednesday 14th April 2021 - final date to submit claims for March 2021 by 11:59pm
  • Friday 14th May 2021 - final date to submit claims for April 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 are symptom free

There are two asymptomatic testing sites available in Thanet - one at the Port of Ramsgate and one at The Centre in Birchington. These sites are specifically for people who are not displaying any of the symptoms for COVID-19. To attend, you must book in advance

If you have symptoms

If you have any symptoms or suspect you have the virus Details on how to book a test can be found here

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

The self-isolation period is 10 days. People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic.

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  

 

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