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Coronavirus Information

As we continue through the recovery phases, we will be doing our best to support you and keep you updated with relevant news on a regular basis. As news is changing, the best way for us to do this is to provide you with the links, which you can then click through to as and when you wish to access the most up-to-date information. 

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Three Tiered System of COVID Alert Levels

On Monday 12th October, the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons, setting out how the Government plans to standardise and simplify local lockdown measures, by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England - set at medium, high, and very high. View the areas in England listed as local COVID alert level high and local COVID alert level very high and the postcode checker on GOV.UK 

Local COVID Alert Level - Medium - Thanet is at this level 

Covering most of the country - this will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on Saturday 25th September. For areas where national restrictions continue to be in place, this means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.
  • Motorway services, airports and seaports will be exempted from the 10pm hospitality curfew (though no alcohol is to be served between 10pm and 5am).
  • In addition to delivery and drive-thru, hospitality venues will now be able to offer a click-and-collect service for the sale of food and non-alcoholic drink between 10pm and 5am, provided customers have pre-ordered by phone, online, or by post.
  • Theatres, concert halls and cinemas will be exempt from requiring people to be seated whilst ordering food and drink.
  • The restrictions on singing, dancing and loud music in hospitality premises will be removed.

See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Medium.

 

Read the latest Prime Minster statement from Tuesday 22nd September

  • From Thursday 24th September, all pubs, bars and restaurants will operate a table service only (except for takeaways) and all hospitality businesses must close at 10pm. Customers at indoor hospitality venues with the exception of when seated at a table to eat or drink are required to wear a face covering.
  • From Monday 28th September a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. Up to 30 will still be able to attend funerals.
  • Business events, and large sports events, will not be able to reopen from 1 October as intended.
  • Office workers who can work from home have been asked to do so.
  • In professions where this is not possible, people should continue to go into their workplace.
  • The rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports.

These rules will be enforced by tighter penalties. The penalty for breaking the rule of 6 or not wearing a mask when required will double to £200 for a first offence. The police will be provided with extra funding, and given the ability to draw on military support when needed. We will update you as and when more guidance becomes available.

Read the latest Prime Minster statement from Wednesday 9th September

This outlined the new rule of six in England and the official Government guidance for working safely during COVID-19 has been updated. Specialised advice has also been updated, including the Visitor Economy guidance and guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services 

For all the latest news from VisitBritain/VisitEngland please click here 

New NHS COVID-19 App

From Friday 18th September, keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.

Businesses are urged to prepare for the NHS COVID-19 App that will be launched across England and Wales on Thursday 24th September. Businesses are to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry, so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in at venues.

Venues that fall into the following sectors are required to do this

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • Tourism and leisure, including gyms, swimming pools, hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks 
  • Close contact services
  • Facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres (for events), libraries and children’s centres  

Operators can create a QR Code and associated poster for their business that links with the app on this webpage or visit the NHS COVID-19 website for resources'. Further details are available here and a useful guide can be found on the BBC website of how it works 

Guidance on NHS QR codes in hotels

Displaying an official NHS QR code poster and collecting contact details for NHS Test and Trace is a legal requirement for hotels. However, if a guest chooses to check in by scanning the NHS QR code, they do not also need to complete the customer log. In this case the guest should scan the hotel’s QR code for each day of their stay.

If a hotel has different venues within it, such as a restaurant or bar, separate QR code posters should be displayed in each of these. Guests can check into these spaces allowing them to be sent notifications with public health advice if needed. Further guidance can be found here.

Meeting others safely during COVID-19/Rule 6

From Friday 18th September hospitality venues in England are legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000. 

New guidance provides details on social distancing, seeing friends and family and rules in other venues, it also outlines more details on the exemptions, including:

  • Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals (up to 30 can attend)
  • Education and training
  • Work or voluntary/charitable services
  • Some organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes
  • Elite sporting competitions
  • Youth groups or activities

The guidance clarifies that COVID-19 secure venues can continue to host people up to their social distancing capacity but that no one can visit in a group of more than 6 (except for the exemptions and where the household (including bubble) is greater than 6). 

Accommodation businesses, attractions, performance venues, coach operators, tour guides, pubs and restaurants, provided they are operating in accordance with the Government’s COVID-19 safe guidelines, can continue as they are, provided that they make sure any individual party of visitors complies with the Rule of Six. 

 

VAT

  • The reduction in VAT to 5% from accommodation, hospitality and attractions is being extended to the end of the financial year.
  • Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months

‘We’re Good to Go’ Industry Standard

VisitBritain/VisitEngland launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark, in partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening.

The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses across the sector can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place.

The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the sector.

Further information and links to the self-assessment online platform can be found here

Download a poster to advise your guests what to do if they are showing symptoms of Coronavirus should you wish to print and display

Business Reopening

On Tuesday 23rd June, the government announced the next stage of the lockdown restrictions easing in England from Saturday 4th July that includes

  • Where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of 1m plus. This means staying 1m apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to Covid Secure guidelines. Accommodation sites (hotels, B&Bs, campsites and self-catering) can reopen and so can some leisure facilities and tourism attractions, providing they can do so safely.  These include outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.

Indoor gyms and swimming pools could reopen from Saturday 25th July, with appropriate measures such as enhanced cleaning protocols and pre-booking systems in place

Outdoor performances, recreational sport and outdoor gyms, swimming pools and water parks with social distancing could resume from Saturday 11th July, guidance for the performing arts sector has been updated and is available. Venue capacity will be reduced and electronic ticketing will be implemented to control crowds and support Test and Trace.

Full government guidance on this can be found at

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
The government has issued guidance for businesses providing an on-site service to collect and maintain data on staff, customers and visitors upon reopening to help support NHS Test and Trace. The guidance applies to:
  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars and restaurants (it does not apply to businesses operating a takeaway/delivery only basis).
  • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
  • Facilities provided by local authorities including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres.
  • Places of worship including use for events and other community activities.
The information businesses should collect is outlined here (scroll down). The data needs to be kept for 21 days and should be collected in a way that is manageable for your establishment.
Guidance on collection and maintenance of data from Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)
The ICO has also published a statement and a short data protection checklist for protecting customer data:
  • Ask for only what’s needed
  • Be transparent with customers and what the information is being used for
  • Store the data carefully
  • Don’t use it for other purposes
  • Erase the data in line with the government guidelines 

 

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. 

High Street and Business Reopening

To support businesses as they reopened, the council installed high street signage, communicating directly with local retailers, offer practical ‘Ready for reopening’ information on the council’s website, as well as provide help via the Council’s support line on 01843 577330 ( Monday - Friday 9am-5pm). Businesses can also contact the Kent and Medway Growth Hub for guidance or call their business support hotline on 03333 602 300 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 6.30pm).

Our High Streets have new temporary signage to remind the public of the Government guidelines around social distancing and to encourage pedestrian flow to help maintain this, which will help people return to our high streets with confidence. It will be a phased approach with the focus on the High Streets in Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Westgate, Birchington and Northdown Road, Cliftonville to begin with.

Safety and Distancing Signage

Local companies that are able to assist with safety and distancing signage for venues planning to reopen. Posters and signs are available to download for free and print yourself from www.thanet.gov.uk/highstreets. If you wish to purchase ready-printed signs, the businesses below are able to help.

 

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

 

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

Look out for webinars being run by Kent Invicta Chamber

 

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

NHS Information

Arts Council England (ACE) 

Culture Recovery Fund (ACE) 

Sport England   

Produced in Kent

Stagecoach Bus Service

Southeastern Railway Services