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TIER UPDATE 4 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. He was joined by Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail. Along with the health and testing update, Shapps made three points on public transport. First, if you can work from home, you should do so, If you can’t, you should try to avoid the rush hour. From 15 June face coverings will be mandatory on public transport - this will apply to buses, trains, aircraft and ferries. People will be refused travel if they do not comply.

During the Q&A the First question came from a member of the public. Charlotte asks about travel companies refusing to give people refunds for cancelled trips. Shapps says travel companies do have a responsibility to pay the money back. Trading standards can look into breaches, he says. He says he will be encouraging them to pay people back. It is not acceptable for them to just hold on to people’s money. The Metro newspaper asked whether there had been a discussion with the devolved administrations about face masks on public transport. Would people be boarding trains without a mask in Scotland and putting it on when they cross the border? Shapps says this is a measure for England. He says it is up to the devolved administrations to decide what they do. He says normally countries decide to move together, so he does not think we will end up with a confusing situation for passengers. Hendy said that he would expect passengers to be wearing masks when they get on a train, and again when they get off. He was also asked what message would you give to people thinking of going to the coast this weekend? And what help are you providing for the hospitality industry? Shapps says the cooler weather will help. But the message remains the same; stay alert means keep two metres away from people, As for the hospitality industry, the government has stood behind companies. But they best way to help them is by defeating the virus, When asked whether tourist locations, like Blackpool, are at particular risk from coronavirus when lockdown is relaxed? Shapps says, to answer that question, we need to know how the virus will continue to spread. There is a danger of people getting complacent, he says. But the virus is still very much with us. You can watch the full briefing here.

Earlier today during the House Q&A with DCMS, MPs raised a series of questions with regard to the tourism sector. Key points from their discussion:

  • Conservative MPs Tim Loughton, Cherilyn Mackrory and Dr James Davies asked the Secretary of State what steps his Department is taking to help the tourism sector to reopen safely after lockdown restrictions are eased. Oliver Dowden said a cultural renewal taskforce had been set up to help the tourism industry reopen safely and outlined the 4 July target. Following this, Mr Loughton asked if flexibility would be granted to allow the industry to reopen sooner, and whether VAT would be reduced for the industry? In reply, Mr Dowden outlined the Job Retention Scheme and said further measures would be considered.
  • Cherilyn Mackrory said the tourism sector supported one in five jobs in Cornwall and asked for assurances that the Government would promote Cornwall as a world-class tourist destination, once safe to do so. Dowden said they were hoping to get tourism back as soon as safely possible and would be encouraging British people to take "staycations".
  • James Davies asked if the Government would support VisitBritain’s call for an October Bank Holiday. Dowden said he thought it was an excellent idea and noted he was discussing the proposals with BEIS.
  • Gavin Newlands (SNP) highlighted the plight of the tourism sector and asked if an extension to the Job Retention Scheme and an extension to the transition period would be granted to help it. Dowden said the scheme had already been extended and said the transition period would not be extended.
  • Rupa Huq (Labour) asked if the Government would introduce a scheme to allow holiday home lets to restart as soon as possible. Responding, Dowden said he hoped that the tourist sector would be able to begin to reopen from 4 July and that he hoped self-catering accommodation would be at the front of the queue.

A full readout of the MPs’ tourism-related discussion is available here.


Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee

The Government has announced that Trade Credit Insurance, which provides cover to business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees. The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme, which has been agreed with the insurance sector, will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK. The guarantees will support supply chains and help businesses to trade during the coronavirus pandemic and continue to be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment. The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and available from insurers operating in the UK market. Please see further information here.

Travel industry updates

  • WTM London will take place at the ExCeL convention centre from 2-4 November.
  • London City Airport will resume domestic commercial flights at the end of June, with international flights to follow in early July.
  • Virgin Atlantic will resume passenger flights from London Heathrow to Orlando, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Hong Kong and Shanghai on 20 and 21 July.
  • Eastern Airways will resume service from Southampton Airport to Aberdeen, Belfast City, Dublin, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford and Teesside from 22 June.

Situation update 4 June 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES 4 JUNE

A few bits and pieces today including an update on what’s happening with regard to developing guidance for businesses on what they need to do  to operate safely when they reopen on 4th July.

  • Work of the Visitor Economy Working Group

As you will be aware the Tourism Industry Council has been turned into the VEWG and been given the task of co-ordinating the guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses that will allow them to operate in a safe a secure manner when they open from 4th July. This work is progressing extremely well with a huge amount of effort and co-ordination between DCMS, VE and the Industry. The situation at the moment is as follows

  • DCMS is producing the top line guidance on what businesses need to do in terms of undertaking a risk assessment of their business and implementing cleaning and social distancing regimes that allow them to operate safely
  • The Industry is producing a series of detailed protocols for different businesses types across the sector which takes this top line guidance and tell businesses how to operationalise it. For example, the top line guidance will say that rooms have to be thoroughly cleaned between changeovers and the protocols will explain how to do this
  • VE is developing a system whereby business can, on lodging their risk assessment, get a Mark that can be used to show customers that they are operating in accordance with Government guidance

It is planned that all three of these elements will be available to businesses around the 15th June. This will give businesses almost three weeks to digest the information, undertake the risk assessment and register it with VE, implement the appropriate cleaning and social distancing systems, and use the Mark in promotional activities.

  • Coronavirus outbreak FAQs - The Coronavirus FAQ has been updated to include the legislative changes that were made on Monday which included being able to meet-up with up to five people outside your household group.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

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TIER UPDATE 3 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led today’s briefing, he was joined by Chris Whitty and Patrick Valance. The briefing focussed on testing, the test and trace app and the 14-day quarantine announced by Priti Patel earlier today (see further details below). The Prime Minister also said that future progress, including the reduction of the 2m rule, depended on the public’s ability to follow guidance and the R rate continuing to decline.

During the Q&A, the BBC asked if anyone should be booking holidays this summer, the PM said that everybody should avoid non-essential travel. On quarantine, there were questions about changing to a health test regime at ports instead. The PM mentioned that they were considering air corridors, but on testing he said there was a risk of false positives/negatives. The PM declined to go into detail on air bridges, instead saying that bilateral conversations were being held. You can watch the full briefing here.

Home Secretary Priti Patel’s statement on border force measures

Today the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s plans to impose a 14-day quarantine period for inbound travel to the UK.

  • Patel stated that the priority is to protect people’s health and that this scheme will play an important role. She said the scientific advice has been consistent and clear and we are past the peak - but are now more vulnerable to infections being introduced from abroad. She argued that quarantine would have made little difference earlier - when transmission rates within the UK were higher.
  • The scheme will start from 8 June with a limited number of exemptions from the self-isolation rule. These measures do not apply for those travelling from within the common travel area (CTA) in Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, unless they have arrived from outside of the CTA in the previous 14 days
  • All arrivals will have to fill in a contact locator form, including details of where they will be isolated, and how they can be contacted. The form will have to be completed before arrival. Passengers will need a receipt showing they have filled it in. Border Force officers will be able to impose a £100 fine on those who do not comply and a breach of quarantine rules could lead to a £1,000 fine in England, or potential prosecution.
  • The measures will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are proportionate. The first review will take place in the week beginning 28 June.
  • The proposals were criticised by both the Opposition and Conservative backbenchers – including former Trade Secretary Liam Fox. Many criticised it for coming at the wrong time – it should have come at the start of lockdown not at the end.
  • The Home Secretary confirmed that the Transport Secretary is looking at how air bridges could work.
  • The Transport Secretary will also host a roundtable discussion with the travel sector on 4 June and the broader business sector to develop a long-term plan for the industry.

Read the Home Secretary’s statement here

Travel updates

  • Every show in the London West End has cancelled performances until at least 2 August.
  • New research from Skyscanner shows levels of unease from travellers have reached their lowest point since the coronavirus lockdown began. The travel search service has been tracking sentiment and behaviour over the past nine weeks and says that while anxiety is still high, it is now reducing.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 3 JUNE

Here’s today’s update with the much expected statement on Quarantining. But equally interesting is the Prime Ministers answers to questions during PMQs today on support for tourism businesses to help them survive over the winter period.

  • PMQs and Tourism - At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Boris Johnson answered three questions that there tourism related
    • Asked if the furlough scheme can be extended for the air industry until 2021, he said that could not give that commitment but the government will look at all it can do to support the industry.
    • Asked if Self Employment Support would be extended company directors who gain their income from dividends, he said that the answer was very complex but essentially it would be too difficult from HMRC to verify people’s income.
    • However, the most interesting response was in relation to a question from Tim Farron about whether the Government would provide support to tourism businesses in Cumbria to survive until the 2021 season. The Prime Minister replied that “all sorts of packages were being developed to support the tourism industry over the winter period”. He did, however, say that these support packages would not be the same as the existing packages and put no timeframe on when these measures would be announced

 

  • Statement on Quarantining - The Home Secretary gave an oral statement to the House today on the new quarantining legislation that was introduced today and will come into effect on 8th June. The key retails of the new legislation are: 
  • In advance of travel to the UK, both UK and overseas nationals will be required to fill-in a Contact Locator Form which includes details as to where they will isolate for two weeks and how they can be contacted. Proof of completing this form has to carried by the passenger and is subject to checks by Border Force on arrival.
  • PHE will undertake spot checks to make sure that people are self-isolating for the two weeks at the address provided on the form
  • There is a £100 if you don’t complete the form and a £1000 if you don’t undertake self-isolation
  • The Home Secretary must review the need for the information requirement at least once every 21 days, with the first review being carried out by 29th June 2020

There are two other things of note in the oral statement - one is that air bridges are not ruled out and the second is the statement that “We know they will present difficulties for the tourism industry, but that’s why we have an unprecedented package of support, the most comprehensive in the world, for both employees and businesses”  which come as news to airlines, airports, tour operators, coach operators and English Language Schools.

The oral statement is on this link

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/home-secretary-oral-statement-on-health-measures-at-the-border

And the legislation itself is available on this link

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/567/contents/made

  • BVA- BDRC Weekly Consumer Sentiment Tracking -  See here results of BVA-BDRC consumer sentiment tracking research. Some of the main tourism-related findings are:
  • The desire to go to a visitor attraction in the near future has increased for the second consecutive week – 27% now intend to visit in the next 3 months
  • 18% of people now anticipate going on a UK holiday by the end of August, compared to 14% last week and just 6% the week before
  • Of those not intended to take a domestic holiday, 32% say nothing will change their minds
  • On average those considering a trip overseas don’t plan on taking it until Spring 2021
  • The public think that quarantine proposals are not beneficial and will be ineffective
  • The number of people planning to go to a restaurant within the next three months has increased from 17% to 31% in the past two weeks
  • 40% of people think that they will book accommodation before the end of the year
  • The expected use of coaches, trains and planes remains down around 20% and is not showing signs of recovery.

 

  • Notes from CBI Webinar and new Invitation to PPE Webinar - I’ve attached a copy of the notes from this morning’s CBI webinar for those that were not able to attend.

Also, the CBI have invited Tourism Alliance members to join another webinar tomorrow at 11am  where Steve Turner, Assistant General Secretary of Unite will be discussing how businesses should use PPE to ensure the safety of staff who will be returning to work soon and making sure that employers and employees are aligned in their expectations so that everyone feels safe in the workplace.

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TIER UPDATE 2 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing came from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He was joined by Prof John Newton, coordinator of the national testing effort. The briefing focussed on a health update, testing and the PHE report and investigation to find out why some groups are more at risk from COVID-19.During the Q+A, George Parker from the FT asked about air bridges to countries with lower COVID-19 rates. Hancock replied that the air bridge work is being done by Home Office and DfT. He also asked about the scientific rationale for having a quarantine for people coming into the UK from countries with low rates of coronavirus, like Greece. Newton said that anyone coming into the country should be treated as an unknown and that would justify quarantine. You can watch the full briefing here.

VisitBritain’s consumer sentiment tracker results

VisitBritain has commissioned a weekly tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the UK and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time. The survey will address: the likelihood of UK residents to travel; when and where they plan to go; specific trip details such as accommodation type and activities undertaken and the type of reassurances they're seeking from the sector. The survey will be repeated across a 13-week period with the first wave results published on 1 June 2020. The survey results will be published weekly on visitbritain.org. Download the report.

VisitBritain’s competitor activity report - Summary of highlights since the last update:

·       There has been further easing of lockdown measures in Austria, Australia, France, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. Steps towards relaxing restrictions include permission for larger gatherings of people, re-opening of businesses and tourist attractions, and more freedom for citizens to travel domestically. In Australia, New South Wales is now open to interstate travellers, and some Russian regions have now lifted quarantine for domestic visitors from the most affected areas. São Paulo state and Rio De Janeiro city also announced reopening plans.

·        Australia announced a job regeneration plan for economic recovery, alongside Canada, China and Japan announcing widespread investments and fiscal stimulus.

·        Tourism has also been a specific beneficiary. Brazilian tourism enterprises can now access part of the first instalment of the General Tourism Fund. New investment was announced for Canadian provincial marketing organisations. The Dutch emergency package to support jobs and the economy has been extended, and includes a new scheme for SMEs including hospitality, leisure, events and theatres. Japan’s economic package includes an earmarked ¥1.68 trillion to stimulate consumption and help tourism related industries. Singapore’s new Marketing Partnership Programme aims to support the international marketing initiatives of hotels, attractions, inbound travel agents and the MICE sector.

·        German plans to support the gastronomy sector have been put into law, and Ireland’s Bloom at Home will showcase and support food, drink and horticulture industries.

·        Denmark and Norway will allow holiday travel between both nations from 15 June. Denmark will also open travel to Germany and Iceland at that time, and is in talks with Sweden and Finland. Italy’s Europe Minister has called for all Schengen borders to be opened together to allow inbound travel to Italy from June 3. Spain will pilot the entry of tourists via safe routes, before lifting restrictions to members of Schengen.

·        Politicians across markets still tend to be advising citizens to holiday domestically this summer.

Other Government updates

·        Updated guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities.

·        Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students: Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is now open for applications.

 Travel updates

·        From tomorrow (3 June), Italy will open its borders without a quarantine requirement to tourists from the EU states, states that are party to the Schengen Agreement, the United Kingdom, Andorra and Monaco.

·        P&O Cruises has announced an extension to their pause in operations until 15 October 2020.

 Situation update 2 June 2020

·        To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard - https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

·        To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard - https://covid19.who.int/

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 2 JUNE 2020

       Only a couple of things today but they are significant for many tourism businesses as they relate to the FCA seeking a legal ruling on Business Interruption Insurance and new guidance on outdoor recreation and sports which support a lot more businesses being able to be opened. The details of the Government’s new quarantine proposals which are due to come into force in  just six days were also due to be published today but I’m still awaiting these and will send them through as soon as I get them.

  • Draft Guidance for Insurance Companies - As part of its investigation into Coronavirus related business interruption insurance, the FCA have published draft guidance on their expectations for insurers and insurance intermediaries when handling claims and complaints for business interruption policies during the test case. The guidance highlights the steps firms should be taking to:
    • identify the potential implications of the test case on their decisions to reject claims
    • keep policyholders informed about the test case and its implications for policies, claims and any settlement offers
    • treat policyholders fairly when the test case is resolved

https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/guidance-consultations/business-interruption-insurance-test-case-draft-firms

In addition, that have provided an update in where they are in terms of their legal case – they have reviewed over 500 relevant policies from 40 insurers and identified a sample of 17 policy wordings that capture the majority of the key issues that could be in dispute – and set out a timetable for the court case which is scheduled for the second half of July

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/update-fca-test-case-validity-business-interruption-claims

  • Outdoor Sport and Recreation Guidance - DCMS has produced more detailed guidance regarding outdoor sport and recreation facilities that are now able to open.  For the facilities allowed to open, each operator is to make their own decision about when their facilities are ready to open and how they can be operated safely. The guidance provides information on different sports and also on the operation of facilities such as stables and sports clubs (including sailing clubs).

Importantly for outdoor recreational businesses, the guidance states that: Personal training or coaching is permitted if outside and if people are a minimum of 2 metres apart and providing there are gatherings of no more than 6 people from different households.

Note that outdoor gyms, playgrounds and outdoor and indoor swimming pools will remain closed to the public and that operators that do open need to ensure that disable people to access the facilities.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-phased-return-of-outdoor-sport-and-recreation

Here is the associated guidance for businesses on how they should operate safety in order to protect the health of customers and staff.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-providers-of-outdoor-facilities-on-the-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation

And finally if you are a coach/trainer, you are allowed to provide lessons to multiple groups in a single day provided that you do so in gatherings of no more than 6 at a time, are always outside, and you are maintaining social distancing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-personal-trainers-and-coaches-on-the-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation

Hotel Solutions Briefing - I’ve attached a copy of new briefing from Hotel Solutions which pulls together a range of research and initiatives that are happening across the tourism and hospitality sector at the moment

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TIER UPDATE 1 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

Matt Hancock lead today’s briefing alongside Professor John Newton (co-ordinating national testing scheme), the briefing focussed on a health update and testing capacity. During the Q&A the first question was about the economic response to the expected recession. Hancock outlined the direct support the Government has given businesses in order to aid the retention of jobs, he recognised the need for a different economy – and said that the Chancellor and PM are working on these. In response to another question Professor Newton confirmed that the scientific advisors worked across the nations, and there is every effort to keep things consistent. However the nature of devolution means that some systems do work differently, and there is also differences in the levels of the virus in some parts of the UK. Watch the full briefing here.

Discretionary Grants Fund open to small and micro businesses in England

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are based in England and not eligible for other Government grant schemes may apply through their local council for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. Grants of £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 may be given. Councils have been asked to prioritise businesses including bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates.

Northern Ireland - re-opening plan for hotels and other tourist accommodation

Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced plans to allow hotels and other tourist accommodation to re-open from 20 July. Key points include:

  • Holiday and home parks; caravan sites; self-catering properties. As they are self-contained and may require less advance notice before opening, the opening times for these types of accommodation may be advanced to earlier than 20 July depending on scientific advice;
  • Guesthouses; guest accommodation; B&Bs; hotels; hostels. The Tourism Steering Group will be asked to work with the sector to explore what facilities and amenities can safely be made available by hotels and recommendations will be brought to the Executive in due course.
  • The Tourism Recovery Steering Group and its supporting Working Group, will take relevant UK safe working guidance and make it specific to NI as overarching tourism sector guidance. A safety charter mark is also being considered.
  • The proposals have been informed by engagement with the tourism industry through the Tourism Recovery Working Group.

Easing of lockdown in Wales

On 29 May the First Minister of Wales signalled that non-essential retail businesses, which can comply with the physical distancing duty, should start to prepare to reopen over the next 3 weeks. A decision about whether non-essential retail will reopen will be taken at the next review on 18 June and will depend on the scientific and medical evidence.

From Monday (1 June), two households in the same local area will be able to meet outdoors. People must follow social distancing and strict hand hygiene practices to control the spread of the virus.

  • Members of 2 separate households in the same local area to meet outdoors at any one time as long as they maintain social distancing.
  • This does not need to be the same people from the same household every time.
  • ‘Local’ means not travelling more than 5 miles from home
  • The 2 households can meet in private outdoor spaces, such as gardens -  this comes with a higher risk of infection as people may have to pass through someone’s private home to reach a garden. The Welsh Government will provide guidance about the precautions which can be taken to minimise these risks
  • Allowing weddings and civil partnerships to take place if the bride or groom is terminally ill.

Contact tracing system launched in Wales

  • From today 1 June anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 in Wales will be asked to provide details of their recent interactions and each contact will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days.

Phased return of sport and recreation, domestic competitive sport returns 1 June

  • Updated guidance has been published for the public, athletes, personal trainers and outdoor sport facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation.
  • Guidance for reopening elite sporting competition has also been published. Domestic competitive sport is permitted to resume from today as the country enters Stage Three of the five stage framework to return to unrestricted elite sporting competition.

Other Government updates

Travel updates

  • Lufthansa Group has confirmed plans to expand service in the second half of June. After 15 June the airlines in the group (including Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Brussels Airlines and Edelweiss) will serve more than 130 international destinations including 115 weekly flights to the UK and Ireland.

Situation update 1 June 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 1 JUNE

  • New Outdoor Q&A

With the easing of lockdown restrictions today, the Government has published a new Q&A regarding what people can and can’t now do. While most of it is pretty straight forward in terms of meaning friends and relatives, there is a curious section regarding business travel which says

You are not permitted to stay overnight away from the place where you are living for a holiday or similar purpose. This includes staying overnight in a second home. If your work requires you to stay away from home you can do but should continue to practice social distancing.

Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work.

So we have a situation where people are allowed to undertake business travel, but accommodation businesses are not allowed to accept them (unless they are critical workers)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do?utm_source=POLITICO.EU&utm_campaign=283441a697-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_06_01_06_00&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10959edeb5-283441a697-189782117

  • Pressure on Beauty Spots and Local Council Facilities

Over the weekend there were a number of instances where large numbers of people have congregated at beaches and other beauty spots putting considerable pressure on public facilities and the need to maintain social distancing, while also raising concerns in local communities. This has occurred because policies have resulted in a form of “tourism kettling” – that is, with many tourism attractions and facilities not being open, the public have a restricted number of places that they can go and this is putting pressure on these locations. It adds weight to the argument that the reopening of low risk accommodation types should be reconsidered as this would help redistribute visitor numbers and ease pressure on public facilities.

  • DEFRA Outdoor Guidance

DEFRA has produced new guidance on outdoor spaces. Of particular interest, the guidance says that you can now:

  • take part in other outdoor sports and activities, including fishing, in groups of up to six people, or household groups, provided you adhere to strict social distancing guidelines
  • take part in all forms of water sports practised on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft 

I have asked DCMS for clarification on whether this means that outdoor activity-related businesses such as blue badge guiding, guiding mountain walking, surfing schools and kayaking trips are now allowed and they are checking this. Apparently activities like clay-pigeon shooting and organised shoots are allowed so I see no real reason why these other activities shouldn’t be allowed either.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

  • Reopening High Streets Guidance – Version 2

A new version of the guidance on the reopening of High Streets Fund has been published which will be of interest to DMOs as it seems to allow opportunities to develop campaigns that support restarting businesses in tourism destinations.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888818/Reopening_High_Streets_Safely_Fund_-_Guidance_-_Final_v2.pdf

  • Consultation on Taxation of Coronavirus Payments

HMRC is launched a short consultation on new legislation that will mean that any of the payments made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the Grant Fund and the Discretionary Fund, as well as schemes managed by the Devolved Administrations, will be treated as taxable income. The new legislation will also give the Government the power to recover payments to which recipients were not entitled to them.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-legislation-taxation-of-coronavirus-covid-19-support-payments

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TIER UPDATE 29 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Professor Stephen Powis, Medical Director for NHS England. The Chancellor announced changes to the UK-wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Please see more details below.

During the briefing Q&A:

  • Someone asked about the two metre rule and the fact that it would prevent many hospitality businesses from opening. Does the Chancellor agree with the PM that it may be dropped? Sunak replied that they were reviewing it, and Powis noted that the science has not changed on this, so no change yet.
  • Another person asked how the public sector will be protected from economic hardship in the future after being shielded from being furloughed. Sunak says the process whereby pay review bodies collect evidence and advise the Government will address this later in the year.
  • The Hull Daily Mail asked about local businesses and particularly caravan parks, which are struggling and what will the Chancellor do to help? Sunak listed the support available, including the cancellation of business rates, that would help the hospitality and caravan industry.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August. The eligibility criteria remains the same as for the first grant, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

The grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. This is in line with changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as the economy reopens.

The first SEISS grant, which opened for applications on 13 May, will close to new applications on 13 July. Eligible individuals will be able to make their claim for the first grant any time until this date, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim.

Further details are available in this factsheet. Further guidance on the second grant will be published later this month.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work.

From August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work:

  • In June and July, the Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.
  • In August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work - 5% of average gross employment costs of those currently furloughed.
  • In September, the Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
  • In October, the Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

The cap will be proportional to the hours not worked. To enable the introduction of flexible furloughing, and support those already furloughed back to work, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers currently using the scheme and previously furloughed employees. The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June for new entrants.

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked. Employers will need to agree any flexible furlough arrangements with employees, and when claiming the CJRS grant will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

Further details are available in this factsheet.

Read more about the Chancellor’s announcement or watch the full briefing here.

Other Government updates

Wales to start easing lockdown restrictions on Monday

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that from 1 June Wales will allow people from two different households to gather outdoors, including in private gardens. People should stay in their local areas (not travelling more than 5 miles from home) and remain 2 metres apart while meeting.

Lockdown measures will be reviewed again on 18 June.

Government to publish code of practice with commercial sector

The Government has formed a working group with leading business and trade associations to develop a code of guidance for commercial landlords and tenants.

Travel updates

  • The National Trust will from 3 June begin a phased reopening of some parks and gardens in England and Northern Ireland, with advanced bookings needed to limit visitor numbers.
  • The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has released a set of guidelines to help the global tourism sector recover stronger and more sustainably from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Kuoni is launching a new collection of itineraries throughout the UK and Ireland, focusing on domestic experiences as uncertainty remains around long-haul travel.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE

Here is today’s update. The important item today is the FAQ on the Discretionary Fund grant which is now open which allows most tourism businesses that previously missed out on other grants to apply.

  • Discretionary Grant Fund Guidance and FAQ

The Government has produced Guidance and an FAQ on the Discretionary Grant Fund which is available to businesses with under 50 staff with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. They have also produced a FAQ document for Local Authorities when assessing applications which I have attached. There are a number of important statements in this including

  • Grants can be provided to businesses with a rateable value of more than £51k
  • Grants can be provided to self-catering businesses
  • Businesses with more than one premise can get more than one grant
  • Local Authorities can give grants to businesses that are larger than SMEs
  • Office-based businesses such as tour operators are eligible
  • Suppliers such as those in the Events sector are eligible

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-local-authority-discretionary-grants-fund

  • ONS Social Impacts of Coronavirus

The ONS are undertaking a weekly survey of the social impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak, looking at how it is impacting people’s lives and mental wellbeing. One of the interesting, and potentially positive aspects of the survey is that the third greatest concern that people have regarding the outbreak is that it is impacting their travel and holiday plans – with 51% od people expressing this concern.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/29may2020

  • Updated TIER 4 Guidance

New guidance that the normal requirement for short-terms students to leave within 30 days of completing their course does not apply to those who cannot travel due to Covid-19 restrictions, and that they can study new courses during that time

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tier-4-sponsors-migrants-and-short-term-students

  • Six People can Meet – Tourism Implications

As you are aware, the Prime Minister announced that from Monday in England, six people will be allowed to meet outdoors provided that they maintain social distancing. This is a step forward in the relaxation of restriction which hopefully people with adhere to so that it doesn’t  result in an increase in infection rates. There are also tourism related implications that I’m checking at the moment including whether there is now an ability of certain tourism businesses such as guides or outdoor activity businesses to reopen.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-six-people-can-meet-outside-under-new-measures-to-ease-lockdown

  • Problems with Public Liability Insurance

DCMS have asked that I let them know if there are problems being experienced by businesses in gaining public liability insurance due to Coronavirus. They have received reports that this could be an issue and want to assess the scale of the problem. There is a tight turnaround on this so could you let me know if you have received reports from your members about this by Monday morning.

  • Test and Trace – Close Contact

As you will be aware, the Government announced it’s new Test and Trace programme on Wednesday. One of the important points for tourism businesses is the rules and implications regarding Close Contact when it comes to customers that have been found to be infected. The people undertaking the tracing will be contacting anyone that the infected person was in Close Contact with 48 hours before they developed symptoms and people that they were in Close Contact with at any stage after they developed symptoms. Close contact means:

  • having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
  • people in their workplace

Anyone who has been in close contact will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. As well as the obvious “Duty of Care” requirements tourism businesses have with regard to both customers and staff, there is the added issue that not adhering the social distancing could have significant implications on staff availability.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works#contents

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TIER UPDATE 28 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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

·        Guidance to check which employees are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has added a Welsh translation.

 Travel updates

·        EasyJet plans to lay off 30% of its workforce, and does not expect to return to 2019 levels of activity until 2023.

·        The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has debuted the “Safe Travels” stamp, a global safety and hygiene stamp to help travellers recognize international governments and businesses that have adopted standardized health protocols.

·        As of 6 June, the Swiss Federal Council will further relax physical distancing measures, lifting restrictions on many leisure, entertainment and sports activities.

 Situation update 28 May 2020

·        To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard - https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

·        To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard - https://covid19.who.int/

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TIER UPDATE 27 MAY

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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES

  • Some UKVCAS and VACs Reopening

The Home Office has announced that some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) will reopen for existing customers on 1 June 2020. The sites being opened are

  • Birmingham
  • Chelmsford
  • Croydon
  • Exeter
  • Leeds
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Sheffield
  • Southampton

Overseas, some UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are also resuming services. To find out which centres are being reopened contact:

  • TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East
  • VFS global for all other countries

Finally, some English Testing Centres are also resuming services. You can find further information on which centres are opening from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, the Pearson Test of English website or the LanguageCert website.

  • French Border Restrictions - The UK embassy in Paris has issued details of restrictions in UK nationals entering France. Visitors will need to complete an international travel certificate, which certifies the person’s journey is essential and confirms that they have not been suffering from a set of listed symptoms associated with Covid19. This travel certificate is available on the French Ministry of the Interior’s website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/french-border-restrictions-in-response-to-coronavirus  

  • Business Loan Scheme Statistics - The Treasury is publishing weekly information on the different business loan schemes (CBILS, CLBILS, BBLS), including:
    • the total number of applications
    • the number of approved applications
    • the value of loans approved

There are some interesting statistics that suggest that while the Bounce Back loans are providing very accessible for SMEs, there seem to be ongoing issues with the uptake with the other schemes. For example, 79% of the 769,137 application have been approved and £18.49bn has been lent to businesses. By comparison, only 51% of the 84,607 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme applications have been approved and £8.15bn lent, while the uptake of Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been poor with only 31% of 502 applications being approved and only £0.8bn lent to businesses through this mechanism.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hm-treasury-coronavirus-covid-19-business-loan-scheme-statistics

  • The Science Behind the Decisions  - There has been considerable discussion lately regarding the science behind some of the decision-making with regard to policies such as Quarantining and Social Distancing. To help understand the data and research used to underpin Government policy on Coronavirus, here is a link to the papers produced by SAGE. I haven’t gone through them all o see what they say about these issues but it is noteworthy that a lot of the work has focused on understanding the role of children in the transmission of the virus and discussing safety in schools.

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response#scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-covid-19

  • UK News Update - I’ve attached this weeks UK News Travel Update. If you skip through the first promotional slides there is some interesting information on search trends including coverage on a possible October bank holiday generating interest and the new government restrictions on quarantine upon entering the UK leading to a spike in interest around domestic travel – although no mention of Barnard Castle trending. There is still strong interest in getting overseas this year and the articles produced outlining which countries may be ready to welcome tourists again are proved popular.
  • Revised Discretionary Fund Guidance

The guidance to Local Authorities on the £617m Discretionary Fund has been amended to that businesses that are eligible for SEISS are still eligible for support through this fund (copy of the new guidance is attached). This is a considerable step forward as it means that B&Bs, self-catering operators and other small tourism businesses operated under sole trader arrangements are now eligible to apply for grants from this fund.

  • Letter on Quarantining

Over the weekend we supported a Airlines UK  letter to the prime Minister (attached) pointing out the serious damage that Quarantining will have on tourism and asking the Government to immediately look towards a more targeted, risk-based approach to screening of passengers such as “air bridges”, which would see the controlled reestablishment of air routes and overseas travel, where it is safe to do so, and as soon as possible to any low-risk country.

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TIER UPDATE 26 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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.

TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 26 MAY (duplication with TIER removed)

Revised Discretionary Fund Guidance - The guidance to Local Authorities on the £617m Discretionary Fund has been amended to that businesses that are eligible for SEISS are still eligible for support through this fund (copy of the new guidance is attached). This is a considerable step forward as it means that B&Bs, self-catering operators and other small tourism businesses operated under sole trader arrangements are now eligible to apply for grants from this fund. 

Letter on Quarantining - Over the weekend we supported a Airlines UK  letter to the prime Minister (attached) pointing out the serious damage that Quarantining will have on tourism and asking the Government to immediately look towards a more targeted, risk-based approach to screening of passengers such as “air bridges”, which would see the controlled reestablishment of air routes and overseas travel, where it is safe to do so, and as soon as possible to any low-risk country. 

 Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH and Nick de Bois Appointed Chairs of VisitBritain and the Visit England Advisory Board - Not quite Coronavirus related but the Government has announced that Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin and Nick de Bois have respectively been appointed as the Chair of VisitBritain and the Visit England Advisory Board. They replace Steve Ridgeway and Denis Wormwell in these positions. A brief bio on both appointments is available on the following links.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-secretary-of-state-has-appointed-rt-hon-sir-patrick-mcloughlin-ch-as-chair-of-the-british-tourist-authority

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-secretary-of-state-has-appointed-nick-de-bois-as-chair-of-the-visit-england-advisory-board

  • Up to £15 million to support the Citizens Advice - Due to the increased demand for information and advice related to Coronavirus, the Government is allocating up to £15m in additional funding to support the work of Citizen’s advice

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/up-to-15-million-to-support-the-citizens-advice-service-during-covid-19-pandemic

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TIER UPDATE 22 MAY

Daily Government press briefing and quarantine 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.

Please find attached ALVA’s second wave of visitor sentiment. Please see some of the key findings below:

  • Since the government’s announcement around lockdown easing, the market has become even more cautious about visits than before, especially to indoor attractions – perhaps concern over lockdown easing and / or naming aspirational re-opening dates bringing home the visit realities?
  • General concern over crowds and distancing is still the major visit barrier, but people are becoming more focussed on the safety measures they expect from attractions when they re-open, whether general or specific e.g. pre-booking only
  • Impact of a ‘charter mark / industry standard’, which VisitEngland and the national tourist boards are working on, is therefore likely to be high – over half the market feel this would give them the extra confidence they needed to visit. In the eyes of the public, top safety priorities are;
    • Limiting visitor numbers on-site, primarily at indoor attractions
    • Be seen to be implementing and monitoring / policing distancing measures on-site Toilets and indoor cafés
    • Interactive exhibits or anything that visitors touch
    • Hand sanitiser around the site and staff visibly cleaning
    • Moving elements of the visit experience outside, where possible, will undoubtedly help generate visits – outdoor kiosks, tours, small events, picnic areas. Outdoor, open spaces are increasingly recognised by the public as safer than indoor, enclosed spaces
  • There is an increased acceptance of PPE among potential visitors, with very little pushback to either staff or visitors wearing face masks (or at least face coverings)
  • Visitor-facing staff can have a hugely positive impact – providing a warm welcome and showing patience with visitor anxieties – but they will need a new skill set to proactively deal with the public’s adherence to distancing protocols in place
  • Concerns around using public transport to visit attractions is high, particular underground trains and buses
  • Visitors are not expecting blanket admissions price discounting, with notable proportions of ‘members’, families and younger people (aged under 35yrs) expecting to pay more on re-opening

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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 22 MAY

  • Plans For London’s Recovery - The Government has announced that MHCLG and London Mayor’s Office will form a new London Transition Board to co-ordinate London’s response as it emerges from the lockdown and begins to reopen. The Board will be made up of senior leaders from across the city and provide strategic direction for the next phase of response and restart, focusing on the key issues which London will face over the coming months, including:
    • infection control
    • phasing in and out of varying levels of lockdown
    • recovery of public services, such as transport

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-announced-for-london-s-covid-19-recovery

  •  BEIS Webinars on Making Your Workplace Safe - BEIS is holding a series of webinars on how to make your workspace safe for staff and customers. These seminars are based around the eight workplace-related guidance notes published so far and includes offices, restaurants doing takeaway/deliver services and working outdoors.

You can sign up to these webinars on the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/department-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy-18685150848?utm_campaign=covid_webinars_2020&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=stakeholder&utm_content=ogds

  • Ofqual Decisions on Awarding Vocational and Technical Qualifications - Ofqual has published it’s decision on the awarding of vocational and technical qualifications which could impact some company’s training and apprenticeship programmes. Their determination is that for qualifications that are primarily used to signal occupational competence, it would not be suitable for these learners to receive a calculated result. This is because it would not be clear they possessed the skills required for the job, which could have health and safety – or other professional – implications. As such, the starting point for these qualifications is for awarding organisations to adapt the assessment or delivery model so that assessments can be completed under the current public health restrictions

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-decisions-on-awarding-vocational-and-technical-qualifications-this-summer

  • Visa Extensions - Visa extensions for those unable to leave the UK because of coronavirus have been extended to 31 July 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

  • Consumer Sentiment Research - With businesses starting to think about how they might reopen after 4th July, one of the main tools they will need in insights on consumer sentiment. To help with this BVA-BDRC are publishing weekly research briefings that track consumer sentiment in relation to tourism and leisure. These reports contain a wealth of information but are a bit big to attach so you can download this week’s research briefing via the WeTransfer link below

https://we.tl/t-yIXWOsTT9C

and, even better, you can sign up to receive them free of cost each week on the following link.

https://www.bva-bdrc.com/products/tracking-consumer-sentiment-on-the-impact-of-covid-19/

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TIER UPDATE 21 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UDPATE 21 MAY

  • Update on Eligibility for Furlough - The Government has produced an update that clarifies that eligibility depends on employment on or after certain dates. Specifically, this clarifies situations where employers:
    • Made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 28 February
    • Made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 19 March 2020
    • Employ someone on a fixed term contract

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  • CMA Taskforce Update - As you will be aware the CMA has established a Taskforce to identify, monitor and respond to competition and consumer problems arising from coronavirus and the measures taken to contain it. They have just published their first report on some of the work of the Taskforce, focusing on the complaints they have received and the actions they have taken in response. While three sectors were initially prioritised: holiday accommodation; weddings and private events; and nursery and childcare providers, but because of the number and nature of complaints being received, package holidays has now been included in the scope of the investigation

This report is an analysis of the complaints the CMA has received so far rather than the findings or actions to be taken but it does provide a very good indication of the issues that they are looking at.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-coronavirus-taskforce-update-21-may-2020/protecting-consumers-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-update-on-the-work-of-the-cmas-taskforce

  • Environment Agency Waterways Update - The Environment Agency has published guidance stating that the public can now do all non-powered water sports on EA waterways and some waterways will be ready for leisure cruising as early as this week, with the rest by 1 June, unless hazards in the waterways prevent us from doing so. From the 1 June, normal time restrictions for our short stay moorings will be in place again, meaning that people currently moored on short stay moorings will need to resume continuous cruising or return to their permanent mooring.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update-19-may-2020

  • Social Distancing and WHO – 1m vs 2m - One issue that has come to the fore recently is the issue of appropriate social distancing. In the UK the requirement is 2m between individuals whereas the WHO guidance is 1m and in countries like Germany and Australia the distance is 1.5m. The reason this distance is important for the tourism industry is because of a simple mathematical rule – if you halve the distance between people, the number of people you can fit in any given space increases four-fold. For example, under 2m distancing, only 25 people can fit in a 10m by 10m pub. However, under 1m distancing, 100 people can fit in the same space. This has significant implications on the financial viability of businesses when they are able to reopen.

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

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TIER UPDATE 20 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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

Delta Airlines will resume flights between the US and the UK on 21 May, flying three weekly trips between Detroit and London Heathrow. The routes will carry cargo, but are also open to passengers.

 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has extended the suspension of all sailings through 31 July across its three brands – Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.

  • 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.

TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 20 MAY

A quick one today which includes further Guidance from the Welsh Assembly on their approach to reopening the economy which has some significant differences to the approach in England

  • Maximum Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme increases from £50 million to £200 million

The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million on 26th May to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs. The full details of this will be available on that date.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/larger-businesses-to-benefit-from-loans-of-up-to-200-million

  • Extra £20m for Fast Start Competition

The Government has announced that it is going to allocate an additional £20m to the Fast Start Competition which provides grants of up to £50,000  to technology and research-focussed businesses to develop new ways of working and help build resilience in industries impacted by Coronavirus. This could be helpful for tourism businesses further developing online tools such as that have been developed through the Discover England Fund.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/40m-boost-for-cutting-edge-start-ups

  • Wales Reopening – Risk-based Approach

We have continued to put the case to Government that it should adopt a more risk-based approach to reopening businesses. For example, there is no scientific reason why it is safe to picnic in local parks now but unsafe to picnic in botanical gardens or the grounds of historic houses until 4th July. In this vein, it is heartening to see that the Welsh Assembly is using this approach in their new document (attached) on restarting their economy.

In this they outline their three stage approach to reopening – Red, Amber and Green – where accommodation that does not use shared facilities is placed in the Amber group as lower risk and therefore able to open sooner than customer contact industries where physical distancing is more difficult.

Also attached is a letter from the BHHPA based on this urging for a phased reopening based on risk.

  • UK News Update

For interest, I’ve attached a copy of a weekly update from News UK. While the first slides are just promoting their products, the last four slides will be of interest as they look a the stas of what people are searching on and reading regarding tourism and what the public’s concerns are regarding Coronavirus and travel.

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TIER UPDATE 19 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES 19 MAY

The main item today is the BEIS publishing generic basic guidance on working safely in any environment after concerns that many people were returning to work in environments there were not adequately covered by the existing sector based specific advice.

 

  • 5 Steps to Working Safely

In addition to the eight guidance documents that it has published so far regarding safe working in different environments, BEIS has published the following 5 Steps to Working Safety that are applicable to all working environments.

 

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consulting with your workers or trade unions
  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website

 

2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers

 

3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing

 

4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoiding sharing workstations
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

 

5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • staggering arrival and departure times
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

Advice for People Giving up their Income to Support their Business or Donate to Charity

With many businesses and self-employed people looking at giving up their income in order to keep a business solvent, the Government has issued a news notice highlighting the process that employers and employees have to go through to do this within the existing tax rules.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/check-the-tax-rules-on-waiving-your-income-or-donating-to-charity

  • Latest Data on Support Schemes

The Government produces weekly updates on the uptake of the support mechanisms that it has put in place for businesses. I’ve attached a copy of this week’s report, the highlights of which are:

    • 8 million jobs have now been furloughed with £11.1 billion claimed so far through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
    • 2 million Self-employment Income Support (SEISS) claims have been submitted worth £6.1 billion
    • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has seen 464,393 approved loans so far worth £14.18 billion
    • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has seen 40,564 loans worth £7.25 billion approved so far
    • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) has seen 86 approved loans totalling £0.59 billion

If you want to check the latest statistics in the future, there are all held on the following site

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmrc-coronavirus-covid-19-statistics

  • Taxable Expenses for Employees Working From Home

HMRC has updated it’s guidance for businesses on the treatment of expenses incurred by staff working at home to include the following section

Reimbursing expenses for office equipment your employee has bought

If your employee needs to purchase home office equipment to enable them to work from home, they will need to discuss this with you in advance.

If you reimburse your employee the actual costs of the purchase, then this is non-taxable provided there is no significant private use.

If you do not reimburse your employee, then they can claim tax relief for these purchases on their tax return or P87. They’ll need to keep records of their purchase and claim for the exact  amount.

The full guidance is available on the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-expenses-are-taxable-if-your-employee-works-from-home-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme – Online on 26th May

The Government has announced that a new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. Employers will be able to make their claims online and will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-statutory-sick-pay-rebate-scheme-set-to-launch

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TIER UPDATE 18 MAY

Competitor analysis report

Key take outs include:

  • A new hygiene label has been launched in Spain and plans for a French one were announced, it will be included as part of the French Government’s official campaign.
  • The European Commission’s Tourism and Transport package which aims to create a harmonised approach among member states includes recommended measures for the road to recovery to benefit both businesses and consumers incl., aid with liquidity particularly for small businesses, cross-border functionality of tracing apps, measures to restore free movement, and guidelines for transport and safe operations of tourism businesses. Also plans for a pan-European campaign to present it as the number one tourism destination, advocacy and guidelines for a new voucher system to become a more attractive solution than refunds (but on voluntary basis).
  • Some sizeable tourism aid packages were launched this week:
    • France launched a Tourism Plan which includes €18bn (£16bn) worth of support for tourism covering help for businesses, tax relief, investment, demand stimulus, and actions for Atout France incl. a domestic campaign.
    • Italy passed the “Relaunch decree” with direct and indirect measures worth €5bn (£4.46bn) to the tourism and culture sector incl. the domestic holiday demand stimulus.
    • New Zealand announced a NZ$400m (£196m) Tourism Recovery Fund with a tourism transitions programme, a strategic tourism assets protection programme, the setup of a Tourism Recovery Ministers Group and a New Zealand Futures Tourism Taskforce
    • Denmark announced an additional DKK725m (£85m) of funding for the travel industry.
  • Several countries now have demand stimulus packages that they distribute to citizens to spend with some using it on gastronomy like France and Austria or on accommodation like Italy.
  • Iceland plans to be among the first countries to welcome foreign tourists back from 15 June 2020, albeit subject to strict conditions.

Daily Government press briefing

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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 18 MAY

  • £35m to Protect Freight Routes - The government has signed agreements with six operators to protect 16 routes covering the Channel, the Short Strait, the North Sea and routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland which were previously at risk of closure due to a drop in demand as a result of coronavirus. They will now be designated as Public Service Obligation routes for a period of up to 9 weeks to prevent disruption to the flow of goods. 
  • Tourism Scenario and Intervention Modelling - DCMS is currently tendering a £100,000 research project looking at the impact of Coronavirus on the UK tourism industry under different scenarios and the impact of various possible Government intervention mechanisms. The contract period is through to June 2021, although it would be hoped that the results of the research would be available before then in order to best help support tourism businesses.

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/dec63c7b-67bb-4ebb-877c-048171f8f593?origin=SearchResults&p=1

  • Change to Business Support Helpline - The number of the Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Helpline that provide advice to businesses on what support mechanisms are available has changed to 0800 998 1098. In addition to the helpline there is also a webchat service that is available on the following link https://secure.livechatinc.com/licence/10701242/v2/open_chat.cgi?groups=0

Both the helpline and webchat are open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

  •  New Taskforce Developing Plan to Reopen Places of Worship - The first meeting of this Taskforce has been held, at which it was agreed to develop a plan to enable the phased and safe reopening of places of worship subject to scientific advice. At the moment Places of worship are scheduled to reopen from 4 July (similar to tourism and hospitality businesses) but it is unclear at this stage as to whether the work that is being undertaken by this group in concentrating on worshippers or includes the ability for people to visit church and cathedrals.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-taskforce-developing-plan-to-reopen-places-of-worship  

  • Booking A Charter Flight - The Government has updated it’s advice and the booking process to people trying to book a charter flight in order to return to the UK as a result of Coronavirus.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-special-charter-flights-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

  • COVID-19 Detection Dogs Trial Launches - An interesting development over the weekend was the launch of a trial to see if sniffer dogs could be used to detect people suffering from the virus. While this does seem a bit left-field Medical Detection Dogs have already successfully trained dogs to detect the odour of many different diseases in humans, such as cancer, malaria and Parkinson’s disease. This research opens the possibility of maybe being able to use specially trained dogs in locations such as airports in future.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-detection-dogs-trial-launches

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TIER UPDATE 15 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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

Wales roadmap published – Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation

  • A traffic light roadmap has been published by the Welsh Government today detailing how Wales could exit the coronavirus lockdown.
  • The document makes clear that, given the importance of limiting social contact, decisions will need to be made on prioritisation
  • No specific dates are mentioned in the document.
  • Under current lockdown rules, people in Wales have to stay at home and maintain contact only within households, with limited exceptions.
  • The Welsh Government has said they will amend restrictions only when they are satisfied a change will not threaten public health.
  • They will also be consulting with partners over the next 10 days on developing guidance. Culture and Tourism is listed as one area of consultation.
  • There is a traffic light system for working or running a business and relaxing and special occasions.

Travel updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – 15 MAY

There’s a range of issues today including the realisation that the Discretionary Fund may not be as supportive to some tourism businesses as envisaged.

  • Problem with Discretional Fund - A significant problem has been discovered with the new £617m Discretionary Fund that was launched yesterday that will impact a number of small businesses. The Guidance on the eligibility for the fund states that this grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes including the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

What this means is that sole traders that either pay council tax such as B&Bs, operate without premises, or operate from premises where the rates are paid by someone else, will not be eligible for this Fund because they are eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme. The net result being that sole traders with low levels of profitability end up with little support through the SEISS and no support through the Discretionary Fund.

Conversely, self-catering operators, people who have set themselves up as registered businesses and those people whose income from their businesses is less than 50% of their total income, will be eligible provided that they don’t pay business rates.

  • Quarantining - It seems that the Government’s proposals for quarantining people coming to the UK will be announced on Monday rather than today as we were originally informed. It is also notable that the Government seems to be back-tracking on last week’s announcement that the quarantine would not apply to travel between the UK and France with a spokeperson from No 10 saying that the exemption will be limited to people in key professions such as truck drivers and scientists.
  • Claiming Statutory Sick Pay - The online service for reclaiming SSP is not available yet but HMRC have announced that businesses will need their Government Gateway user ID to file a claim. Businesses will also need to enrol for the PAYE Online service Businesses that use an agent to complete their PAYE online for you will be able to use their agent to file a claim. The HMRC have also said that an alternative way to claim will be available that claim for those unable to use the online system.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Road and Rail Investment - The Government has announced £1.7 billion of investment to improve journeys for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers across England through repairs to local roads and is fast tracking £175 m of repair works while fewer passengers are using transport system. I’m not sure if this is simply a reannouncement of the Budget plans to invest in road and rail services or in addition to that funding commitment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-billion-pound-road-and-railway-investment-to-put-nation-on-path-to-recovery

At the same time the Government has also published a vision document regarding the installation of  high powered fast recharging points able to will deliver around 120-145 miles of range in just 15 minutes for electric vehicles The vision is for:

  • At least 6 high powered, open access chargepoints at motorway service areas in England by 2023
  • Around 2,500 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads by 2030
  • 6,000 high powered chargepoints across England’s motorways and major A roads by 2035.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-vision-for-the-rapid-chargepoint-network-in-england

  • Shortage Occupation List review - This is not Coronavirus related, and it seems a bit odd to be talking about skills shortages in the sector while about 80% of employees are furloughed, but as you will know, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was commissioned in March to conduct a review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), with a specific focus on the expansion of the SOL to cover job roles at RQF levels 3-5. The MAC has now launched the call for evidence here. It will be open for six weeks and closes on 24th June 2020.

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TIER UPDATE 14 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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 the 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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UDPATE 13MAY (Without duplication)

  • Trade Credit Insurance guarantee - Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government in the form of a guarantee. The plan is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of this month and that it will provisionally last until the end of the year. After that there will be a review of the TCI market to ensure it can continue to support businesses.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-support-businesses-through-trade-credit-insurance-guarantee

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TIER UPDATE 13 MAY

Daily Government press briefing

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.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE (duplication with TIER removed)

  • Tourism Society Call for Leadership and Co-ordination - The Tourism Society has published a paper (attached) calling for leadership and coordination for tourism in England through and beyond Covid-19. The key action points for Government are to:
  1. Reinforce and reorientate the leadership role of VisitEngland
  2. Strengthen the resilience and capacity of DMOs
  3. Establish a functioning network for coordination
  4. Develop a clear tourism strategy for England
  5. Review and consolidate delivery structures 
  • Guidance on Planning - MHCLG has published an update on planning matters, including temporary measures to make it easier to operate the planning system.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-update  

  • Guidance on Holiday Pay and Entitlement - BEIS has produced new guidance on how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard  holiday entitlement and pay guidance. The Guidance is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who:
  • continue to work
  • have been placed on furlough as part of the Job Retention Scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/holiday-entitlement-and-pay-during-coronavirus-covid-19

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TIER UPDATE 12 MAY 

Government briefings on 12 May

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.

 VisitBritain competitor analysis report

 New information and highlights include:

  • Many countries have further refined their support for the tourism sector with additional aid packages and tax relief as they continue particularly with liquidity due to the lack of revenue. Many of these measures are also due to the fact that the sector will not be able to fully reopen for a while – where it can this is most often at reduced capacity. Some have announced specific measures tailored to gastronomy (e.g. Austria, and Germany)
  • More destinations plan to or have started to reopen their tourism sector, they have issued guidelines for hygiene, social distancing and other safe operations practices. More destinations have announced safety/hygiene labels including Brazil and Turkey.
  • Aid for the sector now also considers the adaptation of the businesses to the new rules which is acknowledged e.g. in the new draft decree of the Italian government.
  • Domestic demand stimulus has become an increasing theme, some in the form of vouchers and tax incentives e.g. in Japan and Austria, but is also considered in the USA. Some destinations have also opted to buy up airline tickets to inject liquidity to their home airlines, but also with a view to giving away tickets in campaigns and making them particularly affordable as in the case of Hong Kong.
  • There is also more investment in domestic and international marketing with €30m for tourism promotion in Italy in the draft decree, and a sizeable new budget announced in Japan, to just name a few. The Swiss Parliament has also approved Switzerland Tourism’s ask of CHF40m.
  • The Baltics are among the first to have created a “tourism bubble” with its citizens able to freely travel between Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia

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.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UDPATED (DUPLICATION REMOVED)

  • Guidance for Employers to Help Workplaces Operate Safely - The Government has Published guidelines to make workplaces as safe as possible and give people confidence to go back to work. In addition, up to an extra £14 million made available for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment to handle inquiries. In addition, the guidance provides employers with a downloadable notice businesses should display to show people they have followed the guidance. There are eight sets of guidance for people working in different settings including outdoor work, offices and restaurants providing takeaways and deliveries. The Five Key principles of all the guidance are:
  1. Work from home, if you can
  2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
  5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

  • DCMS Survey on Impact - This survey is being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in DCMS sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. Friday 15th May.

https://dcms.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9oXRfgNvZZUn3gh 

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers - The Government has published a revised version of their step by step guide for employers on how to apply for support that is, apparently, clearer and includes recent additions to the process. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-step-by-step-guide-for-employers

  • NewsCorp Webinar on the Future of Tourism - This is an interesting one for businesses This Thursday (14th May) NewsCorp’s travel editors, Duncan Craig, Ed Grenby and Lisa Minot, will be discussing how they have adapted the editorial content of News Corp publications to current reader demands during lockdown and what they see the future holding for the industry.

The webinar will be taking place from 12.00-12.45 and is free to join, simply register at the link below. https://newscommercial.co.uk/news-live/events/adapting-as-a-travel-editor/  

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Enigma Research Study ‘2020 Return to Live Events Survey’, supported by SportsTravel, Northstar Meetings Group, the International Festivals and Events Association, the International Association of Fairs & Exhibitions, and Exhibitor Media Group strongly demonstrates that people are eager to return to live events, particularly if new health measures have been implemented. The survey of 2,000 event-goers concluded that 94 percent of respondents specifically miss attending large conferences and trade shows. Respondents representing all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, and each had attended a live event, including sporting events, festivals, fairs and large business events, in the past two years. https://www.northstarmeetingsgroup.com/uploadedFiles/2020-Return-Live-Events-Survey-Enigma.pdf

Update from TIER on 11 May

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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES 11 May SNAPSHOT

  • Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus - The Government has posted new videos for business operators regarding the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and helping employers support employees. The following link is to all the videos and webinars that are available. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-is-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19#history 

  • Reallocating Road Space in Response to COVID-19 - The Government has issued Statutory guidance to Local authorities in areas with high levels of public transport use should take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling, both to encourage active travel and to enable social distancing during restart. This is part of the announcement of £2bn in funding package to create new cycling and walking routes. The package also includes emergency bike lanes, trials of rental e-scooters being brought forward and work with leading tech developers to reduce crowding on public transport

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/2-billion-package-to-create-new-era-for-cycling-and-walking 

  • No Quarantine Between the UK and France

The UK and French Governments have published a joint statement that no quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France and that any measures to restrict travel between the two countries will be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner. While this is being undertaken to support cross-channel trade, it does have tourism implications.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-between-the-uk-and-france-10-may-2020

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Message from TIER Message from TIER on 10 May following Prime Minister's announcement

In the Prime Minister’s statement, he outlined the roadmap for the lifting lockdown restrictions. More details on the recovery plan will be set out in parliament tomorrow, and he will face questions in tomorrow’s evening press conference. The plan is conditional on the five tests being met and he has consulted “across the political spectrum and across all four nations of the UK”. As prime minister of the United Kingdom – Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, he said he believed there is a strong resolve to defeat this together, and today a general consensus was met today on this conditional plan.

  • Establishing a new COVID-19 alert system, based on the R (rate of infections). There will be 5 alert levels (1 being no longer present, 5 being the overwhelming of the NHS), we are currently in level 4, moving towards 3.
  • We must reverse the epidemics in care homes and the NHS, and have a world beating system to test, track and trace the virus. In time the system will be able to detect local flare ups and a national system.
  • We have not yet fulfilled all conditions, so lockdown will not be ended but they will be modified by a change of emphasis.
  • From tomorrow, anyone who can work from home should continue to do so. For those who physically cannot work from home, they should be actively encouraged to go to work, e.g. in construction and manufacturing, but avoid public transport where possible. Walking and cycling is being encouraged. New guidance for employers will be issued to make sure they’re ‘COVID secure’.
  • From Wednesday, rules around exercise will also be relaxed enabling people to sit in their local parks, drive to other destinations or play sports with those in their household. Social distancing rules must be observed
  • If people follow the rules we may be able to go further.
  • From June 1st at the earliest, we may enter phase 2. Here there will be consideration about opening schools. The Government will shortly be setting out detailed guidance on how to make it work in schools and shops and on transport.
  • Step 3, subject to scientific advice, in July, parts of the hospitality industry and other public places may be able to open, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing. .
  • All of this is conditional on the ability for us to follow the advice, and keep the R down. The government will not hesitate to put on the brakes if necessary.
  • The Prime Minister announced that the Government was serving notice that it will “soon be time” to impose a 14-day quarantine on people coming into this country by air, because the number of infection are now down "that this measure will now be effective".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjvRhrJqNHI

Nicola Sturgeon’s press conference took place earlier today. A summary is below:

  • She outlined that the lockdown in Scotland remains in place. The R number is still too high for any significant change to be safe at this stage.
  • The Scottish Government have confirmed a change to the guidance. Presently you’re only allowed to exercise once a day, but that once a day limit has now been lifted. This will not apply if you or someone in your family have symptoms or have received a letter. You must remain close to your home, and stay 2m away from everyone, these rules to not extend to sunbathing, meeting friends etc.
  • All other basic rules of lockdown remain the same.
  • They do not YET want to see businesses opening up, people going back to work, or children returning to school. They do not expect children to return as early as the 1st of June.
  • Sturgeon predicts that any differences between Scotland and the PM’s changes later in the evening will be small.
  • Over the coming week they will assess further whether they can extend the range, whether garden centres or outdoor work can safely resume. They will be working with councils on waste and recycling centres. An update will follow on this next weekend.
  • Working with businesses to produce guidance, sector by sector, early priority to construction, manufacturing and retail.
  • Sturgeon backs a 14 day quarantine for those arriving in the UK.
  • On cooperation between the four nations, Sturgeon is committed to collaboration and alignment of messages, but accepts that the science may suggest they should move at different speeds. She called for a clarity of message from leaders.
  • Sturgeon has asked the UK Government not to deploy the new ‘stay alert’ messaging in Scotland as she believes the messaging should urge people to still stay at home.
  • Sturgeon was asked about policing at the borders to prevent day trippers if guidance diverges north/south of the border. Sturgeon reassured that police are used to policing with different rules, but confirmed that differences in this case would likely be minor.

And finally, Grant Shapps led yesterday’s press conference alongside Jonathan Van Tam, which focused on the transport infrastructure. Shapps outlined a programme to help transform the transport network ahead of the recovery stage.

  • Even with public transport returning to a full service, taking into account the 2m social distancing rule there would only be effective capacity for 1 in 10.
  • Shapps suggested that these changes could help get the public fitter - through active travel (cycling, walking, running).
  • Announcing £2bn package to put cycling and walking at the heart of public transport. Bring forward a national cycling plan for introduction in early June to help double cycling and increase walking by 2025.
  • Emergency interventions including pop-up cycle lanes, cycle and bus only streets.
  • Publishing statutory guidance to make councils in England to cater for increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The cycle to work scheme already helps employees access bikes. The Government will work with employers to encourage uptake.
  • Over the next few months, further measures will be introduced including tough standards for cycling infrastructure, GPs will be able to prescribe cycling to help get us fitter, legal changes to protect vulnerable road users, and a zero emissions city (with its city centre restricted to electric vehicles and bokes only).
  • Making streets safe for cycling is good for the economy and environment.
  • Fast track trials of e-scooters.
  • The car industry has been hit by the crisis, but electric vehicles are still selling, therefore £10m has been announced for EV charging points to encourage further sales of electric cars.
  • Shapps outlined how the UK would take advantage of live transport data to help people avoid crowded routes and stagger journeys. A roundtable has been chaired with citymapper and google to look into this.
  • He admitted that cars will still remain a vital transport option for many, he said that there would be further announcements over the coming days. While the transport network has been quiet they have been making improvements.
  • There will need to be a change in behaviour in our use in public transport in order to help manage capacity.
  • The slide deck is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/slides-and-datasets-to-accompany-coronavirus-press-conferences

 

The Q&A

  • There were further questions about the effect on the airline industry of these rumoured plans. Grants said that aviation was one of the most affected and will see a long recovery. He said that he and the Chancellor have approached the aviation sector and said that if financial measures are not enough there are bespoke support packages available.
  • Some further questions on people’s ability to commute if cycling isn’t an option. Shapps said that there would be further announcements on roads etc. A 5% increase in cycling would mean 8m fewer car journeys, 9m fewer rail journeys and 13m fewer bus journeys.
  • LBC asked the transport secretary to provide some guidance on foreign travel, “should people start cancelling trips?” Shapps said that at the moment guidance meant that we cannot travel domestically (although this may change based on updated guidance from the PM tomorrow/the future), in terms of international travel the FCO is advising against all travel currently. He said it’s difficult to give blanket advice not knowing the future medical advice.

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Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 updates 7 May

Daily Government press briefing

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

yesenlightened 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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 7 MAY

  • Check if You Can Get Tax-Free Childcare and 30 Hours Free Childcare - Following on from yesterday’s announcement, the Government has produced guidance on whether employees or the self-employed are entitled to this benefit. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-get-tax-free-childcare-and-30-hours-free-childcare-during-coronavirus-covid-19 

  • Coronavirus Act 2020: Status Table - The Government has published a handy guide as to the status of various provisions of the Coronavirus Act. This will be particularly useful for tracking the status of the provisions as the lock-down ends and the process of reopening the country starts. For example it tracks powers to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises, tax and pension provisions and the protection of business tenancies. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-2020-status/coronavirus-act-2020-status-table  

  • Leaving Lockdown Together - The Welsh Secretary has penned an article on the importance of all parts of the UK leaving lock-down together rather than having a regional or national approach. This has obviously been done to convey the official view of Government rather than simply being the musings of the Welsh Secretary so read the article as a policy document. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/leaving-lockdown-together-why-we-are-better-united-against-coronavirus

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yes  enlightened  M&IT Artitcle: Associations will lead us out of lockdown, says Jennifer Jenkins - 05.05.20

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Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 6  May

Daily Government press briefing

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
  • The opening remarks from the Secretary of State, formally launching trade agreement negotiations between the UK and the U.S.
  • A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus.
  • There is no evidence of a link between 5G and coronavirus. These theories have been rejected by scientific experts in the World Health Organisation and Full Fact, a UK-based independent fact checking charity.

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

TOURISM ALLIANCE UDPATE 6 May (duplication removed) 

The main item today is guidance on the treatment of expenses related to employees working at home. There are also a couple of very quick surveys (there is a bit of survey overload going on at the moment but there is a lot going on so it is important to feed in wherever possible) and a CBI seminar for SMEs.

  • How to Treat Certain Expenses and Benefits Provided to Employees During Coronavirus

HMRC has produced guidance on the treatment of taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees because of coronavirus and how to report them. The guidance covers:

    • Living accommodation
    • Volunteer fuel and mileage costs
    • Paying or refunding transport costs
    • Free or subsidised meals
    • Company car ‘availability’
    • Salary sacrifice
    • Employer provided loans
    • Employees working from home

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-treat-certain-expenses-and-benefits-provided-to-employees-during-coronavirus-covid-19

  • PPE Requirements in Your Sector

CBI are compiling data on the PPE requirements of different businesses so that it can feed this into Government and is asking Tourism Alliance members to complete the following the survey on behalf of your members/sector. Please estimate an answer where you do not have available information.

The survey needs to be completed by Wednesday 13th and is accessed through this link  

  • CBI Webinar for SMEs

The CBI is also undertaking a webinar to provide information and advice targeted to SMEs on May 11th (3:30pm)

The webinar will  include:

    • Latest update on finance issues for SMEs - loans and business grants
    • Guidance on how to prepare successful loan applications, including what supporting information to provide, how to evidence profitability, evidencing the impact of the coronavirus on profitability and the timelines for response and receiving funds
    • Guidance on the key employment issues.

You can sign-up on the following link

https://www.cbi.org.uk/events/policy-briefing-webinar-on-supporting-sme-businesses-impacted-by-coronavirus-5/?utm_campaign=20200505_Coronavirus%20Bulletin_Members&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

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Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 5 May

Daily Government press briefing

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.

Update 5th May from Tourism Alliance 

There’s been a little bit of a lull in Government announcements on Coronavirus today, although that will probably change come Thursday we expect to receive details on the Government’s roadmap to reopening the economy.

  • Educational Travel Guidance Update - The Government has updated its guidance on educational travel – although this update is really only to advise British nationals against all non-essential international travel for an indefinite period, which is hardly new.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice-for-educational-settings/coronavirus-travel-guidance-for-educational-settings

  • BEIS Coronavirus Business Blog - This has been going for a little while but BEIS’s Coronavirus Business Blog provides case studies from various businesses regarding how they have accessed and used Government support to help their business. You can also sign-up for their Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin whether they will email you updates.

https://businesssupport.blog.gov.uk/

  • Workers Still Eligible for Child Support - The Government has announced that any working parent usually eligible for 30 hours free childcare or Tax-Free Childcare will remain eligible if they fall below the minimum income requirement due to COVID-19. Subject to Parliamentary approval, parents who are critical workers will also remain eligible for these entitlements if their income has increased over the maximum threshold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

              https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eligibility-for-government-childcare-offers-protected

The guidance on critical workers includes those in food preparation and delivery as well as those in the passenger transport sectors – I’m not sure yet as to whether it extends to those providing accommodation to critical workers or the homeless.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

  • HMRC’s Digital Assistant - HMRC’s digital Assistant is now able to answer questions on Coronavirus support schemes for businesses and the self-employed.

htps://www.tax.service.gov.uk/ask-hmrc/virtual-assistant/support-for-coronavirus?VA=GOVUK&_ga=2.73821266.1548711370.1588580440-1499232317.1579698125

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Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 4 May

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.

 

Extract from the Tourism Alliance Update 4th May: 

  • 85 MPs write to Chancellor Demanding Further Tourism Support - 85 MPs have written a joint letter to the Chancellor (attached) to express their concern that more needs to be done to support tourism businesses. Specifically they ask that:
    • Business rates relief should be extended up to £150,000
    • The Furlough Scheme should be extended beyond the lock-down
    • The Furlough Scheme needs to be more flexible
    • VAT rebates should be introduced
    • Tourism VAT should be cut to 5%
    • Tailored support should be available to tourism businesses that are currently missing out.
  •  
  • WTTC Vision & Recommendations for Travel & Tourism Recovery - The WTTC has outlined a plan for what the “new normal” will look like for global tourism as countries begin to end their COVID-19 lockdowns and ease travel restrictions. The plan includes critical steps and coordinated actions, including new standards and protocols, which offer a safe and responsible road to recovery for the global Travel & Tourism sector as consumers start planning trips again.
    • Safe and Seamless Traveller Experience
    • Mapping Signposts to Recovery
    • Global Standards for the New Normal
    • Sharing Experiences and Lessons Learnt

https://wttc.org/en-gb/COVID-19/Recovery-Post-COVID-19

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enlightened2nd May 12.20 pm  Government update 

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

See link here:  Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

1st May - TIER 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

 

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

Tourism Alliance Update 1st May

The big item today is that the FCA is going to seek legal clarity on business Interruption insurance issues that businesses have encountered.

  • FCA Seeks Legal Clarity on Business Interruption Insurance - The FCA has announced it intends to seek legal clarity on business interruption insurance to resolve doubt for businesses who are facing uncertainty on their claims. At the same time it is also producing new guidance for insurance firms, expecting them to consider whether and how coronavirus may have materially affected the value of their insurance products. The effects of coronavirus may mean that:
    • Firms are no longer able to provide expected contractual benefits, either in the expected form, to the expected timeframe, or at all. For example, where fulfilling claims involves service providers whose movements are restricted because of lockdown (e.g. boiler servicing), or some medical covers where customers cannot access certain benefits.
    • Underlying insured events can no longer happen for any holders of the policy eg, due to Government lockdown or other circumstances connected with coronavirus, resulting in a fundamental change in risk for the firm.  For example, public liability insurances for businesses that are unable to open, such as hairdressers, bars and restaurants.

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-seeks-legal-clarity-business-interruption-insurance

  • Funding for Northern Ireland Aviation Routes - The Government has announced a £5.7bn package to support connectivity to Northern Ireland. The support includes funding for:
    • Maintaining two passenger services (Derry-Londonderry to London and Belfast to London)
    • BA and Aer Lingus routes between Belfast and London
    • Services at Belfast City Airport
    • Loganair to continue operating the Derry-Londonderry to London route
    • Services at City of Derry Airport

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-safeguard-vital-great-britain-northern-ireland-air-links

  • Updated FAQ on Coronavirus - The Government has updated it’s FAQ on Coronavirus does and don’t to include new PHE information and advice. While targeted at individuals rather than businesses, it is nonetheless a handy guide to some of the more commonly asked questions that staff may have.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

  • Updated Guidance on Calculating Self-Employment Support - HMRC has updated the guidance to provide additional examples of how to calculate total income and trading profits for different trading circumstances, and examples have been added to determine partnership eligibility and how much grant you will get.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-hmrc-works-out-total-income-and-trading-profits-for-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme#history

  • Extension of Testing to Council Staff - The Government has announced the extension of testing to some council staff – however, at this stage it does not include tourism/DMO employees. Although the scheme should be expanded soon, at the moment availability is restricted to:
    • Social care staff such as social and care workers – with social care workers in care homes able to get tested with or without symptoms
    • Those delivering essential public services, such as benefits payments
    • Those working with vulnerable children and adults, victims of domestic abuse, homeless people and rough sleepers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/testing-available-for-council-workers

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30th April - TIER 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.

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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.

CMA's advice on consumer contracts, cancellation and refunds can be found here

 Other Government updates

 Industry updates

30th April - Tourism Alliance update

  • Business Rates Support for All Leisure Businesses - Following MHCLG push back on the guidance that we developed with the LGA to support tourism businesses in being eligible for Business Rates Relief, we have sent this letter to the Chancellor and associated press release asking that the MHCLG guidance be amended to include all leisure businesses in accordance with the Government’s intention. 
  • Support for British Residents Trapped Overseas - The Government has published two sets of guidance – one on health support and one on financial support – for people trapped overseas and not able to get home. This includes measures such as extending insurance policies by 60 days and emergency repatriation loans.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/financial-support-for-when-you-are-unable-to-return-to-the-uk-during-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-support-for-when-you-are-unable-to-return-to-the-uk-during-coronavirus-covid-19  

  • DCMS Employment Estimates - These figures may seem a bit like ancient history at the moment but they are important in terms of the Government’s perception of tourism industry and  the need for support measures to restart tourism when the lock-down ends.

There latest figures, which are the provisional estimates for 2019 suggest that there were 1.4 million jobs in the Tourism sector, an increase of 2.6% since 2018. The Tourism estimate is based on the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) for 2017 and highlights a long standing problem with the TSA formulae. We know from the IPS, GBTS and Day Visitor Surveys, the revenue generated by tourism is about £145bn per annum. If there are only 1.4m FTE employees in the sector, then the revenue generated per employee has risen from £54,000 to £104,000 over the seven years since VisitBritain commissioned Deloitte to calculate this. Conversely, revenue per employee had increased in line with inflation over this period, we would expect 2.3m FTEs in the tourism industry.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dcms-sectors-economic-estimates-2019-employment/dcms-sectors-economic-estimates-2019-employment

  • Spanish Reopening Timetable - With all the discussion on restarting the industry I thought that it would be useful to show what other countries are doing. So here is Spain timetable for reopening

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29th April - TIER 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)

29th April update from Tourism Alliance

A couple of important items today regarding details on the extension of testing to workers who are not able to work from home and the extension of the deadline for written evidence to the DCMS Select Committee until 19th June 2020 (so if you haven’t been able to send me through issues that you would like incorporated in the Tourism Alliance submission, there is still time to do so).  

  • Further Expansion of Access to Coronavirus Testing - The Government has announced that anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either has to leave home to go to work or is aged 65 and over will now be able to get tested, as well as any symptomatic members of their household. This means that employee that your members have who is not able to work at home can book a test if they are showing symptoms of Coronavirus. Further information, including how to book a test, are included in the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested 

  • Extension to DCMS Select Committee Inquiry (And Almost All Government Consultations) - The DCMS Select Committee has announced that the deadline for written evidence for their inquiry on the Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS sectors has been extended to Friday 19 June 2020 due to the pressures on businesses and trade associations at this time. In addition, the deadlines for submissions on almost all other Government consultations have been extended for the same reason. Here’s a link were you can check the new submission deadline on any consultation that you are interested in. 

https://www.gov.uk/search/policy-papers-and-consultations 

  • Webinar with Minister - For those of you that were not able to join UKinbound’s webinar with the Minister yesterday, here is a link to a recording of it  

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/38suCLzP9GVJaYHsuV3Oa6FmQa2-X6a80CQb__oJlDvTs9Ii1_o1B-DawS6dAQ 

  • Direction to Implement Support Fund for Retail, Leisure and Hospitality - Here is an interesting exchange of letters between the BEIS Permanent Secretary and the Business Secretary regarding the value for money of the Grant Funding that was made available for Hospitality and Leisure Businesses 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-ministerial-direction-for-the-support-fund-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-businesses

  • Guidance for Households - The Government has produced new guidance for households with grandparents, parents and children living together where someone is at increased risk or has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. While this is not directly applicable to tourism businesses, it is a valuable resource that businesses should share with their employees in order to help care for them. 

This guidance, as well as a range of other guidance and information, is available on the following link - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

29th April

  • COVID-19: Cleaning of Non-Healthcare Settings

The Government has issued revised guidance for businesses on how to safety clean areas in non-healthcare settings such as:

    • workplaces
    • offices
    • waiting rooms
    • hotel rooms
    • student accommodation

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

28th April - TIER 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

28th April - A letter to the industry from Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston  MP

INT2020/05960/DC
28 April 2020

Dear all,

The Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades – and this country is not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this disease.
During this challenging time, I recognise that the necessary actions we have taken asking people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives have caused disruption to businesses, jobs and the economy.

And that’s why the Government has produced an unprecedented programme of support for workers, businesses and charities.(See below for clarification of available support) 

I am writing to set out details of how the Government is supporting the tourism sector, and to highlight programmes that you may want to point any local organisations towards.
The Government will continue to work with business in these sectors through this time and as we move towards a recovery.

I would welcome further feedback and insight from stakeholders to help us best support businesses across the country - if you wish to raise points please contact my team, or officials at tourismheritagecovid@culture.gov.uk.
Nigel Huddleston MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage

Access to Treasury financial support

My officials are working closely with our sectors, both representative bodies and also individual organisations, to ensure that all businesses and individuals can access the support they need. Key measures include:
●    Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 19 and available for at least three months, with the first grants to be paid within weeks.
●    Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to help eligible freelance workers receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months.  Those eligible will receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the three years up to 2018/19.
●    Deferral of the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June - representing a £30bn injection into the economy.
●    £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses. The Chancellor has extended the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme so that all viable small and large businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.
●    Grant schemes - Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for a £25,000 cash grant per property, for each property that has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. These businesses will also have a business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year.
●    HMT Future Fund - A package of measures to support pre-revenue firms such as innovative and competitive companies in the tech and creative sectors. These bridging loans, as well as extra support from Innovate UK and the British Business Bank, will bring much-needed aid to businesses across DCMS sectors.

Further funding and support for DCMS sectors

In addition to the above, we have worked with our arms length bodies that are themselves establishing a range of measures to help our sectors:

●    Tourism and hospitality - A £1.3m emergency fund to support local tourism bodies. Destination Management Organisations at risk of closure due to the Coronavirus pandemic will receive financial support. The funding, administered by VisitEngland, is available to any at-risk DMO in England which usually receives at least 50% of its income from commercial sources, and will be used to cover operating costs and the cost of employees that cannot be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme because they provide crucial business support services. Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors can also access the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund of up to £25,000 as outlined above.

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27th April

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

Tourism Alliance update 

  • Link to the revised LGA Guidance - https://local.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-rates-relief-hospitality-and-leisure-sector
  • G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting - Nigel Huddleston attended the G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting on Friday. The statement from the meeting included commitments 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.
    • ensuring that the introduction and removal of travel restrictions are coordinated and proportionate to the national and international situation, and ensure the safety of travellers.
    • working with international organizations, industry partners, and across governments to include travel and tourism in response and recovery programs
    • helping tourism sector businesses, especially micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), entrepreneurs, and workers to adapt and thrive in a new post-crisis era

Finally, they tasked the Tourism Working Group – ahead of the Tourism Ministers’ Meeting in Saudi Arabia on October 7th, 2020 – to identify challenges to the sector that have arisen from the crisis, to develop and share further targeted responses to stimulate recovery, and to identify ways to improve resiliency in the sector.

https://g20.org/en/media/Documents/G20_Tourism%20Ministers%20Meeting_Statement_EN.pdf

Here’s Nigel Huddleston’s Speech at the meeting

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/tourism-ministers-speech-at-the-extraordinary-g20-tourism-ministers-meeting-on-covid-19

  • Furloughed Workers to Receive Full Parental Leave Entitlement

DWP has confirmed that

    • Pay for furloughed workers taking family related leave is to be calculated based on usual earnings rather than furlough pay
    • Full earnings will apply to Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Parental Bereavement Pay and Adoption Pay

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furloughed-workers-to-receive-full-parental-leave-entitlement

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24th April

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, in the statement they outline their commitments – they said: 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.

24th April - TIER update

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. Key findings can be found here :  the survey was 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.

24th April

Results of the Business Events Recovery Sentiment Survey which HBAA members were encouraged to participate in can be found here

23rd April - TIER 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

Further updates from Tourism Alliance

A few new announcements today including how to report PAYE payments to furloughed workers and more webinars on the JRS and Self-Employment Support 

  • Protecting Businesses from Aggressive Rent Collection

The Government has introduced new protections for businesses including the temporarily voiding of statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants and changes  to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-protect-uk-high-street-from-aggressive-rent-collection-and-closure

  • Letter to Local Authorities Encouraging Continued Access to Public Spaces

MHCLG Minister, Simon Clarke MP, has written to Local Authorities encouraging them to keep public spaces open.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880824/Letter_from_Simon_Clarke_re_public_spaces_and_cemeteries.pdf

  • HMRC Guidance on Real Time PAYE Notification for Furloughed Workers

HMRC has produced guidance for businesses on how and when to report payments made to employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme using the PAYE Real Time Information system.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reporting-payments-in-paye-real-time-information-from-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

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23rd April - update from Tourism Alliance

  • Updated List of Relaxed Rules

The list of rules that have been relaxed to help businesses have been updated to include Companies House filings, Statutory Residence Test, Driver CPC requirements and navigation charges.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rules-that-have-been-relaxed-to-help-businesses-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

  • Government Webinars on Supporting Staff and the Self-Employed

The Government has updated it’s webpage on resources to help businesses to include webinars aimed at helping businesses understand the support available. Here are the links for topics that cover supporting and retaining staff and the self-employed – you can register to attend future webinars or watch recorded sessions

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 updates 22 April
Today’s daily briefing was led by Dominic Rabb (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 Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications. The scheme helps large businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to access loans of up to £25 million.

·        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:

o   case studies from businesses who have or will be accessing government support

o   posts from different people across government and business

·        The UK Government has committed an additional £95m to support the Welsh Government in tackling the coronavirus.

·        The FCO has worked with cruise operators and international governments to bring home over 19,000 British travellers who were stranded on cruise ships amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

·        A chartered flight has brought 264 British travellers home from Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Other updates

·        Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration and is seeking bankruptcy protection.

·        Marriott has launched a global Cleanliness Council to promote enhanced standards of cleanliness in the wake of the coronavirus.

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22nd April - HBAA message

Rates relief: 

We are aware that there is inconsistency in how local authorities are treating business premises for agencies. 

BVEP has reiterated that If you book accommodation then your business is no different from travel agencies/tour operators whose business types, and therefore whose premises, are included for rates relief.

You can also use  this YouTube clip of Rishi Sunak explicitly saying that event companies are eligible.  This clip has been successfully used by companies in our sector to prove their point. 

21st April TIER update

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.

o   The tool on gov.uk asks business owners and the self-employed to fill out a simple online questionnaire.

o   Users are then directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for. Read more about the tool here.

·        Data has been published on the amount of money distributed to SMEs by every local authority in England as part of two grant schemes launched to help businesses deal with coronavirus. Find out more about the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

·        UK Government confirms further £95m to support the devolved administration in Wales tackle coronavirus.

·        Economic Secretary, John Glen, has written a letter to front line staff working to provide essential banking services, he thanks all those working in front line services and reiterates the Chancellor’s message that the priority for everyone - financial services and Government – should be to ensure that the benefits of the support package are passed through to businesses and consumers.

·        An additional charter flight from the Philippines will bring home around 200 more British nationals, including from remote areas.

Other updates

·        ABTA’s Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer has written an open letter to customers of their members to explain the current situation with refunds for holidays that aren’t going ahead as planned as a result of the pandemic, and to ask for their support/understanding.

·        The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have called for support from governments for the aviation industry, to protect jobs and ensure that air services can be maintained.

·        The German Government has outlined further contact restrictions which includes no large-scale events may take place before 31 August 2020, at the earliest.

·        Oktoberfest 2020 has been cancelled

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

21st April - Advice from Tourism Alliance

·         Centre For Cities Economic Impact Analysis - The Centre for Cities has produced an analysis of which cities they believe will suffer the greatest economic impact as a result of Coronavirus. The analysis is based on a model whereby various industries are categorised on the basis of the expected impact of the disease (either "Unaffected or Higher Demand", "Affected", "Vulnerable" or "Very Vulnerable") with the impact on various cities being based on the percentage of businesses they have in each category. It is worth noting that Tourism Businesses are categorised as "Very Vulnerable" meaning that the larger the tourism industry in a particular destination, the greater the local economy will be impacted. (https://www.centreforcities.org/blog/what-does-the-covid-19-crisis-mean-for-the-economies-of-british-cities-and-large-towns/).

·         EU Regional Development, Social and Agricultural Fund Coronavirus Q&As - The Government has produced Q&As for European Regional Development, Social and Agricultural Fund delivery partners and funding recipients aimed at helping existing projects get through this period and the potential to adjust some activities in line with emerging needs. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-investment-funds-coronavirus-covid-19-response)

·         State of the Scottish Economy - The Scottish Government's Chief Economist has published a report on recent developments in the global, UK and Scottish economies and provides an analysis of the performance of, and outlook for, the Scottish economy (copy attached) . There is a section in the report on the tourism industry which notes that the impact of Coronavirus on Scotland's tourism sector has been rapid and significant with Scottish hotel occupancy and room revenues for the week beginning 22nd March being around 80 per cent lower on average compared to the previous year.

·         WTTC #TogetherinTravel Campaign - Recognising that need to get people travelling again once this pandemic is over, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a new marketing campaign, #TogetherInTravel, aimed at galvanizing the global travel and tourism community and showing how the sector is a vital part of life. The campaign encourages travellers from around the world to share the hashtag #TogetherInTravel along with a video uniting everyone. Here's a link for businesses that explains how they can get involved in the campaign and the campaign microsite itself. (www.wttc.org/togetherintravelmembers and http://www.togetherintravel.com/ )

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20th April - Advice from Tourism Alliance

  • Future Fund Preliminary Guidance - The Government has published Preliminary Guidance on the £1.25bn Future Fund which includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by Coronavirus and £750 million of grants and loans for SMEs focusing on research and development. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund. The scheme will launch in May and issue convertible loans of between £125k and £5m to eligible businesses. The criteria at the moment are:
    • your business is based in the UK
    • your business can attract the equivalent match funding from third party private investors and institutions
    • your business has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors in the last 5 years.                                                                                                        
  • Home Office Guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students - The Home Office has published new guidance to Sponsors and Migrants on the easing of some restriction on students in the UK on Tier 4 visas. These include the applying for an extension to stay in the UK as a result of Coronavirus, allowing students to undertake distance learning, the removal of restrictions on the 20h/week work limit for students working for the NHS, relaxing police registration requirements. See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879883/Tier_4_Guidance_-_Covid-19_response_170420_FINAL.pdf                                                 
  • Job Retention Scheme furloughing site service availability - It would seem that the Government is expecting a significant number of businesses to be accessing the claim application site for furloughed workers and therefore have developed a site that monitors and informs you of the availability of the application site. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-service-availability-and-issues/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-service-availability-and-issues                                                                                                                                      
  • Office for National Statistics Webinars on the International Passenger Survey - ONS have announced that the ‘Improvements to the International Passenger Survey methods’ workshop meetings that they had scheduled before Coronavirus have been reorganised as a series of three webinars.  These webinars will feature a range of presentations outlining the upcoming improvements to methodology and other work ONS is undertaking on the quality of the outputs. There will also be time to raise questions on the IPS work and discuss Covid-19 related issues.  They are an excellent opportunity for inbound and outbound businesses to hear about the improvements being made and ask any questions you have.  

The dates are:

Tuesday 28th April 2020 – 2pm – 3.30pm (predominantly England/ UK focussed

Wednesday 29th April 2020 – 1.30pm – 3pm (predominantly Scotland focussed)

Thursday 30th April 2020 – 1pm – 2.30pm (predominantly Wales focussed)

If you would like to attend any of these events, please email Daisie Hutchinson at ONS  daisie.hutchinson@ons.gov.uk stating which webinars you would like to attend.

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 20 April

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:

  • You can make a claim on the gov.uk website
  • HMRC has produced step by step guidance on how to make a claim. There is also a calculator to help you work out your claim.
  • 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.
  • Review the latest eligibility guidance here.

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

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17th April - Advice from Tourism Alliance

  • Councils Allowed to Defer Business Rates Payments to Government

MHCLG has announced that it will allow councils to defer £2.6 billion in business rates payments due to central government over the next three months in order to ease their cashflow problems. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/councils-given-greater-financial-relief-against-cash-flow-pressures

  • Updated Guidance on Reclaiming Sick Pay for Employees with Coronavirus

HMRC have updated their guidance to businesses with information about using the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to reclaim employees' Statutory Sick Pay if they are shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19IE£

TIER update 17 April

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.

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 Government updates

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

17th April:  Furlough scheme extended! https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-extends-furlough-scheme-to-end-of-june

17th April - Government advice - Help to claim � Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What you need to know - document can be found here

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16th April - Tourism Alliance update

  • Processing Refunds for Charity Events

HMRC has produced new guidance that allows charities to treat payments for cancelled events as donations provided that the person who paid for the ticket to the event:

  • does not receive a benefit as a result of their donation
  • agrees that the cost of their ticket becomes a donation
  • completes a Gift Aid declaration
  • the charity keeps an audit trail, including a copy of the agreement from an individual agreeing to the donation of the cost of the ticket

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/processing-ticket-refunds-for-cancelled-charity-events-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

  • Update on HMRC Coronavirus Helpline

HMRC has also update the information on it’s Coronavirus helpline for all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress that what to apply for support through HMRC’s Time To Pay service

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/coronavirus-covid-19-helpline

  • Paul Scully MP Working on Solution for Self-Employed

The Minister for Small Businesses, Paul Scully MP, is reported to be trying to find a mechanism to support self-employed people who have set themselves up as a registered business. As the moment, people in this situation are not eligible for self-employment support and, although they could furlough themselves, they would generally only receive £132.80 by doing so and would not be able to do any work.

If you would like to support his initiative, his twitter handle is @scullyp and his email address is  paul.scully.mp@parliament.uk

https://www.cityam.com/business-minister-working-on-scheme-to-protect-businesses-which-pay-using-dividends/

  • Hospitality and Tourism APPG Inquiry on “Pathway to Recovery”

The Hospitality and Tourism APPG is undertaking an inquiry on how to best support the industry as it seeks to recover from the Coronavirus Epidemic. The key focus of this inquiry will be assessing what is needed to get businesses in these sectors back on their feet at the appropriate time, providing forward-looking recommendations to guide Government and businesses as they move to thinking about recovery. There are four key themes:

• Government support

• Achieving business compliance

• Supply chain re-activation

• Stimulating demand for the sector

The full details of the inquiry are attached. Send me your input for the Tourism Alliance submission and also send your organisation’s submissions to Richard Clifford at rclifford@ukhospitality.org.uk  The deadline for submissions will be May 1st at 5:00pm.

  • Hardship Fund

MHCLG has sent a letter to all councils with further detail as to who is eligible for the £500m hardship fund that has been established to support household that have been severely impacted by Coronavirus

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879764/32020_-_Council_Tax_information_letter_-_16_April_2020_.pdf

16th April -  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;

o   The NHS’ ability to cope. Sufficient critical care and treatment must be available.

o   Sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates.

o   Reliable data to show that the rate of infection is decreasing.

o   PPE and testing capacity is in hand.

o   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

·        Changes announced today will help businesses avoid being struck off the Companies House register as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

·        Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has held a virtual roundtable with businesses in NI, to discuss the challenges they are facing. Attendees included Hospitality Ulster, NI Retail Consortium, and the FSB read more on gov.uk.

·        The UK and India are leading on economic G20 response to COVID-19, the agreed package includes suspension of debt from the world’s poorest countries, IMF support package, best practice sharing on containment.

·        Edinburgh Airport COVID-19 testing centre opens to Key Workers

·        Read the joint statement by UK and EU negotiators following the video conference to discuss Brexit. Negotiating rounds will take place during the weeks commencing 20April, 11May, 1June, the agenda will follow.

·        Councils will be allowed to defer £2.6 billion in business rates payments to central government, and £850 million in social care grants will be paid up front this month.

Other updates

·        The FCA published a letter yesterday from their CEO to insurance sector CEOs specifically about conduct in relation to business disruption insurance. They have set up a new small business unit to respond to issues whereby insurers aren't paying out where businesses think they should be, amongst other things. This relates to smaller companies, classed as firms with turnover of less than £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees. They can now take complaints directly to the financial ombudsman.

·        Etihad Airways is planning to operate a reduced network from 1 May 2020, their flights are currently suspended until 1 May.

·        Delta Airlines will fly with limited capacity across all routes and leave middle seats empty in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Premium Select seating from 13 April to 31 May 2020.

·        The Australian Tourism Minister Hon Simon Birmingham has recommended Australians not to book international travel amid the coronavirus crisis, saying travel bans could be in place until the end of the year and that it is difficult to predict when the travel restrictions would be removed, he urged Australians to start dreaming about a holiday within Australia first with domestic restrictions likely to be lifted first.

Situation update 16 April 2020

·        To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard - https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

·        To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard - https://covid19.who.int/

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15th April

The daily Government update on 15 April focussed on health care, you can see the full update here

In response to a question about whether exiting the lockdown would be relaxed nationally or in particular areas first, Prof McLean noted that because the lockdown was introduced in the same places at the same time, you would expect to see hospital admissions flattening off at the same time.

In Brexit related news United Kingdom and European Commission have agreed three new negotiating rounds to take place via videoconference. The dates are listed below.

  • w/c 20 April
  • w/c 11 May
  • w/c 1 June

The UK Government is reportedly not seeking an extension to the Implementation Period.

Other 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

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14th  April Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 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.

The full update can be seen here

Other Government updates

 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

 14th April  : Update from Kurt Janson , Director at Tourism Alliance

  • FAQ on Grant Funding

The Government has produced a detailed FAQ document on the Grant Fund  that answers questions about eligibility for and application of the Grant Scheme. It highlights problems that we are already aware of but there is also information about the application of the Grant where businesses have multiple properties.

  • Welsh Resilience Fund

The Welsh Assembly has developed a Resilience fund aimed at helping those business that there not eligible for the Business Rate Grant or the support for self-employed grant..This Fund has three components:

  • £100m COVID-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme administered by Development Bank of Wales (which is already fully subscribed)
  • £100m fund to support microbusinesses
  • £300m fund to support SMEs and large businesses

The £100m Fund for microbusinesses, which will provide £10,000 per business, is open to applications from 17 April 2020. While it will be of real help to tourism businesses that were not eligible to the Grant Fund, it has it own problem in that one of the criteria is that the business is VAT registered to apply.

Here’s a link that provides more details https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/support/financial-support-and-grants

  • Updated Job Retention Scheme Guidance for Employers

The Government has updated the Guidance for Employers by adding new detail on the treatment of pension payments for Furloughed workers. Specifically, you cannot claim for:

  • additional National Insurance or pension contributions you make because you chose to top up your employee’s salary
  • any pension contributions you make that are above the mandatory employer contribution

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#history

  • List of Rules That Have Been Relaxed

BEIS has produced a list of 15 rules and regulations that have been relaxed in order to support businesses impacted by Coronavirus. These range from carrying forward annual leave through to taxable expenses associated with employees working from home.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rules-that-have-been-relaxed-to-help-businesses-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

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Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update over Easter weekend

Please find a summary of Government updates from over the weekend and an update on competitor government analysis below.

  • Over the weekend the press briefings focussed mainly on health updates. On 13 April social distancing was discussed, SAGE will review the effectiveness of social distancing measures on Thursday, but there is no expectation that measures will be lifted at this point. On lifting the restrictions, Dominic Raab said that the evidence suggested that we are still going through the peak of the crisis, and that the successful social distancing measures should continue while necessary.
  • Additional funding has been provided to the Northern Irish, and Scottish Governments. This is in addition to the government backed loan scheme, and will be used to assist the devolved nations in tackling the crisis. This is part of a wider £14bn boost to the NHS and public services.
  • The CMA blocked an airline booking merger between Sabre and Farelogix.
  • A change to Universal Credit applications means that those wishing to claim during this time will no longer need to call DWP in the process. A bolstered frontline team will proactively call claimants if they need to check any of the information provided as part of the claim.
  • Additional details published on the charity support scheme. The Chancellor announced a total of £60 million in Barnett Consequentials for all the devolved administrations as a result of the £370 million funding allocated to charities in England. This is broken down as follows:
    • £30 million for the Scottish Government
    • £20 million for Welsh Government
    • £10 million for the Northern Ireland Executive
  • The DCMS Select Committee is calling for evidence from DCMS sectors affected by COVID-19. You can submit evidence until Friday 1 May 2020.
  • Over 3,000 British travellers currently stranded in India will get home on an additional 12 charter flights which have opened for bookings.

Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) is attached. There are two fact sheets one for sponsors and one for visa holders and short-term residents in the UK. 

We are also pleased to share VisitBritain’s latest update on competitor government activity (as at 8 April). It now includes insights from 28 countries - new additions are Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Iceland, Sweden and Turkey.

Of particular note:

  • The discussion around cash flow/liquidity is ongoing in many countries, especially around the legally required refunds and since the last update, Germany has worked out a voucher solution, following the example of France, Italy, Belgium etc.
  • New economic packages to weather COVID-19 impact have been announced, with Japan having presented an significant one on 7 April (worth 20% of its economic output and fiscal measures are reported to be double the amount released in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008).
  • The focus on support for the industry with a particular focus on SMEs and measures to keep people in work/compensate for losses incurred is a theme running through most responses.  Many are tweaking their initial response packages to allow for better access to grants/loans particularly for smaller and middle-sized companies, e.g. Germany has increased state guarantees to 100% for its KfW (German development bank) loans.
  • The first countries are now also looking at stimulus for domestic travel once circumstances allow for it, e.g. Icelandic adult residents will receive a combined ISK1.5bn (£8.4m) worth of travel vouchers valid for domestic travel from the government, in cooperation with the Icelandic Travel Industry Association
  • In some countries politicians are participating in webinars for the tourism industry, e.g. in Switzerland and also in Australia with the Prime Minister in attendance.

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9th April - 10.45am update form David Bennett at Elman Wall Bennett

HMRC have just announced another VAT-related Covid relaxation.  This concerns the implementation of phase 2 of MTD.  HMRC have decided that the implementation of phase 2 (the need for different parts of accounting software to be linked digitally) should be deferred for a year.  HMRC’s statement is:

We’re providing MTD businesses with more time to put in place digital links between all parts of their functional compatible software. It is important for businesses to note that despite this relaxation they still need to ensure they are keeping digital records, submitting VAT returns via an API enabled software and maintaining all digital links they currently have in place.  

All businesses now have until their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021 to put digital links in place. This is published on GOV.uk in paragraph 4.2.1.1 of VAT Notice 700/22: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-70022-making-tax-digital-for-vat/vat-notice-70022-making-tax-digital-for-vat

Also, the publication of the Commission’s TOMS evaluation consultation is now overdue but nothing has yet been published.  I understand from the Commission, however, that it is still the intention to go ahead with the consultation and not to delay it in the current situation.

8th April update from TIER

Next daily update will be on Tuesday 14th April unless there are any significant/major announcements.

Please note: 

Helping out during Coronavirus lockdown:

Several groups have been formed to encourage event industry suppliers to offer their services in support of the efforts to keep things going during the Coronavirus lock-down.  There is a real danger of fragmentation of this support as well as questions over things such insurance. We don’t want to discourage anyone from lending their support but suggest that we all point our members to the official central Government support site as the first port of call - https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business. Please share this with your members if you feel it would be helpful.

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;
    • £370m will support smaller local charities supporting vulnerable people. The funding will be distributed through organisations such as the National Lottery Community Fund.
    • £60m through the Barnet formula to the devolved nations.
    • £360m for charities providing essential services (hospices, St Johns Ambulance, Citizen’s advice etc).
    • 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

New content hub pages on Gov.uk

Announcements

 Situation update 7 April 2020

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7th April - update from Kurt Janson, Director at Tourism Alliance 

Obtaining Business Rates Relief

Kurt has put together advice on the arguments to use to obtain Business Rates Relief for  businesses in case members get push-back from individual councils. It includes the links to the various pieces of guidance so that these can be referenced. You can download it here.

It is also worth noting that once businesses are accepted into the local Business Rates Relief Scheme, they are then eligible for the Grant Funding Scheme if their rateable value is less than £51,000 so this is an additional benefit on top of the actual Business Rates Relief.

New Shadow Culture Minister

With Keir Starmer’s election as Labour Party Leader, there has been large-scale reshuffle of the Shadow Cabinet. As a result of this, Jo Stevens has been appointed Shadow Culture Secretary, replacing Tracy Brabin. She as elected as MP for Cardiff Central in 2015 but in the short time since has held a number of senior roles including Shadow Solicitor General and Shadow Justice Minister. In 2016 she was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Wales until famously resigning rather than voting in favour of triggering Atricle 50. She has been a member of the Labour Party and an activist for the last 30 years. She is also a member of the GMB and Unison unions and chairs the GMB Parliamentary Group. A lawyer by profession, she worked on labour rights and human rights issues and is highly regarded within the Party.

Another bit of good news is that Luke Pollard MP has retained his position at the Shadow Environment Secretary

“Save Future Tourism” Campaign

ABTA have launched an online (MP email based) campaign called “Save Future Travel” which focuses on the urgent need for changes to the PTRs, and other business support measures, with the main call being that MPs support our ask that the government temporarily remove the 14-day cash refund right, and replace this with Refund Credit Notes which would retain the financial protection of the original booking. This solution will see consumer money protected, which is vital for future confidence, whilst also providing some vital breathing space for businesses operating in the sector. More background information can be found through the microsite here: https://savefuturetravel.co.uk/more-information

Everyone is urged to go onto the website and show your support for the many travel agent and tour operator businesses that will go under if action isn’t taken to allow them to provide Credit Notes to customers. If we can get the Government to do this, we will be in a good position to ask for similar support for the many domestic businesses that are suffering the same liquidity problem.

CBI Temporary Membership

CBI are offering complimentary access to our member resources and the opportunity to directly share your concerns through a time-limited membership scheme for businesses. They have launched a Coronavirus Hub to provide advice and guidance for business and are hosting Daily Coronavirus Webinars at 10:00 AM, where they share the latest insights and actions taken as a result of their conversations across the government – in particular with No.10, the Treasury and the Business Department. 

Businesses can apply for temporary membership using the online form here.

7th April - TIER update

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 7 April

Today’s Government briefing focussed on a health care update. The full update can be seen here.

Latest Government advice and links

The Government has announced that Working Tax Credits payments will be increased from 6 April 2020. As part of a number of measures to support the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the basic element of Working Tax Credit has been increased by £1,045 to £3,040 from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.

  • Updates made to the Coronavirus (COVID-19): apprenticeship programme response guidance including new information on continuing training and end point assessment for furloughed apprentices, and pausing new funding audits.
  • A new promotional leaflet on what to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support has been published.
  • Please can remind members that if they or other tourism businesses wish to over support to help COVID-19 efforts, they should register their interest through the Government’s online portal.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Destination Management Resilience Scheme

  • A £1.3 million scheme has been announced by the Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston, which will provide financial support to Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) that are at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding is available to at-risk DMOs in England which usually receives at least 50% of its income from commercial sources, following a light touch application process.
  • The scheme will cover:
  • DMOs are able to apply for support to cover the costs of up to two members of staff with an upper threshold of £2,500 per employee per month, plus employer on-costs restricted to National Insurance and pension contributions for a three-month period. This support is for up to three months
  • The scheme must support frontline business engagement and communication posts (not marketing or other functions)
  • Up to £5,000 towards operating costs over this three-month period
  • Find out how to apply on VisitEngland’s website

Member updates and campaigns you can get involved in

  • The Professional Association for Self-Caterers UK is sharing regular COVID-19 updates and advice for self-catering businesses including Government information and support, deferring bookings and other tips. Businesses can sign-up to their newsletter on the PASC website.
  • ABTA is calling for industry-wide action to ‘Save Future Travel’. Individuals and businesses can get involved by visiting savefuturetravel.co.uk and emailing their local MP to highlight industry asks. The online system is automated so it’s very easy and quick to use. ABTA also want supporters to use social media to contact their local MPs and Government Ministers using #savefuturetravel and calling for action.
  • Tourism Alliance, The British Holiday & Home Parks Association and UKHospitality have been leading a new social media campaign to #ProtectTourismJobs. The campaign is to raise awareness and give a voice to tourism businesses and professionals who are suffering due to COVID-19. Key areas that are being focussed on include helping ensure seasonal workers are included in the furlough scheme, broadening the furlough scheme to include essential maintenance and security staff and making sure businesses survive the winter period. You can join the conversation on twitter using #ProtectTourismJobs
  • VisitBritain/VisitEngland has sent an open letter of support to the international events sector to show unity to the industry as it grapples with the COVID-19 crisis. The #StrongerTogether campaign shares the message that the UK is ready to support them and the industry’s recovery, and ready to welcome their events to the UK when the time is right. The UK business events industry are encouraged to get involved and join the conversation, a video asset can be downloaded to share on your own social media channels. To download the video and find out more visit the VisitBritain.org website.

·         UK Event businesses are encouraged to participate in a COVID-19 survey which will assist in recovery for the events industry. The survey is being run by The Business Visits and Events Partnership the results of the survey will be shared with the Events Industry Board and DCMS. You can take part in the survey here

Situation update 6 April 2020

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3rd April general update

Latest Government advice and links

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • As a result of the significant decline in flying, British Airways is making use of the UK’s COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme to help UK-based employees placed on furlough. The scheme will be applied to for 30,000+ cabin crew and ground-based employees in April and May. 

 Situation update 3 April 2020

3rd April:  Requests for information on Package Travel Regs Challenges and Bank Lending Issues

Thank you to all of you who have cascaded the asks for feedback to your members, we are getting information coming through that we are sharing with DCMS. Based on this DCMS have come back to us with some further asks on specific information that they need to help them build a strong case for tourism businesses for Treasury.

On Package Travel Regulation there is a need for specific data, to help DCMS in their discussions with BEIS, Treasury and DfT. Can operators who are feeding back please share the following information:

  • The volume of refunds they are having to process and what percent of passengers are happy to accept credit notes/vouchers?
  • How many refunds are being pursued by customers through credit card chargeback? 

Bank lending issues

DCMS and their central economic response team are keen to have as much granular detail as possible of the issues businesses are facing with banks, including specific examples of viable companies not being able to secure loans - either under the schemes or showing that the banks are not lending commercially to companies in the tourism and hospitality sector. The information they are asking for includes:

  • name of company (if you are not comfortable sharing this, please say which part of the sector you are in)
  • size of the company/turnover
  • any high level info that shows the company was viable until this crisis
  • how much of a loan you asked for and under which scheme?
  • which bank you requested this from
  • the bank's response (including whether the bank is asking for a personal guarantee) / how long it is taking to hear back from the bank
  • when the company will be in negative cash flow

We understand the information being asked for is of a confidential and sensitive nature, we would like to assure businesses that it will only be shared with DCMS and be used for the purposes stated above.

Please also keep us posted on any companies that may collapse imminently due to cash flow issues, we are being told that there are many but DCMS need specific examples to share with Treasury.

Please share the above information with davina.took@visitbritain.org

Updates to CBILS to ease liquidity for SMES and a new scheme for larger companies.

  • A new scheme has been announced, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It 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.
  • For smaller firms applying for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders have been banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000

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

-----------------------------------------------------------

2nd April 

LGA Business Rates Relief Advice available at https://local.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-rates-relief-hospitality-and-leisure-sector

IOD- Covid support hub for businesses

2nd April

Today’s Government briefing focused on a health care update, the full update can be seen here.

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. Find your local Growth Hub here 
  • 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.  
    • 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.
    • 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

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • COP26 conference, due to take place in Glasgow in November, has been postponed.
  • The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently released a set of recommendations calling for urgent and strong support to help the global tourism sector. The recommendations fall into three key areas:
    • Managing a crisis and mitigating the impact
    • Providing Stimulus and Accelerating Recovery
    • Preparing for Tomorrow

Situation update 2 April 2020

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1st April 2020 - TIER information 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

  • 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.
  • 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 from gov.uk 

Other travel measures, advice and updates

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 1 April 2020

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Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 31 March         

Today’s Government briefing focused on a health update, the full update can be seen here.

Latest Government advice and links

    • checks can now be carried out over video calls
    • 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
    • employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents
    • medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
    • hotel rooms, transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
    • manufacturing equipment
    • warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
    • expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
    • social care or childcare
    • Businesses can share the areas they can offer support through the online portal.

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • British Airways is suspending all its flights to and from Gatwick.
  • From 1 April, Gatwick Airport is temporarily closing its North Terminal and all flights will operate from South Terminal. From Wednesday, Gatwick’s runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2pm and 10pm.
  • Southend Airport is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 4.30pm and 9.30pm.
  • Hull Trains will be temporarily suspending all train services from 00.01 on Monday 30 March 2020. Passengers with tickets for Hull Trains will be able to travel on alternative train services on the same date and route specified on the ticket. Arrangements have been made to make sure that tickets will be accepted by other train operators.

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 31 March 2020

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30 March 17:58 update from TIER

Summary of latest relevant Government announcements

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

·         The Welsh Government has announced that a new £500m Economic Resilience Fund has been launched for Wales

Other travel measures, advice and updates

  • Expo 2020 due to take place in Dubai this year has been postponed to 2021
  • EasyJet has announced due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions that they have fully grounded their fleet of aircraft as of 30 March.

Situation update: correct as of 17.00 30 March 2020

VisitBritain’s social activity has been highlighted in Skift as one of the ‘Top 5 Tourism Promotion Campaigns that are hitting the right notes in a crisis’ ranking number 2. The tourism industry can get involved in the campaign through their social media channels when they feel they are ready, find out how you can join the campaign on visitbritain.org.

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27 March 17:00 hrs - update to earlier post:  

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.

27 March: Clarification on the job retention scheme and self employment support

  • Job Retention Scheme Guidance

Guidance on the rules relating to the JRS and furloughing have been published. Key points include

  • Businesses can claim Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on top of the actual wage cost
  • To be eligible you must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme for the employee by 28 February 2020 but they can be on any form of contract including ZHCs and agency contracts
  • The government expects that the scheme will not be used by many public sector organisations or organisations receiving public funding
  • The scheme covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired.
  • A furloughed employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation – although they can undertake training
  • Employees who are working on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, are not be eligible
  • The 80% calculated is to be based on the employee’s pre-tax salary
  • Employees must be paid the lower of 80% of their salary, or £2,500 even if this means they end up receiving a wage below the NLW/NMW
  • To claim, you will need:
    • your ePAYE reference number
    • the number of employees being furloughed
    • the claim period (start and end date)
    • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)
    • your bank account number and sort code
    • your contact name
    • your phone number
  • You can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for. Claims can be backdated until the 1 March if applicable.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  • Self-Employment Support

One very important detail that has come to light since the announcement last night is that self-employed people who have set themselves up as a Limited Company are not eligible for this relief. It is thought that people in this situation are eligible for the JRS in relation to their salary if they stop working. However, many self-employed people who set themselves up as an incorporated business only pay themselves a wage set at the National Insurance earnings threshold (currently £166 per week) and take the rest of their income in dividends. This means that the JRS will cover only a very small part of their actual income.

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25 March : industry relevant information published

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • London City Airport has announced that it is temporarily suspending its commercial and private flights from the airport. This began last evening Wednesday 25 March and is expected to last until the end of April. This will be keep under review.
  • Gatwick Airport remains open but with limited passenger facilities. Rail and coach services are also reduced. Customers are advised to check the latest flight information with their airline.
  • Qatar:  Has stated that passengers from all destinations served by Qatar Airways can still travel with the airline and transit through Hamad International Airport, subject to entry restrictions at their final destination. However, because of the operational challenges faced due to Covid-19 it has altered or cancelled some of its services. Affected customers can re-book tickets to alternative dates or destinations, opt to receive a voucher for future travel, or get a refund. This policy applies to all tickets issued anytime until 30 September 2020, for travel on or before the same date.

DCMS Clarification for Accommodation Providers 24/03/20

Coronavirus Bill 2019-21

·         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.

Other travel measures, advice and updates:

  • Thai Airways:  Has announced that is suspending most of its international operations until 31st May 2020. It has more information on its website about specific dates and routes here.
  • MOT updateThe UK Government has announced that vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities. All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require a MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.
  • Transport for London (TfL): TfL announced today that it is taking targeted measures to control the flow of passengers at the stations that remain the busiest. This includes reducing the flow at the gate lines with the support of the 500 British Transport Police who are now deployed across the rail network, opening different routes to platforms and turning off down escalators to slow the flow of people to platforms.

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..


18/3/20: THE BVEP WILL DO “WHATEVER IT TAKES” TO REPRESENT THE EVENTS INDUSTRY

Business Support Update (18th March)

ACAS Coronovirus Q & A & Free Webinars for Businesses


Insurance provider updates

You can also go to the VisitBritain website for advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.


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