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TIER UPDATE 7 AUGUST

Guidance on holidays in areas with local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in England

The Government has today published guidance for England on what people should do if they are on holiday in an area with local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions or live in a restricted area and are planning on taking a holiday outside the area. The guidance covers

Staying inside the area

Steps you should take

  • If you live inside the area, you should only socialise indoors with members of your own household or support bubble.
  • You can only stay in a private home - which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats - with members of your own household or support bubble.
  • You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household, but should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other's rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.
  • Sharing a caravan with another household is being advised against. You should not share private vehicles to travel to your holiday destination.
  • You can travel into an area with local restrictions on holiday. Whilst inside the area, you should follow the guidance set out above

Travelling outside the area

Steps you should take

  • If you live inside an area with local restrictions, you can go on holiday outside that area but you should only socialise indoors with members of your own household or support bubble.
  • You can only stay in a private home - which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats - with members of your own household or support bubble.
  • You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household but should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other's rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.
  • Sharing a caravan or boat with another household is being advised against. You should not share private vehicles to travel to your holiday destination.

Advice for accommodation providers can be found in the Working Safely guidance.

Read the full guidance to find out more.

Reopening update for Wales

Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms and leisure centres will be able to re-open from Monday 10 August, First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed today (Friday 7 August). Children’s indoor play areas will also be able to open their doors again as part of the latest changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales. However, areas such as ball pits, which cannot be easily cleaned, should remain closed.

The claims service for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is now live.

If you have registered your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme you can now submit claims.

What you’ll need to claim

You’ll need the records you’ve kept for each day you’ve used the scheme, including the:

  • total number of diners (covers) who have used the scheme, including children
  • total amount of discount you’ve given
  • period you’re claiming for

If you’re making a claim for more than one establishment, you will need to have the:

  • records for each establishment
  • overall total value of the claim for all establishments ready before you claim

Travel corridors update for arrivals in England

Andorra, The Bahamas and Belgium will be removed from the exempt list for arrivals at 4am, 8 August 2020.

 Other Government updates

  • New data published on the areas of the UK the through government-backed coronavirus loan schemes have reached.
  • Data on COVID-19 Business Rates Relief has been made available
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme data is now available by Constituency.
  • New information on how to calculate on how to calculate your claim for fixed pay employees who have worked enough overtime (in the tax year 2019 to 2020) to have a significant impact on the amount you need to claim for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 7 AUGUST

  • Mandatory Face Marks Tomorrow

Remember that the mandatory requirement to wear a face mask in certain locations comes into force tomorrow. They are required in:

  • Indoor places of worship.
  • Community centres including youth centres
  • Public areas in hotels and hostels.
  • Concert halls, exhibition halls and other public halls.
  • Cinemas.
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, and other indoor, or indoor parts of, tourist, heritage or cultural sites.
  • Bingo halls.
  • Public libraries and reading rooms.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/839/regulation/2/made 

  • North West Lockdown Legislation

Here’s a link to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions on Gatherings) (North of England) Regulations 2020 which set out the restrictions that apply to the North West Lockdown area. The legislation makes a distinction between private dwellings and tourism accommodation, with tourism accommodation being outside the restrictions on people meeting up in private dwellings.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/828/contents/made

The first review of this legislation will be 19th August 2020.

  • Visitor Numbers to National Museums

DCMS has published new figures in visitor numbers to the National Museums for the period 27July – 2 August. On the plus side, the Tate Galleries, Horniman and Science Museum Group have now reopened (although the visitor numbers for these are not yet available). However, for the four previously opened Museums, visitor number remain extremely low at an average of just 8.8% of what they would normally expect.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/daily-visitors-to-dcms-sponsored-museums-and-galleries

  • Social Impacts of Coronavirus

The latest update to the Government’s Social Impacts Survey has been produced. The key findings are that:

  • 37% of people said they would feel comfortable or very comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant. This is an increase from 34% last week but will shows that public confidence is a real issue.
  • Of those adults who had left their homes this week, 21% said they had visited a café, pub or restaurant. While this a significant improvement from 10% who said this three weeks ago, it is again still very low.
  • 14% of people reported that they were worried about a possible job loss, which will have implications for people’s willingness to spend.

Next week’s figures for this survey will  provide us with a valuable insight as to the effectiveness of the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme in getting people to visit pubs and restaurants and shifting their perceptions regarding how safe it is to go there.

              https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/7august2020

  • Public Sector Relief Scheme

This might be of interest to DMOs. The Government has announced a new relief scheme designed to enable the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to make payments on behalf of public sector employers where they have determined that their apprenticeship training provider(s) are critical suppliers. Where requested to do so, the ESFA will act as a facilitator for the payment of relief and operate the relief scheme by providing a set of eligibility criteria, as set out in this policy document, which both the public sector employer and apprenticeship training provider must meet if payments for relief are to be made.

              https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/906985/ESFA_Public_sector_scheme_Policy_Final_2.pdf

  • Business Support by Region

The Treasury has published tables of business support by region. As would be expected, London and the South East are at the top of the tables from business support but it is interesting to note that less urban areas like the South West and the East of England are high up on the list for loans.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-measures-help-every-region-and-nation-in-the-uk

If you want a breakdown by local authority or constituency, you can find it here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-business-grant-funding-by-parliamentary-constituency-and-local-authority

  • Infection Levels in England and Wales

The Government has published research indicating that around 28,300 people in England have Coronavirus (1 in 1,900 individuals) and that there are around 3,700 new cases per day. It also notes that while rates of people testing positive have risen, there is evidence that this trend may be levelling off – which is good news in terms of businesses being able to continue to reopen.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/england7august2020#incidence-rate-in-england

On the issue of infection rates, the latest estimates of the R Number have also been produced which indicate a national number of 0.8 to 1.0 and a growth rate of 0% to -5%. However, within this South West looks like an area of slight concern with an R Number of 0.8-1.1 and a growth rate of -3 to +3

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

VEWG Updates 07/08/2020

A few updates as we head into the weekend:

Updated guidance

Today the accommodation guidance has been updated to advise on local restrictions for accommodation providers - please see chapter 2.5. In addition, we have just published guidance on holidays in areas with local coronavirus restrictions.

Travel corridors update

Brunei and Malaysia have been added to the list of travel corridors for England having been assessed as posing a lower infection risk. For more information please see here.

Love Culture week

As part of the Enjoy Summer Safely campaign, there will be a Love Culture week beginning on 17th August. The Government will be highlighting museums, galleries, heritage sites, libraries, cinemas and cultural organisations, big and small, across the UK. We will be circulating a toolkit next week that will include example social media posts and draft newsletter text. 

Key moment: Throwback Thursday

On Thursday 20 August, we want you to join us and some famous faces in sharing #ThrowbackThursday snaps from your UK holidays and day trips of the past and say why you can’t wait to visit again.

We’re looking for sandy toes on Blackpool beach, childhood museum trips or a picture of you watching your first film and would love it if you could take a look through the archives for a throwback image of your institution for corporate channels, and encourage the public to do the same.

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TIER UPDATE 6 AUGUST

Filming and broadcasting at permitted visitor economy venues update

The Business Visits & Events Partnership has sought guidance on filming and broadcasting at permitted visitor economy venues and can share that both can take place subject to those using the premises following the guidance issued for filming from the British Film Commission or in the case of TV production the BBC. The number of persons allowed on site will be in accordance with the filming or TV production guidance. However, arrangements for meetings, accommodation or food and refreshments will need to follow the relevant visitor economy guidance. Exhibition and conference centres are not permitted venues presently and therefore not able to use their facilities for these purposes.

VisitBritain’s Overseas monitoring report

 We wanted to share and highlight the trade feedback with you:

·        Since the announcement of the quarantine for travellers from Spain, the Spanish Corporate Association of Specialised Travel Agencies (ACAVE) has seen a constant drip of cancellations, which up until 30 July amount to 20% of the total reservations made, this could reach 100% of the trips to the UK from Spain in August if the quarantine continues.

·        Several German group travel operators have had to cancel planned tours with existing bookings to the South of England due to the lack of hotel availability. This was due to the current high demand and Southwest hotels no longer accepting groups with lower yields than individual bookings.

Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report

The latest Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 11, based on fieldwork from 27-31 July.

These latest results may be being influenced by some of the negative publicity, both domestically and overseas, around the pandemic.  Here we’ve seen lockdown measures being re-introduced in Leicester and the Manchester/Bradford regions, while the spikes in cases in some parts of Spain resulted in holidaymakers returning from the country having to self-quarantine for 14 days.  This has manifested itself in just 16% of UK adults now thinking the worst has past (compared with 31% back in Week 4 of the survey).

Only 22% are now expecting ‘normality’ by the end of this year and confidence in the ability to take a domestic trip continues to slowly decline.  For those lacking confidence around winter trips, concerns around catching coronavirus is a major factor (with 52% citing this) but in second and third positions we see people saying ‘it’s not responsible to travel’ and ‘general unease about travelling’, which suggests reassurance is going to be a major factor in encouraging trips during this period.

More positively, over half of Summer Intenders have already planned their trip while 44% have committed to booking it.  Of course, the broader challenge is encouraging more bookings from Winter Intenders (for trips between October ‘20 – March ‘21) which currently stands at 17%, although this is +5 points up on Week 10.

Please see the full report for further details.

 Other Government updates

·        New experimental data has been published - Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society: 6 August 2020.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 6 AUGUST

Not a lot to report today – things are slowing down a bit with August being here. Nevertheless there are a few things of interest and I’m still chasing up clarification on tourism-related rules for holidaying within the Locks-down area which should be available very soon. Speaking of local lockdowns it is worth noting that the number of cases in the UK this week is on course o be the highest since June and that a spike in cases is being reported in Leeds so it would seen that further lockdowns may be imminent. 

  • CBI CJRS Factsheet

CBI have produced an extremely comprehensive factsheet for businesses on the changes to the CJRS and how it applies. This covering everything from the simple questions regarding rates through to how it interacts with the Apprenticeship Levy. It is an excellent reference guide for businesses.

https://www.cbi.org.uk/articles/cbi-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-factsheet/?utm_campaign=20200806_Coronavirus%20Bulletin_Members_Unopens&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

  • Planning for the Future

Here’s a link to the new consultation on changes to the planning regime that has just been published. The main proposals are:

    • Streamline the planning process
    • Modernise the planning process by moving from a process based on documents to an online process
    • Focus on design and sustainability
    • Improve infrastructure delivery in all parts of the country
    • Ensure more land is available for the homes and development people and communities need, and to support renewal of our town and city centres

The trick with this consultation will be to balance the need for appropriate tourism development with the need to protect the natural and historic resources on which the UK tourism industry depends. So if you have any idea on how best to do this, please let me know.

This consultation runs for 12 weeks from today.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907273/Planning_for_the_Future_web_accessible_version.pdf

  • International Retail Campaign

The Association of International Retailers has launched a campaign to get government support for retailer impacted by the fall in inbound tourism which has impacted many retail businesses. The asks of the campaign include

    • A VAT Reclaim scheme for EU visitors when the UK leaves the EU
    • Targeting the big spending markets of Gulf region which currently account for 30% of all UK tax free shopping
    • Protecting tourist and student travel from China

 

  • News UK Update

I’ve attached a copy of News UK’s update. While a lot of it is just advert for itself it is worth noting that the two more read articles in the Times Travel section were:

1. Delayed gratification: the best trips for autumn and winter 2020

2. As the messages become more muddled, so confidence - and compliance - diminishes

The first is good news and the second emphasises the need for consistent, clear messaging.

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TIER UPDATE 5 AUGUST

Following an increase in COVID-19 cases in Aberdeen, local restrictions on travel, indoor gatherings between households and the closure of indoor and outdoor hospitality will be introduced in the Aberdeen City local authority area. This will take effect from 17.00 on Wednesday 5 August. Bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs will be required by law to close. Hotel restaurants can remain open to provide food for existing guests, and takeaway services can continue. Businesses required to close are set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Aberdeen City) Regulations 2020. People in Aberdeen City are asked not to meet other households indoors or travel more than 5 miles for leisure or recreational purposes. People can continue to travel for work, or education purposes. Visiting in hospitals and care homes will return to essential visits only.

Visa Application Centre (VAC) update

Priority Visa and Super Priority Visa services have now resumed overseas in some locations. If the service is available, customers will be able to purchase these services when booking their appointment. For the most up to date information you can visit the VAC websites:

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) update

There are currently 37 UKVCAS Sopra Steria Service Points open in the UK, with more opening soon. The service points are operating with a reduced capacity due to the social distancing requirements. More information on service points and further opening dates can be found on the Sopra Steria UKVCAS Website.
Other Government update

Travel updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 5 AUGUST

  • Update on Guidance for TEIR 4

The Guidance for sponsors of overseas students has been updated to say that if a student stops engaging with their distance learning for more than 30 days, whether overseas or in the UK, sponsors must withdraw sponsorship. Also students starting a course by distance learning must have a CAS and a Tier 4 visa before travelling to the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-tier-2-4-and-5-sponsors

  • Estimate of Potential Redundancies

Here is a link to a briefing that attempts to estimate the number of potential redundancies that could occur in the UK tourism industry. This estimation is based on VisitBritain’s forecasts for inbound and domestic tourism and the margin cost of an employee in the tourism industry. These figures, combined with decrease in expenditure in the UK on outbound tourism and revenue earned by UK airlines, suggest that up to 1.3m jobs are at risk and that even if not all those at risk of redundancy actually loose their jobs, there will likely be hundreds of thousands of people made redundant. This adds considerable emphasis as to why a specific support package for the tourism sector is required.

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TIER UPDATE 4 AUGUST

Updated Visitor Economy guidance for England

The Visitor Economy guidance for England has been updated to reflect the current permissions. Of note:

  • Guided tours of up to 30 people may take place indoors or outdoors provided businesses undertake risk assessments in line with this guidance document and put any necessary mitigations in place.

For the events, in summary the guidance shows:

  1. Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
  2. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
  3. Business meetings and events of over 30 people should not currently take place in any venue.
  4. Banqueting and private dining events should not currently take place in any venue. [NB. If a banqueting venue is able to operate as a restaurant (following the relevant BEIS guidance, adhering to rules on social distancing, keeping household groups/bubbles separate, etc) this would be allowed.]
  5. Conference centres and exhibition halls remain closed. They will reopen when the balance of risk allows. Where such venues have small, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities as part of the site, these may be used to host business meetings and events of up to 30 people if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. Business meetings and events of over 30 people should not currently take place in conference centres and exhibition halls.
  6. Academic venues (Universities and Colleges) can use their lecture theatres and classrooms for external meetings of up to 30 people and as above, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities can be used as long as groups are kept separate and all other guidance is followed.
  7. Basic catering can be provided at meetings and events, following the COVID-19 guidance for bars, pubs and takeaway services. However, it is advised not to hold extended sit down meals for large groups. The UKHospitality guidance may also be useful; it recommends grab and go and pre-packed food rather than buffet.
  8. The guidance states that events should operate at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigations. This should be the fundamental principle. It notes that for conferences and events, venues should consider social distancing approximately equivalent to a density of 10㎡ per person, given the additional risks of large groups interacting in this specific environment. The pilots (when they take place) will assess the guidance and whether the mitigations suggested are appropriate/sufficient.

Also to note, the dining provision for groups of up to 30 would have applied to weddings only, more widely we advise against extended sit down meals for large groups. Allowing wedding receptions of up to 30 will be kept under review with the earliest start date of 15 August. Guidance will be shared as soon as it is available and cover dining provision for these specific events.

Receptions, award ceremonies, examinations, filming, fashion shows, product launches, team building exercises are not expected to take place until restrictions on business events are lifted. The current provisional date for this is 1 October, if public health assessments allow. It is expected that risk assessments in line with Visitor Economy and AEO guidance will need to be undertaken. The pilots will assess whether that guidance is sufficient or needs updating in anyway. We will keep you updated. Venues may also need to consider mitigations depending on specific aspects of their events (e.g. performing arts guidance on singing/dancing if relevant). 

Other Government updates

  • The next review of the lockdown in Leicester will be 14 August
  • Updated weekly data (up to end of Sunday 2 August) for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
  • Estimates of cultural, digital and sporting engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic data tables have been updated with data collected in wave 2 (3-18 June)
  • Updated weekly statistics for HMT management information about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme (up to 2 August)

Travel industry updates

  • Following their Q3 results easyJet has decided to expand their schedule over the fourth quarter to fly c.40% of capacity.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 4 AUGUST 2020

  • More Tourism Guidance on North West Lockdown Coming

At the meeting with the Tourism Minister today we were informed that more guidance was being developed on how the restrictions apply in a tourism context. We’ve already sorted out a few issues such as whether two families from within the area can holiday together outside the area (they can’t) and whether there are any additional restrictions on people travelling in and out of the area using public transport such as coaches (there aren’t) and are sorting out whether two households from outside the area can still holiday together within the lockdown area. So if you have a query, please let me know and I can feed that through into the development of this further guidance.

On the issue of local lockdowns, the Government has also announced that the next date for considering the easing of restrictions in Leicester will be 14th August. 

  • Give Me Space

The Government has produced badges (available in print or mobile phone versions) that can be used by people who have concerns regarding social distancing so that they can signal to others around them that they need to pay attention and be given space.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/please-give-me-space-social-distancing-cards-or-badges

  • 2025 Border Strategy Consultation

Not specifically Coronavirus related but certainly something that should be viewed within the context of what need to be done to help support the UK’s international tourism industry recover from the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government is consulting on a new border strategy for the UK. Attached is a copy of a presentation we were given on this today.

The consultation is open until 25th August and one of the main issues I’ll be pushing is the introduction of a low-cost 5 year visa as per the paper I sent round last week. If you have other issues that you would like included in the Tourism Alliance submission, please let me know.

Here’s a link to the consultation paper itself

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/2025-uk-border-strategy-public-consultation

  • Government’s Advice to Itself

The Government has produce guidance for Government Departments on how to operate in a Covid Safe manner. This mirrors the process that businesses have been asked to undertake as part of working with employees on how to ensure that staff returning to the premises are able to do so safely. It’s also worth being aware of how Government departments will be operating as we slowly get closer to returning to in-person meetings.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/906529/20200803CS_Employer_Risk_Assessment_result_summary_for_publication.pdf

  • DCMS Taking Part Survey

DCMS has just published new data on consumer participation in Arts, Sports, Heritage and Digital. The survey was conducted in June – which is slightly ancient history now – but it is interesting to see the relatively high levels of public engagement on heritage and arts. In particular, 27% of people said that they had engaged with heritage and 17% of people had said that they had visited a place of interest. Although what really strikes me as impressive is that:

  • 25% of people said that they had written a poetry, play or story
  • 27% of people said that they had undertaken a painting, drawing, print or sculpture
  • 28% of people said that they had taken part in a dance or music performance

Https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/taking-part-web-panel-data-engagment-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-data-tables

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TIER UPDATE 3 AUGUST

Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders announced

The government has announced two new training programmes for small businesses on management, productivity and problem-solving skills.

There are 2,000 places available on the Small Business Leadership Programme and 6,000 on the Peer Networks programme.

Changes to claims on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme from 1 August

The rules for the scheme have changed. Unless you’re making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if:

  • You have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June
  • You submitted your claim before 31 July

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme update for those with a new child

A new form and accompanying guidance is available for those who have a new child which affected their trading profits or total income reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019. You can use the new form to ask HMRC to verify that you had a new child. HMRC will review your application and contact you within 2 weeks, if HMRC tells you that your information has been verified you should make a claim from 17 August 2020 to find out if you’re eligible for the grant.

Updated domestic outlook for Britain in 2020

VisitBritain has also run a domestic impact model for 2020. As with their inbound forecast, this represents a snapshot in time and will be reviewed throughout the year. The forecast makes a number of assumptions to provide an estimate of impact. Subsequent developments could change the outlook.

They have forecast a central scenario for Britain of £46.8bn in domestic tourism spending in 2020, down 49% compared to 2019 when spending by domestic tourists in Britain was £91.6bn.  This comprises £12.6bn from overnight tourism, down from £24.7bn in 2019, and £34.2bn from day trips, down from £67.0bn in 2019.

This is a decline of 49% for both overnights and leisure day trips, although the pattern of the recovery will be different. While some categories of day trips started to recover first, others will be very limited for some months to come.

This represents a loss of £44.9bn (£12.1bn from overnights and £32.8bn from day trips) – greater than the loss from inbound tourism in absolute value terms, although lower in percentage terms.

More information is available on VisitBritain.org

Easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Wales

The latest changes follow the 6th review of the coronavirus regulations and focus on enabling friends and family to meet each other outdoors and for more businesses to open indoors. The following changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next 3 weeks:

From 3 August:

  • The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.
  • Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15.
  • The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2 metres distance from each other or from adults.

If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

  • Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
  • Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.

The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.

Other Government updates

Member updates

  • The Betting and Gaming Council has shared the letter they sent to the Chancellor following Friday’s government announcement that delayed the opening of casinos. See attached.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 3 AUGUST

  • More Detailed Guidance on Friday’s Announcements

The Government has published guidance related to the raft of announcements that the Prime Minister made on Friday. Of particular note are:

  • Consulting With Employees About Returning to Work

From today, businesses are expected to consult with employees with regard to how employees can work safely – the expectation being that employees should return to their work premises if they can do so in a Covid Safe manner.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/31-july-announcement

  • Holding a Wedding

While it was announced on Friday that wedding receptions indoors for more than 2 households will not be allowed for at least two weeks, this guidance also provides more details on holding weddings, including stating that the wearing of facemasks at weddings does not apply to the Bride and groom.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

  • 90 min Coronavirus Tests

The Government has announced that, from next week, it will be introducing that two new tests that are able to detect the coronavirus in 90 minutes. Of particular note is that these tests do not require a trained health professional to operate them and can be used in non-clinical settings. This seems to increase the possibility of introducing a more sophisticated approach to people entering the UK than 14 day quarantining.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/roll-out-of-2-new-rapid-coronavirus-tests-ahead-of-winter 

  • Verifying That Having a Child Impacted Self-Employment Income

The Government recently announced that people who did not qualify for SEISS  because having a child impacting on their earnings can now claim this support. To do this, HMRC have launched a website where people can ask HMRC to check whether having a new child either:

  • affected their trading profits or total income for the tax year 2018 to 2019
  • meant their did not submit a Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019

Having a new child is deemed to be any of the following:

  • being pregnant
  • giving birth (including a stillbirth after more than 24 weeks of pregnancy) and the 26 weeks after giving birth
  • caring for a child within 12 months of birth if you have parental responsibility
  • caring for a child within 12 months of adoption placement

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ask-hmrc-to-verify-you-had-a-new-child-which-affected-your-eligibility-for-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme

  • Updated Guidance On Furloughed Employees

The guidance on employees that can be furloughed and the claiming process has been updated to remove out-of-date information and to reflect that, from 1 August, businesses now have to the employer National Insurance contribution and pension contribution of any furloughed employee.

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

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31 July updated information - FACEMASKS

Extract from the Government’s announcement - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/31-july-announcement

Where will people need to wear face coverings?

We are now recommending that face coverings are worn in additional indoor settings and this will be enforceable in law.Currently you are required to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, indoor transport hubs and public transport.

For members of the public, from 8 August this will be expanded to include:

  • funeral directors
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • bingo halls
  • concert halls
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
  • nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments
  • massage parlours.
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • places of worship
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • community centres
  • social clubs
  • tattoo and piercing parlours
  • indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities such as laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites)
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • veterinary services
  • auction houses

We recommend face coverings are worn in these settings now, but this will not be mandatory until 8 August.

It is being checked as to whether facemasks will also be required in meetings rooms and we will advise when clarified.

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31 July: Message from Michael Hirst, Chair of Events Industry Board & member of Visitor Economy Working Group.

Please note that as a result of the PM’s announcement today, the pilots due to be held to test the guidelines in exhibitions and conference centre has been postponed. This does not affect the current intended date for reopening of conference and exhibition venues from the 1st October. The Partnership will press for the pilots to be carried out as soon as is practical. The position of being able to show round visitors for future bookings to conference and exhibition centres is being checked.

I am informed that the ability of venues permitted to open from the 17th July and hold meetings of up to 30 persons is not affected by the newly announced measures, nor is the wearing of face masks at these meetings.

You will be kept informed if the advice changes.

Best regards, Michael

TIER UPDATE 31 JULY

The Prime Minister's announcement on the restrictions imposed on North West England

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today made a statement alongside the Chief Medical Officer in regard to the latest COVID-19 restrictions imposed on the North West of England last night.

The Prime Minister confirmed that the Government would seek to act quickly where risks occur. The weekly survey has shown that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community is beginning to rise again. An overview of the North West lockdown was given, explaining that businesses should continue to work and operate as before, but restrictions would mean that people could not see friends and family.

He also said the plan to reopen remains conditional, and the Government has decided to slow down the reopening of higher risk settings. It was announced that the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys and close contact services would be postponed by two weeks to the 15 August.

Live performances and pilots of large gatherings in conference centres have also been postponed. Wedding receptions cannot take place, but weddings themselves still can. 

Guidance for people's working environments remains unchanged. The Home Secretary is working with the police to ensure that settings not following guidelines can be closed, and ensure that face coverings are being worn when required.

Face covering guidance has been extended for settings such as museums, galleries, cinemas, and places of worship, this will become the law on the 8 August.

HMRC announces further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Bonus 

Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January 2021.

A policy statement published by the HMRC today gives employers further details on eligibility requirements and how they can claim the bonus:

  • Employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
  • To ensure the jobs are meaningful well-paid, employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
  • Those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted for them after 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
  • Employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee

Other Government announcements

  • Luxembourg has been removed from list of travel exemptions for the whole of the UK following data showing a significant change in confirmed cases.
  • New guidance has been published for people who live in the North West of England outlining the local restrictions and what you can and cannot do
  • Local lockdown guidance for social distancing has been updated to reflect the changes for Leicester.
  • Additional webinars are available for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Universal Credit and Child Benefit, providing advice about making claims.

Tourism Alliance update

The Guidance related to the lockdown has been updated to address some of the issues I raised this morning. It now reads:

I live in the area. Can I leave the area to go on holiday?

You should not travel outside of this area to meet people in their homes or gardens. You can still go on holiday, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with).

So accommodation providers in other areas are still able to accept guests from inside the lockdown area – which is good. However, it seems like two households from within the area can’t stay together in accommodation outside the area and there is still uncertainty as to whether two households from outside the lockdown area can stay together on holiday in the lockdown area.

I’ll let you know when I hear more from DCMS on this.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-of-england-local-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

Scottish Guidance

It is also important to note that the Scottish Parliament has issued advice to Scottish residents saying that they should not undertake unnecessary travel to the lockdown area – which would include leisure and tourism related travel. Scottish residents already in the area on holiday are being told that they do not have to truncate their stay while people in the local down area planning to travel to Scotland are being asked to cancel their plans.

https://www.gov.scot/news/travel-to-north-west-of-england/

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TIER UPDATE 30 JULY

£20 million fund announced to support small and medium businesses in England

The Government has announced a £20 million fund to support the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in England. Businesses will be eligible to receive grants between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access technology, equipment or professional advice as they plan for recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Growth Hubs, embedded in local areas across England.

Activities supported through the funding can include:

  • One-to-many events providing guidance to respond to coronavirus.
  • Grants (£1,000 - £5,000) to help businesses access specialist professional advice such as HR, accountants, legal, financial, IT and digital, and to purchase minor equipment to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity or diversify.

Coronavirus and the economic impacts on the UK (30 July 2020)

A new report has been published on the economic impacts of the coronavirus in the UK. The indicators and analysis presented are based on responses from the voluntary fortnightly business survey, which captures businesses’ responses on how their turnover, workforce prices, trade and business resilience have been affected. This data relates to the period 29 June 2020 to 12 July 2020.

Some key takeaways:

  • The accommodation and food service activities sector reported the largest percentage of businesses starting to trade within the last two weeks after a pause in trading, at 33%.
  • The accommodation and food service activities sector reported the highest proportion of the workforce returning from furlough leave, at 18%, followed by the arts, entertainment and recreation sector and the construction sector, both at 15%.
  • Of businesses continuing to trade, the wholesale and retail trade sector had the highest percentage of businesses reporting that their turnover increased, at 22%.
  • 38% of businesses continuing to trade reported that capital expenditure had stopped or was lower than normal because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Consumer tracker report from VisitBritain (Week 10)

Please find attached the latest UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report, also available on visitbritain.org, for week 10, based on fieldwork from 20-24 July.

A relatively optimistic set of results this week, with 14% of adults claiming to have already taken a domestic overnight trip in July. Among those who intend to take a UK trip between now and the end of September, 50% say they have already planned it while 36% claim to have already booked it.

Other points of note:

  • 37% of UK adults believe the ‘worst is still to come’ with regards to Covid-19 which represents a significant decline on last week (-6%).
  • As for when people feel things will be returning ‘close to normal’, slightly more are expecting ‘normality’ by December (27% versus 24% last week). Presently, just 8% are expecting ‘normality’ by the end of September, versus 32% in week 1.
  • Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday during August is fractionally down to 32% (-1% on last week)
  • The main reason cited among those lacking confidence is having ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’, especially for trips during the winter period. Other key barriers for summer trips continue to be structural such as fewer opportunities to eat/drink out or fewer things to do/places to visit, although ‘personal finances’ is emerging as a key concern for winter breaks.
  • When asked to compare to last year, 37% of UK adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and 38% fewer holidays respectively. These proportions have slightly declined versus last week.
  • The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short break or holiday by this September has fallen -1% this week, to 23%, although this figure is likely to diminish through the summer as holiday intenders become takers. 32% of adults intend to, or have already taken a domestic short break or holiday between July-September.
  • In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and September, the South West continues to dominate with 21% of those intending to go on a domestic trip citing this as their destination, followed by Scotland (12%) and the North West (11%). For trips planned to be taken between October 2020 – March 2021, the South West shares the lead with London on 16%.
  • For the summer, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations maintain their leads with 34% shares each respectively. Cities receive a greater proportion of trips scheduled during the winter period, ranking first with 32% share.
  • During the June-September period, there remains a broadly even split between the leading three accommodation types, although caravan/camping takes a narrow lead on 38%.
  • Of the reassurances people are seeking in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel, measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes) narrowly leads over measures designed encourage social distancing. Offering free cancellations also remains important, being the second most cited individual reason overall, with 55% of mentions. A government or industry certification mark is cited by 39%, slightly down on last week.

Other Government updates

Tourism Alliance update

  • Self-Isolation Period Extended

The self-isolation period has been extended from 7 to 10 days for people who have coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result. It is important for businesses to factor this into their staffing strategy in case an employee tests positive. On a related issue, there have been a couple of cases recently where an employee has tested positive and other members of staff have been deemed to be close contacts and required to self-isolate as well which has had a severe impact on available staff. This is a particular problem where staff live together or are friends who socialise outside the work environment. This, again, is something that businesses need to be aware of.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-from-the-uk-chief-medical-officers-on-extension-of-self-isolation-period-30-july-2020

  • Eat Out to Help Out Clarification

The guidance for businesses on the East out to Help Out Scheme has been undated to clarify that this scheme is not applicable to any packaged products – the new examples included include a golf package, a wedding package and an hospitality event package. It you want to be eligible, you will be to unbundle the package and sell the food and drink component separately.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

  • Impact on Business

The latest iteration of the ONS research on the impact of Coronavirus on UK businesses has been published. This covers the period from 29th June to 12th July - so it covers the period that much of the tourism industry reopened. The good news is that 33% of accommodation and food service businesses reported that they had reopened over this period and that 18% of staff had returned from furlough. The not so good news is that 21% of businesses in the sector reported that they had still not opened and 13% indicated that they were not planning to reopen anytime soon. This is far greater than the average across all business sectors – which is 6.8% and 4.5% respectively.

The only sector in worse shape is the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation sector where 43% of businesses are still not open and almost 30% don’t expect to reopen any time soon.

These figures highlight the fact that tourism and hospitality remains one of the most impact sectors and will require extended support.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/bulletins/coronavirusandtheeconomicimpactsontheuk/30july2020

  • New Law to Ensure Furloughed Employees Receive Full Redundancy Payments

BEIS has announced that it will introduce a new law will ensure that furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate after it was found that some businesses are basing redundancy payments of the 80% salaries that furloughed staff are receiving.

                https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-law-to-ensure-furloughed-employees-receive-full-redundancy-payments

  • Start up and Scale Up New Anglia

BEIS have also launched two a new support programmes for businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk

Start -up

This is to support start-ups and includes a range of fully-funded support including one to one tailored advice, masterclasses and seminars on a range of subjects including:

  • business planning
  • management and operational systems
  • marketing
  • finance and legal
  • corporate social responsibility
  • cost savings
  • intellectual property

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/start-up-programme

Scale-Up

This is for existing SMEs and includes

  • a tailored business health analysis
  • peer-to-peer learning
  • access to industry and academic expertise
  • networking opportunities
  • workshops
  • supplier visits
  • support from business advisers

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/scale-up-new-anglia

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TIER UPDATE 29 JULY

Government updates

Government guidance on planning a holiday in England

VisitBritain/VisitEngland has been working closely with the Cabinet Office and Department for Health on government guidance for tourists who fall ill whilst on holiday in England.

TIER members are asked to help to raise awareness of the guidance to as many businesses as possible by directing customers to the advice displayed on the VisitEngland website or by using the official lines below. Please feel free to share this information. 

  • If you develop Covid-19 symptoms whilst on holiday, please arrange a test using your holiday address. You can order a test from www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119. You MUST notify your accommodation provider immediately.
  • If you are contacted by Test & Trace whilst on holiday you MUST notify your accommodation provider immediately that you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate.
  • If you are well enough to return home by private transportation, then please do so and self-isolate at home. Do not use public transport.

Tourism Alliance update – 29th July

  • SEISS and CJRS Overpayment Notification and Penalties

The government has updated the SEISS guidance to provide information on what people should do if they realise that they have received a SEISS payment that they are no entitled to. Unsurprisingly, the guidance says you have to tell HMRC and pay it back. If you received the grant:

  • before 22 July 2020 you must tell HMRC on or before 20 October 2020
  • on or after 22 July 2020 you must tell HMRC within 90 days of receiving the grant

If you do not notify HMRC, you may have to pay a penalty of up to 100% of the grant.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tell-hmrc-and-pay-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-back

Similarly, HMRC has produced a factsheet on repaying CJRS overpayments and penalties which follows the same principles (attached). For the CJRS the notification period is ends on the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days after you receive the CJRS grant you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days after the day circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant
  • 20 October 2020

As with the SEISS, the penalty for failure to notify HMRC is up to 100% could be charged on the amount of the CJRS grant that you were not entitled

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/if-youve-claimed-too-much-or-not-enough-from-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  • Revised Advice for UK Visa Applicants and Temporary UK Residents

Overseas visitors in the UK with visas that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 have been able to request an automatic extension if they were not able to return home because of travel restrictions. The Government has now removed this automatic visa extension and these visitors are now expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK. If they want to leave, they have until 31 August 2020 to do so. If they are still unable to leave they can apply for ‘exceptional indemnity’, by contacting the coronavirus immigration team (CIT).

Those people wanting to stay in the UK will need to apply for the necessary leave to remain – however, they will be able to submit an application form while they are in the UK rather than having to return home to do this.

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

  • Updated Online Tools

The Government has updated three Online Assessment Tools to help businesses.

  1. Business Support

This tool allows employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors to determine their eligibility for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

  1. Business Risk Assessment

This tool is to help businesses operators develop a risk assessment tailored to the specific circumstances of their business and provides advice on how work practices can be changed to mitigate any risks identified.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening

  1. Employee Risk Assessment

This tool is to help employees determine whether they should be going back to work or whether they should continue to work from home and includes advice specifically for tourism related businesses

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-employee-risk-assessment

  • Further Details on Culture Recovery Fund

DCMS has announced further allocations from the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund:

  • A £500m Film and TV Production Restart Scheme aimed at helping get TV and film productions that have been halted or delayed by a lack of insurance to get back up and running.
  • A £88m Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage offering grants to help heritage organisations or businesses cover operating costs, assess and adapt their business models, and become financially viable. This is being managed by Historic England who will provide grants of £10,000 to £1 million and £1 million to £3 million to help applicants that were financially sustainable before Covid-19 and have exhausting all other options for increasing their resilience are now at risk of failure. Further details are available through the following link.

https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/funding/recovery/

  • A £500m Culture Recovery Fund: Grants Programme run by the Arts Council. This will provide grants of £50,000 to £3m to cultural organisations (both profit and not for profit) based in England that are properly constituted and are registered at Companies House and/or Charity Commission, and are able to produce at least one year’s full independently certified or audited financial statements. Cultural organisations includes theatres, music and comedy venues and museums, while Local Authorities, Universities and other Public Sector bodies who run or maintain cultural services can also apply. Further details are available through the following link.

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/CRFgrants#section-1

  • The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England will deliver £92 million worth of grants to protect heritage sites.

The remaining £258 million will be reserved for a second round of funding later in the financial year to meet the developing needs of organisations.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dowden-jump-start-for-uks-leading-creative-industries

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TIER UPDATE 28 JULY

Local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19)

A list of areas with additional local restrictions has been added to a collection page it includes information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak.

An overview of the government’s approach to managing local coronavirus outbreaks has also been published.

Leicester lockdown update
Additional lockdown restrictions have now ended in Charnwood and Blaby, and some restrictions have now been relaxed in Leicester City and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston. However, the advice to shield remains in place in all these areas. The review date has been changed to 30 July. 

Guidance has also been published for meeting people from outside your household for Leicester 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/leicester-lockdown-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

Other Government updates

  • The Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder tool now shows results within a 5 mile radius of the postcode used.
  • Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the exempt list of countries and territories from where you can travel to England and may not have to self-isolate.
  • The travel advice against all non-essential travel to Spain has been updated to include the Balearic and Canary Islands
  • Updated weekly data (up to end of Sunday 26 July) is available for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
  • Updated weekly data for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme is available.

Tourism Alliance update.

Here’s today’s update, the main part of which related to the Government’s approach to local outbreaks and PHE’s campaign to help businesses to identify and report such outbreaks.

  • Eat Out to Help Out Expands Again

The  participating restaurant finder for this Eat Out to Help Out initiative has been expanded again to provide a list of premises within 5 miles rather than the previous 2 miles. However, using the finder it seems that it will only list the closest 100 places so if there 100 places within 1 mile of the postcode it will not list anything that is more than 1 mile away. It also requires you to know the full postcode of your location so something like WC1 for central London will just produce an error.https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant

A new press release to the public has also been released that includes a video for customers on how the scheme works

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/eat-out-to-help-out-look-for-the-logo

  • New Quarantine Exemption Countries

While Spain has been removed from the quarantine exemption list, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines added to it.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

  • Managing Local Outbreaks

The Government has published Guidance on a five stage process by which local outbreaks will be managed in future. The five stages are:

  • Monitoring

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England (PHE) share local coronavirus data with directors of public health in local authorities so they can monitor what is happening in their area.

  • Engagement and communication

If monitoring suggests that there are problems at a local level, the JBC and PHE will engage the relevant local authority to generate a joint understanding of the problem and develop solutions.

  • Testing

Mass testing will be undertaken at a local level, combined with contract tracing through NHS Test and Trace, to control the virus.

  • Local restrictions

If the virus continues to spread, either a local authority or the government will restrict activities at particular locations and close individual premises.

  • National intervention

If the previous measures have not worked the government will put in place further measures which could include shutting businesses venues that would otherwise be allowed to open, closing schools, and asking people to stay at home or restrict their movement. These measures will be tailored to the circumstances of each outbreak and will be reviewed at least every 2 weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/governments-approach-to-managing-local-coronavirus-outbreaks

 As an example of this approach, Oldham Council has just introduced local restrictions in response to a local spike in cases.

https://www.oldham.gov.uk/coronavirus

  • Reporting Outbreaks

Public Health England have launched a campaign to that provides advice to businesses on how to identify and respond to a local coronavirus outbreak. The campaign seeks to help business operators:

  • Identify an outbreak of COVID-19 (one or more confirmed case depending on the business or organisation)
  • Report the outbreak to local health protection team
  • Work with local health protection team to respond

https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/reporting-an-outbreak/overview/

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TIER UPDATE  27 JULY

Spain removed from travel corridor and safe travel lists

Due to rising COVID-19 infections in Spain, the country has been removed from the UK Government’s list of travel corridors. Travellers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland from Spain on or after 26 July will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to British and non-British travellers.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its list of safe destinations for British travellers and currently advises against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.

Wales further eases lockdown restrictions, fully opens visitor attractions

The visitor economy in Wales continued reopening over the weekend. From 25 July, tourist accommodation with shared facilities such as camping sites and all hotels may start reopening, in addition to museums, galleries, amusement arcades and underground attractions may start re-opening, marking the full re-opening of Wales’ visitor attractions. Beauty salons, nail parlours, tattoo shops and cinemas may also reopen.

From today (27 July), face coverings are compulsory on public transport in Wales, including taxis.

‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme: Find participating restaurants and claim money back

Find out how to claim reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme. The claims service will be available from 7 August to 30 September.

Customers can now find participating restaurants online. The finder will show establishments within a two mile radius of the postcode that users search for.

Pausing of lockdown easements, businesses to remain closed in Luton and Blackburn with Darwen

Certain businesses in Luton and Blackburn with Darwen must remain closed from 25 July in line with the pausing of lockdown easements due to increased numbers of COVID-19 infection. This impacts indoor activity venues including gyms, fitness studios and swimming pools. Businesses that had been scheduled to reopen from 1 August, including casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, are also expected to remain closed until further notice.

Businesses that were permitted to reopen prior to 25 July may remain open. Restrictions will be reviewed again on 8 August, and every two weeks after that.

Other government updates

Tourism Alliance Updates.

  • Better Protection in Case of Supplier Insolvency

BEIS has asked the Law Commission to undertake a consultation on how better to protect customers when a firm that they have ordered goods from becomes insolvent before the goods are received. Under the current legislation, such goods remain assets of the businesses and can be disposed of to repay creditors. The proposals will concentrate on changing the point at which ownership of the goods is transferred from the supplier to the customer so that goods paid for by the customer

Given concerns regarding the solvency of many businesses due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this proposed change will be beneficial to many tourism businesses by providing additional protection when ordering goods from suppliers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/law-change-to-better-protect-consumers-in-event-of-insolvencies

  • Impact of APD Waiver

Airlines UK has undertaken a study (attached) on how a 12 month waiver on Air Passenger Duty would help rebuild the UK tourism industry by increasing passenger demand and improving connectivity across the UK. Their analysis suggests it would result in around 21 million additional passengers over the period and 56 additional routes being served by July next year. It terms of economic impact, their research indicates that the move would save around 8,000 jobs and £7 billion in GVA.

  • Low-Cost 5 Year Visa

Staying with the theme of rebuilding international tourism, I have also attached a copy of a briefing paper that I’ve put together on the benefits of the UK introducing a low-cost 5 year visa as a means of helping boost visitor numbers and revenue from visa-national countries. Such a visa would also support educational travel to the UK by allowing the family and friends to visits overseas students studying in the UK whenever they wanted during the period of their degree, and would provide cost savings for the Home Office at the same time.

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TIER UPDATE 24 JULY

Face covering exemptions guidance now available

Face coverings are not mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 or those with disabilities or certain health conditions.

Pausing of lockdown easements in Blackburn, Darwen and Luton – sport and exercise facilities to remain closed

The latest data shows the incidence of COVID-19 in Blackburn with Darwen and Luton is higher than in other areas of the country and therefore the further easement of lockdown measures in these areas will be paused. This means indoor gyms, swimming pools and other sport and exercise facilities will not reopen in Luton or Blackburn and Darwen on 25 July.

Travel corridor destination updates

Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the list of travel corridors coming into effect from Tuesday 28 July in England

Additional countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel

The FCO has updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. The travel exemption list has been updated with an additional 19 countries including Laos, Cambodia, Fiji, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Guadeloupe, St Barthelemy, St Martin, St Maarten, Aruba, New Caledonia, Curacao, Cook Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cuna

Easing the COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive have made a number of announcements regarding relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions

From 24 July:

  • The maximum number of people who can gather in a residential setting will increase from six to 10, with a requirement that they come from no more than four different households and an expectation that social distancing and other public health advice is observed;
  • Overnight stays in a different household will be enabled;
  • Community centres and halls will be enabled to reopen;
  • Spectators will be enabled to attend outdoor competitive games with numbers to be determined by the venue in line with public health advice;
  • Swimming pools in leisure centres, hotels and private facilities will be enabled to open;
  • Wet treatments in spas, such as saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools will be permitted to resume;
  • Bowling alleys will be enabled to reopen;
  • Indoor and outdoor funfairs will be enabled to reopen.

Pubs - The Executive has also agreed an indicative date of August 10 for the reopening of indoor pubs and bars selling only drink (wet pubs). This relaxation will be ratified in advance of the indicative date depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation at that time.

Face Coverings - The wearing of face coverings is highly encouraged in enclosed spaces where it is not possible to social distance. The executive has agreed the powers to enforce, but are running a publicity campaign to encourage people to wear face coverings. If this does not have the desired effect of around 80% people wearing face coverings the Executive will use the powers to mandate wearing of face coverings from 20 August.

Travel - The travel advice for outbound travel has been revised in line with FCO guidance and now states - ‘You should carefully consider your holiday and travel options, in light of the continuing COVID-19 threat. A 'staycation' is one way of mitigating the risks - while also supporting the local economy. If you're holidaying abroad, you may have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on your return home – depending on which country you have visited’. In addition, The Executive has agreed to write to both the British and Irish Governments calling for a special summit of the British Irish Council to be convened to discuss COVID travel issues and the Common Travel Area.

Other Government updates

  • Draft legislation options have been published to show how government could respond to a local or regional coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak without returning to a national lockdown.
  • A daily visitors to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries has been published. These experimental statistics have been developed by the DCMS statistics team, in partnership with the DCMS sponsored museums, to help monitor the effect of lifting the COVID-19 restrictions. To see the full set of figures, download the report.
  • The UK Government has announced that the devolved administrations Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a minimum of £3.7 billion in additional funding this year.

Additional overseas Visa Application Centre  (VACs) open

A further set of overseas VACs locations are due to reopen on 27 July 2020, bringing the total number of opened VAC locations to 154, leaving 56 locations that still remain closed. The most up to date information on open locations can be found online: 

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TIER UPDATE 23 JULY

Here are today’s updates, which include the DCMS Select Committee’s report on the impact of COVID-19 and the latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker report from VisitBritain.

Reminder: Face coverings mandatory in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and enclosed transport hubs from Friday

Face coverings will be mandatory in additional enclosed public spaces from Friday 24 July – including shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs. Venues such as restaurants, pubs and gyms will be exempt, and masks will not be required for children under the age of 11 or those with certain disabilities or health conditions that make it difficult to wear a mask.

DCMS Select Committee report on impact of COVID-19

The DCMS Select Committee today published its report into the impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors. A number of TIER members provided evidence to the committee earlier this year alongside other tourism industry representatives, following which a letter was sent to the Tourism Minister.

  • The report focuses heavily on the sports and arts sectors, calling for an extension to the furlough scheme, sector specific VAT cuts, and clear timelines on reopening for mass gatherings. The Government has already announced measures covering some of these recommendations.
  • There is also a suggestion by the committee that DCMS sector structures and operations are not well understood by Government, hampering effective support.
  • The report recognises the seasonal nature of tourism, noting that 2021 business will be largely deferred trips rather than new ones.
  • While the committee noted that the quarantine requirements are causing uncertainty for the industry and called for DCMS to work with the FCO and DfT to review and communicate travel arrangements appropriately.
  • There was a focus on the impact on visitor attractions, many of whom rely on inbound visitors and have used lockdown as an opportunity to adapt their digital offering. The report recommends temporary legislation to ensure that museums that become insolvent as a result of the crisis cannot be liquidated for 12 months.
  • Regarding domestic tourism, the committee recommends a flexible furlough scheme to support the sector through the low seasons and calls on DCMS to set out plans to extend the holiday season.
  • The report further suggests the Data Hub, outlined in the Sector Deal, should be taken forward urgently.
  • Finally on tourism, the committee recommends a national campaign to restore consumer confidence in domestic holidays.

Research into travel behaviour during the COVID-19 lockdown

A Government study into the travel behaviour of people in the UK during the lockdown period aims to identify the social, attitudinal and behavioural effects of COVID-19. The first wave of research took place from 15-22 May in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and from 28 May – 4 June in Wales. This is the first wave in a series of four reports.

Some key findings:

  • During lockdown travel reduced significantly, with 61% of people using cars (either as driver or passenger), 58% taking buses and 56% of people using trains less often or not at all compared to previously. Working patterns changed; four in ten adults, 40%, say they worked at home more during lockdown.
  • Private modes of transport and active travel were the most common ways of getting around during lockdown; 63% drove a car during lockdown, 65% walked or wheeled all the way to a destination and 21% cycled. By contrast, high proportions of people did not get on a bus (82%) or a train (88%). Bus use was higher than train use; but only 6% made journeys by bus once a week or more frequently with even fewer, 2%, doing so by train.
  • Lockdown caused significant disruption to people’s existing travel plans. More than a third of adults said they had plans to fly abroad (35%) or to make a long-distance car journey in the UK (34%) which they had either cancelled or postponed, or had had their plans cancelled by a travel company. One in five (20%) had plans to travel by train for leisure cancelled or postponed in this way too. Smaller proportions had plans cancelled or postponed this way for travel within the UK (12%), coach (9%), ferry (8%) or going on a cruise (6%).

Consumer Sentiment Tracker report from VisitBritain (Week 9)

Here is the latest draft of our UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 9, based on fieldwork from 13-17 July.

The main characteristic of this week’s findings is the ability to report on whether the respondent has actually taken a domestic overnight short break or holiday (as opposed to just intend to). We find that 26% of respondents are confident in their ability to take a short break or holiday during July, and 13% of the UK adults polled said they had taken such a trip so far in July. Although the sample size of ~200 is low for drawing detailed insights at this stage, in terms of main trip purpose, 46% said it was to have a holiday, 40% were VFR, 9% business and 5% other. 33% of adults intend to, or have already taken a domestic short break or holiday between July-Sept.

The numbers expecting life to return ‘close to normal’ anytime soon continue to fall, as they have done each week, with just 9% currently expecting ‘normality’ by September and 24% by December.

Other points of note:

  • The time horizon for when people expect things to feel ‘close to normal’ continues to be pushed further into the future. Presently, 24% expect ‘normality’ by December. This compares to 54% in week 1 (fielded between 18-22 May). Just 9% are expecting ‘normality’ by the end of September, versus 32% in week 1. 43% of UK adults now believe the ‘worst is still to come’ with regards to Covid-19, the highest proportion recorded so far (up +1% on last week).
  • The main reason cited among those lacking confidence is having ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’, especially for trips during the winter period. Other key reasons continue to be structural, such as fewer opportunities to eat/drink out, fewer things to do or places to visit.
  • When asked to compare to last year, 36% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and 39% expect to take fewer holidays.
  • In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and September, the South West continues to dominate with 21% of those intending to go on a domestic trip citing this as their destination, followed by Scotland and the North West at 11%.  The South West also leads for visits planned to be taken between October 2020 – March 2021 with a 19% share, although London moves into second place for this period on 16%.
  • Of the reassurances people are seeking in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel, measures to encourage social distancing narrowly leads over measures designed to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes). Offering free cancellations also remains important, being the joint second most cited individual reason overall, with 63% of mentions. A government or industry certification mark is cited by 44%, up +2% on last week.

Other government updates

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TIER UPDATE 22 JULY

2025 UK Border Strategy Public Consultation

The Government is running a consultation seeking the views and expertise of stakeholders to help develop the 2025 UK Border Strategy. The consultation closes on 28 August 2020 and invites responses from stakeholders in all regions of the UK.

New COVID-secure webinars for hospitality and other close contact workplaces

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is hosting webinars, recapping the COVID-secure guidance on how to operate safely and to hear your feedback on implementing the guidance in practice, and where you would seek further clarification.

  • Working safely during Coronavirus: Restaurants, Pubs and Bars: 3pm, Tuesday 28 July – Recap how to make your workplace COVID-secure by joining this webinar providing guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes & takeaways. Register here.

Other Government updates

  • A new webinar on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme is also now available to view.
  • The Business and Planning Act received Royal Assent on 22 July 2020 and so guidance on pavement licences is no longer draft. The temporary pavement licences process introduces a streamlined consent route to allow businesses to obtain a licence to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs outside of cafes, bars and restaurants quickly, and for no more than £100.
  • Coronavirus grant funding: local authority payments to small and medium businesses has been updated with data up to 19 July 2020

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TIER UPDATE 21 JULY

Business rates system review: Call for evidence

As part of a fundamental review of the business rates system, the Government has put out a call for evidence from the industry. This call for evidence seeks views on how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change and a number of alternative taxes.

Responses should be submitted online and will be collected in two stages. Views on the multiplier and reliefs sections are requested by 18 September in order to inform an interim report in the autumn. Responses on all other sections are due by 31 October.

Latest data on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The government has published the latest data on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The figures include the total number of applications, the total number of approved applications and the value of loans approved as of 19 July 2020.

Reminder for all arrivals to complete passenger locator form before entering UK

The government issued a reminder today that all passengers are required to complete the passenger locator form before entering the UK, including those who are arriving from the select list of countries and territories that are exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement. Travellers cannot submit the form until 48 hours before they are due to arrive in the UK. Consequences for failing to provide contact information may include a fine of £100 or more for repeat violations, and those who are not UK citizens or residents may be denied entry.

The only people who do not need to provide passenger locator information are those arriving from within the Common Travel Area and a small group of others.

Other government updates

Guidance on the reduced VAT rate for tourism and hospitality has been updated to cover catering companies using retail schemes.

Industry updates

South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd., trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages, has entered into administration.

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TIER UPDATE 20 JULY

Business events and conferences to resume in England from 1 October

Further to our update on Friday, here is the official announcement that Business events and conferences will be permitted to resume from 1 October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels. The government will hold a number of pilots at event venues around the country to plan for the return of large-scale events and test how to implement social distancing practises. Details of these pilots will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Guidance on working safely in the visitor economy has been updated to include business events and consumer shows.

New framework to contain coronavirus (COVID-19) locally

The government has laid out a new framework giving national and local authorities additional powers to slow the spread of COVID-19. National and local government will have the power to restrict local public gatherings and events, and close local businesses premises and outdoor spaces. The new powers went into effect on 18 July.

Government provides additional support for ATOL scheme

The government has moved to protect refund credit notes if holiday packages are cancelled due to COVID-19 if they are ATOL protected. The change will apply to holiday packages including a flight, and will mean passengers who accept refund credit notes for cancelled holidays as a result of COVID-19 will be protected by the ATOL scheme if necessary, even if the company they have booked with later collapses.

VisitScotland and Visit Wales ask visitors to pledge to visit safely

VisitScotland and Visit Wales have published visitor charters asking visitors to pledge to respect safety guidelines, the environment and local communities when they return to visit.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance in England updated to reflect upcoming changes

The following guidance has been updated to reflect the upcoming changes and timeline the Prime Minister announced last week. Note that the following guidance applies only to England.

Other COVID-19 government updates

Other government updates

  • A new bill will require pubs, cafés and restaurants to offer separate outdoor spaces for smokers and non-smokers.
  • The government has moved to make Changing Places toilets compulsory in new buildings. This change in building rules will require large and accessible toilet facilities to be built into public buildings from next year.
  • Exposure to the sea and coastal areas can play a significant role in boosting human health and well-being, according to a recent government study.

Government statement on China

Today Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made a statement to the House of Commons on Britain’s relationship with China. He began by outlining the ways in which Britain works positively with China, including welcoming students and visitors to UK, but noted that the new National Security Law that has been imposed on Hong Kong has caused issues with this relationship. He announced that the Home Secretary will be outlining new immigration routes for Hong Kong nationals, and that the UK government will extend the arms embargo from China and will indefinitely suspend the extradition treaty between China and the UK.

The full statement will soon be available here.

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TIER UPDATE 17 JULY (2)

Further to the Prime Minister’s update this morning some further details around the reopening and pilots is now available. Please note, this and the updated Visitor Economy guidance on Gov.UK is for England only.

Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the Covid-19 guidance.

From the 1st August, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, the Government will take the following steps:

  • Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, in line with COVID- 19 Secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible.
  • Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds, particularly where congregating from different places, including business events. The pilots (some of which will begin late July) will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules.
  • Enable wedding receptions - sit-down meals for no more than 30 people, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidance.
  • Exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around to view the facilities and plan future events and to enable government backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.

From 1 October,

  • It is expected that events of all types (e.g. trade shows, consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences) will be allowed at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigation). Where such events involve people speaking loudly for prolonged periods of time, any mitigation must include particular attention to the ventilation of the spaces. This will be subject to the latest public health advice.

Customer logging toolkit for businesses

Public Health England has published the Customer Logging Toolkit. This contains a variety of template materials for businesses to display, as well as guidance on how the policy works.

Businesses should be storing the information securely for 21 days and sharing it with NHS Test and Trace if asked to do so. Businesses do not need to do anything else with the information.

If a customer tells you they have tested positive for coronavirus, you should tell them to self-isolate as soon as possible and to register their contacts with NHS Test and Trace. You should not use the log of customer details you have collected to contact other customers yourself. Instead, if NHS Test and Trace assess that the customer was on your premises while potentially infectious, they will contact you to provide support and to obtain the details of anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

HMRC support

If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can contact:

Face coverings at work

Guidance on face covering, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored is available here. There is no universal face coverings guidance for workplaces because of the variety of work environments in different industries. Employers should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees.

Visa Application Centre (VACs) update

More than 130 VACs have now reopened in total. It has been confirmed that a number of additional VACs will now also reopen later this month. To see the most up to date information on which VACs are open you can visit the relevant websites:

Other Government updates

  • Guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms has been updated to reflect additional requirements on face coverings.
  • Closing certain businesses and venues in England guidance has been updated to show further easing of restrictions for more businesses and venues to reopen from 25 July and 1 August.
  • Sporting events will allow fans to return from 1 October with social distancing in place, if it is safe to do so. The Government has announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been updated to clarify that notice periods being served by furloughed employees include contractual notice periods.
  • Leicester lockdown: what you can and cannot do guidance has been published.

Member updates – ALVA visitor sentiment research

Please find attached the latest research from the 4th wave of ALVA-commissioned visitor sentiment research. Some key findings include:

  • Those previously claiming that they would revisit ‘as soon as the opportunity arises’ appear to be true to their word, with 21% of the market (around 8.5m adults) claiming to have already visited since re-opening
  • Among those visiting attractions since re-opening, reaction to safety measures has been fairly good, although nervousness among visitors to attractions which were only allowed to open recently is apparent
  • However, around half the attractions-visiting market remains stubbornly cautious about visiting. Main visit barrier is lack of confidence in attractions’ ability to control distancing, led by concerns over fellow visitor’s compliance. Can we demonstrate and communicate that these are working well in our attractions – especially those indoors, where concerns are highest?
  • There is strong evidence that the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark will have a much-needed, major positive impact upon visit confidence and almost a quarter of the market already claim to have seen this mark
  • There is clear and increasing demand for a full visit experience to be available on re-opening, with significant proportions not visiting if services and facilities were to be closed. Opening with mitigation measures is better than keeping closed
  • However, as indoor attractions re-open, high anxiety in the market remains around these indoor facilities – especially toilets, catering outlets, interactive visit elements and events. Demonstrating and communicating safety measures pre-visit will be even more critical than for outdoor attractions
  • Two-thirds of the market would feel more comfortable about visiting an attraction if masks / face coverings were compulsory, a significant growth since June and reflecting wider public opinion and growth in use in recent weeks. Is now the time to take the socially responsible line and embrace their use in attractions?
  • Attractions located in tourism hotspots, perhaps more than ever, need to keep local residents onside as they seek to attract summer visitors – 71% of residents in these areas would rather visitors stay away

TIER UPDATE 17 JULY

Today, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced the latest measures for reopening as well as a framework to contain future outbreaks in England.
 

The conditional timeline covered indoor performances, wedding receptions of up to 30 people and some sports resuming from 1 August. Conferences and Business Events that operate in a COVID secure way will be able to take place from October subject to successful pilot events.  See additional info received from DCMS 

From 17 July
• Anyone may use public transport but they will be encouraged to use alternative transport where possible.
• As previously stated, from the 25th July – indoor gyms and pools can reopen.

From 1 August
• There will be an update to the guidance on returning to work. Businesses will have discretion for what works for them and their employees.
• Most remaining leisure settings, bowling, skating rinks, and close contact beauty services will be allowed to reopen. Nightclubs and soft play will remain closed for now.
• Live performances will also restart, following some successful pilots this month. They will begin to pilot larger gatherings, for example in sport stadia for reopening later in the autumn.
• Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be able to take place. 

September
• Schools, nurseries, and colleges to open on a full time basis.

October
• Conferences and Business Events to resume in a COVID secure way, subject to successful pilots.
• Audiences to return to stadia

November
• More close contact between friends and family in time for Christmas.

The Prime Minister also said that from tomorrow 18 July local authorities will have new powers to be able to close specific venues, shut public places and cancel events. A paper will be published next week.

You can watch the press conference here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Number10gov

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TIER UPDATE 16 JULY

Government lifting some lockdown restrictions in Leicester from 24 July

Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a statement in the House of Commons today about the local lockdown in Leicester. From 24 July, restrictions will be lifted for schools and early years childcare and a more targeted approach will be taken towards restrictions on nonessential retail. Other lockdown measures, including travel restrictions and a limit on gatherings up to 6 people, will remain in place. Measures introduced on 4 July, including reopening the hospitality sector, will not yet apply.

The Health Secretary also announced that the geography of the local lockdown has been redefined, and the restrictions in place now apply to the city of Leicester and the Oadby and Wigston area of Leicestershire. Restrictions will be reviewed again in two weeks.

Government statement on the post-Brexit economy, proposals open for consultation until 13 August

Business Secretary Alok Sharma made a statement in the House of Commons today on the Government’s plans for seamless internal trade for businesses across the  UK once the UK leaves the transition period at the end of the year. These plans are now open for consultation. In summary, the plans propose:

·        o enshrine two principles into law:

o   The principle of mutual recognition, meaning that the rules governing the production and sale of goods and services in one part of the UK are recognised in the other parts of the UK, and should present no barrier to the flow of goods and services between different regulatory systems.

o   The principle of non-discrimination, meaning that it is not possible for one regulatory regime to introduce rules that discriminate specifically against goods and services from another.

·        From 1 January 2021, powers in at least 70 policy areas previously held at an EU level will flow directly to the devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast for the first time. This will give the devolved administrations power over more issues, without removing any of their current powers.

·        Businesses will be given a ‘market access commitment’, guaranteeing that goods and services sold in one part of the UK can always be sold into another.

·        The Government will also clarify in law that subsidy control is a reserved matter for the whole of the United Kingdom, and not devolved, meaning the whole of the UK will have one domestic subsidy regime.

He invited devolved administrations to work together on cross-cutting issues such as regulatory standards. Through the common frameworks approach the Government will support regulatory consistency across internal markets.

The proposals laid out in this new White Paper will remain open for consultation for four weeks (until 13 August). If you would like to respond, please complete the survey to share your views.

The White Paper includes a citation on the importance of domestic tourism to the national economy:

As mentioned in the opening statement of this White Paper, one of the key features of our economy is its deep integration. This is evidenced not only through Scotland’s and Northern Ireland’s overwhelming reliance on domestic UK trade, or the hundreds of thousands of commuters crossing from one UK nation to another each year. Our tourism industry provides a similarly compelling example, in 2019, Great Britain’s residents took a total of 122.8m overnight trips to destinations in England, Scotland, or Wales. This amounted to 371.8m nights and £24.7bn was spent during these trips.

Full remarks and the following debate will be available on Hansard later today.

Government confirms allocations of £500 million additional funding for councils

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed allocations for individual councils from the £500 million of additional support for coronavirus-related spending pressures to help councils in England continue to deliver crucial frontline services.

Data on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on UK economy, personal and economic well-being

Early experimental data has been updated on the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy and society, including data on the business impacts of the coronavirus, social impacts on Great Britain, footfall, online job adverts, online price changes for high-demand products and trends in shipping. Latest report includes data collected up to 12 July

Industry updates

·        The National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses (FSB) has shared advice and other resources to help small businesses amidst the pandemic. The FSB’s page has been added to the roundup of coronavirus support for business from outside government shared on GOV.UK.

·        The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has launched a new insurance product – ABTA Travel Sure – that will be available to agents and directly to consumers, and includes explicit coverage for Covid-related expenses while travelling.

·        ITB Asia 2020 will be held virtually on 21-23 October 2020.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 16 JULY

Here’s today’s update. One request today, if you have any queries about the application of the VAT scheme, please let me know as there seem to be a number issues coming out of the woodwork on this including it’s application in relation with bundled products even if they are both VAT reduced.

  • VAT Cut and Flat Rate VAT Scheme

Speaking of VAT issues, if you are a business that benefits from the cut in VAT rates but operate under the Flat Rate VAT Scheme, the new Flat Rates have been announced. These are:

  • Accommodation – 0%
  • Catering Services including Restaurants and Takeaways – 4.5%
  • Pubs – 1%

However, there doesn’t seem to be a reduction in the flat rate that applies to attractions that are operating under the Flat rate Scheme with the “Library, archive, museum or other cultural activity” rate staying at 9.5% and “Entertainment or journalism” staying at 12%. If you have businesses impacted by this, let me know and I will take it up with Treasury.

https://www.gov.uk/vat-flat-rate-scheme/how-much-you-pay 

  • Clarification on Campsites

The Ministerial Statement asking Local Authorities to waive planning restrictions on the opening season of Caravan and Holiday Parks was also meant to include Campsites. This omission has now been amended.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-07-14/HCWS367/  

  • Emergency Funding Allocations for Councils

The Government has published details of the allocation of £500m in emergency funding for councils in order to provide essential services. You can find out how much your local authority received by downloading the table on the following link

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-emergency-funding-for-local-government

  • Eat Out To Help Out Guidance Update

The guidance for businesses signing up with this scheme has been updated to include a range of worked examples related to how the discount is the be applied in different situations. These include:

  • A group of four diners (2 adults and 2 children) who spend £60, including £10 on alcoholic beverages and where there is a 10% service charge
  • A group of four diners (2 adults and 2 children) who spend £100, including £10 on alcoholic beverages and where there is a 10% service charge
  • A group of 4 diners have a bill of £50 which includes £8 on alcoholic beverages and there is no service charge.
  • A single person spends £4 and no alcohol is purchased.  

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

It’s also worth noting that the “Find a Restaurant” locator service will now provide customers with a list of participating businesses within a 2 mile radius, rather than the 1 mile radius that was announced yesterday.

  • Online Tailored Guidance for Businesses

The Government has produced an online tool that businesses can use to generate guidance on how to open and operate safely which is tailored to how their business operates. An online questionnaire asks for information on the business sector, the number of employees, visitors, suppliers and whether staff work on site to generate a comprehensive list of the actions that should be taken to ensure that a proper risk assessment is undertaken and that the business operates in a Covid safe manner.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-reopening

  • Internal Market White Paper

This one is Brexit related rather than Coronavirus but it is well worth being aware of. The Government has launched a four week consultation on a new White Paper which sets out it’s approach to maintaining a coherent internal market within the UK  when the UK leaves the EU. When the UK leaves the transition arrangements on 1 January 2021, there are a large number of responsibilities that will transfer back rom the EU to the UK. Many of these responsibilities will be passed to the devolved administrations but the Government wants to ensure that, in doing this the integrity of the internal market in maintained which means ensuring that goods and services can be produced under the rules and regulation of one administrative part of the UK can be freely transferred to another administrative area without conflicting with the rules and regulations that apply there. While this doesn’t directly impact tourism flows per se, it aims to make sure that things like food products or manufacturer items can be traded freely.

The consultation ends on 11:45pm on 13 August 2020

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/901225/uk-internal-market-white-paper.pdf

  • Free growth support programme for early stage businesses in Hertfordshire.

BEIS has launched a support Scheme for Businesses in Hertfordshire that is open to Tourism and Hospitality Businesses. The support being offered includes:

  • Specialist business advice (one-to-one)
  • Skills training webinars and training workshops to help you develop and enhance the skills needed to grow a business
  • Access to finance and funding options
  • Networking opportunities and events

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/get-enterprising

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TIER UPDATE 15 JULY

Extending the season for holiday and caravan parks

Last night MHCLG laid a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) that encourages Local Authorities to allow holiday and caravan parks to extend their season. The statement also encourages local planning authorities not to undertake enforcement action which would unnecessarily restrict the ability of caravan and holiday parks to extend their open season.  This WMS has been published to support the sector through COVID-19 disruption. The statement came into effect on 14 July 2020 and will remain in place until 31 December 2022 unless superseded by a further statement.

Guidance for Local Authorities and park owners has also been published and the Tourism Minister has shared on Twitter. Any support in sharing the news through your networks and with interested stakeholders would be greatly appreciated. 

Sector specific Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) statistics

HMRC has today published a second release of statistics on CJRS

On the sectoral section worth noting:

  • the accommodation and food services sector has had the highest proportion of employers furloughing at least some staff (87%) and the highest proportion of total employments furloughed at 73%. 109,800 employers have furloughed staff in the accommodation and food services sector
  • the accommodation and food services sector has seen a 73% take-up rate in terms of employments, with over £4.1 billion claimed through CJRS. 
  • arts, entertainment, recreation and other services, have seen 75% of employers in this sector furlough at least one employment - with a total of 443,000 employments furloughed in this sector with a take-up rate of 66%. Claiming in total £1.1 billion
  • in London 63% of employments in the arts, entertainment, recreation and other services sector have been furloughed - Wales and the South West had higher take-up rates in this sector at 73% and 68% respectively. 

Access to Work: Travel cost evidence now needed

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. The programme will provide money towards any extra travel costs associated with disabled people getting to and from work if they can’t use available public transport during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This guidance has been updated to say that people now need to provide evidence to support a claim for travel costs.

Other Government updates

  • On guidance for the safe use of multipurpose community facilities, links have been added to guidance on rehearsal and training; to guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace; and to guidance on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.
  • ‘The ‘Register’ section of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme now gives more information about which Government Gateway ID you can use and the registration information that is available to the public. A restaurant finding service is due to be launched next week where you will be able to search for participating restaurants within a one mile radius of the postcode entered.
  • The number of individuals claiming the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant up to 30 June 2020 by age, gender, industry sector and geography is now available.
  • Companies House is offering a temporary service to users to allow them to can request to have the authentication code sent to a home address instead of the company’s registered office. Time updated
  • The Migration Advisory Committee has published a technical note that sets out the methodology they recommend for how salary thresholds are calculated, the note also provides illustrative examples.

Member updates

  • Visit Kent has shared an article that sets out the Caring Customer and Support Your Local initiatives which they are running with their partner organisation, Produced in Kent. It builds on the #RespectProtectEnjoy campaign and encourages people to support their local hospitality business but to do so in a way which protects communities and public health.

Travel industry updates

  • Hilton has announced a global cleanliness and customer service programme specifically for meetings and events. Hilton EventReady with CleanStay is the next phase of the company’s Hilton CleanStay initiative.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 15 JULY

  • Find a Restaurant Service Opens 20th July

To support the Eat Out to Help Out initiative, the Government is going to launch a restaurant finding service next week whereby the public will be able to enter a postcode that the site will provide a list of participating businesses within a 1 mile radius. While this will be good for locals, visitors may struggle to know the postcode of the location that they are in.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-discount-with-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

Linked to this, the guidance for businesses has been updated to inform operators registering their business that the name, address and website URL of the business will be added to a list of participating establishments that will be available to the public.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

  • New CJRS and SEISS Stats

The government has published new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme statistics. While the statistic show that the Hospitality and Tourism Sectors are the most impacted, it should be noted that the statistics are for the period to 30th June and therefore don’t take account of the reopening of significant parts of the industry reopening on 4th July. Nevertheless the main points are:

  • 9.4 million employments had been placed on furlough, an increase of 678,000 compared with claims made until the end of May (although this may have something to do with the need to place people on furlough before the end of June so that they were eligible for flexible furloughing in future.
  • Businesses in the accommodation and food services sector had the highest proportion of employers furloughing at least some staff (87%) and the highest proportion of total employments furloughed at 73%
  • Employees of small and micro-sized employers were more likely to have been furloughed than those working for medium-sized and large employers: 57% of employments at employers with 5 to 9 employees had been furloughed against just 19% at employers with 250 or more employees
  • Young people are most likely to be furloughed

As a high percentage of tourism businesses are SME and tourism businesses employee a higher percentage of young people than other sectors, these statistics are particularly concerning.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-july-2020/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-july-2020

On the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, the figures are also interesting but this time the interesting factor is that tourism and hospitality businesses seem to be under-represented as beneficiaries of this scheme. While 3.4 million self-employed individuals were identified as potentially eligible for the SEISS scheme the figures suggest that only around 2/3 of eligible businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector are making a claim, which is far lower than for the CJRS.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-july-2020/self-employment-income-support-scheme-statistics-july-2020

EIF/DCMS Guidance Updates

I gather some local authorities are asking why the EIF guidance is not on the Government website and questioning whether it is legitimate guidance.   If you get asked this, it is already on the site at:

 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/guidance-for-dcms-sectors-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19 

However, I have also asked DCMS to put it on the BEIS site at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

We will also be added a section – which was in there originally! – about wearing face masks.

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TIER UPDATE 14 JULY

Mandatory face coverings in shops from 24 July

The Government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory from 24 July when shopping.  To protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely. Those who do not wear a face covering in shops will face a fine of up to £100. Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. We will share further guidance for businesses when it becomes available.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme updates

The scheme is now closed for the first grant. A number of updates have been made to the scheme guidance:

·        Guidance on how HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income has been updated to include that losses are not included in your non-trading calculation.

·        Guidance on how different circumstances affect the scheme has been updated to include what supporting evidence you may be asked for if having a new child affected the trading profits you reported for the tax year 2018 to 2019.

  • New guidance has been published on how to pay back some of the SEISS grant if you’ve been overpaid, made a claim in error and were not eligible for the grant or would like to make a voluntary repayment.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) updates

A number of updates have been made to guidance on the CJRS:

·        New guidance has been published on claiming for individuals who are paid through PAYE but not necessarily employees in employment law.

·        Guidance on calculating how much you can claim has been updated with information on claim periods ending on or before 31 August 2020.

Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus outbreak

·        Guidance has been updated to confirm that the flexibility to suspend level 2 functional skills for level 2 apprentices has been extended, and to provide more information on support for redundant apprentices.

Latest statistics available

·        Weekly data (up to end of Sunday 12 July) for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now available.

·        HMT management information about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme has been updated with the new weekly stats up to 12 July

·        Updated data is available (up until 12 July) on how local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus.

·        New statistics analysing the monthly growth for the production and services industries between April 2020 and May 2020, highlighting the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-

·    Support for navigating the new requirements for both businesses and visitors

o   Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism has published recommended health & safety protocols for 15 tourism segments in addition to a set of guidelines for tourists.

o   Danes can now obtain a COVID-19 passport for travel to foreign destinations where proof of a negative test is required for entry.

o   The EU has published interim advice for restarting cruise ship operations.

o   Greece launched its new reassurance campaign targeting inbound visitors with a “Health First” message.

o   Italy’s ENIT has published guidance for domestic and inbound visitors to help them understand what to expect when they travel.

·        Business events:

o   The German Convention Bureau GCB presented its new recovery concept and marketing strategy for Business Events.

o   The Australian Tourism Restart Taskforce considers business events in its Tourism Restart Plan.

·        Airlines/aviation:

o   State aid from the Austrian Government for the Lufthansa subsidiary Austrian Airlines has been approved by the European Commission.

o   The US Treasury Department has reached an agreement with several carriers for billions more in federal loans through the CARES Act.

·        New domestic and inbound campaigns:

o   Ireland’s domestic campaign: “Ireland, make a break for it”

o   Sweden’s inbound campaign: “Enjoy our space”

o   New York City unveiled “All in NYC” initially targeting locals before expanding the audience at a later stage.

o   Italy’s Piedmont promotes experiential holidays with #RipartiTurismo to Italians and Europeans.

o   Dubai welcomes inbound visitors with “Ready when you are”.

Outdoor Event Capacity Issues - EIF

We’ve heard of several local authorities saying to organisers that the capacity limit for outdoor events is 30 – which is totally wrong.   If any of your members raise this the best thing is to quote the following from DCMS:

Organised outdoor events

Outdoor events, that are organised by businesses, charitable organisations, and public bodies, may have more than 30 attendees provided (i) they have carried out a thorough risk assessment and (ii) taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, taking into account that risk assessment, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidance.

This includes ensuring that social distancing between different households or support bubbles is maintained at all times, and between staff and performers. In addition, those operating venues or running events following Covid-19 Secure guidance should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent large gatherings or mass events from taking place.

The Events Industry Forum has published guidance on outdoor events which has been developed with input from DCMS.

DCMS are also going to put something out to local authorities to correct this misinterpretation but it may not always filter through to the right departments.

From Visitor Economy Working Group

Updated transport guidance
The Department for Transport has updated its travel and transport guidance with the ‘avoid public transport’ message removed. The collection of guidance can be found here.

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TIER UPDATE 13 JULY

‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme open for registrations today

The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ voucher incentive scheme is now open for registration. Restaurants and other eating establishments that sell food and non-alcoholic drinks for immediate on-site consumption may register. Through the scheme, eating establishments can offer a discount to diners of up to 50%, up to £10 per diner, and then claim the difference back from the government. The discount is eligible for purchases made on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3-31 August. Learn more about the scheme and how to register here.

Promotional materials and guidance have been shared to support businesses in promoting the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.

Planning rules revised to protect performing arts spaces

Changes to the planning system will protect theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues from being demolished or redeveloped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Councils will need to take the temporary impact of coronavirus into account when considering permission for change of use, redevelopment or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue. The new rules will go into effect next week and remain in effect until 31 December 2022.

Outdoor events resuming in England from 11 July

Outdoor performances in front of a live audience are allowed to restart in England as of Saturday 11 July. According to The Events Industry Forum Guidance that was approved by DCMS, the range of outdoor events now permitted includes:

·         Air Shows

·         Agricultural Shows (including town and country shows)

·         Carnivals, Fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies and Community Fairs

·         Car boot sales

·         Circuses

·         Display and Performing Arts including Street Art Events

·         Firework Displays

·         Flower Shows and Gardening Events

·         Historical re-enactment events

·         Literature Fairs / festivals

·         Pet and Animal Shows

·         Some music concerts

·         Outdoor theatres and performing arts

New government campaign to help prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period

The government has launched a new public information campaign to help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. The campaign will target UK citizens intending to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, UK nationals living in the EU and EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK.

Business and citizens may need to take action regardless of the type of agreement reached with the EU, and the actions people and business owners need to take will vary based on their circumstances. They include:

  • Making sure you are ready to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, for example by getting comprehensive travel insurance, ensuring your passport is valid and checking your roaming policy with your mobile phone provider.
  • If you want to travel to Europe with your pet from 1 January 2021, contact your vet at least 4 months before you travel.

New points based immigration system to take effect 1 January 2021

The Home Office has announced the new points based immigration system that will take effect from 1 January 2021. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

Relevant for tourism:

  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. All migrants looking to enter the UK for other reasons (such as work or study) will need to apply for entry clearance in advance.
  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will also be able to use ePassport gates (this will be kept under review).
  • Until at least January 2026, the UK will continue to recognise identity cards used for travel by EU citizens and their EU family members who are both resident in the UK before the end of the transition period and hold status under the EU Settlement Scheme. We will also recognise ICAO-compliant identity cards from this group beyond 2026.
  • For newly arriving migrants, we intend to phase out the use of insecure identity documents and will set out further details on this shortly.

Permission to travel requirement:

  • As part of a phased programme to 2025, the UK will introduce a universal ‘permission to travel’ requirement which will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel to facilitate the passage of legitimate travellers whilst keeping threats away from the UK border.
  • Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) will be introduced for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling. Our ETA system will require applicants to undertake a light-touch application process, which will allow security checks to be conducted and more informed decisions taken on information obtained at an earlier stage, as to whether individuals should be allowed to travel to the UK. This will act as their permission to travel.
  • The aim is to make the visa a digital document to replace the paper one and will be the equivalent of a permission to travel.
  • At the border, a passport will be required to demonstrate identity. During 2021, EU citizens (other than those with protected rights under the Withdrawal Agreement) will have to use a passport rather than a national ID card to cross the border. Further details on changes to border control procedures affecting EU citizens will be announced in due course, following the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

Points based system:

  • From January 2021, the job a migrant is offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). Migrants will also need to be able to speak English and be paid the relevant salary threshold by their sponsor. This will either be the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the going rate for their job, whichever is higher.
  • If a migrant earns less than this - but no less than £20,480 - they may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against their salary. For example, if they have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job. Find more information on the points based system here.

Visa applications:

  • New immigration routes will open later this year for applications to work, live and study in the UK from 1 January 2021. Migrants will be able to apply and pay for their visa online.
  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will need to provide a digital photo of their face using a smartphone app. They will not have to give their fingerprints. For a small number of low volume routes (to be confirmed later this year) they will need to go to an overseas visa application centre to have their photo taken.
  • Non-EU citizens will continue to submit fingerprints and a photo at an overseas visa application centre.

EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020:

  • An EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK before 31 December 2020 can apply with their family to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

Other government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 13 JULY 2020

  • Proposed Amendments to the Business and Planning Bill

We have been working with the Lib Dem tourism spokesperson and BH&HPA on tabling amendments to the Business and Planning Bill which is going to Committee session this afternoon. The three amendments that we have tabled are:

    • Amending the PTR to ease requirements on domestic businesses providing customers with Value-Added products
    • Easing planning restrictions of caravan parks operating over the winter period
    • Waiving planning restrictions preventing self-catering properties providing winter lets

Separately, Tim Farron has tabled an amendment requiring the Government to undertake a review of support to the tourism industry.

I’ll let you know how these amendments fare later.

  • “The UK’s New Start: Let’s Get Going”

Not quite Coronavirus related but still worth being aware of, the Government has launched a new campaign to prepare businesses for the end of the Brexit transition period. The campaign has the tagline “Check, Change, Go” (they really love these three word/part slogans) and a central component of it is to direct people to a new website where all the information and announcements associated with the end of the transition period will be posted. One of the main features of the site is that individuals or businesses can sign-up to receiving personalised email with information updates based on their issues and interests. The link to the sign-up website is below.

https://www.gov.uk/transition

  • Guidance for Managing Beaches, the Countryside and Coastal Areas

With the reopening on rural and seaside areas for tourism, the Government has pulled together all the relevant existing government advice and policy to support the owners and operators of beach, countryside and coastal areas meet the challenges that come with managing these areas. While none of the collated guidance is new, having it pulled together on one page is very useful for councils, DMOs and businesses operating in these areas. The page covers issues such as carparks, public facilities, overcrowding and dealing with antisocial behaviour. It also provides links to a range of external organisations that have produced guidance related to public safety in these areas.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-beaches-the-countryside-and-coastal-areas/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-beaches-the-countryside-and-coastal-areas

  • Use of Community Facilities Updated

The Guidance on the use of community facilities has been updated to say that while these facilities can be used by groups of over 30 people subject to social distancing capacities, they should not be used for indoor performances in front of a live audience and should not facilitate large gatherings or celebrations.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities

  • Businesses and Venues that Must Remain Closed

The guidance on which businesses must remain closed has been undated in night of Saturday’s changes. The revised list is:

    • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
    • Casinos
    • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
    • Bowling alleys
    • Indoor skating rinks
    • Indoor play areas, including soft-play areas
    • Indoor fitness and dance studios
    • Indoor gyms and sports courts and facilities
    • Indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks
    • Exhibition halls or conference centres must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business or organisation who run the venue.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

  • New Planning Rules to Protect Cultural Heritage

The Government has announced that it will bring forward changes to the planning system to save theatres, concert halls and live music performance venues from being redeveloped in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. Under the move, Councils will now need to take the temporary impact of coronavirus into account when considering permission for change of use, redevelopment or demolition of a theatre, concert hall or live music performance venue.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-planning-rules-to-protect-our-cultural-heritage

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TIER UPDATE 10 JULY

Updates to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Guidance

Government updates

Further re-opening timetable for the tourism and leisure sector in Wales

The Welsh First Minister has set out a timetable for reopening Wales’ visitor economy following a 21-day review period. See below for the dates businesses can reopen:

From 11th July

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation  

From 13th July

  • Hairdressing salons and barbershops, including mobile hairdressers.
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outdoors.
  • Outdoor cinemas.
  • Indoor visitor attractions, but a small number of underground visitor attractions will remain closed for the time being because of the higher risks associated with these environments. The Welsh Government will continue to work with these attractions towards safe re-opening.
  • Places of worship. Faith leaders can begin to gradually resume services when they are ready to do so safely. 

From 20th July

  • Playgrounds, community centres and outdoor gyms 

The following provisional dates have also been announced:

 From 25th July

  • Tourist accommodation with shared facilities, such as camping sites. 

From 27th July

  • Beauty sector and other close-contact services, including tattooists and nail salons
  • Indoor cinemas, museums, galleries and archive services. 

A final decision about reopening these sectors will depend on conditions and feedback from the initial opening of the tourism industry, indoor attractions and hairdressing sector.

The next formal review of the regulations is due by 30 July. Detailed discussions about how indoor hospitality can operate in a coronavirus-safe way are ongoing. Options for reopening will be considered from 3 August, if conditions allow.

The Welsh Government is also making changes to the regulations to allow larger gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors only where these are organised and supervised by a responsible person for sports and other leisure activities and classes.

The law in Wales will continue to make the 2m distance the default position for physical distancing, but given he challenges faced by the hospitality, beauty industry and other sectors, where a 2m distance cannot be reasonably maintained at all times. the regulations will require businesses to put in place a set of additional measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

DfT assets and FAQ available for download

DfT has shared a link to their extranet where you can download resources (please download in chrome) including:

  •         A downloadable Q&A Word document covering some of the key information on these travel exemptions
  •         Graphics providing further information for people travelling abroad this summer, to use in consumer facing social media
  •         Updated Port and Carrier poster assets

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE - 10 JULY

  • CMA Letter to Package Travel Operators

The Competition and Markets Authority has written a stern letter to companies selling package travel (attached) to say that their initial review of 17,500 complaints indicates that businesses may have engaged in, and may still be engaging in, certain practices contrary to consumer law. In particular, they are concerned that businesses have not been meeting the requirements of the Package Travel Regulations to provide refunds no later than 14 days after a package holiday has been cancelled and may be in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations by providing inadequate or misleading information to consumers about their statutory rights.

  • Outdoor Events Start Tomorrow

One of the slightly overlooked announcements yesterday was that outdoor performances in front of a live audience are allowed to restart from tomorrow. According to The Events Industry Forum Guidance that was approved by DCMS, the range of outdoor events now permitted includes:

  • Air Shows
  • Agricultural Shows (including town and country shows)
  • Carnivals, Fun fairs, fetes, steam rallies and Community Fairs
  • Car boot sales
  • Circuses
  • Display and Performing Arts including Street Art Events
  • Firework Displays
  • Flower Shows and Gardening Events
  • Historical re-enactment events
  • Literature Fairs / festivals
  • Pet and Animal Shows
  • Some music concerts (see below)
  • Outdoor theatres and performing arts

The guidance on this is available on the Events Industry Forum Website

https://www.eventsindustryforum.co.uk/index.php/11-features/14-keeping-workers-and-audiences-safe-during-covid-19

  • CJRS: Claiming For People Who are Not Employees

The government has issued new guidance on claiming for people who are not employees including:

You can claim a grant for individuals who are not employees - as long as they’re paid via PAYE. The groups you can claim for include:

  • office holders (including company directors)
  • salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
  • agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies)
  • limb (b) workers
  • Contingent workers in the public sector
  • Contractors with public sector engagements in scope of IR35 off-payroll working rules (IR35)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/individuals-you-can-claim-for-who-are-not-employees/individuals-you-can-claim-for-who-are-not-employees

Continuing with CJRS, the guidance has been updated to clarify that employers are able to make employees on furlough redundant and can continue to claim for employees who are serving a statutory notice period. However grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

In addition, the wording of the guidance has been added to make it clear that HMRC will not decline or seek repayment of any grant based solely on the particular choice between fixed or variable approach to calculating usual hours, as long as a reasonable choice is made.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/steps-to-take-before-calculating-your-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  • Recovery Advice Scheme

BEIS has launched the  Recovery Advice for Business scheme, supported by the government and hosted on the Enterprise Nation website, gives small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers are on hand to offer free advice, until 31st December. Small and medium sized businesses can sign up, take the diagnostic tool and access support. Advice will focus on key areas:

  • accounting and finance
  • people and building a team
  • planning, strategy and pivoting
  • marketing, PR and social media
  • technology and digital tools

Here’s a link to the Enterprise Nation website that SMEs can use to sign up

https://www.enterprisenation.com/freesupport/

  • ONS Social Impacts Research

The ONS has produced new research on the social impacts of coronavirus and public perceptions, The two main finding from this of relevance to tourism businesses are not particularly encouraging

  • Only 2 in 10 adults (21%) said they would be comfortable or very comfortable to eat indoors at a restaurant compared with 6 in 10 (60%) who said they would be uncomfortable or very uncomfortable.
  • Only a quarter of adults (25%) said they were likely or very likely to go on holiday in the UK this summer, and just under 1 in 10 adults (9%) said they were likely or very likely to go on holiday abroad this summer.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/10july2020

  • R- Rate Figures

The Government has produced a new estimate of the R Rate for the UK which is 0.7-0.9, while the growth rate range for the UK-5% to -2%. However, the rates for England and the regions within England are more worrying with almost all regions having an R Rate of between 0.7 – 1.0 (which is an increase on last time) and showing growth rates which in three regions could be above zero

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

  • Reopening the High Street Safely FAQ Update

The FAQ has been updated to include additional information on things such as using the funding to buy barriers such as planters and whether local authorities can pool their funding.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/899475/Reopening_igh_Streets_Safely_Fund_FAQ_V4.pdf  

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TIER UPDATE 9 JULY

Here is today’s briefing, which includes the latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker report from VisitBritain (full report attached), as well as guidance for the accommodation sector during local lockdown as discussed in today’s TIER meeting.

Government press briefing

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden led this evening’s press conference. He encouraged the public to support local businesses by buying tickets, visiting galleries and taking advantage of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ offers. He also announced the following:

  • Outdoor performances and recreational sport may resume this weekend, and outdoor gyms, swimming pools and water parks may reopen. Venue capacity will be reduced and electronic ticketing will be implemented to control crowds and support Test and Trace.
  • Indoor gyms and swimming pools may reopen from 25 July, with appropriate measures such as enhanced cleaning protocols and pre-booking systems in place.
  • A number of indoor performances will be piloted by Public Health England, in collaboration with organisations including the London Symphony Orchestra and Butlins. These test events will support related research to work out how indoor performances may resume safely.
  • The planning system is also being altered to protect theatres from demolition and change of use. This comes in addition to the £1.5bn package announced last week.
  • Beauticians and tattooists may reopen from 13 July, with some restrictions on high-risk services.

Northern Ireland announces quarantine exemptions, lifts further lockdown restrictions

The Executive Office has announced that travellers arriving in Northern Ireland from low or medium-risk countries will be exempt from quarantine requirements. This list is the same as for England

Ministers have further confirmed that the following may reopen from tomorrow, 10 July:

  • Indoor fitness studios and gyms
  • Bingo halls and amusement arcades
  • Outdoor leisure playgrounds, courts and gyms
  • Cinemas
  • Indoor baptisms, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies at places of worship or local government venues

Outdoor competitive games and sporting events including horse racing and equestrian competitions may resume from 11 July without spectators.

Libraries may reopen from 16 July with social distancing measures in place. Indoor sport and leisure facilities, including skating rinks and leisure centres but excluding swimming pools, may reopen from 17 July. 

Scotland moving to phase 3 from Friday, list of quarantine exemptions announced

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland will move to phase 3 of lifting lockdown restrictions starting on 10 July, and that the tourism sector and indoor hospitality may reopen from 15 July. No date has yet been set for the reopening of non-essential indoor spaces including offices, indoor gyms, entertainment venues such as theatres, or the resumption of live outdoor events, but some key changes for next week are noted below.

 From 10 July:

  • Face coverings will be mandatory in shops.
  • Some sectors will have exemptions to the 2m social distancing rules, such as on public transportation or in retail settings with other mitigations in place.
  • A maximum of 8 people from up to three different households will be able to meet indoors.
  • A maximum of 15 people from up to five different households will be allowed to meet outdoors, as long as they stay 2m apart.

From 13 July:

  • Organised outdoor play and contact sport may resume for children and young people under 18 years old.
  • Non-essential shops inside shopping centres may reopen.

From 15 July:

  • The tourism industry and indoor hospitality may reopen.
  • All holiday accommodation, museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries can reopen with social distancing rules in place, and in some cases advanced ticketing.
  • Hospitality venues may be granted an exemption from the 2m social distancing rule as long as other mitigating measures are in place such as clear information for customers, revised seating plans and the collection of contact details for all customers to support Test and Protect.

The Scottish government has also announced an exemption from the 14-day quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in Scotland from a list of 57 overseas destinations with similar or lower levels of COVID-19 infection than Scotland, plus the 14 UK overseas territories. The two countries currently excluded from Scotland’s exemption list (but included for England and Wales) were Spain and Serbia. The exemptions go into effect on 10 July. A further review will be conducted on 20 July.

Wales quarantine restrictions to be lifted 10 July

The Welsh government has announced that travellers from a list of countries will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirements put in place by COVID-19 regulations. These exemptions will go into effect on 10 July and are in line with those countries exempt in England

VAT: reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

Guidance is now available, following the government’s announcement that VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate may be applied between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Eligible attractions for the temporary reduced rate of VAT include shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and other cultural events and facilities, but do not include admission to sporting events. Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption. Find more information about which attractions are eligible for the reduced rate of VAT.

Information about the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Businesses that sell food for immediate consumption on-premises are eligible to register with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, designed to incentivise customers by offering a discount on food that they can later claim back from the government. The discount can be applied to food and non-alcoholic drinks sold for immediate consumption, up to a maximum £10 per diner (inclusive of VAT).

Further information is available about which businesses and sales are eligible, how to apply the discount and how to register your restaurant or eating establishment for the scheme.

Consumer Sentiment Tracker report from VisitBritain (Week 7)

Please find attached the latest draft of our UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report for week 7, based on fieldwork from 29 June to 3 July.

The major shift this week is a significant increase in the proportion of UK adults claiming to be confident they would be able to take a domestic short break or holiday during July, which has risen from 14% last week to 21%. However, this confidence shows only a slight increase in subsequent months, people are still adopting a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach. This is supported by the proportion of people expecting life to return to ‘close to normal’ anytime soon – currently 15% expecting ‘normality’ by September and just 35% by December.

More positively, we again record an increase (albeit a small one of +1%) in the proportion of UK adults expecting to actually go on a domestic short break or holiday by September, with 25% now claiming they will do so.

Other Government updates

  • Advice for British people about cruise ship holidays has been updated in line with the countries exempted on the FCO’s revised travel advisory.
  • Businesses advisors to provide free services to support small businesses in post-COVID recovery.
  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will open a further 36 visa application centres (VACs) on 12-13 July, where local conditions allow. To confirm whether a local VAC is open and determine which services are available, please visit uk.tlscontact.com (Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East) or vfsglobal.co.uk (all other regions).

As discussed at the TIER meeting, here is the guidance for the accommodation sector during local lockdown

The following communication was shared with the accommodation sector in Leicester on 3 July, offering guidance for how to proceed during a local lockdown.

As you know, on 4 July the lockdown restrictions being lifted across England will not apply to Leicester, which will continue to face a local lockdown. No new easements will be introduced at this time and non-essential retail, which had previously been open, will now need to close.

Those travelling into, out of and within the Leicester area will be advised to travel only if essential. Those who want to travel for a holiday will be advised not to do so and residents within the lockdown area will not be allowed to make overnight stays.

Accommodation within Leicester

Accommodation can still be provided for reasons previously allowed, those being: 

·        people who live in the accommodation permanently as their main residence; 

·        any person who is unable to return to their main residence, including non-UK residents who are unable to travel to their country of residence during this period; 

·        those isolating themselves from others as required by law; 

·        any critical worker that is part of the effort to deal with coronavirus, if the stay is necessary for their work; 

·        an elite athlete, their coach, the parent of an elite athlete (in the case of an elite athlete under the age of 18), or elite sports event and athlete support staff, if they need accommodation for the purposes of training or competition; 

·        those permitted to attend a funeral (that is: (i) members of the deceased person’s household; (ii) close family members of the deceased person, or (iii) if no-one within (i) or (ii) is attending, a friend of the deceased person), who need short term accommodation for that purpose; 

·        to support or provide accommodation to the homeless, including through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies; 

·        those who need accommodation while moving house.

Outside of the exemptions above, overnight stays in the Leicester area will not be allowed.

Accommodation outside Leicester

Residents within the lockdown area will be responsible for abiding by the law, including restrictions on making overnight stays. There will be no legal obligation for accommodation providers outside the lockdown area to check whether guests are resident within the lockdown area, or to enforce the law by turning people from Leicester away.

However, we encourage all accommodation providers to consider their approach towards guests from Leicester. Accommodation providers may wish to communicate to all customers with existing bookings, reminding them of the law and giving them a chance to cancel their bookings. 

Accommodation providers should follow all government guidelines on working as safely as possible and protecting their staff and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accommodation providers may decide to cancel bookings from guests from Leicester whilst the local lockdown is in place. The decision to refuse service is at the discretion of the business owner, and the terms of the booking contract may allow for discretionary cancellations. If you are cancelling a booking, this should be done with sufficient notice to the guest, and we would expect any funds already paid by the consumer to be repaid.

If a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, we encourage you to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer. If this cannot be arranged, we would encourage you to provide a refund as you have for customers during the broader lockdown period, which may depend on the terms of the booking contract.

If a guest whose reservation you have cancelled - or a holiday caravan owner whom you have advised not to visit the park - arrives at your property wishing to stay overnight in contravention of the law, you may ask the person to leave. You may wish to contact your local police force for support if a guest refuses to leave your property. Local police forces will support Local Authorities in enforcing the Coronavirus Regulations where necessary.

Situation update 9 July 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 9 JULY

More on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The Government has published the Guidance of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme including how businesses can register to be part of the Scheme.

In reading this there seems to be uncertainty as to whether packaged products are eligible. The guidance states that products such as dinner cruises are not eligible so I’ve asked for clarity on B&B offerings. There could also be a problem for Heritage Railways in this regard. I’ve received clarification from Treasury that packaged products that include food and drink are not eligible for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – this includes B&Bs, package offers at hotels and dinner cruises. However These products can be eligible if they are unbundled. So a Bed and Breakfast that charges £80/night could charge £60 for the accommodation and £20 for the breakfast and claim back £10.

The general details of the scheme are:

  • The scheme will run from 3rd to 31st August 2020 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • It is a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person
  • It applies to food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat consumed on the premises
  • Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.
  • There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme
  • The offer applies individually to all members of a group who are eating or drinking together – so it can’t be applied where a person in the group in not eating (ie., if a couple have a baby, they can only a get a maximum of £20 discount on their meal)

Eligible Businesses

Eligible establishments are those in which food is sold for immediate on-premises consumption. This could include:

  • restaurants
  • cafés
  • public houses that serve food
  • hotel restaurants
  • restaurants and cafes within tourist attractions, holiday sites and leisure facilities
  • dining rooms within members’ clubs
  • workplace and school canteens

Here’s a link to more information

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

  Registration

To claim the discount from Government, businesses must register. Registrations will open on 13th July and Close on 31st August

You can register if your establishment:

  • sells food for immediate consumption on the premises
  • provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
  • was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July

You cannot register if your establishment:

  • only offers takeaway food or drink
  • provides catering services for private functions
  • is an accommodation business that provides room service only
  • dining services (such as packaged dinner cruises)
  • mobile food vans or trailers

The registration will be instantaneous with businesses receiving a reference number to use to claim reimbursement from the Government. They will also receive downloadable promotional materials to use to let your customers know they are part of the scheme.

Here’s the guidance on registration

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

Here’s todays update with lots of new guidance on the VAT reduction and the reopening of Gyms, Pools and Performing Arts

  • Reduced VAT Rate

The guidance of the reduced VAT rates has been published. The key points are:

  • It applies to all food and non alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises
  • It applies to hot takeaway food and drink
  • It applies to all holiday accommodation from camping through to hotels
  • It applies to standard VAT rated attractions
  • Flat Rate VAT Scheme rates will be reduced to take into account the reduction
  • If you buy in and resell travel, accommodation and certain other services can use the Tour Operators Margin Scheme to simplify your calculations.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-reduced-rate-for-hospitality-holiday-accommodation-and-attractions

Separate, more detailed guidance is provided for individual business types  - food provision, accommodation and attractions as below

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/catering-takeaway-food-and-vat-notice-7091

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hotels-holiday-accommodation-and-vat-notice-7093

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-on-admission-charges-to-attractions

  • Pools and Gyms to Reopen

Oliver Dowden has announced that outdoor pools will reopen on 11 July and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities will reopen from 25 July provide that these facilities comply with new guidance. This guidance includes measures aimed at:

  • Limiting the number of people using the facility at any one time, for example by using a timed booking system;
  • Reducing class sizes and allowing sufficient time between each class to avoid groups waiting outside during changeover;
  • Ensuring an appropriate number of people are in a swimming pool at any one time;
  • Spacing out equipment or taking some out of service to maintain social distancing;
  • Enhanced cleaning and providing hand sanitizer throughout venues;
  • Considering how the way people walk through their venue could be adjusted to reduce contact, with queue management or one-way systems;
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation;
  • Encouraging the use of outdoor spaces for individual, team or group activities, making sure to comply with the latest restrictions on public gatherings;
  • Exercise or dance studios should have temporary floor markings where possible to help people stay distanced during classes;
  • Customers and staff should be encouraged to shower and change at home wherever possible, although changing rooms will be available.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-gyms-and-pools-to-reopen-safely

  • New Guidance on Grass Roots Sport and Gyms Facilities

New guidance has been published on the safe operation of leisure facilities which includes Swimming pools and other similar facilities. The timetable for opening these leisure facilities is as follows:

From 11 July:

  • organised team sports outdoors - subject to the relevant sport’s guidance being published
  • outdoor waterparks and swimming pools
  • outdoor hot tubs
  • outdoor hydrotherapy pools
  • outdoor whirlpools
  • outdoor jacuzzis.
  • outdoor sport and physical activity participation events

From 25 July:

  • indoor gyms
  • fitness and dance studios
  • indoors sports venues and facilities
  • indoor swimming pools
  • indoor hot tubs
  • indoor hydrotherapy pools
  • indoor whirlpools
  • indoor jacuzzis

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities

  •    New Guidance on Performing Arts – outdoor opening from 11th July

From 11 July outdoor theatres, opera, dance and music can resume  so long as they take place outside and with a limited and socially distanced audience.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/performing-arts-given-green-light-to-resume-outdoors-on-july-11

Along with the reopening, guidance has been produced to help performing arts organisations, venue operators and participants including those who are employers, employees and self-employed, volunteers and non-professionals in the UK understand how to work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe. This includes a five stage reopening plan:

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)
  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes
  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience
  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)
  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

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

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TIER UPDATE 8 JULY

Chancellor’s Summer Economic statement

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, gave his summer economic statement in which he set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ to continue the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak. The Chancellor noted that tourism has been one of the worst affected sectors and below is a summary of the key points from the Chancellors statement for tourism businesses.

  • The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will also be cut from 20% to 5%.
  • To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government has set up a new Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme. It will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
  • A bonus scheme worth up to £9 billion for firms has been announced to re-employ furloughed workers. An employer who brings someone back off furlough, and keeps them in a job until January, will get a £1,000 bonus. To get the bonus, firms must pay at least £520 each month.
  • A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create fully subsidised jobs. Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment already provided for new 16-18-year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Other Government updates

  • Updated videos are available on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughing to reflect the extension of the scheme.

Industry updates

  • The DFDS ferry route from Newcastle to Amsterdam will re-open on 15 July.
  • In July and August Etihad plans to return to resume a wider network to include 58 destinations (subject to the lifting of international restrictions).This will include major gateways in Europe including London.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 8th JULY

Here’s todays update with some good news about how the VAT reduction announced in the Chancellor’s Statement will be applied to bookings.

  • Chancellors Announcement

By now you will have digested most of the Chancellors statement so there are just a couple of things to highlight. The first is that the guidance on the announcements is due tomorrow so many of the details will be know then. However, I have been in touch with HM Treasury officials since the announcement and they have clarified that the reduction in VAT will apply when the payment is received – not when the product is “consumed”. This means that businesses can apply the reduced rate to any booking where the payment is received between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021 and provides significant opportunities for businesses to improve their cashflow by selling summer 2021 product at the low VAT rate.

The one other component of the package that I didn’t mention earlier that will be of interest to a lot of tourism and hospitality businesses is the Job Retention Bonus. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.

  • Travel Corridors Guidance Updated

DFT has updated the guidance for Travel Corridors with more information on transit stops, passengers arriving in England before 10 July 2020 and British overseas territories

                https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

  • Public Health Officer Guidance

Public Health England have produced guidance for PHOs that explain their powers and outline how these powers should be used. These are useful to know, especially for accommodation businesses who may have a customer that they suspect has Coronavirus. The main powers are:

  • PHOs may direct, remove or request a constable to remove, an individual to a place suitable for screening and assessment.
  • PHOs may require an individual to be screened and impose other requirements on an individual in connection with their screening and assessment.
  • Following an assessment, a PHO can impose requirements and restrictions on the individual.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/898828/Guidance_for_public_health_officers_-_potentially_infectious_persons.pdf

  • Impact on Household Incomes

Attached is a piece of analysis from HM Treasury on the impact of Coronavirus and Government interventions on the incomes of working households. The research shows that overall, the reduction in household income is less that 10% across almost all income groups except for the highest 10% and those in the bottom decile have actually seen a rise in their income.

  • Privacy Information Regarding Testing Positive

DHSC has updated the privacy Information guidance to say that if there is reasonable evidence that an employee contracted COVID-19 from a work-related exposure then the business operator is obliged to report this to the Health and Safety Executive, as required by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013

                https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-privacy-information/testing-for-coronavirus-privacy-information-quick-read

  • Deferring Self-Assessment Payments

The guidance for self-employed people has been updated to explain why people’s June 2020 Self Assessment statements showed a date of 31 January 2021. Apparently, this is because HMRC updated their IT systems to prevent customers incurring late payment interest on any July 2020 Payment on Account paid between 1st August 2020 and 31 January 2021. The deferment has not been applied for all customers by HMRC and it remains optional.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/defer-your-self-assessment-payment-on-account-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

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TIER UPDATE 7 JULY

Cultural and heritage organisations to be protected with £1.57 billion support package

The Government announced today a £1.57 billion support package for the arts, culture and heritage industries, through which organisations from a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage sites, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

The package includes:

  • £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
  • £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
  • £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

The Government has said that decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute. We will share more information as it becomes available.

Guidance for reopening in England

The following guidance has been published or updated in line with the reopening of the visitor economy in England from 4 July:

Closing certain businesses and venues in England, social distancing in a local lockdown

Guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England (or keeping them closed) has been updated following the further easing of coronavirus restrictions from 4 July, as well as location-specific guidance for closing businesses in Leicester. Leicester-specific guidance for social distancing during a local lockdown has also been updated.

Stay local requirement lifted in Wales from 6 July

First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed that the requirement in to stay local will be lifted in Wales from Monday 6 July. The following rules take effect from today:

  • Legal requirement to stay local (and the associated guidance about the 5-mile rule of thumb) no longer applies.
  • There is no limitation on travel but holiday accommodation in Wales is not allowed to be open.
  • People from 2 separate households will be able to join together to form one exclusive, extended household. But they can only be part of one extended household.
  • At the next review on 9 July, the Welsh Government will consider a range of specific options for re-opening the hospitality sector (bars and restaurants) outdoors from 13 July and self-contained holiday accommodation from 11 July.

The First Minister also issued a statement asking people to visit Wales safely and to respect local people and the natural environment as the country’s visitor economy reopens.

Northern Ireland to resume indoor weddings, civil partnerships and baptisms

Places of worship in Northern Ireland will be permitted to resume indoor ceremonies including baptisms and marriages, and local government offices and other venues will be allowed to resume marriage and civil partnership services from the same date from Friday 10 July.

It will be up to the venues to determine their precise opening dates, and the number of people attending ceremonies will be determined by the venue on a case-by-case, risk assessed basis and in adherence to relevant public health advice and industry guidance. More information will be available after the Executive meeting on Thursday.

Other Government updates

  • The guidance on how to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus, and how to report expenses to HMRC has been updated to cover information about 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests' and 'Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)'.
  • The Government shared a warning that thermal cameras and other such “temperature screening” products are not a reliable way to detect if people have the coronavirus.
  • Companies House has updated its online services to allow users to upload more form types, including Scottish limited and qualifying partnerships, articles and resolutions. Review further guidance for Companies House here.

VisitBritain Competitor Report (cut-off 3 July) (see report attached)

  • In the latest week, several governments have announced further support as well as extensions and tweaks to existing support measures for the sector and ancillary activity including:
    • A new AU$250m targeted package to help the creative economy in Australia
    • €4.5m in funding to promote the recovery of the tourism industry and in particular the regions by Finland incl. support for DMOs and a domestic campaign
    • The German Parliament has now approved the “voucher solution” with state backing in case of operator insolvency, and announced even more funding for a lighthouse project for rail. The temporary VAT reduction is now implemented.
    • Several measures of the Relaunch Decree now come into force and Italian regions have announced further support for the industry with e.g. a €24m tourism relaunch project by Campania
    • Russia announced support for domestic tourism product development
    • Saudi Arabia extends stimulus measures for private sector businesses struggling to recover
    • Spain extends its furlough scheme and support for the self-employed until the end of September 2020
    • The US have introduced a bill called “American Trip Act” in the Senate which aims to incentivise domestic travel
  • Business events:
    • As more destinations announce schedules for resuming larger events, the MICE sector receives additional support with a NZ$10m domestic events fund in New Zealand and Berlin announced a €10m congress fund to help the city attract more events
  • Airlines/aviation:
    • Qantas and Virgin Atlantic groups receive an initial investment of up to AU$165m to support the maintenance of the domestic flight network
    • Denmark has granted DKK260m towards the airline industry to aid, among others, the re-establishment of domestic routes by smaller airlines, and reduce airport tax.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 7 JULY

While we wait for the Chancellor’s announcement tomorrow, there is a range of things to catch-up on including extensions to planning permissions and updates on advice to accommodation businesses and on connectivity with other countries.​

  • Extension of Certain Planning Permissions: Draft Guidance

Draft Guidance has been produced on the impact of the Business and Planning Bill on planning permissions. The main points of this are that:

  • Unimplemented planning permissions with time limits for implementation which were due to lapse between The Bill coming into force and 31 December 2020 will be extended to 1 April 2021. This happens automatically, with no requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval.
  • Unimplemented planning permissions with time limits for implementation which passed between 23 March 2020 and when the Bill comes into force will be restored and the time limit extended to 1 April 2021, subject to Additional Environmental Approval being granted.
  • Any deadline for the submission of applications for the approval of reserved matters under an outline planning permission which would otherwise expire between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 is extended to 1 April 2021
  • All listed building consents with a time limit for implementation between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 will be extended to 1 April 2021. Listed building consents will not be subject to a requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/extension-of-certain-planning-permissions-draft-guidance/extension-of-certain-planning-permissions-draft-guidance

  • Travel Corridors: Written Statement to Parliament

Grant Shapps has presented a written statement to parliament regarding the progress that has been made in implementing Air Corridors, which are due to be introduced on 10th June. It’s worth noting that, with the exception of the USA, the countries on the list include all the UK’s top 10 inbound and outbound markets.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/travel-corridors

  • Advice for Accommodation Providers

DCMS’s Advice to accommodation owners has been updated to incorporate the changes that have occurred since 4th July. Among other things, the updated advice provides more guidance for accommodation businesses on what to do if a customer shows symptoms of Coronavirus while staying in the accommodation.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-advice-for-accommodation-providers

  • Travellers Exempt From Border Rules in the UK

The Government has updated the guidance for travellers who are exempt from Border rules related to quarantining so that transport workers who do not come into contact with passengers in the course of their journey to England will no longer be required to complete the passenger locator form. This will help pilots, seafarers, and Eurostar and Eurotunnel drivers who make regular crossings without coming into contact with passengers. There will also be additional exemptions for certain groups, including elite sportspersons and essential support staff returning to England or participating in certain elite sports events, and individuals coming to England to work on British film and television productions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

  • Number of People Furloughed Increases

One worrying piece of new from HMRC today is that although the tourism and hospitality industries reopened on 4th July, the number of people in the UK being furloughed actually increased between last week and this week – from 9.3m people to 9.4m people. This doesn’t bode well for either the UK’s recovery or people feeling more secure in their jobs and willing to make travel and holiday plans.

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

  • Eurostar Services Between Amsterdam and London

One further bit of good news on improving connectivity is that an agreement has been reached to enable direct Eurostar services to operate between Amsterdam and London later this year.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-eurostar-treaties-open-up-direct-travel-from-amsterdam-to-london

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TIER UPDATE 6 JULY

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for accommodation providers

Updated guidance for those providing hotel and other accommodation in England has been updated to reflect changes in effect from 4 July 2020. As they prepare to reopen, accommodation providers may refer to specific guidance for:

Certain individuals arriving from overseas will be required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, and businesses providing holiday accommodation may provide rooms to those required to self-isolate. Accommodation for these purposes should adhere to the same guidelines as for other permitted stays, including on social distancing and cleaning.

If a guest is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, they should inform their accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate and request a test. Guests who test positive for COVID-19 should return home if they can do so safely, and if they cannot reasonably return home they should work with the accommodation provider and local health care professionals to determine next steps.

Travel corridors: Countries exempt from self-isolation requirement on arrival in England

A written ministerial statement on travel corridors has been published outlining the process by which the government determined which countries and territories to exempt from mandatory self-isolation when arriving in England. Decisions were informed by analysis on a range of data from each country, including the estimated proportion of the population that is currently infectious, trends in virus incidences and deaths and information on each country’s testing capacity and the quality of data available.

The government will keep the requirements and exemptions set out in the regulations under review. The next review of the regulations will take place by 27 July 2020. For further information, please visit gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Countries exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revised its global advisory against 'all but essential’ international travel, sharing a list of countries that no longer prove an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. These exemptions came into effect on 4 July.

Travellers should note that the FCO’s list of safe destinations does not match the list of travel corridor countries, so British travellers who visit certain countries on this list will still need to self-isolate upon returning.

Updated self-isolation guidance and further traveller exemptions

Guidance on how to self-isolate when travelling to the UK has been updated to reflect exemptions for certain travel corridor countries and territories.

Updated travel details and new coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance has also been published for individual travellers exempt from border rules in the UK, beyond those people travelling from travel corridor destinations.

Industry updates

  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Carnival Corporation will host a virtual scientific summit focused on the coronavirus on 23 July. The summit will be free and open to the public and will share the latest scientific knowledge and best practices related to prevention, detection, treatment and mitigation of the virus.
  • Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line will collaborate to develop enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to COVID-19.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 6 JULY

The big news yesterday was the announcement that £1.57bn was being allocated to protecting the Culture, Arts and Heritage sectors which have been particularly badly impacted as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. We are awaiting details of the organisations that will be eligible and the process by which organisations will be able to apply for this funding which should be available soon.

  • £1.57bn for Culture, Arts and Heritage

The Government has announced that organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access a £1.57bn package of emergency grants and loans. This package includes:

  • £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
  • £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
  • £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/157-billion-investment-to-protect-britains-world-class-cultural-arts-and-heritage-institutions

  • FCO Exemptions to Non-Essential Travel Advisory Notice

Here is the link to those 67 countries and territories that the Government has lifted it advisory notice to avoid all non-essential travel. It should however be noted that flights are not yet available to all these places and not all countries have indicated that they will accept British visitors

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel

  • Updated Guidance on How to Meet People

The Government has updated the guidance to take account of the reopening of businesses like restaurants, pubs, places of worship or community centres on Saturday. The core requirements are that people should

  • only meet indoors in groups up to 2 households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • only meet outdoors in a group of no more than 2 households or in a group of up to 6 people from different households

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july

  • Transport in Areas on Local Lockdown

The Government has updated guidance for transport operators providing services through or within areas under local lockdown to say that they should continue operating services as normal. However, in doing so, they should review and update their risk assessments to ensure they remain relevant and appropriate to the changed situation

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators#areas-under-local-lockdown

  • Guidance on the Use of Places of Worship

Guidance has been produced for the safe operation of visiting places of worship. In addition to advice of staging services and events such as weddings, there is advice for opening for visitors stating that venues should work with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission . These could include:

  • Further lowering capacity - even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel to and from,or enter and exit the venue.
  • Staggering entry times with other local venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  • Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
  • Advising visitors to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july#purpose-of-this-guidance

  • Companies House Update

Companies House has published an update saying that businesses are now able to upload the following documents online rather than sending them in.

  • forms for Scottish limited partnerships
  • forms for Scottish qualifying partnerships
  • resolutions (in relation to a change of constitution)
  • articles of association (in relation a to change of constitution)

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-guidance-for-companies-house-customers-employees-and-suppliers

  • Wales Eases Lockdown Restrictions

The Welsh parliament today announced that they are dropping the 5 mile rule, thereby allowing people to travel wherever they want in Wales (including visitors from the other nations). While outdoor attractions are able to open, the formal announcement of ability for accommodation providers and other sectors of the tourism industry to open will be made on Thursday with the self-catering sector scheduled to open on the 11th July and the operation of hospitality businesses on an outside-only basis scheduled to start on 13th July.

Alongside today’s announcement, the Welsh parliament also announced their own form of social bubble whereby people from two separate households will be able to join together to form one extended household.  Apart from the two households being allowed to be of any size, the rest of the requirements mirror the requirements for social bubbles in England.

https://gov.wales/written-statement-review-lockdown-measures-and-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-wales-1

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TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 2 JULY

I was hoping to provide you with Guidance on what data you will have to gain from customers for the track and trace programme but this seems to be delayed. In the meantime, there are updates on tourism sector reopening in Scotland and Wales as well as some grim data from ONS on how badly tourism and hospitality businesses have been affected compared to other parts of the economy which support the need for a special package of support measures for the industry.

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Update

The Guidance on eligibility for the SEISS scheme has been updated to provide more information on how a business could be deemed to have been adversely affected by coronavirus including information for military reservists having a new child affected the trading profits.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-different-circumstances-affect-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme

  • New ONS Data on the Economy

ONS have published two new reports which highlight the fact that tourism and hospitality businesses continue to be the most impacted parts of the economy by some considerable margin.

The first showing  showing that, at the end of June:

    • 23% of the workforce were on furlough, with 68% of those receiving wage top-ups from their employer. This is a drop from the 27%
    • Footfall in high streets was below 40% of its level in the same period last year, while footfall in shopping centres was just under 50%
    • 36% of food and accommodation businesses and 40% of entertainment and recreation businesses said that all capital expenditure has stopped

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/2july2020

        The second being on business impacts which shows:

    • 86% of all businesses in the UK are currently trading
    • The arts, entertainment and recreation sector, and the accommodation and food services activities sector reported by far the largest percentage of businesses that had paused trading and were not intending to restart in the next two weeks - 50% and 43% respectively.
    • While 22% of all businesses said that turnover had decreased by over 50%, this figure was 52% for accommodation and food businesses and 58% for entertainment and recreation businesses
    • The percentage of people on furlough in tourism and hospitality has fallen to just below 70% (was 80%) but this is still much higher than businesses as a whole (23%)
    • 96% of accommodation and food service businesses have applied for CJRS support
    • 10% of accommodation and food service businesses have no reserves and a further 57% have less than 6 months reserves – the worse of all industries for resilience.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/bulletins/coronavirusandtheeconomicimpactsontheuk/2july2020

  • Funding Package For Councils

The Government has announced a new funding package for Councils to address spending pressures and in recognition of lost income this £500 million package is to reimburse councils for lost income and allow council and business rates tax deficits to be repaid over 3 years instead of one.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/comprehensive-new-funding-package-for-councils-to-help-address-coronavirus-pressures-and-cover-lost-income-during-the-pandemic

  • Updated Visa Application Guidance on Reusing Biometric Information

The Home Office have updated visa application and renewal guidance to say that if UKVI can reuse the fingerprints that customers have already given, they do not have to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC service point appointment to provide biometric information. Customers who this applies to will be email to let them know and provide information on how they can send am image of their face and supporting documentation to complete the process.

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

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 2 July

Scotland situation update and further re-opening and easing of restrictions

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a statement on Thursday 2 July including an update on the outbreak in Annan and Gretna and an outline of changes to guidelines which will come into force over the weekend 4-5 July.

·        Due to the outbreak of the virus in Annan and Gretna. The advice and guidance to people in the areas of Annan, Gretna, Dumfries, Lockerbie, Langholm and Canonbie is to continue to follow the five-mile travel restriction over the weekend until the testing and contact tracing process has been completed and the government are able to assess if the outbreak has indeed been contained. Particular postcodes will be published that this guidance applies to on social media later. A further update will be provided on Monday.

·        Outdoor hospitality, such as pavement cafes and beer gardens, can re-open from Monday 6 July.  And although tourism will not open fully until 15 July, self-contained holiday accommodation – for example holiday cottages, lodges or caravans with no shared facilities - can reopen from tomorrow, 3 July.

·        From 3 July the Scottish government will lift the guidance advising people to travel no more than five miles for leisure purposes (see exception above).

·        Advice will be published on 2 July on physical distancing that the Government has received from their scientific advisory group. This advice makes clear that the science on physical distancing has not changed. As the distance between people decreases, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 increases. We will allow exemptions for specific sectors where agreed mitigations must be put in place.

·        The expected start of phase 3 will be 10 July

·        Wearing face coverings will be mandatory in shops.

Timetable for phased reopening of tourism sector in Wales

International Relations Minister Eluned Morgan today said:

·        Wales’ hospitality sector will prepare to re-open outdoors from 13 July

·        The first phase of a planned reopening includes bars, restaurants and cafes with outdoor spaces  

·        If the requirement to stay local is lifted in Wales on 6 July, outdoor visitor attractions will also be able to reopen from Monday.

·        This is all subject to the next review of the coronavirus regulations on 9 July when the final decision will be made about outdoor re-opening. It will depend on whether rates of coronavirus are continuing to fall. 

·        Subject to the review, the Minister confirmed the date that owners of self-contained accommodation can accept bookings is being brought forward to 11 July from 13 July, to help with the pattern of Saturday-to-Saturday bookings.

·        Future decisions about indoor re-opening will be made later and will depend on the success of the first phase of outdoor opening.

Other Government updates

·        New examples for how a business could be adversely affected by coronavirus have been added to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim page.

·        Funding allocations are available to view for emergency active travel schemes for local authorities in the region of the United Kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

·        Major new support package to help councils respond to coronavirus has been announced.

·        The Department for International Trade  is reviewing how best to model trade impacts to support its trade negotiation capability, consulting with a panel of academics

·        An update has been made to the advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents page on the biometric information process

Advice for Heritage Railways on face coverings 

·        The current legislation on the wearing of face coverings on public transport states that a face masks should be worn on any service for the carriage of passengers from place to place which is available to the general public (whether or not payment is required for this service). These regulations include heritage rail, as these trains transport people from place to place and are available to the general public on purchase of a ticket; and the exemptions in the legislation do not apply in this context. The reason for this measure is that trains are enclosed spaces where the risk of transmission is high, and therefore wearing masks could improve the protections for passengers and employees.

·        There are, however, several caveats to the regulations. For example, if there are separate berths for individuals/families/bubbles, it may be acceptable to remove masks while passengers are in that accommodation alone or with members of their household/a linked household, provided safety of passengers can be assured. A heritage train with “corridor coaches” (where a corridor leads to several compartments) may be able to take advantage of this exemption provided that a compartment is occupied only with persons from the same or linked households. 

·        Additionally, the legislation states that masks may be removed "if it is reasonably necessary to eat or drink". Organisations will need to fully consider if the nature of the train journeys they are providing would fall within the spirit of this caveat.  Any measures put in place to ensure the safety of passengers should be taken following a risk assessment 

Latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker report – Week 6, 22-26 June 2020

·        The latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain is available on our website, covering the period 22-26 June 2020. Some key updates from this week’s report:

·        The national mood edges up by +0.1 to 6.7/10, lifted by slightly more describing their mood within the 9-10 range (19% versus 15% last week).

·        However, fewer people compared to last week believe the ‘worst has passed’ (27% ) regarding Covid-19 while more consider the ‘worst is yet to come’ (35%) which are -3% and +2% respectively versus week 5.

·        There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with slightly fewer expecting ‘normality’ by September (17% versus 18% last week).  Extending the period to December also exhibits a decline in expectations of ‘normality’ (39% compared to 41% in week 5).

·        Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score continues to inch up, currently standing at 2.38/4.  Levels of comfort are clearly related with proximity to people, with travelling on public transport remaining the activity people are least comfortable doing in the current circumstances.

·        Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday is beginning to exhibit some improvement compared to last week, at 14% for July (+2%), 29% in August (+4%) and 43% by September (+3%).

·        The main reasons cited among those lacking confidence have tended to be led by structural limitations such as having ‘fewer opportunities to eat or drink out’ or ‘restrictions on travel imposed by government’ (45%).  These remain key, but have been overtaken this week by ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’.

·        When asked to compare to last year, 39% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively.  These proportions remain stable week-on-week.

·        The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short break or holiday by this September increased by a significant margin this week, to 24% (versus 20% in week 5).

·        In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and September, the South West continues to dominate with 20% of those intending to go on a domestic trip during this period citing this as their destination. followed by Scotland at 13%.  The South West and Scotland also lead for visits planned to be taken from October onwards.

·        For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations continue to lead with 34% and 33% shares respectively.  Cities again receive a greater proportion of trips scheduled from October onwards, but continues to be ranked third.

·        For the June-September period, there remains a broadly even split between the leading four accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns and commercial rentals (such as holiday apartments or cottages) are exhibit stronger preference.

·        Of the reassurances people are seeking in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel, measures to encourage social distancing narrowly leads over measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes).  Offering free cancellations also remains important, being the second most cited reason.

·        As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

Travel updates

·        British Airways will expand its flight schedule in July, albeit offering fewer frequencies, resuming domestic flights between London and Belfast, Inverness, Jersey, Manchester, Newcastle and Newquay as well as double daily services to Glasgow and Edinburgh. BA will also resume more short haul routes throughout Europe and a small number of its normal long haul routes.

·        Commercial flights have resumed this week at Norwich Airport, and Cornwall Airport Newquay will reopen on Saturday 4 July.

·        New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) indicates that even modest increases in international tourism will provide a massive economic boost. For every additional 1 million international arrivals (including within the EU), an estimated £380,000,000 in GDP will be generated.

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TIER: COVID-19 update 1st July

Flexible furlough scheme starts today, 1 July

·        Businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis time from today, 1 July. The flexibility includes hours and shift patterns of employees.

·        The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme page has also been updated with new information, including employees being able to be recorded as on furlough during time spent on holiday, how to calculate furloughed hours for different sets of circumstances and how to treat statutory payments received in the claim period.

Other Government updates

·        The Coronavirus guidance for Companies House customers, employees and suppliers page has been updated with the changes that came into effect on Saturday 27 June.

·        The guidance for local government has been updated to reflect the latest information and links to other relevant guidance including reopening of public toilets, safe use of places of worship from 4 July, small marriages and civil partnerships, support for pubs, cafes and restaurants and more.

 Travel updates

·        The European Council is recommending the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU from  a number of non-member nations including Algeria; Australia; Canada; Georgia; Japan; Montenegro; Morocco; New Zealand; Rwanda; Serbia; South Korea; Thailand; Tunisia; and China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity. This list will be reviewed and updated every two weeks. NB The Council recommendation is not legally binding. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation.  

·        United Airlines will add nearly 25,000 flights to its schedule in August, including increased flights from the US to London.

·        Ryanair resumed flying in Europe today, operating a schedule of over 1,000 flights across 200 European airports.

·        London Southend Airport has reopened following the COVID-19 shutdown.

·        The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has launched an app designed to facilitate safe and secure border crossing. The app will allow tourists to carry digital copies of key documents in one place and is designed to reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 1 JULY

The Government’s announcement on airbridges to various destinations will now be made tomorrow but in the meantime Flexible Furloughing starts today which should help businesses with reopening this weekend. 

  • Reopening Issues - Just to let you know that at the meeting with the Minister today it was highlighted that there remain a number of reopening issues that we need guidance from Government on including:
    • Guidance on what contact information businesses will be required to take for Trace and Trace
    • Getting information from OTAs on bookings to know whether guests are from local lockdown areas and what is required of businesses with customers from such an area

As soon as we get an information on these issues,  I will pass it on. 

  • Guidance for Children’s Holiday Club Operators - The department for Education has produced guidance for organisations or individuals who provide community activities, tuition, holiday clubs or after-school clubs for children, as well as their staff and volunteers. This guidance covers issues such as:
    • Carrying out a Risk Assessment
    • Indoor facilities Provision
    • Group Sizes
    • Effective Infection Protection and Control
    • Managing Toilet Usage
    • Reviewing Staff Availability
    • Who can Attend
    • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Test and Trace Requirements

  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak#how-to-use-this-guidance

  BVA BDRC Alligator Consumer Tracking Research - Ahead of opening this weekend, here is the latest Consumer Tracking Report from BVA BDRC. Key points are:

  • There is no significant improvement in the public mood
  • Only 3% of people have been to a visitor attraction since they reopened
  • On average, people say that it will be 3-4 months before they go to an attraction with 28% saying they will do so before the end of August
  • Despite the announcement that indoor attractions will be able to open from July 4th, the average lead time remains more than four months
  • Over half of people say that they intend to take a UK holiday before the end of the year
  • The proportion of people anticipating taking a summer overseas trip remains consistently low ahead of an announcement on air bridges.

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UPDATE 30 JUNE

Political Update

  • Boris Johnson gave a speech on the economy today, announcing a “New Deal” which puts jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy. The Prime Minister announced the bringing forward of £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery.
  • In the Autumn the government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste. UK Government also intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and will carry out a review to look at how best to improve road, rail, air and sea links between our four nations to create a more connected kingdom.
  • Announcements include an Opportunity Guarantee that every young person an apprenticeship or in-work placement and reform of the Use Classes Order. New regulations will give greater freedom to bring high street premises back to life
  • The PM also confirmed the Government will launch a planning Policy Paper in July setting out plans for comprehensive reform of England’s planning system and that later this year, the Government will bring forward a Local Recovery White Paper detailing how the UK government will partner with places across the UK to build a sustainable economic recover.
  • During the Q&A the PM was question on the need for additional support of the hospitality sector and he recognised that these businesses were “essential to the lifeblood of communities” and pledged more help
  • The Prime Minister’s speech sets the backdrop for the Chancellor’s update on the economy next week. The summer statement – which will outline short-term support for growth – is being billed as the second phase of a three-part response to Covid-19, following the emergency support provided in the spring and ahead of the budget and a spending review in the autumn. Find more here.

Health Update

  • The Health Secretary announced in Parliament, that given the growing outbreak of coronavirus in Leicester, Leicester-specific measures will apply to the city of Leicester, and the surrounding area.
  • UK government recommends against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester.
  • The easing of the national lockdown, including the opening of bars, restaurants and hairdressers, will not happen in Leicester on 4 July.
  • From Tuesday 30 June non-essential retail will have to close.
  • Schools will close from Thursday 2 July, staying open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
  • The relaxation of shielding measures due on the 6 July cannot now take place in Leicester.
  • These local measures will be kept under review and will not be kept in place any longer than is necessary. The UK Government will review whether any measures can be eased in 2 weeks’ time. More information is available here.

Government updates

European Update

  • The European Commission has revised its State Aid Framework to relax the rules around loans and support for undertakings in difficulty. In particular the Undertaking in Difficulty test is abandoned for businesses less than 3 years old or with fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than E50m. The Treasury and British Business Bank are reviewing the changes and may take steps to improve funding for businesses of all sizes. Read more here

Travel updates

  • easyJet has entered into a formal consultation with employee representatives (including BALPA and UNITE) on the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. These airports would remain part of easyJet’s route network.

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TIER UPDATE 29 JUNE

UK border measures update to be announced later this week

·        In a written statement to Parliament today, Transport Minister Grant Shapps has confirmed that the government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This will apply to international rail, maritime, and aviation. Further details including a full list of countries and territories from which arriving passengers will be exempted from self-isolation requirements will be announced later this week. Although people will not need to self-isolate after entering the UK from these countries, they should follow the public health advice on hand hygiene and social distancing.

·        Separately, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing its travel advice. Further details will be announced later this week.

Government updates

·        Government has announced a £200 million package to help innovative businesses. Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website from 29 June

·        A letter has been issued to councils, urging them to refer to advice on measures that can be taken to open toilets in a safe way that was included in COVID-19 guidance, if toilets that are still shut.

·        Zoos and aquariums in England to receive up to £100 million in additional support to help them continue to care for their animals through coronavirus pandemic. This is an expansion of the initial relief fund and will run until the end of March 2021.

·        Updated guidance for food businesses which includes a new section on the prevention of infection and a revised section on the management of outbreaks including contact details for health protection teams.

·        Additional guidance has been added for publicans on the process of destroying spoilt beer, ciders, wine or made-wine.

Other updates

·        The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has published a new set of guidelines for ‘Safe and Seamless Travel’. The guidelines aim to provide the travel sector with an extensive framework to help governments and private business work in collaboration to create aligned testing and contact tracing programmes.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 29 JUNE

It seems that the expected announcement on the establishment of air bridges may have been delayed amid the possibility that Leicester may have to delay Stage 3 of the Government’s plan to reopen the UK economy for a couple of weeks to get a rise infections back under control. In the meantime, today’s update highlights new guidance on Churches and Weddings and well as the Government encouraging councils to reopen public toilets as a matter of urgency.

  • Problem with Pavement Licenses

One issue that has been highlighted with the proposal to provide businesses with fast-tracked Pavement licenses under the Business and Planning Bill is that the Bill states that these licences can only be granted in respect of highways listed in section 115A(1) Highways Act 1980. Generally, these are footpaths restricted to pedestrians or are roads and places to which vehicle access is restricted or prohibited. It does not permit Councils to put tables and chairs or other furniture on a highway where vehicular traffic is normally permitted.  This means that, because there remains the requirement to allow pedestrian and disability access along pavements, there will be very little ability  for many businesses to expand outside unless an amendment is made to section 115a(1)(g) of the Highways Act which would allow tables and chairs to be placed on a road where there is vehicular movement.

Please remember to send me any comments that you have on the Bill before the end of the week.

  • Guidance For the Safe Use of Places of Worship

The Government has published another set of top line guidance – this time for Places of Worship which will be open for general visitors and to undertake ceremonies such as marriages from 4th July. Of particular note is that, like accommodation and hospitality businesses, places of worship are being asked to keep a temporary record of the contact details for visitors in order to support the Track and Trace scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-from-4-july/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-from-4-july

  • Marriage Guidance

The Government has issued specific guidance holding marriages and civil partnership when venues open on 4th July. The essential points of this bei

  • Ceremonies should only take place in COVID-19 secure environments (ie., those places that have undertaken a risk assessment and comply with the Government guidance on Places of Worship, Hotels and Attractions)
  • The number of people attending is limited to 30, which includes everyone involved not just the guest numbers
  • Wherever possible, people should adhere to social distancing of at least 2 metres, or 1 metre with risk mitigation, between households.
  • Receptions are strongly advised not to take place. Small celebrations should only take place if following social distancing guidelines – i.e. in groups of up to two households indoors, or up to 6 people from different households outdoors.
  • Ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time
  • People should avoid singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting.
  • The venue manager should keep an accurate temporary record of visitors for 21 days to help the track and trace programme

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships

  • Recognising Phishing Emails

With the large number of new Coronavirus-related support programmes for individuals and business, there has been a significant increase in contract between HMRC and businesses. This, in turn, has generated an upsurge in criminals sending out phishing emails to businesses based on these schemes, to the extent that they have published updated guidance for businesses on how they will contact businesses in relation to particular support schemes and how to spot a phishing scam.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails

  • The Sustainable Innovation Fund

The Government has announced a Sustainable Innovation Fund of almost £200m to innovative companies recover and to help the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. The fund is open to businesses in any sector and in split into three rounds

  • Round 1 – Temporary framework (Opened today)
  • Round 2 - De Minimis (opening July 2020)
  • Round 3 - Temporary Framework (opening September 2020)

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-unveils-200-million-package-to-help-innovative-businesses-bounce-back

The first round  that opens today is for up to £55 million and is open to UK registered businesses for new projects focusing on sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19.

https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/651/overview#summary

There is also another £10m tranche of funding opening today to help UK businesses and the public sector recover from COVID 19 in a sustainable manner. 

https://apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk/competition/654/overview#summary

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TIER UPDATE 26 JUNE

Latest Government update

  • New guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms has been published to enable their use from 4 July while minimising the transmission risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill received royal assent on 25 June and is now an Act. The measures introduced by the Act will relieve the burden on businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and allow them to focus all their efforts on continuing to operate. Guidance has been published that outlines how the measures introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act will affect public limited companies (PLCs) and Societas Europaea (SEs) filing accounts with Companies House.
  • Details have been published on what to do if you've over claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme,

Member updates

  • UKHospitality has published their COVID secure guidelines for hospitality businesses. The guidance is consolidated advice and good practice from many parts of the hospitality and visitor sector. The guidance is to be used in conjunction with the Government guidelines.
  • The ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard has been received well by the industry. As of this morning the platform had received over 4,800 applications with over 2,400 that have been approved across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The platform for Welsh businesses is due to be launched next week.

Travel industry updates

  • Centre Parks to re-open all villages from 13 July
  • easyJet has confirmed it will be relaunching more flights from airports across Europe, including 14 airports across the UK, on both domestic and international routes from 1 July.
  • Failte Ireland has launched a new COVID-19 Safety Charter

 

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 26 JUNE

A number of bits and pieces today. Have a good weekend. 

  • Use Links – Not Downloaded Guidance and Protocols

With businesses busy putting together their management systems to make sure that they operate in a Covid Safe manner from 4th July, it important to remember that the Government’s guidance will invariably be updated as our knowledge of the disease increases and as Government policy changes. Businesses must keep checking that they are using the latest version of the guidance rather than simply relying on a downloaded copy which could soon be out of date.

To ensure that you always have the most up-to-date version, it pays to bookmark the appropriate links and regularly check for updates.

Visitor Economy - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy

 Hotels and other guest accommodation - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/hotels-and-other-guest-accommodation

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery

Heritage Locations - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/heritage-locations

                Offices and contact centres - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres

                UKHospitality Protocols - https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/coronavirus  

  • VAT Deferral Period Ends - To support business, HMRC introduced a VAT deferral period whereby payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 could be deferred until 31 March 2021. This deferral period is about to end which means that, from 1 July 2020, VAT returns need to be submitted as normal, and on time, with the VAT paid in full.  
  • CBI Seminar on Insurance Issues for SMEs - The CBI have invited Tourism Alliance members to join their seminar on Monday 29 June (15:30 to 16:15) BST for a discussion on insurance issues faced by SMEs.

Julia Graham, Deputy CEO, Association of Risk Managers and Insurance Officers (guest speaker), Anthony Gruppo, Chief Executive Officer, Marsh Commercial and Flora Hamilton, Director Financial Services Policy, CBI, will provide key insights on:

    • The importance of managing risks, and an overview of different business risks
    •   An overview of different risks that SMEs should be looking to manage
    • How insurance works and its role in supporting SMEs
    • The role of the broker, and how to get the best from them
    • Top 10 tips for SMEs from deploying insurance to managing risks.

To register for this free webinar, please follow this link

  • Repaying CJR Scheme Grants -

HMRC have published new guidance for businesses that have accidently overclaimed for employees that are on furlough. You can either:

    • correct it in your next claim
    • make a payment to HMRC, if you’re not making another claim

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pay-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-grants-back

  • Planning Inspectorate Press Release - The Planning Inspectorate have issued a press release explaining how the Business and Planning Bill includes new measures that will enable them to use more than one procedure - written representations, hearings and inquiries - at the same time when dealing with a planning appeal, enabling appeals to happen more quickly.  It will also allow scope for Inspectors to be more flexible in holding virtual planning hearings and inquiries.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/virtual-events-remain-for-now-greater-flexibility-of-events-to-be-offered-in-future

  • Temporary Changes to the Planning System - Linked to the Planning Inspectorate’s press release, here is Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher’s statement to parliament on the planning changes in the Business and Planning Bill including:
    • Requiring Local authorities to make all planning document available for inspection online
    • Requiring Compulsory Purchase Order and Development Consent Order documents to be online
    • Requiring local planning authorities, appellants, the Planning Inspectorate and other parties to be proactive in using digital processes for planning appeal consultation and publicity
    • Requiring Local development documents and Spatial development strategies to be available online
    • Enabling certain planning permissions and consents under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to be extended

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-06-25/HCWS316/

  • Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 - This Bill received Royal Assent yesterday and has become an Act. It provides greater protection for businesses facing financial difficult as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak by:
    • introducing a new moratorium to give companies breathing space from their creditors while they seek a rescue
    • prohibit termination clauses that engage on insolvency, preventing suppliers from ceasing their supply or asking for additional payments while a company is going through a rescue process
    • introducing a new restructuring plan that will bind creditors to it
    • enabling the insolvency regime to flex to meet the demands of the emergency
    • temporarily removing the threat of personal liability for wrongful trading from directors who try to keep their companies afloat through the emergency
    • temporarily prohibiting creditors from filing statutory demands and winding up petitions for coronavirus related debts
    • temporarily easing burdens on businesses by enabling them to hold closed Annual General Meetings (AGMs), conduct business and communicate with members electronically, and by extending filing deadlines
    • allowing for the temporary measures to be retrospective so as to be as effective as possible

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-introduces-legislation-to-relieve-burden-on-businesses-and-support-economic-recovery#history

  • Applying for a Moratorium - With the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act now on the statute books, Companies House has issued guidance on how businesses can applying for a moratorium that will largely prevent insolvency proceedings can be instigated against the company during the moratorium period. It also prevents legal action being taken against a company without permission from the court - with the exception of employment tribunal proceedings, or proceedings between an employer and a worker, which do not require permission of the court to commence or continue.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/applying-for-a-moratorium-under-the-corporate-insolvency-and-governance-act-2020

  • Social Impacts of Coronavirus - ONS have just published a new piece of research on the social impacts of coronavirus. The main findings are that:
    • Over 9 in 10 adults (94%) in Great Britain have left their home this week – (mostly to go to Bournemouth)
    • Over one-quarter (26%) of people who had left their home this week did so to meet with people in a personal place, such as visiting family and friends at home; this has increased from 13% last week.
    • Almost 8 in 10 (77%) working adults said they had either worked at home or travelled to work this week, a similar level to last week (79%).
    • The proportion of working adults who reported they had travelled to work in the past seven days increased to 44% this week from 41% last week.
    • Of those adults who had travelled on public transport in the past seven days, 86% had worn a face covering when doing so – an increase from 62% last week.
    • Almost half of adults (43%) reported that there were some aspects of their lifestyle that had changed for the better since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
    • Of those who reported that some aspects of their lifestyle had changed for the better, over half (56%) said that they were now able to spend more quality time with people they lived with, while 50% were enjoying a slower pace of life and 47% preferred that they were spending less time travelling

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/26june2020

TIER UPDATE 25 JUNE

Government support for pubs, cafes and restaurants announced

The Government has announced that there will be a simpler licensing process for outdoor seating for pubs, restaurants and cafes. They will simplify and reduce the cost of the licencing process for outdoor seating and stalls. Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Also pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas, using their existing seating licenses.  The proposed planning freedoms will also mean that outdoor markets and summer fairs will not need a planning application. The Government is encouraging councils to reduce red-tape and create more outdoor markets.

Social distancing reduced in Northern Ireland  

The First Minister of Northern Ireland has announced in today’s briefing that social distancing will be reduced to 1 metre from 29 June for the tourism and hospitality sector where appropriate mitigations are made. Mitigation could include face coverings, exposure times, Perspex screens. etc. and these will be confirmed following discussion as soon as possible between the Office for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and the industry.

Launch of UK wide ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard

The national tourist organisations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have today launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector works towards reopening. The ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard and supporting mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place. The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry. To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment through the online platform including a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We’re Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online. The scheme has been developed in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland, VisitScotland and Visit Wales to ensure a standard-led approach across the UK with input from more than 40 industry bodies including UKHospitality, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, the British Beer and Pub Association and the National Caravan Council as well as destination management organisations across the country. So far over 2,800 businesses have registered on the platform to apply.

Other Government updates

  • Draft guidance to accompany pavement licensing proposals introduced in the Business and Planning Bill.
  • The Statutory Sick Pay guidance has been updated to include information about employees who have transferred under the TUPE regulations
  • New guidance has been published on how to claim exceptional costs related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 25 JUNE

Here’s todays update including the publication of the Business and Planning Bill which I mentioned a few days ago. If you have any comments on either the Bill or the associated draft guidance on the new streamlined Pavement Licences, please let me know and I will feed these in to both DCMS and MPs.

 I was also hoping to provide you with a link to the UKHospitality protocols but will do this as soon as they are available.  

  • Business and Planning Bill - The Business and Planning Bill has been published which sets out changes to legislation aimed at supporting business recovery. The key features of the Bill are:
    • reducing the consultation period for applications for pavement licences to from 28 calendar days to 5 working days, and grant consent after 10 working days if the council does not issue a decision
    • setting a lower application fee for a pavement and street cafe licence of up to £100
    • removing the need for a planning application for outdoor markets and marquees, meaning they can be set up for longer
    • providing more freedoms for areas to hold car-boot sales and summer fairs
    • doubling the length of time that temporary structures can be placed on land without needing an application for planning permission.
    • Doubling the time limits in the existing right for the temporary use of land from 14 days to 28 days for holding a market or motor car and motorcycle racing, and from 28 days to 56 days for any other purpose.
    • Removing the requirement for councils to get planning permission to set up new markets

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-outlines-support-for-pubs-cafes-and-restaurants

  • Draft Guidance: Pavement Licences - Associated with the business planning Bill is draft guidance on the proposed new temporary Pavement Licences. This is a streamlined process to allow businesses likes pubs, restaurants and cafes to place removable furniture on footpaths outside their premises. The main attributes of the licenses are:
    • The fee is capped at £100
    • The consultation period is only 5 working days
    • Applications not decided in 5 working days will be deemed to have been granted
    • The licence is for a year but not beyond 30 September 2021
    • Any business which uses (or proposes to use) premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption (on or off the premises) can apply for a licence
    • If a business does not already have an alcohol license or is not registered to sell food and drink, it will still need to apply for these.
    • The licence is deem to be planning permission so this is not required when a licence is granted

The furniture that can be used is:

  • counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
  • tables, counters or shelves on which food or drink can be placed
  • chairs, benches or other forms of seating
  • umbrellas, barriers, heaters and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink.

Further details are available on the following link

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pavement-licences-draft-guidance/draft-guidance-pavement-licences-outdoor-seating-proposal

  • ONS Coronavirus Survey Pilot -

ONS has produced new research on the incidence of Coronavirus in England. They estimate that:

  • An average of 51,000 people within the community in England had COVID-19 between 8 June and 21 June 2020
  • That’s an average of 1 in 1,100 individuals
  • Between 8 June to 21 June, there were an estimated 22,000 new cases per week
  • The incidence rate appears to have decreased between mid-May and early June, but has since levelled off

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/england25june2020

  The R Number - Following on from the above, the new National and Regional R numbers have been published.  The UK rate is 0.7-0.9 and the growth rate range is -4% to -2% - which essentially the same as it’s been since 29th May. Within this there is no region in which the R rate range is above 1 which is a good sign.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

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TIER UPDATE 24 JUNE

Subject: Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 24 June

New guidance for reopening the visitor economy to take effect on 4 July in England

In case you missed our update earlier today, the Government has published  new guidance for reopening the visitor economy to take effect in England on 4 July. Specific advice on safety in the workplace has been published for:

New guidance has also been released on social distancing, including maintaining 1m of social distance when 2m is not possible, as well as meeting with people outside of your household after 4 July. Review the updated coronavirus outbreak FAQs on what you can and can’t do after 4 July.

Reopening dates for Scotland -Phase 2 and early Phase 3

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced indicative dates for moving through the remainder of Phase 2 and early Phase 3, on the condition that health and safety criteria are met. The amended timeline is as follows:

  • 29 June – Indoor (non-office) workplaces including factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities may reopen with relevant guidance implemented.
  • 3 July – Travel distance restriction is relaxed, permitting people to travel more than 5 miles from home. Visits to self-catering accommodations and second homes (without shared facilities) are permitted.
  • 6 July – Outdoor hospitality may reopen, subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice.
  • 15 July – All holiday accommodation, indoor hospitality, and tourist attractions including museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries may open in line with relevant guidance.

Northern Ireland guidance for reopening visitor economy

Northern Ireland has published official guidance for reopening the visitor economy. Conditional on the application of relevant guidelines and continued management of the rate of transmission of the virus, self-catering accommodations will be able to reopen on 26 June and other tourist accommodations including hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs may reopen from 3 July.

Latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker report – Week 5, 15-19 June 2020

Please see attached the latest Consumer Sentiment Tracker from VisitBritain, covering the period 15-19 June 2020. Some key updates from this week’s report:

·        30% now believe the worst has passed regarding COVID-19, which is virtually unchanged from last week.  A third, however, still believe the ‘worst is yet to come’.

·        There continues to be little expectation things will return to normal anytime soon, with significantly fewer expecting ‘normality’ by September (18% versus 23% last week). Extending the period to December also yields a significant decline in expectations of ‘normality’ (41% compared to 49% in week 4).

·        Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score has inched up to 2.35.Levels of comfort are clearly related to proximity to people, with travelling on public transport remaining the activity people are least comfortable doing in the current circumstances.

·        Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday continues to be subdued, at 12% for July, 25% in August, rising to 40% by September. Positively, the majority (54%) are now confident they’d be able to take a domestic overnight trip by the end of the year.

·        Main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are similar to previous weeks, although ‘fewer opportunities to eat or drink out’ (46%) has narrowly overtaken ‘restrictions on travel by government’ (45%).

·        When asked to compare to last year, 39% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively. These proportions remain stable week-on-week.

·        The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short break or holiday by September declined for the second successive week to 20% (versus 22% last week and significantly below the 23% reported in Week 3).

·        In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and September, the South West extends its lead (from 19% to 21%) followed by Scotland which is stable at 12%. The South West and Scotland also lead for visits planned from October onwards.

·        For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations continue to lead with 33% and 32% shares respectively.  Cities are again promoted into joint second place for trips scheduled from October.

·        For the June-September period, we continue to see a broadly even split between the leading four accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns are significantly more likely to attract visitors.

·        People are seeking reassurances in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel: measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes) are important, although the single most cited factor is for them to offer the provision of free cancellations.

·        As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE Update – 24 JUNE

There’s been a bit of a flurry of guidance being issued today. It was hoped that the protocols for business and the VE “Good to Go” mark would be published at the same time but this has been delayed due to the need to revise the protocols to reflect current government advice such as the reduction of social distancing from 2m to 1m+. Hopefully I can send this out to you very shortly.

  • Heritage Locations Guidance - The top line Government guidance for working in heritage locations has been published – this is a companion piece of guidance to the visitor economy, hotels and accommodation guidance and pubs a restaurant guidance with a lot of the same top line measures combined with specific guidance for this sector

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

  • Staying Safe Outside - The Government has issued new guide for the public on how to stay safe outdoors
    • Keep your distance from people outside your household
    • Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your household or support bubble
    • Keep your hands and face as clean as possible
    • Keep indoor places well ventilated
    • Avoid crowded spaces
    • Work from home if you can
    • If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travel
    • Face coverings
    • Avoid shouting or singing close to people outside your household or support bubble
    • Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting
    • Wash your clothes regularly
    • When at work or in business or public premises, follow the advice on site

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home  

  • How to Meet People - Alongside the new Guidance on staying safe outside the home, the Government has also published new guidance on the rules that apply to meeting up with others. From 4 July, people should:
  • only gather indoors in groups of no more than two households (including your support bubble) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • only gather outdoors in either a group of up to 6 people from different households or up to two households (including your support bubble)
  • only gather in slightly larger groups of up to 30 for major life events, such as weddings
  • not hold or attend celebrations of any size (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
  • not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households (including your support bubble)
  • limit social interaction with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time, to keep you and them safe, and save lives. The more people with whom you interact, the more chances we give the virus to spread

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household-from-4-july

  • Know Before You Go - VisitEngland have launched their “Know before You Go” campaign to start rebuilding domestic tourism. This highlights what is open, where consumers can find more information and guidance for visitors to make sure that they act responsibly. This includes:
  • When planning your trip, check that important facilities – like toilets and car parks – are open, before you travel so you’re not caught short.
  • If you have an attraction in mind, please check online to see if you need to pre-book a time slot.
  • Some places may be extremely popular, so get off the beaten track and discover a hidden gem that you can brag to friends about.
  • Keep two metres apart from anyone outside your household (or one metre, from the 4th July) – this not only applies to walking, but running, cycling, sitting and sunbathing too.
  • Wear your face covering at all times when on public transport like buses, trains, taxis and minicabs.
  • Make sure you have a bank card; many outlets are currently only accepting cashless payments – and you don’t want to miss out on that ice cream!
  • Take hand sanitiser with you – you don’t know where will be open for you to wash your hands.
  • Leave the car behind where possible and visit nearby attractions by walking or cycling.

https://www.visitengland.com/covid-19-travel-advice

  • Track and Trace - Of the components related to yesterday’s announcement that has caused considerable concern was the requirement for businesses to take the contact details of customers. At the moment there is no detail on this other than the following statement from Government

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their customers and visitors – including restaurants, hotels, and hair salons. If you do not already do this, you should do so to help fight the virus. We will work with industry and relevant bodies to design this system in line with data protection legislation, and set out details shortly.

This is very vague and there are many questions that need to be answered - from whether this will be a legal requirement through to whether the information is required of all customers or just the lead customer and what information is required. I will let you know the details as this develops.

  • Furloughing Data Shows impact on Tourism And Hospitality -  ONS’s latest report on furloughing  provides a breakdown of the level of furloughing across different industry sectors. If you take Accommodation and Food Services and Arts, entertainment and Recreation as proxies for the UK Tourism Industry, this shows that just under 80% of the workforce in the sector has been furloughed compared to the average of just 30% across all industries. This very marked difference highlights both the state of the sector and why further support will be needed.

 

BVEP UPDATE FOR PARTNERS 24 JUNE

To all BVEP Partners,

I'm sure many of you watched the statement delivered by the PM yesterday afternoon and share the same sense of deep disappointment that many across the events industry are expressing today.

The general guidance that he referenced has been worked on overnight and is now available in the attached note from TIER.

As you will see the work undertaken by the EIF, AEO and MIA is not yet available as further revisions are being made. We remain on pause as an industry, which is incredibly frustrating - conference centres and exhibition halls on the list of businesses closed by law and no more than 30 people in meetings from two households and venues should not permit indoor performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.

There are so many anomalies that arise from the current lockdown relaxation in the hospitality and visitor sector. We will need time to work through these, but our aim is clear. The task of restarting the economy in the face of massive economic pressure will not be achieved on the back of consumer spending. We will need to be fully active and engaged in that process as an industry capable of supporting trade, knowledge exchange, cultural revival and sharing of experience.

Despite the disappointment our focus will be making that such a compelling case that it simply cannot be ignored. A really great example of that kind of effort are all the hours of hard work put in by our partners to develop the guidance for our industry. Many, many thanks to all of you, particularly the teams involved in the EIF, AEO and MIA work. We look forward to seeing that guidance in due course.

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TIER UPDATE 23 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

Note that today was the final daily press briefing. The Government have announced that future briefings will only take place when there are significant announcements.

The Prime Minister led today’s briefing, joined by Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, and Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Advisor. Johnson repeated much of the information from his earlier announcement today, noting that:

·        People may maintain 1m social distancing wherever 2m is not possible.

·        From 4 July businesses including hotels, self-contained accommodation, caravan parks, restaurants, café’s, cinemas, hair salons, outdoor gyms and tourism attractions may reopen as long as proper safety protocols are maintained. Some premises may not be able to open right away, and should wait to do so until they are ready. Taskforces will be established to guide this.

·        COVID-secure guidance will be issued to help businesses reopen.

·        If the virus gets out of control again he will re-implement lockdowns locally or nationally as needed.

·        The devolved administrations will make their own decisions and plans for reopening, but they are working closely together in the background.

The scientific advisors made clear that we will continue to live with this virus for a long time (perhaps into next spring), but they are hopeful that new vaccines, treatments and informed safety guidelines will help control it in the future. There was a further warning that if people ‘go back to normal’ there would certainly be upticks, so caution is still required. 1m with mitigation is more effective than 2m with none.

A question was asked about foreign holidays and the PM again confirmed that the quarantine will be reviewed on the 29 June, but he recommended a staycation. View the full briefing here.

Updated guidance for accommodation providers if a guest displays symptoms of COVID-19

If a guest is displaying signs of the Covid-19 virus while staying in overnight accommodation for a permitted reason, they should inform the accommodation provider, immediately self-isolate where they are to minimise any risk of transmission, and request a test. If they are confirmed to have Covid-19, they should return home if they reasonably can. If a guest cannot reasonably return home (for example because they are not well enough to travel or do not have the means to arrange transport), their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional and, if necessary, the local authority. Guests should follow government guidance on dealing with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

 Latest data available on Government loans and Schemes

Figures updated to 21 June:

·        Coronavirus grant funding: local authority payments to small and medium businesses

·        Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and the VAT payments deferral scheme.

·        Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.

Industry updates

·        Leger Holidays has acquired the Shearings brand and intends to relaunch it with a new coach tour programme, following the collapse of Shearings’ parent company Specialist Leisure Group in May.

·        Royal Caribbean has extended the suspension of most cruise operations until 15 September, following the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s decision to suspend all activity from the US until that date.

·        Malta will welcome visitors from European Union states from 1 July, and will welcome all other international arrivals without restrictions from 15 July.

·        Dubai will welcome international travellers from 7 July, although international arrivals will need to comply with entry requirements including submitting to a COVID-19 test or showing a recent test with negative results, and holding an international health insurance policy for the duration of their stay.

 Situation update 23 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 – 23 JUNE

  • Announcement on Social Distancing and the Reopening of Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

In addition to the notes that I sent round earlier, additional points from today’s announcement include:

    • Weddings with up to 30 people will be allowed subject to social distancing
    • Theatres and concert halls can reopen to show recorded shows, but not live performance because of issues around socially distancing performers and the risks associated with singing. The government will work with the arts industry on specific guidance to enable choirs, orchestras and theatres to resume live events as soon as possible
    • Exhibition or conference centres will continue to be closed

 

  • The Business and Planning Bill - It is expected that the Business and Planning Bill will be published in the next couple of days. This new bill will focus on planning changes to allowing cafes, pubs and restaurants to operate outside and to serve takeaway alcohol. One of the key purposes of the Bill will be allow businesses to set up tables outside on their premises as well as on pavements and public spaces in order to maximise the revenue that these businesses can gained through the summer period. There were plans to also relax Sunday trade laws but these have been shelved for the moment but one other area of interest will be to see if the Bill removes some of the restriction on the operation of caravan parks and self-catering cottages.

INTERIM TIER UPDATE 23 JUNE

As we are sure you have seen in the news the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a statement in the House of Commons on the next stage of the lockdown restrictions easing in England. The devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own powers and they will respond and reopen on timetables set out by their governments in line with the science.

In the announcement it was outlined that from 4 July;

  • The two metre social distancing rule will be relaxed to one metre plus. Where it is possible to remain two metres you should continue should do so, but where this is not possible it should be a ‘one metre plus’ policy. New guidance will be published to support businesses – including changing office layouts, protective screens, closing non-essential communal areas etc.
  • Restaurants and pubs can open. Indoor hospitality is limited to table services and contact details will need to be collected from customers.
  • People will be free to stay in self-contained accommodation including hotels, B&Bs, and campsites – so long as shared facilities can be kept clean.
  • Tourist attractions will be able to reopen if they can do so safely, outside gyms and playgrounds can also open.
  • Places of worship will be able to reopen, weddings can take place with up to 30 guests
  • Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft play, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will remain closed. Taskforces will be established to help them become COVID secure.
  • Indoor facilities for sports will remain closed, and close contact sports should only happen with people from the same household.
  • Two households of any size will be able to meet in any setting (inside or outside), they do not have to be the same household each time. They are not recommending multiple households meet indoors.
  • Outside, the guidance remains that people from several households of up to six, or two households can meet regardless of size.
  • Hairdressers will be able to open with visors, nail bars will be able to follow when they are confident they can open in a COVID secure way.

Guidelines will be published for these reopening sectors. We will share these as soon as they are available.

You can view the full statement here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Commons

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TIER UPDATE FOR 22 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, joined by Dr. Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer. The briefing focussed on the latest testing data and changes to shielding measures for vulnerable people. Tomorrow the Prime Minister will announce the next stages of relaxing the lockdown.

Mandy from Salisbury asked about travel corridors. Hancock replied a lot of work is being done on this, and that he was working on them over the weekend. Quarantine will be reviewed on 29 June, but Hancock said the Government will produce new advice by then. Another question asked whether it is safe to open borders when the World Health Organisation has recorded a record increase in daily global cases? Hancock says that helps to explain why the Government has introduced quarantine in the first place. View the full briefing here.

UK Visa and Immigration services enter second phase of reopening

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have reopened a number of visa application centres (VACs) and immigration services on 22 June, where local conditions allow. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Services will reopen in phases. Where services have resumed, existing customers will be contacted.

Visa customers and British nationals overseas who want to apply for a passport can find a VAC in their country, or check the status of VACs outside of the UK here:

·       TLS contact for services in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East

·       VFS global for all other countries

Visa applicants in the UK can check the status of VACs and available services near them. Find further guidance on applying for a visa or passport during the pandemic.

 Face covering rules for aviation sector in Scotland

Safer aviation guidance has been updated to reflect face covering rules specific to Scotland. Passengers are required to wear face coverings on aircraft and in airports. Staff must wear face coverings in all public spaces, and in non-public areas where determined necessary by an operator risk assessment. Review further safety guidance for the aviation sector here, and see official face covering guidance in Scotland here.

 Other Government updates

Latest ALVA visitor sentiment report 

These are the summary findings from the third round of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA)’s commissioned visitor sentiment report: 

  • Strong improvement in visitor confidence in early June, driven primarily by successful opening of some outdoor attractions and the media coverage around zoos and safari parks.
  • 10% of the attractions-visiting market – an estimated 4m adults – have already made a visit after re-opening, mainly to country parks (3.0m) but also to gardens (1.5m).
  • Early returning is:
    • more likely among younger people aged 16-34 years
    • not just among those who visit attractions frequently; local people desperate for a ‘different’ trip out?
  • However, confidence in visiting indoor attractions has declined since the start of lockdown. The importance of implementing and communicating safety measures in these environments will be even more important when re-opening.
  • Main visit barrier is increasingly around worries about fellow visitors adhering to distancing measures or attractions’ ability to enforce these measures. How can we demonstrate and communicate that these are working well in our attractions?
  • Evidence that the ‘advanced booking only’ approach is successfully reassuring potential visitors: the limited capacity this implies indicates ‘control’, providing reassurance on crowds, distancing and queuing.
  • The lack of a full visitor offer will be a significant visit barrier on re-opening. In the eyes of potential visitors, providing as complete an experience as possible, applying appropriate safety measures, is preferable to keeping elements closed.
  • Toilets are currently in the ‘high priority but high anxiety’ area for visitors – half will not visit an attraction at all if these are closed, but safety measures are hugely important in building confidence in their use. It’s not enough just to open toilets with no safety measures – key for pre-visit communication.
  • Indoor catering outlets and interactive visit elements are the two other visit experience areas generating most anxiety around use. Again, preferable to make available with mitigating measures than keep closed.
  • Anxiety around using facilities at indoor attractions is higher among older people – starting as young as 55. Measures at indoor attractions with older age profiles are even more important to apply and communicate.
  • Visitors are focussed on the short term at present – overwhelmingly about safety, but also about wellbeing. Wider societal issues are for another day in the eyes of visitors.

Industry updates

  • The European Tourism Association (ETOA), the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA) have collaborated on a set of health and sanitization guidelines specifically for their tour operator members called TOURCARE Guidelines for Tour Operators.
  • Virgin Atlantic has announced they will return to 17 international destinations from August 2020. The airline has previously announced plans to resume international flights next month, beginning with a route from London Heathrow to Hong Kong on 20 July and to New York JFK and Los Angeles on 21 July.
  • London City Airport resumed passenger flights on Sunday 21 June and has announced that British Airways subsidiary BA CityFlyer will resume 8 routes this summer, flying from London to the Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Ibiza, Florence, Malaga and Palma.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 22 JUNE

Not that much today, ahead of tomorrow’s expected announcement on the review of the social distancing rule and the plans for reopening the sector.

  • Announcement Tomorrow - It is expected that the Government will announce the outcome of its review of the social distancing rule tomorrow following a meeting this afternoon to discuss the proposed changes with the Covid-19 strategy committee. With this in mind it is worth noting that on tomorrow’s Parliamentary Agenda the Prime Minister is due to give a Ministerial Statement on Covid to the House of Commons at around 12:30pm tomorrow after Oral Questions on Health and Social Care.

It is also being trailed in the media that he will use this opportunity to outline the Government’s plans to reopen the tourism and hospitality sectors including pubs, restaurants and hotels from 4th June. There has been speculation in the media over the weekend that there will be a phased reopening of businesses with those accommodation sites with shared facilities such as camping sites not being in the first phase.

  • Kick-Starting Construction - The Government has announced a series of measures to help kick-start the construction sector which will be of interest to tourism businesses that have developments that have been curtailed by the Coronavirus outbreak. Under the new proposals, sites with consent that have an expiry date between the start of lockdown and the end of this year will now see their consent extended to 1 April 2021. Th Planning Inspectorate will also be able to use more than one procedure - written representations, hearings and inquiries - at the same time when dealing with a planning appeal, thereby enabling appeals to happen much faster. And finally, builders will be able to agree more flexible construction site working hours with local council for a temporary period.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-plans-to-get-britain-building-in-coronavirus-recovery

  • “Bounce back” Plan for Agriculture, Food and Drink Industry - Not directly related to tourism but worthwhile knowing as it will support food and drink suppliers and help maintain and develop destinations’ “sense of place”. DIT and DEFRA have announced that they will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry with their trade activity overseas. This package is aimed at helping SMEs to capitalise on trade agreements that are currently being negotiated with Japan, US, Australia and New Zealand

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bounce-back-plan-for-agriculture-food-and-drink-industry-launched

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TIER UPDATE FOR 19 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, gave today’s press briefing. The Education Secretary gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases and an update on education. He also said that the COVID-19 alert level has moved from level 4 to level 3 and that the devolved administrations have agreed with this. During the Q+A he was asked which countries the UK will have travel corridors with. He replied that he hopes that people will be able to visit all four nations of the UK this summer and that the Transport Secretary is working on this. View the full briefing here.

 UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report:  Week 4

The latest results of the UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report, based on fieldwork from 8-12 June is now available.  

Some key points include:

·        Confidence in the ability to take a domestic short break or holiday continues to gradually improve over time, but it’s still just 23% in August, rising to 40% by September but remaining at under 50% by the end of the year.

·        31% now believe the worst has passed regarding COVID-19 which is a significantly higher proportion than last week (27%).  Significantly fewer also consider the ‘worst is yet to come’.

·        There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with just 23% expecting ‘normality’ by September (versus 29% last week) and 49% by December (compared to 52% in week 3).

·        Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score is unchanged at 2.33.  Using public transport continues to be the activity (among those asked) people are least comfortable in undertaking.

·        Main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are virtually identical this week, again led by restrictions on travel by government (52%), fewer opportunities to eat or drink out (50%) and concerns about catching COVID-19 (46%).

·        When asked to compare to last year, 41% of U.K. adults expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks, while for holidays the corresponding figure is 40%.  These proportions remain stable week-on-week.

·        The proportion expecting to go on a domestic short-break or holiday by this September is also stable, with the trend over the past three weeks being 22%, 23% and 22% respectively.

·        In terms of region/nation to be visited between now and September, the South West still leads (19%) followed by Scotland (12%), but as per last week there’s little to separate the places ranked 2-5.  The South West and Scotland also lead for visits planned from October onwards.

·        For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations continue to lead with 32% and 30% shares respectively.  Cities move into joint second place for trips scheduled from October.

·        For the June-September period, we again see a broadly even split between the leading four accommodation types, although from October we see hotels/motels/inns take a clear lead, with caravan/camping moving down the rankings.

·        As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

 Wales announces the next stage of their re-opening

The Welsh First Minister has made a statement about the next stage of their reopening approach.

From Monday 22 June:

·        Non-essential retail to reopen.

·        Private prayer in places of worship where social distancing is maintained and gatherings do not take place

·        Restarting the housing market by enabling house viewings to take place in vacant properties and house moves where a sale has been agreed but not yet completed

·        Lifting the restrictions on outdoor sports courts but social distancing must be maintained. No contact or team sports will be allowed

·        Enabling non-professional elite athletes, including Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, to resume training.

At the next review on 9 July, the Welsh Government will consider a range of specific options for opening:

·        Self-contained holiday accommodation

·        Personal care services, such as hairdressing and beauty, by appointment only.

Stay local advice remains for the next three weeks, unless it is for compassionate grounds, they will look to lift this from 6 July. With the requirement lifted, people will be able to travel to tourist attractions across Wales. Although tourism accommodation is being considered for reopening from the beginning of July, the First Minister said that hospitality was not yet in a position to reopen and they will not be considered in this package of measures, and will only be considered when safe to do so. He also said that the tourism industry must now use the next three weeks to work with local communities to prepare for reopening.

 Commercial property code of practice announced

The Government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction until the end of September. A new code of practice has been developed with the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.

Further details include:

·        A statutory instrument will be laid to amend the Coronavirus Act to extend the time period for suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from June 30 to September 30, meaning no business will be forced out of their premises if they a miss a payment in the next three months.

·        Also a secondary legislation will be laid to prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 days of unpaid rent. The time period for which this measure is in force will be extended from June 30 to September 30. 

·        An amendment to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill has been tabled which will extend the temporary ban on the use of statutory demands and winding-up petitions where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus until 30 September.

 Other Government updates

·        A new template is available for download for employers who will be claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The new form is for claims on or after 1 July.

·        A New tool  has been developed to help businesses in England identify whether they can reopen safely during coronavirus.  This tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen.

·        The Home Office has published the paper considered by SAGE on 27 April 2020, COVID-19 - measures at the border.

·        The Joint Biosecurity Centre has recommended that the COVID-19 alert level should move from Level 4  to Level 3. This has been reviewed by the Chief Medical Officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who agree with this recommendation to move to Level 3 across the UK.

 VisitEngland recovery webinars for businesses

VisitEngland is hosting a series of free business recovery webinars to help businesses get back on track following the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar programme covers a number of topics to provide businesses with practical insight and valuable information from within VisitBritain/VisitEngland and across the wider travel industry. The programme starts on Tuesday 30 June with a spotlight on inbound and domestic research and insight. The full list of webinars and booking information for each webinar can be found on the website

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 19 JUNE

  • Opening Dates -

With the Wales announcement on reopening, the reopening dates across   the UK and Ireland now look like this:

Wales

    • Possible opening  of outdoor activities and attractions on 6th July
    • Announcement on 9th July with possible opening from 13th July of accommodation without shared facilities
    • Reopening of accommodation with shared facilities, restaurants, cafes, pubs and indoor attractions and events unknown but possibly after 13th July

Scotland

    • Industry told to prepare for opening on 15th July as an indicative date
    • A date for reopening pubs and restaurants will not be decided until at least 2nd July

Northern Ireland

    • 26th June - reopening of caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation
    • 3rd July – reopening of other tourist accommodation as well as attractions, pubs and restaurants, although some phasing may occur.

Ireland

    • 29th June reopening for hotel, pubs and restaurants

England

    • Indicative date of 4th July with probable phasing for different sectors of the industry

 

  • Code of Practice on Commercial Leases - BEIS has just published a code of practice on how commercial landlords and tenants should seek to resolve disputes regarding rent that arise from the Coronavirus outbreak. The code is voluntary and non-binding but seeks to get both parties to work in a co-operative manner to resolve rent payment problems. The Tourism Alliance was asked to support this but I raised a number of concerns including the need for clearer acknowledgement of the problems faced by businesses and that principle that costs needed to be shared between landlords and tenants which is why we are not on the list of supporters.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/893637/Code_of_Practice_for_commercial_property.pdf

  • UK Visas and Immigration Update - The Home office has published updated factsheet (attached) for visa customers, visa holders and visa sponsors. They have also  announced that from Monday (22nd June), they are opening a limited number of VACs for passport returns only. Where a VAC is only open for passport return, an individual will not be able to submit a new application. However, we will be able to return documents.

If an individual’s passport is in a VAC, and a decision on their application has been made, the VAC will contact them to arrange collection.  If an individual’s application has not been decided, they will not be contacted until a decision has been made. However, if they would like their passport returned, even if their application has not been decided, they should contact their VAC to arrange collection. 

  • Update to CJR Scheme Claim Guidance - An update have been made on how businesses claiming furlough payments for over 100 employees can now do this through a new simplified template.

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

Also there has been a clarification that, while normally the number of employees you can claim for in any claim period starting from 1 July 2020 cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30 June 2020, this may differ where you have an employee returning from statutory parental leave or who is a returning military reservist.

  • Lorry Bus and Trailer MOTs - DfT have announced that MOT testing for lorries, buses and trailers will restart from 4th July

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers

  • Handling Media Attention - It’s Friday so a couple of interesting bits and pieces. First, DCMS has published guidance on how to handle media attention after a major incident such as having been discovered traveling to Durham. The core advice is:

Dealing with the media can sometimes be distressing and daunting. It is your decision whether or not to speak to journalists. While it may not feel like it, you are in control of this. Remember if you do not want to, you do not have to.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/handling-media-attention/handling-media-attention-after-a-major-incident

  • Feedback for BEIS - Finally, one for you to share with your members.  BEIS are interested to know how coronavirus is impacting their business and is inviting businesses to provide feedback using the following address -   intel@beis.gov.uk

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TIER UPDATE FOR 18 JUNE

Dear TIER member,

Daily Government briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Dido Harding, Chairwoman of NHS Improvement. The briefing included updates on the latest testing data and vaccine developments. The test and trace system is working, although the contact tracing app being tested on the Isle of Wight is still under review. Questions focused on the test and trace scheme. One question asked about visiting family and staying overnight, to which Hancock replied he was keen to see people holidaying this year, and the Government would be updating guidance on social distancing in due course.

View the full briefing here.

Scotland announces changes for phase 2 of route map to recovery

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced further changes to Scotland’s lockdown restrictions as the country moves through phase 2 of its route map to recovery. Review changes to the updated reopening plan here. Public services will continue to gradually reopen, and other phase 2 changes will be introduced as follows:

From 19 June:

  • People who are shielding are able to leave their home for exercise and to meet with 1 other household outdoors (max 8 people in total) with physical distancing from 18 June. They are also able to take part in non-contact outdoor activities such as golf, hiking, fishing.
  • People who are not shielding can meet with more households outside. Limit increased from meeting 1 household to meeting 2 households; 8 person overall limit and need for physical distancing remains.
  • Certain household types can now meet others indoors in an 'extended household'.
  • Those visiting another household in a private garden will be permitted to use the household toilet, with increased hygiene measures urged. This does not include a household of someone who is shielding.
  • People should continue to stay in their local area as much as possible and should not travel more than broadly five miles for leisure or recreation.

From 22 June:

  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport.
  • Places of worship can re-open for individual prayer and contemplation.
  • Professional sport can resume – with public health restrictions remaining in place.
  • Dental practices can re-open to see patients with urgent care needs.
  • Construction sector can implement remaining phases of sectoral plan.
  • College and university staff can return to make essential preparations for restart in Phase 3.
  • Consistent with Phase 2, accommodation allowed for those required to stay away from home for work purposes.

From 29 June:

  • Indoor (non-office) workplaces resume once relevant guidance is implemented.
    • Includes: factories, warehouses, labs and research facilities
    • Excludes: indoor workplaces due to open in Phase 3 (e.g. non-essential offices and call-centres)
  • Street-access retail can re-open once guidance is implemented. Interiors of shopping malls/centres remain closed for non-essential shops until Phase 3.
  • Outdoor markets can re-open once guidance implemented.
  • Relaxation on restrictions on housing moves.
  • Outdoor sports courts and playgrounds can re-open.
  • Registration offices open for high priority tasks.
  • Marriages and civil partnerships allowed with minimal attendees – outdoors only.
  • Zoos and garden attractions can open but should remain limited to local access only (broadly within 5 miles) in this phase.

Fáilte Ireland releases guidance for opening pubs in Republic of Ireland

Fáilte Ireland has released guidelines for reopening pubs (including pubs, gastropubs and bars) in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Seating time has been extended from 90 minutes to 105 minutes, with 15 minutes reserved for cleaning between guests (2 hours total).
  • Contact tracing: Businesses will now be required to collect the contact information of just the party lead. Previously, the original HPSC guidance stated that this should be collected for the full group.
  • Businesses may implement 1 metre physical distancing in controlled environments, provided other risk mitigation requirements have been met and pre-booked time slots are in place.

Data on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on UK economy, personal and economic well-being

Other Government updates

  • The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund FAQ has been updated to provide information on websites and Local Authority delivery partners. Table 1 has been updated to reflect activities that are in or out of the scope of the Fund.
  • The VAT payment deferral period ends on 30 June. Information about the end of the deferral period has been updated.
  • A YouTube video offering guidance on how to make a claim for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been updated.

Industry updates

  • Manchester Airport will trial offering passengers free pre-booked 15-minute timeslots to pass through security.
  • Virgin Voyages has released its Voyage Well plan, outlining measures for health screenings, on-board social distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols and flexible booking policies as the company prepares to resume sailing in October.
  • Hilton has announced they will reduce approximately 2,100 corporate roles globally and will extend furloughs, reduced hours and pay reductions for another 90 days.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 18 JUNE

  • Gaps in Coronavirus Support

The Treasury Select Committee has published it’s report on gaps in support for employees and the self-employed (copy attached). The key recommendations in the report are for the Government to: 

  • Find a way to extend eligibility criteria to all new starters
  • Remove the £50,000 cap for SEISS and allowing those with profits just over this cap access to some financial support, up to the total monthly support cap of £2,500
  • Support limited company directors who are missing out on support because they pay themselves in dividends
  • Give PAYE freelance workers access to financial support that equates to 80 per cent of their average monthly income earned in the first 11 months of the 2019–20 tax year
  • Extend support to those newly self-employed who are unable to benefit from the SEISS
  • Amend the CJRS to allow tronc payments made via PAYE to be included when calculating worker’s pay when assessing entitlement

 

  • VisitEngland “Get Ready to Open” Business Resource Centre

To help tourism businesses to prepare for reopening, the Business support team at VisitEngland have developed a new website to bring together all the guidance and resources available to businesses. This is an excellent resource for all businesses and will be added to when the new Government Guidance for the industry and associated protocols are published. It also includes a wide range of webinars that businesses can sign up to on topics ranging from market insights to how to using technology to maximise business. 

https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/get-ready-reopen  

  • New HSE Guidance

Keeping with the guidance theme, HSE have also developed a range of guidance document for businesses on how to protect both staff and customers. 

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=updates-1&utm_content=digest-18-jun-20

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TIER UPDATE FOR 17 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

Today’s briefing was led by DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden. After reviewing the latest testing data he acknowledged that the Premier League resumed playing today and spoke of the benefits that sports can have on mental health in our communities. He spoke further on the challenges that the arts and culture sectors are facing, particularly in regards to the 2m distancing rule. Progress has been made through the five working groups, but greater flexibility will be needed to reopen theatres and discussions will continue this week to develop a roadmap for reopening.

The first question asked about the Job Retention Scheme supporting theatres, and Dowden outlined the Government support available for the sector. Another question asked about seating people side-by-side in theatres and Dowden said he has been talking to the industry but realises that it is a big challenge, and more difficult for theatres than for cinemas due to profit margins. In response to a question about restarting the tourism industry, Dowden referred to the roadmap that sets 4 July as the target date for the next stage of reopening and said that guidance will be published in due course. Asked about air bridges, Dowden replied that the quarantine remains in place and that air bridges are being looked at by the Transport secretary, but any decisions will be guided by science. The final question asked about people who are struggling due to losing jobs in hospitality, to which Dowden replied that safely reopening the sector will support people in returning to work.

View the full briefing here.

Coronavirus grant funding: local authority payments to small and medium businesses

Local authorities have received and distributed funding to support small and medium businesses in England during coronavirus. As of 14 June, £10.36 billion has been paid out to over 844,000 business properties. Review the local authority grant payments as of 14 June 2020 here.

DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey

Some top line findings have been released on how DCMS sectors are responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Review the latest data tables here.

Industry updates

  • Norwegian Air will resume flights from London Gatwick to Oslo and Copenhagen, and from Edinburgh to Oslo and Copenhagen starting 1 July.
  • Cameron Mackintosh Limited and Delfont Mackintosh Theatres have announced that their London productions of Les Misérables, Mary Poppins, Hamilton and Phantom of the Opera will not return until at least 2021.
  • Air Malta will commence its summer schedule in July, adding flights from Malta to London Heathrow from 15 July and flights to Manchester in August.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 17 JUNE

In today’s update there is a revised FAQ on the Discretionary Fund that are helpful to some tourism businesses and a revised FAQ on the High Street Fund which is less helpful. But most interesting thing is the results of a survey of businesses under its remit which show tourism and Events being two of the most impacted sectors under DCMS’s remit but two of the sectors that have had the most difficulty accessing Government support. 

  • Updated Discretionary Fund Guidance and FAQ

BEIS have updated the guidance and associated FAQ on the Discretionary Fund. The main changes seems to be:

  • Clarifying that businesses with a rateable value of over £51k are eligible for this fund
  • Businesses who are eligible for or in receipt of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are eligible to apply for this scheme
  • Clarifying that businesses that were not in the scope of the Small Business Grants Fund or Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund can receive grants through this scheme
  • Clarifying that businesses suppliers to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who have lost demand and missed out on the previous grants can apply for funding through this scheme
  • Clarifying that micro-business that people operate from home are able to apply for funding through this scheme.

 

  • DCMS Business Survey

DCMS have published the results of surveys of just under 4000 businesses related to its remit. The surveys were undertaken between 23rd April and 22nd May 2020. So, bearing in mind that the end date for responses was almost a month ago, these are the key findings – both for DCMS related businesses as a whole and specifically for tourism businesses:

  • 68% of operators thought the Coronavirus outbreak was a threat to the viability of their business (80% for tourism businesses)
  • Even with Government support packages, 27% of respondents said that their business would not be viable within 3 months (32% for tourism businesses), while 56% said that their business would not be viable within 6 months (62% for tourism businesses)
  • 42% of respondents said that their business was generating no revenue at all (68% for tourism businesses), while 74% said that their revenue had decreased by more than half (92% for tourism businesses) and only 10% said that revenue had stayed the same or increased (2% for tourism businesses)
  • 54% of businesses have accessed Government support of any type (31% for tourism businesses)

This suggests a very worrying situation where tourism businesses are being impacted more severely than other DCMS-related businesses, but are experiencing far greater problems in accessing support. The situation is even worse in the events sector. Here’s the headline results: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dcms-coronavirus-impact-business-survey/dcms-business-survey-headline-measures

And here’s the results by sector 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892389/Final_Merged_Covid_Survey_Results__YouGov_+_DCMS__-_Sector_Publication_CSV.csv/preview

  • Reopening High Streets Safely Fund Q&A

A new FAQ has been produced for the Reopening High Streets safely Fund which puts new constrictions on how money from the fund can be used.  This new FAQ rules out the using the fund to undertake work promoting high streets and destinations as being open or providing any type of visitor information alongside information provision on public safety measures. It also prevents the funding being used for the provision of public toilets or for the cleaning of existing toilets which is not particularly helpful. On a more positive note, funding can be used to provide one-to-one advice to local businesses on operating safely.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/893067/Reopening_High_Streets_Safely_Fund_FAQ_V3.pdf

  • Notes from CBI Session with Shadow Business Secretary Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP

Here’s some notes from today’s CBI’s webinar with the shadow Business Secretary where he put forward Labour’s view on the support that businesses need =- a lot of which fits with we’ve been asking Government regarding. There was specific recognition of the issues faced by the tourism and aviation sectors and support for cutting VAT.

  • These circumstances would challenge any government, having to move at speed with unprecedented challenges
  • Shared belief that every viable business and every job we save now, is something we should be trying to do 
  • Welcomed the furlough scheme the most. The Chancellor saw what was happening in other countries, listened to the CBI and the TUC and implemented it well. The worry is about the winding down of the furlough in a one size fits all way. It is increasingly true this is a general recession, but also a sectoral recession - if you are in hospitality, tourism, creative industries - you are facing much greater public health oriented challenges than others. It will send some businesses over the edge and increase unemployment
  • Would like to see more sector by sector support and not demand employer contributions or make-up employer contributions for those that face particular hardship - make judgment if furlough has a hard stop in October or build in more flexibility
  • On the business interruption loans - Labour called right at the beginning for 100% underwriting of loans. CBILS was supposed to be freed up by Bounce-back Loans, if anything they seem to be slowing. On CL BILS, these are too slow and too tied up in bureaucracy - current issue is that to get CL BILS, it has to become the loan of most seniority - so if you have another loan, you have to renegotiate
  • Worry about manufacturers, facing difficult global demand conditions - Steel manufacturers not getting anything from CL BILS
  • In comparison, France/Germany got loans within 10 days - we are at the three month point
  • On aerospace, French government announced £15bn aviation and aerospace package, with low carbon engines - would like to see that kind of ambition in relation to our manufacturers
  • Going to need some income contingency brought into these loans, particularly but not limited to SMEs - cannot have massive debt overhang as we enter recovery (student loan model)
  • Key actions: Sort out loan scheme, sort out sector flexibility for furlough and then implement a substantial jobs plan
  • Had the Future Jobs Fund under last Labour government in 2008/09 crisis - govt paid wages of young people for six months - cost £700,000m put 100,000 young people into work - net costs estimated at £300,000m - half paid for itself - going to need something much bigger than that
  • Future Jobs Fund useful starting point - have a zero carbon army, plant trees, install insulation
  • Energy efficiency programme - can be done in public buildings, homes throughout the country - bring funds committed to net zero forward and deliver it now
  • Going to need demand side support - general support such as VAT cut
  • Labour party consultation going on with business at the moment on green projects/ infrastructure. Consultation on how to have a green recovery ends 30 June
  • National projects, but could start delivering in regional areas that are most impacted
  • Brexit - government believes they can get a deal, they just need to get on and do it. There just has to be a deal, no-deal would be deeply damaging
  • No deal would have been a bad thing anyway, but under these circumstances unthinkable

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TIER UPDATE FOR 16 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

The Prime Minister gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Prof Peter W Horby, University of Oxford. The Prime Minister gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases and an update on COVID-19 treatments. The Prime Minister says he is “all too aware” that the two-metre rule has implications for schools and hospitality sector and he will do everything in his power to get life back to normal. But he will proceed carefully, and will only act in a way that minimises the risk to life. During the Q+A Sophia of the Evening Standard asked about Spain threatening to impose quarantine restrictions on UK visitors in response to the UK’s quarantine measures. She also asked if the PM would discuss travel corridors with President Macron when he visits the UK? Johnson says he will be talking to Macron about all sorts of things, including this, when they meet later this week. And he says they will be talking to Spain too about this.

View the full briefing here.

Global Britain

The Prime Minister today made a statement to the House of Commons on “Global Britain”. He has announced the merger of Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This follows a review conducted by Lord Bew.

Other Government updates

·        Updated weekly data (up to end of Sunday 14 June) is available for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

·        Latest figures available for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.

·        See the businesses, business representative organisations, regulators and academics who took part in the five economic recovery roundtables chaired by Business Secretary Alok Sharma last week and the topics discussed. The roundtable topics included green recovery, increasing opportunity, backing new business, the future of industry and the UK open for business.

·        The guidance for Tier 4 sponsors, migrants and short-term students on temporary concessions in response to the outbreak of coronavirus has been updated.

Industry updates

·        TUI Group will gradually resume some of their summer 2020 programme from this week, in line with the easing of travel restrictions in Europe. The group plans to restart activity in the UK later this summer and expects to operate at around 30% of their original capacity in Q4 this year.

·        Six organisations have come together to form The Future of Tourism Coalition, with the global mission to place tourism destinations at the centre of recovery strategies.  The organisations include the Centre for Responsible Travel, Destination Stewardship Centre, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

·        Traveller Made, a network of 440 travel agencies in 70 countries, has created an interactive map tracking the opening status of its preferred hotel partners.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 16 JUNE

Here’s today’s update. A lot of the things today relate to updated guidance but there is a good piece of research on the youth market from BETA and new guidance on the £3.6bn Towns Fund that is worthwhile engaging with. 

  • Updated Workplace Guidance for Food Outlets and Office - The Government has updated the guidance for businesses providing food for takeaway and delivery and for office businesses and those providing contact centres for customers. The changes relate to new guidance on test and trace service, guidance on safer travel and to provide guidance on managing security risks.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres

  • Extension of 30 Day Visa - People whose 30 day visa for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year. The replacement visa will be valid for a period of 90 days which suggests that the replacement visa could itself be replaced before the end of the year. 

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

  • Updated Business Closure Guidance - An updated version of the guidance on which businesses must stay closed has been produced that consolidates recent changes related to businesses like zoos, outdoor activities and indoor markets.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

  • New Towns Fund Guidance - The Towns Fund in a £3.6bn fund that the Government established as part of the “levelling-up” agenda and ask towns to bid for last year. From the applications, in September 100 towns were selected to go forward to the second stage where they were required to develop Town Investment Plans (TIPs).  The Government has published new guidance for these towns which is intended to enable them to finalise their TIPs and work with MHCLG to agree their Town Deals. It sets out key information about interventions in scope, and the roles of different stakeholders throughout the process, and shows the path towards the implementation of Town Deals.

With the Coronavirus outbreak and the need to rebuild local economies, it is more important than ever that tourism businesses in these town engage and help shape the development of these TIPs so that they support tourism recovery. Here’s a link to the guidance: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892440/Towns_Fund_further_guidance.pdf

And here’s the list of the 100 towns that taking part in this initiative

                https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5d722667e5274a09881c0c58/list-of-100-places.pdf               

  • Youth Travel and Coronavirus - BETA has just published a new piece of research that tracks travel motivations among young people throughout the Covid-19 crisis. This research is based on the insights of 2,000 18-30 year olds and the key findings are that:

·      65% will hold off booking their next trip until social distancing has been removed or a vaccine is available

·      70% are concerned about being stuck overseas

·      47% would prioritise brands that have clear guides and better policies on refunds

A copy of the research can be downloaded from the following link

https://www.betauk.com/nebetasi/wp-content/uploads/WhatReallyMatters_finalpdf.pdf 

  • Zoos APPG Meeting - The meeting will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 4.00 pm, hosted by the secretariat for the A.P.P.G, B.I.A.Z.A. – the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The meeting will hear from leaders of the sector about the challenges they face and what must be done to help them. There will be the opportunity to ask questions of B.I.A.Z.A. and other zoo industry figures.

R.S.V.P. to the Clerk of the A.P.P.G., Scott Sherlock, at scott.sherlock@parliament.uk to receive the meeting’s log-in details.

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TIER UPDATE FOR 15 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. He reviewed the latest testing data and recounted some of the measure taking effect this week to relax the lockdown: steps were taken over the weekend to enable private prayer and to allow single adult households to form social support bubbles, and from today retail and outdoor attractions including zoos, safari parks and outdoor cinemas may reopen. Face coverings are mandatory on all public transportation from today.

A question was asked about reviewing and possibly reducing the 2 metre rule for social distancing. Raab replied that the rule remains under review and a report is expected in two weeks.

View the full briefing here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance updated

Guidance has been published outlining the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme following the Chancellor’s announcement on 29 May. These include:

  • From 1 July employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June.
  • Flexibly furlough employees, meaning employees can come back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.
  • Still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period
  • From 1 August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
  • From 1 September, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough. Find more information on how the amount of grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.
  • Parents returning from maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental bereavement leave after 10 June are exempt from the cut-off date for new entrants. This applies to employers who have previously submitted a claim for any other employee (between 1 March and 30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and are returning after 10 June and they have to be on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

HMRC are running two webinars, one to be held on Thursday 18 June 9:45am-10:45am and one on Friday 19 June 11:45am-12:45pm. It provides an overview of the changes to the scheme, how employers will be affected, flexible furloughing, key dates and support available. Sign up here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme guidance updated

Updated guidance has been made available on the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Eligible individuals are able to claim a second and final grant in August.

  • Those eligible for the first grant must claim on or before 13 July 2020.
  • Applications for the second grant will open in August.
  • The eligibility criteria remain the same as for the first SEISS grant. 
  • Those claiming for the second grant will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020. 
  • Individuals can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.

Northern Ireland accelerates reopening of tourism and hospitality sector

This afternoon the NI Economy Minister announced a conditional acceleration of the reopening of Tourism & Hospitality as follows:

  • 26 June - reopening of caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering tourist accommodation
  • 3 July – reopening of other tourist accommodation being permitted to open from 3 July 2020 (date again conditional). In addition the 3 July will see the opening of:
    • Restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, etc.
    • Indoor spaces of pubs and bars for the provision of substantial meals, with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. Pubs and bars opening on this basis will be encouraged to avoid providing activities such as bands, live sport screening, etc.
    • Pubs and bars with outdoor spaces (e.g. beer gardens) permitted to sell alcohol in these spaces on a table service basis
    • Hotel restaurants permitted to open, in line with guidance. Hotel bars to be restricted to the provision of substantial meals with the serving of alcohol being ancillary to this. As with pubs and bars, hotels with outdoor spaces will be permitted to sell alcohol in these spaces. Spas and leisure facilities would not be permitted to open at this stage and would open in line with relaxation of restrictions on the wider spa and leisure sector.
    • Visitor attractions – a diverse sector comprising museums, historic houses, culture and heritage venues, and outdoor attractions – will likely see a phased re-opening in line with site or building-specific risk assessments. The outdoor areas of some attractions are already open.

Other Government updates

Other updates

  • The EU Commission has now formally launched the Re-open EU website, which is designed to support a safe relaunch of travelling and tourism across Europe. It will provide real-time information on borders and available means of transport and tourism services in Member States as well as practical information provided by Member States on travel restrictions, public health and safety measures. The creation of this website was announced in previous EU Tourism Ministerial meetings and May’s EU tourism guidance package. The UK, as a non-Member State, isn’t included on the website. Further info in the full press release here.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 15 JUNE

  • Changes to Furlough Scheme - The Government has published a policy paper on the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which provides a bit more detail to the flexibility that is being introduced to the furlough scheme from 1 July. The key point in this is that from this date, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked. This will be of considerable help to businesses both in preparing to open on 4th July and in being able to match staff numbers to demand as they rebuild the business.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

  •    Psychological First Aid Training - PHE has developed a free 90min online psychological first aid training course which is available to frontline staff and volunteers. The training to enable staff to provide support and recognise people at risk of distress. While it has primarily been developed for use by health/care workers, it is a worthwhile course for businesses too (especially those with staff on furlough or having to come back to their place of work.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/psychological-first-aid-covid-19/1?utm_campaign=fl_phecovidpsych_2020&utm_medium=futurelearn_organic_pressrelease&utm_source=fl_pr_outreach

  • Jet Zero Council - The Government has announcement the establishment of a “Jet Zero” council which will bring together industry and environmental groups with the government in order to making the aviation and aerospace sectors environmentally fit for the future. In announcing the formation of the Council, the Government has also pledged £500,000 to continue the development of a biofuels plant in Immingham converting waste into sustainable fuel. The goal of this initiative is to, within a generation, demonstrate flight across the Atlantic is possible without harming the environment.
  • Test and Trace in the Workplace - The test and trace guidance for businesses has been updated with a new section related to multiple outbreak in a workplace.  Under the new guidance, if there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team to report the suspected outbreak. The heath protection team will then:
  • undertake a risk assessment
  • provide public health advice
  • where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

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TIER UPDATE FOR 12 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by the chair of Network Rail, Peter Handy, and Prof Stephen Powis. The Secretary of State gave the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases. He also highlighted that transport is vital for reopening the economy but provides a challenge for controlling infection. He reiterated that if you can work from home you should continue to do so, if you can’t, you should try to avoid public transport. Shapps said that from Monday, you must wear face coverings on public transport. Transport operators will be able to refuse permission to travel where someone isn’t wearing a face covering, he says, and fines can be issued for refusal to comply. He noted that even the aviation sector wants to see a greener future and that DfT have created the Jet Zero Council, formed of environmental groups and aviation sector, will be charged with making net zero emissions possible for future flights.

During the Q+A the Sun asked about Air Bridges. Is the UK looking at air bridges, who are they in discussion with and have any countries refused the offer? Shapps said that the term “travel corridor” is more accurate and that they are actively working on travel corridors. The next review of quarantine rules is 29 June so there won’t be any announcements on changes to the rules until then. When asked what he would like to see replace the quarantine rules, Shapps said that travel corridors with countries with lower infection are a potential way forward, along with testing at ports and airports. View the full briefing here.

UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report:  Week 3

The latest results of the UK Covid-19 Consumer Tracker Report, based on fieldwork from 1-5 June is now available.  An interesting trend this week is the nation appears more negative in mind-set (overall mood and perceptions of when ‘normality’ will return are marginally down, while the proportion of people feeling the ‘worst is still to come’ has increased significantly).  However, sentiment towards travel appears to be slightly improving e.g. in terms of likelihood to take a holiday, higher confidence in trips going ahead and marginally higher confidence in doing various leisure activities.

Other points of note:

  • 27% believe the worst has passed regarding Covid-19.  This is a slightly lower proportion than last week (29%), while a significantly higher proportion consider the ‘worst is yet to come’.
  • There continues to be little expectation things will be returning to normal anytime soon, with just 29% expecting ‘normality’ by September and 52% by December.
  • Our ‘Appetite for Risk’ score is fractionally up at 2.33 (based on a 1-4 scale on how comfortable people claim to be at doing selected activities e.g. eating in a restaurant or using public transport).
  • 28% consider themselves fairly or very confident they would be able to take a holiday or short-break during the peak July/August period this year, which represents a fractional increase on last week. 
  • The main reasons driving this relative lack of confidence are again led by restrictions on travel by government (52%), fewer opportunities to eat or drink out (51%) and concerns about catching Covid-19 (45%).
  • 41% expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays respectively compared to last year, which is unchanged from week 2.
  • However, the proportions believing they will be taking a domestic short-break or holiday by this September is again up, albeit not significantly (23% vs 22%).
  • In terms of region to be visited between now and September, South West still leads (19%) followed by Scotland (12%), although in reality little actually separates the second to eighth ranked regions.  A clearer hierarchy of preference is visible for visits from October onwards, with South West and Scotland having more obvious leads.
  • For the summer period, countryside/village and traditional coastal/seaside town destinations lead with 31% and 30% shares respectively.  Cities move into second place for trips scheduled from October onwards.
  • Focusing again on the peak June-Sept period, we see a broadly even split between the leading accommodation types, although from October, hotels/motels/inns take a clear lead, with caravan/camping moving down the rankings.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

New support for reopening and recovery of high streets

The High Streets Task Force has announced that they will provide access to tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June. This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.

New ONS report: Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy: April 2020

The report provides an analysis of monthly growth for the production, services and construction industries in the UK economy between March 2020 and April 2020, highlighting the early impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism’s report Pathways to Recovery published

The report was researched and written by UK Hospitality, who provide the secretariat for the group, highlighting the scale of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors and outlining a series of recommendations to help businesses recover.

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Centre has created an interactive map tracking COVID-19 travel regulations by country.
  • United Airlines has introduced a customer acknowledgment form for passengers to fill out when they check in to confirm they have not experienced Covid-19 related symptoms in the last 2 weeks.
  • LaLiga will join the Spanish government and the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain (CEOE) in a new campaign to promote Spain as a safe tourist destination.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 12 JUNE

After all the announcements yesterday in regard to safe air travel and boat use, there is relatively little in the way of announcements today – although that will change next week with the launch of Government guidance on the safe operation of tourism and hospitality businesses and VisitEngland’s associated the “We’re Good to Go” Mark.   

  • Requests for Ministerial Direction

As a point of interest, it’s worth noting that over the last couple of days the Government has published a number of Ministerial Direction requests that Permanent Secretaries have made over the last few months in regarding the support schemes that the Government has put in place. In a nutshell, the Permanent Secretaries are responsible for Departmental expenditure programmes and are required not to spend public funds where they don’t believe that they will provide value for money. So these letters are from Permanent Secretaries stating that they have no idea whether various Coronavirus business support programmes represent value for money and are asking Ministers to tell them to do it anyway (ie., if this goes badly, it’s not my fault). These Ministerial Direction request cover initiatives including the Business Interruption Loans, the Future Fund, the Bounce Back Loans and the Discretionary Fund.

Needless to say, the Government has directed the Permanent Secretaries to continue operating the support schemes. 

  • North of Tyne Growth Fund

The Government has launched the North of Tyne growth Fund which is available to SMEs planning an expansion project in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland with costs of at least £134,000. The Fund is specifically open to tourism and leisure businesses. The fund will pay a capital grant of between £40,000 and £200,000 to cover up to 30% of eligible expenditure provided that the project generates increased employment in the area. 

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/north-of-tyne-growth-fund

  • Track the R-Rate

Finally, ahead of the non-essential retail opening on Monday, here a link to the government’s latest calculations of the R-Rate which also includes a regional R rates across England. The current rates are:

England                                0.8-1.0

East of England                 0.7-0.9

London                                 0.8-1.0

Midlands                             0.8-1.0

NE and Yorkshire              0.7-1.0

North West                         0.8-1.0

South East                           0.8-1.0

South West                         0.8-1.1

This indicates that the Government has little room for manoeuvre at the moment if the relaxion of rules increases the number of infections.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk

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TIER UPDATE FOR 11 JUNE

Daily Government briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock joined by Baroness Dido Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement. The briefing focussed on the test and trace system and the importance of self-isolating for those who test positive or are exhibiting symptoms. The Q&A covered social distancing at work, child care and coronavirus testing. View the full briefing here.

Guidance published for aviation passengers and operators, inland and coastal boats

The Government has published new guidance for aviation passengers and operators, setting out advice for air travellers and measures that operators should implement to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance for passengers covers the travel experience step by step, including advice on journey planning, social distancing, cleaning, face coverings, use of PPE and ventilation.

The guidance for operators has been published to help manage risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) and provide safer workplaces and services for workers and passengers.

The UK Government is engaging with a number of key international organisations including the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on a shared agenda on public health measures for international travel.

New guidance has also been published on using a boat inland or on the coast.

Review the latest guidance for other transport and travel sectors here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme datasets updated for June 2020

The tables in this publication show the number of individuals claiming the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant by 31 May 2020, and the value of these claims.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme datasets updated for June 2020

This statistical release provides estimates of the number and value of claims made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to HMRC by 31 May 2020. Data is broken down by employer size, sector and geography.

Analysis on potential impact of coronavirus lockdown on household spending

A new analysis looks at the potential impact of the coronavirus lockdown on household spending in the UK. It categorises data from the financial year ending March 2019 according to whether or not spending has been possible under measures in place since 23 March 2020. Spending breakdowns are available by housing tenure, region and age of household reference person.

Meeting people from outside your household, other coronavirus outbreak FAQs updated

New guidance has been published advising people how they can see people they do not live with, while maintaining precautions to protect against coronavirus.

Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have also been updated to reflect the Prime Minister’s announcements on 10 June 2020.

Industry updates

  • Heathrow Airport will continue to lay off employees after passenger levels hit an all-time low in May, down 97% over the same time last year.
  • Etihad Airways has launched a Travel Voucher programme: customers who purchase a voucher between 10-24 June can use it to book travel in the next two years, and will receive an additional 50% cash value for future travel after 1 August 2020.
  • Air Transat plans to resume international flights from 23 July, including routes from Toronto to London, Manchester and Glasgow.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 11 JUNE

Quite a bit for you today including aviation and boating guidance as well as information on how other European countries are opening their borders and the system that Iceland is putting in place so that its inbound tourism industry can safely resume on 15th June. 

  • IATA Analysis - I’ve attached a copy of an analysis that IATA has published on the state of the international aviation industry which highlights the severity of the impact that Coronavirus is having on the sector. The main findings are:
    • 2020 will be the worst year in history for airlines (net loss of $84.3bn) and losses will continue in 2021, albeit to a lesser extent.
    • Airlines in all regions are expected to record negative operating income in 2020.
    • Revenues are expected to fall by more than demand as airlines are significantly discounting ticket prices to help stimulate travel.
    • The sharp fall in revenue led to high cash burn due to fixed and semi fixed costs.  Airlines face pressure to reduce operating costs.
    • 32 million jobs supported by aviation (including tourism) are at risk.
    • Restoring air transport connectivity will be critical in the post-COVID period to support the recovery in economic development.

IATA are currently undertaking an analysis of the UK aviation industry and I will send this out when it is available. 

  • EU Border Controls and Iceland - Attached is an analysis of the different Border controls in place throughout Europe and the plans each country has for opening up tourism-related travel.  

Importantly, I’ve also attached a document on the processes that Iceland has put in place that allows their tourism to restart on 15th June while, at the same time, protecting the country from further outbreaks. The main components of the system are:

  • Passengers are required to fill out a pre-registration form before departure to Iceland that includes a declaration on their health and information on countries they have visited before arrival
  • Passengers can choose to be tested by a PCR-test for COVID-19 on arrival in Iceland or self-quarantine for two weeks
  • Passengers will receive their test results within 24 hours
  • If the passenger tests positive they must self-isolate
  • If the passenger does not have access to a suitable location to self- isolate, they will be given accommodation at a specialised isolation centre at no cost to them.

This approach, which minimises risk and treats visitors as safe until proved otherwise, is in stark contrast to the UK’s quarantining system which treats visitors as infected until proved otherwise. 

  • Opportunity to provide insight and analysis on the UK’s economic recovery - As a reported a few days ago, Alok Sharma has announced that he’s setting up five round tables to consider the measures needed to support the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. These round tables are: The future of industry; Green Recovery; Backing new businesses; Increasing opportunity; and, How to win and retain more high value internationally mobile investment for the UK. If you would like to provide input on any of the themes being looked at by these round tables, you can do so by email Economic.Recovery@beis.gov.uk The deadline for input is Wednesday 17 June.
  • Impact of Coronavirus on Employment - The ONS ha released new statistics on the impact of Coronavirus on the UK workforce which shows that tourism and hospitality businesses have been among the most affected sectors of the economy. The main points are:
    • The total number of employers that made at least one CJRS claim to 31 May 2020 is 1.07 million
    • 8.7 million employments have been supported through the scheme under claims made until 31 May, with these claims totalling £17.5 billion
    • 6,300 large employers (those with 250 or more employees) have furloughed around 2.5 million employments.
    • Accommodation and food services employers have furloughed 1.4 million employments and claimed £2.6 billion in support under the CJRS.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/891249/Coronavirus_Job_Retention_Scheme_Statistics_June_2020.pdf

  • Code for Tour Guiding - I’ve attached a code of conduct that the professional guiding industry has developed that will cover their tour activities and help ensure customers under their care Tour Guiding. Guides who are members of the Institute of Tourist Guiding, the British Guild of Tourist Guides, the Association of Professional Tourist Guides and the Driver-Guides Association have come together to agree this code to which all members of these associations will adhere.

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TIER UPDATE FOR 10 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

The Prime Minister gave today’s press briefing. He was joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Witty. The Prime Minister shared the daily datasets on UK COVID-19 tests and cases, he also explained how the 5 tests for relaxing lockdown had been met. The Prime Minister said the devolved administrations can move at the right pace for them, highlighting that the measures he announced apply to England only.

  1. On retail, he noted that it has been 82 days since the Government asked shops to close but retail businesses can reopen from Monday.
  2. Social contact - people on their own and single parent households may form a support bubble with one other household. They would then be treated as a single household when it comes to social distancing measures.
  3. From Monday, outdoor attractions which you can stay in the car for, such as safari parks and outdoor cinemas, can open. Zoos will be able to open as well as long as people can social distance.
  4. Places of worship will reopen for prayer from this weekend.

During the Q+A the first question came from a member of the public they asked if people serving food to the public should be wearing masks or gloves. Johnson says guidelines will be introduced as to how shops should open up in a COVID-19 secure way. Vallance says the Sage advice is clear. Face coverings have benefits in closed environments and touching and surface contact is a major way of spreading the disease. On the possibility of axing the two metre rule the PM was asked if it was a political decision and if he is willing to ignore his scientific advisers? Johnson says there is a balance of risk to be struck. It is important to get the rate down. Only one in 1,000 has it. But it is not down yet as far as he would like. The Daily Echo asked about the cruise industry. The Prime Minister said that he is confident that the cruise industry can return in a COVID secure way.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Parliamentary statement on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism

Key points from the statement given by Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing to the Scottish Parliament include:

  • The Scottish Government has provided a package of support worth over £2.3 billion – “going above and beyond the UK Government consequentials”.  Provided rates relief, developed grant schemes not available elsewhere in the UK and have met with and listened to businesses to understand where gaps still exist.
  • He commended the work of organisations like the Scottish Tourism Alliance and UKHospitality in representing their sectors and providing a vital bridge between the Scottish Government and businesses.
  • Kate Forbes and Ewing have written to the Chancellor to request a discussion on how they can work together to further support the sector and alleviate some of the pressures on businesses, including through a review of VAT rates.
  • He outlined that the UK Government must lead on a financial recovery plan for tourism in the UK with significant funding attached, and that they will use those consequentials for the industry in Scotland.
  • Statutory reviews of the current restrictions are required on 18 June and 9 July. As things stand just now, our hope is that the Scottish Government will be able to give the go ahead to a re-opening of the sector at the 9 July review.
    • The Tourism Secretary encouraged tourism and hospitality businesses to prepare - within appropriate safety guidelines - for re-opening on 15 July.
  • They will soon be publishing guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector that will help businesses make the necessary changes.
  • He admitted that there will be a key role for the industry in building confidence in communities who may understandably be hesitant to welcome back visitors.
  • The Sottish Government is setting up a Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce to take forward strategic oversight of, and provision of advice on, recovery plans in response to the COVID-19 impact on Scottish tourism and hospitality. This taskforce will be responsible for ensuring that the tourism recovery plan is fully coordinated with the wider Scottish Government and other recovery plans. It will also take into account wider actions being taken by the UK Government, other devolved administrations and international best practice, including that of the European Union.
    • looking at recovery needs for the sector
    • working with devolved administrations and UK Government on UK level interventions
    • developing a domestic visitor marketing campaign
    • clear public messaging around the safe recovery of tourism and the economic benefits for communities

Read more here

Other Government updates

Industry updates

  • From 15 June  Gatwick Airport will expand its hours of operation and resume activity in its North Terminal with EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Belavia, Vueling and Blue Island flights.
  • Thames Clippers will resume service on 15 June with social distancing and cleaning measures in place on piers and on-board the vessels.
  • Eastern Airways will launch a daily weekday flight from Leeds Bradford to Newquay on 9 July.
  • Jamaica will reopen its borders to international tourists on 15 June.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 10 JUNE

  • Coronavirus Safe Notice - Non-essential retail businesses able to open from next Monday, provided that they follow government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible, including undertaking a risk assessment. To help reassure customers, the Government has produced a notice for shops to display that shows customers that they are operating in accordance with these guidelines. The notice (attached) informs customers that the operator has:
    • carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with the people who work there
    • cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
    • taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
    • taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
    • done everything practical to manage transmission risks where people cannot be 2m apart

 

  • Zoos and Safari Parks to Reopen on 15th June - It is expected that, at today’s Coronavirus briefing, the Prime Minister will announce that safari parks and zoos will be able to reopen on 15th June as long as they follow social distancing rules. It is expected that indoor attractions at zoos such as reptile houses will have to remain closed and cafes will only be open for takeaway food and drinks.
  • Security Advice for Businesses - With the rise in the number of businesses going into administration or having to restructure, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure has developed guidance for businesses owners on how to managing security risks during this process and protect and/or destroy sensitive information including personal data. I’ve attached a copy of this two-page guidance which is a good checklist for businesses of all sizes if they are facing significant changes.
  • Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough - The Government has previously announced that, to enable the introduction of part-time furloughing, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers registered as being on the Furlough scheme prior to 10 June. However, it has now amended this requirement to allow parents currently on statutory maternity and paternity leave to be eligible for the furlough scheme if they return to work after the 10 June closure date.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/parents-returning-to-work-after-extended-leave-eligible-for-furlough

  • Procurement Policy

The Cabinet Office has produced new guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity. This guidance requires public bodies to:

  • Review their contract portfolio, including where they are providing any contractual relief due to COVID-19 and, if appropriate to maintain delivery of critical services, continue or commence measures in line with PPN 02/20.
  • Work in partnership with their suppliers and develop transition plans to exit from any relief as soon as reasonably possible. This should include agreeing contract variations if operational requirements have changed significantly.
  • Work in partnership with their suppliers, openly and pragmatically, during this transition to ensure contracts are still relevant and sustainable and deliver value for money over the medium to long term.
  • Continue to pay suppliers as quickly as possible, on receipt of invoices or in accordance with pre-agreed milestone dates, to maintain cash flow and protect jobs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0420-recovery-and-transition-from-covid-19

  • Digital Boost Platform Launch - Supported by DCMS, a new platform called Digital Boost has been launched to provide SMEs with free one-to-one digital support. This support includes:
    • Online Marketing
    • Design and Brand work
    • Content strategy

https://www.digitalboost.org.uk/?utm_source=DCMS&utm_medium=Email

  • Ireland brings Forward Opening Date - Ireland has brought forward the opening date for it’s tourism industry to 29th June. As part of this announcement, Failte Ireland has produced a range of guidelines for tourism industry to ensure their safe re-opening.
  • Hotels & Guesthouses
  • Self-Catering businesses
  • Caravan & Camping businesses
  • Visitor Attractions
  • Activity Providers
  • B&Bs & Historic Houses
  • Restaurants & Cafes

These guidelines are available on the following link

https://www.failteireland.ie/Utility/News-Library/Failte-Ireland-publishes-operational-guidelines-wi.aspx

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TIER UPDATE FOR 9 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Sarah Albon, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Sharma confirmed that retail outlets that have previously been closed will be permitted to open from next Monday 15 June. Businesses will need to complete a Covid-secure risk assessment and are asked to display publicly a sign confirming that they are compliant with health and safety guidance. Further guidance for hospitality businesses such as restaurants and pubs will be published as soon as possible, and the Government continues working towards 4 July 2020 as a target date to reopen the hospitality and service sectors.

This week, Sharma will lead five roundtable sessions with representatives from the five business-focused working groups to engage with the business community and discuss plans for economic recovery.

Q&A

  • The first question was about when people can book domestic holidays, including camping and self-catering. Sharma said that the economy would be reopening in a phased, careful manner and reiterated the date of 4 July at the earliest.
  • Sharma said that the further guidance would be published in advance of 4 July in order to give businesses time to prepare.
  • Sharma was asked about possibly changing from 2m to 1m social distancing in order to help hospitality businesses. He said that the 2m had been recommended by SAGE, and would be kept under review. He recognised that some countries had reduced to 1m but said they were further along in their reopening.
  • Responding to a question on levelling up, the Business Secretary said he did not want to pre-empt any future announcements but that the Government was still committed to the levelling up agenda.

You can watch the full briefing here.

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

  • Many countries are now well into plans for reopening the tourism sector, which means they are starting to target domestic visitors proactively to help businesses leverage domestic visitor spend for recovery. We have seen three more domestic campaign launches in the past week in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark. In Japan, the process of contracting for their domestic stimulus campaign has revealed a big budget.
  • Health & safety: The French Government has released an umbrella campaign for many sectors. Rather than a logo with a focus on safety, it show the focus on the commitment of the company to comply with the required regulation.
  • Germany announced a comprehensive economic and social stimulus package of €130bn last week with blanket VAT rate reductions and bridging grants for SMEs which have been particularly hard hit (incl. tourism). €50bn of the package is earmarked for future-proofing the country with better e-mobility, use of hydrogen energy, investment in AI and quantum computing.
  • Iceland and Ireland are among the countries which have extended financial support into later in the summer.
  • The US has announced measures to allow more flexibility to small businesses using the Paycheck Protection Programme, and the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act will require insurance companies to offer plans covering business interruption losses due to future pandemics or public health emergencies. Importantly, event cancellation insurance is a component of this bill.
  • Spain hopes to secure considerable funds from the EU for tourism and automotive, and plans incl. making the former more socioeconomically and environmentally sustainable.
  • The Irish Tourism Recovery Taskforce has presented the Government with 8 asks to help speed up the recovery process for the tourism sector incl. earlier opening and a move to 1m distance.
  • Further support for the regions, strategic asset protection and more: In Italy, the Minister has proposed a tourism recovery plan for the South (a national plan is in progress) and a Business Events roundtable was held. In New Zealand, the Tourism Minister has allocated funding to regional tourism organisations and the Strategic Assets Protection Programme is now open for applications.

UK Visa and Immigration services enter second phase of reopening on 22 June

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) began a phased reopening of a limited number of visa application centres (VACs) and immigration services on 1 June. An additional number of VACs will open on 22 June, where local conditions allow. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed. Services will reopen in phases. Where services are resuming, existing customers will be contacted.

Visa customers and British nationals overseas who want to apply for a passport can find a VAC in their country, or check the status of VACs outside of the UK here:

·       TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East

·       VFS global for all other countries

Visa applicants in the UK can check the status of VACs and available services near them.

Find further guidance on applying for a visa or passport during the pandemic.

Self-isolation rules specific to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Guidance on the new border rules has been updated to reflect that travellers are subject to different self-isolation rules and penalties depending on whether they are travelling to:

Fáilte Ireland publishes sector-specific guidelines for reopening tourism on 29 June

Fáilte Ireland has published operational guidelines for the tourism industry to ensure the safe reopening of tourism businesses on 29 June. Sector-specific guidelines are available for:

Digital Boost platform launch

Supported by DCMS, a new platform called Digital Boost launches today. The Covid-19 crisis has presented many challenges for small businesses, particularly in building digital capability. The platform will host a community of digital experts, who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses free of charge.

Industry updates

  • Vacation Rentals, the parent company of brands including Hoseasons and Cottages.com, is now offering refunds for cancelled bookings following an announcement from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it would start investigating cancellations and refunds in the holiday accommodation sector.
  • Ryanair is wavering change fees for all flights booked in July or August this year. Customers will be able to exchange for flights departing through 31 December 2020.
  • Cunard has cancelled all sailings for the ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through 1 November, and for the ship Queen Elizabeth through 23 November.
  • Austrian Airlines has secured a €600 million rescue package from the Austrian national government and the Lufthansa Group.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 9th JUNE

  • Temporary Concessions - The Home Office have announces a number of temporary concessions for people who are unable to meet the requirements of the Family Immigration Rules to enter or remain in the UK due to coronavirus. These concessions relate to:
    • People’s whose wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed due to coronavirus
    • People who have experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus
    • People who are unable to provide specified documents
    • People who are unable to take a language test

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

  • New Visa Factsheets - The Home Office has also published three new factsheets (attached) to provide guidance for  visa customers outside the UK, visa holders in the UK and firms sponsoring foreign nationals.
  • Sending Forms to Companies House - Companies House has introduced a temporary service to that allows businesses to upload documents that previously had to be sent in. This includes documents such as
    • Applying for a rectification by the registrar of companies
    • Correcting a director's date of birth which was incorrectly stated on incorporation
    • Applying for rectification of a change of registered address
    • Objecting to a request to rectify the register
    • Applying to remove material about a director
    • Applying to change a company's disputed registered office address

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sending-your-forms-to-companies-house-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

  • Local Lockdowns - To keep on top of local outbreaks, the government is establishing the Joint Biosecurity Centre which will sit alongside SAGE and monitor the spread of coronavirus across the country. The idea is that it will operate a local alert system that warns the CMO and Government of regional spikes in infection and implements local lockdowns to bring the infection rate back under control. So with the possibility of local lockdowns occurring at some stage, it is important for businesses to consider how to handle this in their booking terms and conditions and to convey this to customers when they book so that both parties are agreed as to what happens if the customer cannot get to the business or if a lockdown occurs while the customer is staying at the destination.

______________________________________________________________________

TIER UPDATE FOR 8 JUNE

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, joined by David Pearson, Chair of National COVID-19 Social Care Support Taskforce. Hancock reviewed the latest datasets, noting that the rolling weekly infection rate is seeing a steady decline and that there were no recorded COVID-related deaths in London or Scotland yesterday (although to note that reports are often lower on a Monday due to delayed reporting over the weekend). Pearson introduced the Social Care Support Taskforce, a group that will combine the efforts of central and local government with care providers.

  • The first question came from a member of the public asking whether outdoor weddings would be allowed in England, like they are in Northern Ireland. Hancock replied that they could not yet, but he hoped that one day soon.
  • Andrew from Anglesey asked about regional lockdowns and how they wold be enforced. Hancock replied that the aim for the R number to be lower than 1 across the country, but if there is a localised outbreak then measures will be introduced at hospitals to help with capacity and to test local communities.
  • When asked why the government is enforcing two-metre distancing while other countries, such as France, use one metre, Hancock said: “The science is clear: the closer you are the more likely you are to pass on the virus.” He added that some other countries are also insisting on two-metre distancing and that the two-metre rule was not responsible for hospitality businesses not being able to open, but the virus. The two-metre rule is under review at all times.
  • Torcuil Crichton of the Daily Record asked about holidays, pointing out that Scottish school holiday dates are different from England’s. Hancock said that he hoped the Government would be able to get to a position where people were able to go on holiday this summer, including domestically.

You can watch the full briefing here.

 Business Secretary launches working groups to help plan economic recovery

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating 5 new business-focused groups as part of the Government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Focused on 5 key themes, each group will explore how business can work with Government to deliver economic growth and jobs:

o    The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development

o    Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions

o    Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business

o    Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships

o    The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK

The membership of the 5 working groups will be published in due course. There will also be an opportunity for other parties and individuals interested in this initiative to share written submissions with the Business Department. Further details will be shared in due course.

 Requirement for transport operators to provide coronavirus information for travellers

From today, 8 June 2020, transport operators are required to ensure that passengers travelling to England by sea, air or rail from outside the common travel area are provided with information about coronavirus, and related duties and public health guidance, at 3 stages of the passenger journey: at the booking stage, the check-in stage and on-board the vessel, aircraft or train.

Updated border rules for international travellers, exemptions for Scotland

International travel guidance has been updated as the new rules for entering the UK (including providing contact details and self-isolating for 14 days) come into force.

Additionally, border rules that have been introduced due to coronavirus (COVID-19) have been updated to include exemptions extended to Scotland. Some rules in Scotland are different to those England and Northern Ireland.

 Other Government updates

  • Clarified guidance for zoos and other businesses that keep animals (not normally domesticated in England) for exhibition to the public.
  • Updated guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues as part of further social distancing measures.
  • FAQ page has been added to guidance to help local authorities and partners deliver activities supported through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

Industry updates

  • ABTA CEO Mark Tanzer has called on the Government to outline a plan for ending the 14-day quarantine and restarting international travel.
  • Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have delayed the resumption of flights and holidays to 15 July, a fortnight later than their previous target of 1 July.
  • The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has started awarding its Safe Travels stamp to destinations that have adopted its safety and hygiene protocols. Destinations having received the stamp of approval so far include Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario, Portugal, Saudi Arabia and the Mexican destinations of Baja California Sur and Yucatan.
  • Sabre is planning to cut 800 jobs across 43 global offices as the company restructures following the COVID-19 pandemic.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 8th JUNE

  • “Save Summer Six” - One of the big rumours picked up by the press over the weekend was the Government establishing a group of six cabinet ministers, dubbed the “Save Summer Six”, to look at ways of opening up the hospitality and tourism industry before the end of the month (22nd June being the rumoured date). The minister in this group include the Culture Secretary, the Transport Secretary, the Business secretary, the Communities Secretary, the Chancellor and the Cabinet Secretary. The possible measures being looked at include:
    • Opening beer Gardens in pubs
    • Allowing cafes and restaurants to trade in outside areas
    • Allowing outdoor weddings
    • Agreeing “travel corridor” deals with popular European holiday destinations by 28 June
    • Relaxing Sunday trading laws
    • Reducing the social distancing rule to 1m

 

  • Amendment to Discretionary Fund Eligibility - The Government has amended the eligibility criteria for the Discretionary Fund to include the requirement that the business:
    • occupies property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000

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

  • Updated Advice for UK Visa Applicants and Temporary UK residents - The Home office has updated it’s guidance for people outside the UK on the opening of UK Visa Application Centres, that the reopened VACs will prioritise returning customer passports and that UK nationals that need to renew their passport will have to wait until the VAC in the country they are located  reopens in order to apply – although the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) can be contacted to discuss options if there is an urgent situation.

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

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TIER UPDATES FOR 5 JUNE

Updates to UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report

VisitBritain’s weekly UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report has been updated for a second week, based on fieldwork from 25-29 May. You can view the full report here.

Key points to note include:

  • The proportion of adults expecting to take a domestic short-break or holiday by September has increased +3% to 22% since last week.
  • 29% believe the worst has passed regarding Covid-19, compared to 24% last week.
  • 30% of respondents expect ‘normality’ by September, and 53% by December.
  • 25% consider themselves fairly or very confident they will be able to take a holiday or short-break during the peak July/August period this year. Key reasons driving this relative lack of confidence include concerns around the travel restrictions imposed by government (50%), fewer opportunities to eat or drink out (47%) and fears about actually catching Covid-19 (44%).
  • More people compared to last week believe they will be taking a domestic short-break or holiday by this September (22% vs 19%).
  • 41% expect to be taking fewer domestic short-breaks and holidays than they did last year.
  • In terms of region to be visited between now and September, South West leads (17%) followed by North West (12%) and then Scotland and London (11% each). This translates to coastal areas (both urban and rural) making up 51% of intended destinations, followed by city/large towns (28%) and countryside/village (28%).
  • Still focusing on the June-Sept period, serviced accommodation leads in terms of the type of accommodation people intend to stay in (58% overall, split between hotel/motel/inn accounting for 37% and guesthouse/B&B/farmhouse 21%). Private homes achieve a 33% share with caravan/camping on 30%.
  • People are seeking reassurances from hotels, led by enhanced cleaning regimes (82%), booking incentives (79%) and social distancing measures (76%). The single most important factor is having the ability to cancel the booking free-of-charge if required.
  • As restrictions lift, outdoor areas and activities (e.g. beaches, trails, theme parks) look set to attract higher than usual levels of visitors than normal, while predominantly indoor activities/venues (e.g. restaurants, spas, museums, galleries) are likely to face a lengthier period of subdued demand.

Daily Government press briefing

Today’s briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The briefing focused on the latest testing data and recommendations for health and safety, including a requirement for all hospital visitors and outpatients to wear face coverings as the NHS reopens across the country, effective 15 June. During the Q&A the first question asked about the environmental impact of businesses such as airport receiving bank loans. Hancock replied that the Government is still committed to reach the Net-Zero target, and that while the lockdown has had a positive impact on air quality, it is still necessary for airlines to operate. Another question asked about reopening Chester Zoo, to which Hancock replied that the Government is listening to representatives from zoos and he hopes they will be reopened in a safe and COVID-secure way.

You can watch the full briefing here.

Updated COVID-19 advice has been published for accommodation providers

The advice still states that businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses, and short term lets) should remain closed for leisure related stays. No person should stay overnight away from their own home for a holiday or similar purpose.

Included in the guidance is advice for businesses who provide holiday accommodation and how they can accommodate those required to self-isolate.  From 8 June, certain individuals travelling from overseas will be required by law to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Businesses providing holiday accommodation can provide rooms to those required to self-isolate because they have arrived in England from outside the UK, or arrived in England from elsewhere in the UK but have within the preceding 14 days been outside the UK. Accommodation for these purposes should adhere to the same guidelines as for other permitted stays, including on social distancing and cleaning. Read the full guidance on Gov.uk

The Republic of Ireland has announced an acceleration of their re-opening roadmap

The Republic of Ireland has announced that Ireland will move to Phase 2 of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business from Monday 8 June, as part of phase 2 Ireland will introduce 14-day self-isolation measures for passengers arriving from overseas from 8 June.

An acceleration of the Roadmap was also announced, meaning certain sectors and public amenities can open earlier than previously planned. All retail stores can open from Monday 8 June and it is planned that the domestic tourism sector and some hospitality operators can resume from 29 June. This change will bring forward the opening of hotels, restaurants, bars that also operate as restaurants, hostels, caravan parks, galleries and museums to 29 June.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 5 JUNE

I would like to draw your attention to the research on the impact of social distancing on licensed premises. This work is applicable to a large number of other tourism businesses from attractions and amusement arcades, through to events, museums and conferences.

  • Impact of Social Distancing

I’ve attached a copy of a report undertaken by Knapton Consulting Engineers on the impact of different social distancing requirements on licensed premises that was produced for the Licensed Vintners Association. It compares the WTO recommended distancing of 1m with the UK Government’s 2m distancing to show the dramatic difference in the number of customers a property can accommodate under these different regimes.  This severely impacts the business’s ability to generate revenue and therefore, it’s economic viability. This summary table is particularly important.

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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

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

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.

----

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

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

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

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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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