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TIER UPDATE 6 APRIL

DETAILS ON THE NEWLY PUBLISHED EVENTS GUIDANCE FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES

The new events guidance for local authorities has just been published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-organised-events-guidance-for-local-authorities/coronavirus-covid-19-organised-events-guidance-for-local-authorities.

It goes all the way up to Step 4 of the Roadmap (which the Visitor Economy guidance doesn't) so DCMS has used this as a vehicle to get some hopefully helpful messages in, including:

At Step 3:

  • business events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality are permitted
  • capacity restrictions must be adhered to at any point throughout the event. For example, a theatre can admit over 1,000 people in a single day, but no more than 1,000 people at one time. If an event runs over the course of multiple days, no more than 1,000 people should be admitted at any one time over that period. If a single venue hosts multiple different events at one time, and the attendees of each event are seperated for the duration of the event (for example, a cinema with multiple screens, or an exhibition centre hosting multiple business events), the 50% capacity cap will apply to each individual event, rather than the venue.
  • caps refer to the event attendees only. Staff, workers and volunteers are covered by the work exemption so should not be counted as part of the capacity cap. This includes:  
    • contractors
    • administrators
    • delivery staff
    • operational team (such as reception, maintenance, cleaning security & stewarding and ticketing staff)
    • caterers and concession stand staff
    • presentation/production team
    • exhibitors, speakers, musicians and performers
  • Relaxation of restrictions in Northern Ireland

    On Friday 1 April, the Northern Ireland Executive ratified the relaxations planned for 12 April  as a part of its pathway out of restrictions. In addition a few further relaxations were announced that will come into effect from 12 April:

  • To permit all pupils to return to school;
  • To increase the number who can meet outdoors in a garden, from six to 10 (including children) from two households;
  • To remove the ‘stay at home’ provision in the legislation, moving to a ‘stay local’ and ‘work from home’ message;
  • To allow contactless ‘click and collect’ for all non-essential retail; and
  • To allow outdoor sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised sports Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to 15 people but with all indoor spaces closed except essential toilet facilities.
  • To extend the provision for up to 15 people (including coaches), as previously agreed, to also include structured outdoor sports training organised by clubs/individuals affiliated to recognised sports governing bodies or representative organisations for sport and physical activity
  • To permit potential marriage and civil partnership customers to view the facilities of venues used for marriages and civil partnerships, such as hotels and other venues, restricted to a maximum of four customers per visit.
  • To reopen outdoor retail, including garden centres.
  • To increase the number permitted to attend marriages, civil partnerships and funerals, informed by a risk assessment for the venue.
  • The next date that restrictions will be reviewed on is 15 April 2021.

    Recovery Loan Scheme opens for applications

    The new government-backed loan scheme was launched today. The Recovery Loan Scheme, which was announced at the budget and runs until 31 December 2021, will be administered by the British Business Bank. See which lenders have been accredited to date.

  • Businesses can access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million.
  • Invoice and asset finance is available from £1,000.
  • The government will provide an 80% guarantee for all loans.
  • Interest rates have been capped at 14.99% and are expected to be much lower than that in the vast majority of cases,
  • The Recovery Loan Scheme can be used as an additional loan on top of support received from the emergency schemes – such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
  • Read the press release. You can also read guidance on the recovery loan scheme and find out how to apply here.

    New temporary permitted development rights in Wales

    To support the reopening of businesses and their efforts to create safe environments for the public to feel confident to return to the high street, hospitality and tourism sectors, the Welsh Government is temporarily relaxing planning control for specified development through amendments to the Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

    The Amendment Order comes into force on 30 April. 

    Local Planning Authorities in Wales have been encouraged to support businesses and prioritise any applications where a planning application for temporary use is required.

    Consumer Sentiment Tracker wave 27 figures published

    VisitEngland has published wave 27 of their Consumer Sentiment Tracker which covers fieldwork conducted between 22-26 March.

    Confidence and overnight trip intent are marginally down, as is the proportion expecting normality to return to their lives by the end of the year (50%). There is a higher proportion of spring trip intenders saying they have already planned and booked their overnight trips, which now stand at 50% and 44% respectively. However, bookings for summer trips remains flat at just 19%. 17% of adults now plan on taking a day trip within the next two weeks, which is significantly up on last wave.

    Highlights from wave 27 include:

  • The national mood is up 0.2 points to 6.7/10
  • The same proportion consider the ‘worst is still to come’ compared to wave 26 (17%).
  • The Appetite for Risk score is stable at 2.4/4, with ‘visiting a busy city centre’ having the lowest score among the various activities listed (also stable at 2.0).
  • Almost half of adults anticipate taking more or the same number of overnight domestic trips between now and end of the year compared to normal.  This compares with just over a quarter of adults with similar intent regarding overseas trips.
  • Confidence edges down, with 33% fairly/very confident a trip booked for this June could proceed as planned (down 5 points)
  • 14% anticipate taking an overnight trip this spring (Apr – June) rising to 35% during the summer (July – Sept).  This compares to 16% and 37% respectively last wave.
  • Among those who are intending to take a trip this spring, 50% have reached the planning and 44% the booking stages of their trips, which is up from 43% and 29% respectively last wave.
  • The South West remains the lead destination for spring trips with a commanding 24% share; 12 percentage points ahead of second placed North West.
  • The leading destination type for spring trips is ‘traditional coastal/seaside town’ (32%) narrowly ahead of ‘countryside or village’ (31%).
  • The accommodation types most likely to be used on overnight trips this spring are ‘commercial rentals’ (e.g. holiday cottages) on 39%, ‘camping/caravan’ (37%), ‘Hotel/motel/inn’ (34%) and a ‘private home’ (also 34%).
  • Some 43% of UK adults intend to take a day trip to a ‘traditional coastal/seaside town’ and 42% to a ‘countryside or village’ destination at some stage this spring/summer.  This compares with 23% intending to visit a ‘large city’.
  • TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – 6 APRIL

  • Confirmation of Step 2
  • As you will all be aware from yesterday’s announcement, Step 2 starting on 12th April has been confirmed with no changes to the relaxation of restrictions that were announced in the Roadmap. One good rule of thumb is that only individuals or a single household group can visit an indoor setting, while groups complying with the Rule of Six/Two Households are allowed to meet in outdoor settings.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-easing-of-covid-restrictions-confirmed-for-12-april

  • Recovery Loan Scheme
  • The Government’s new Recovery Loan Scheme opens today. This scheme allows businesses to access loans of £25,000 to £10 million and as well as invoice and asset finance from £1,000. The government will provide an 80% guarantee for all loans and interest rates have been capped at 14.99% (although the Government expects the rates will be much lower for the vast majority of cases.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/recovery-loan-scheme-launches-today

    New Red List Countries

    Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya, and Bangladesh have been added to the Red List countries and, as such a travel ban will come into effect for visitors from these countries from 4am on Friday 9 April

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/countries-added-to-red-list-to-protect-uk-against-variants-of-concern

  • Roadmap Reviews
  • The Government produced an update on the work of the four review groups that were established when the Roadmap was announced on 22nd February. These interim reports contain little in the way of outcomes or proposals – the main points are:

    Certification

  • The Government believes that:
    • businesses are able to ask customers for proof of COVID-status in order to access their premises as long as they are compliant with equalities legislation
    • it is right for it to provide a means of easily demonstrating COVID-status
    • COVID-status certification could be acquired through vaccinations, testing or natural immunity
    • there are some settings (such as essential public services, public transport and essential shops) where COVID-status certification should never be required
    • it is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements
  • The NHS is working on providing individuals with the means to demonstrate their COVID status through a digital and non-digital route

    Global Travel Taskforce

  • Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, the Government is not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from 17th May
  • When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system.
    • Green – no isolation needed
    • Amber – home quarantine
    • Red – no entry except for returning citizens and hotel quarantining
  • It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes.
  • The Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer
  • When non-essential international travel does resume, the NHS solution to demonstrating Covid status (above) will facilitate international travel where certification is required, and the Government will look to establish arrangements with other countries and international organisations to establish mutual recognition of certificates
    • Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity.
    • The Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings
  • Social Distancing

  • The extent of any relaxation in social distancing measures is linked to the questions being explored by the COVID-Status Certification Review - including whether COVID-status certification can enable changes to social distancing.
  • https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021-reviews-terms-of-reference/roadmap-reviews-update

  • Code of Practice for Commercial  Properties
  • The Government has updated the Code of Practice for Commercial Properties, which sets out how commercial landlords and tenant should work together to protect viable businesses. In short, the code of practices states that, where businesses are able to pay rent, they should do so and where this is not possible, landlords should provide support to businesses if they are able to do so. It encourages tenants and landlords to be transparent in their discussions and to act reasonably and responsibly whilst recognising the impact that coronavirus has had on businesses’ finances

    As part of the update to the Code of Practice, a new annex has been added to help landlords and tenants resolve the issue of rent arrears and service charges accrued due to Covid-19 and the imposed lockdowns. The annex is a form designed as a questionnaire that allows tenants to bring together the information relevant to individual situations and generate a formal proposal for repayment that the landlord can respond to by either accepting or producing a counter-offer.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-for-the-commercial-property-sector

    Associated with this, the Government has also launched a call for evidence on:

  • the moratorium on commercial lease evictions established by section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020
  • the restrictions on the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) established by the Taking Control of Goods (Amendment)(Coronavirus) Regulations 2021
  • The government’s objective is to gather more evidence to understand how landlords and tenants are responding to the build-up of rent arrears that has occurred as a result of businesses being unable to trade normally during the pandemic. This will inform a better understanding of the risk to economic recovery posed by remaining rent debts, and to understand how landlords and tenants are adjusting existing lease terms to reflect the period of recovery that many tenant businesses will need once the trading restrictions are lifted. The evidence gathered will inform government policy regarding the exit from the existing measures and any need for additional measures to preserve viable businesses and the jobs that they provide.

    Responses to the call for evidence are due by 4th May 2021

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/commercial-rents-and-covid-19-call-for-evidence/commercial-rents-and-covid-19-call-for-evidence--2

  • Updated Test and Trace Guidance
  • The guidance for test and trace requirements has been updated for businesses that are allowed to open. Points of note in the guidance are:

  • Staff at a venue should check customers phone screens to ensure they have successfully checked in
  • You do not need to ask for contact details for people whose visit is for the sole purpose of making a delivery or collection by supplies or contractors, including food or physical goods.
  • You do not need to ask for contact details for those under the age of 16
  • If someone does not have the mental capacity to provide their contact details, hospitality venues should not refuse entry
  • Businesses will not be in breach of the requirements if they have reason to believe someone can’t provide the details for disability reasons and don’t ask for them as a result.
  • Hospitality venues should not deny entry to homeless people who are unable to provide a contact number or email address.
  • https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace#displaying-an-official-nhs-qr-code-poster

  • Travel Within the CTA
  • The Government has updated the guidance for Step 1b by including a section on travel within the Common Travel Area. This includes

    Travelling to or from Northern Ireland

    Currently in Northern Ireland it is against the law to leave home without a reasonable excuse. Those arriving into Northern Ireland from another part of the Common Travel Area are asked to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.

    Travelling to or from Scotland

    Non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and the wider Common Travel Area, remains restricted. This means it is illegal to enter or leave Scotland unless you have a reasonable excuse. Travelling for a holiday is not a reasonable excuse.

    Travelling to or from Wales

    Non-essential travel between Wales and the rest of the UK, and the wider Common Travel Area, remains restricted. This means it is illegal to enter or leave Wales unless you have a reasonable excuse. Travelling for a holiday is not a reasonable excuse.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do#travelling-within-the-uk-the-republic-of-ireland-and-the-channel-islands

  • APPG Inquiry Extension
  • The Hospitality and Tourism APPG is currently holding an inquiry - After the Vaccine - Saving the UK’s Town and City Centres Post COVID-19
    Before the pandemic, town and city centres accounted for around 60% of the country’s economic output and more than half of the population. These areas will be vital in the economic recovery of the UK, especially in relation to domestic and inbound tourism. As such, this inquiry looks to tackle a wide range of topics impacting the UK’s cities and towns, before concluding with a report and recommendations outlining the support that businesses in towns and cities need.

    The deadline for submitting evidence for this inquiry has been extended until the end of next week so members and businesses that depend on a vibrant economically active town centres are encouraged to put in a submission on the following link

    https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/APPG

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TIER UPDATE 5  APRIL

Please see below a summary of the Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon (Monday 5th April) as well as some relevant Government announcements from over the weekend.

Prime Minister’s Statement

In his statement today, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that from Monday 12 April, England will move to step 2 of its roadmap. As part of the roadmap early thinking on four reviews has been published, on the safe return of major events, on social distancing, the potential role of Covid status certification, and on the resumption of international travel. Please see the summary later in this update.

Updates to guidance on (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do (England)

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

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

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

Read the press release to find out more.

Key points from Update on Roadmap Reviews

A policy paper has been published today updating on the roadmap reviews. Please see some of the key points below.

COVID-Status Certification Review

  • The Government believes that COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure.
  • Equally, the Government wants to be sure that the benefits of any such approach are fully interrogated in public debate and that the deliverability of COVID-status certification is rigorously tested, along with analysis of the potential economic impacts that COVID-status certification would have across different settings.
  • There are some settings (such as essential public services, public transport and essential shops) where COVID-status certification should never be required, in order to ensure access for all.
  • Equally, COVID-status certification could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity.
  • The Government will begin to trial COVID-status certification in certain settings, including large events, through the Events Research Programme. The Government will continue to work closely with sectors on its approach.
  • It is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings. However, the Government recognises this has significant implications for businesses and their customers, so this will be further considered in consultation with industry, as part of the review of social distancing rules and taking into account the equalities and other impacts.
  • For now, businesses should continue to plan to reopen in a way that follows the latest COVID-Secure guidance, and certification will not be required for reopening as part of step 2 or step 3.

Global Travel Taskforce

  • The Government wants to see a return to non-essential international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern.
  • Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, the Government is not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from 17 May.
  • Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, they will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.
  • When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system.
  • This will add to the current system a new green category with no isolation requirement on return to the UK - although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed.
  • The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report, setting out more details on this system, later this week.
  • It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes.
  • For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.

Events Research Programme

  • The Events Research Programme will explore different approaches to social distancing, ventilation, test-on-entry protocols and COVID-status certification.
  • It will carry out pilots in a series of venues to gather evidence on the transmission risks associated with different settings, and potential approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risks. The pilots will use the domestic COVID-status certification standards.
  • Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity.
  • The Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings, from football matches to theatre performances, and the reopening of nightclubs.
  • The programme will be run across a range of venue and activity types, including the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield and the Circus nightclub in Liverpool, with the aim of admitting a crowd of up to 20,000 to Wembley for the FA Cup final on 15 May.
  • A second phase of pilots will take place from the end of May.

See the press release on event pilots announced today.

Social Distancing Review

  • Social Distancing Review is exploring whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings.
  • The review is looking at key baseline measures, including how and when to safely lift or amend the 1m+ rule and related COVID-secure measures, as well as guidance on working from home.
  • The extent of any relaxation in social distancing measures is linked to the questions being explored by the COVID-Status Certification Review - including whether COVID-status certification can enable changes to social distancing.

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

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

Everyone in a group must check in

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

Venue history sharing

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

Additional venue alerts

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

A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing. 

The universal offer is currently for England only. The Devolved Administrations make their own policy decisions around testing.

Read the press release to find out more, including how the expanded regular testing offer will be delivered

The Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh to be added to England’s ‘red list’ from 9 April 2021

Following new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern, travel bans are to be implemented for visitors from Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya, and Bangladesh from 4am Friday 9 April. British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights (including long-term visa holders) arriving from these countries will be required to self-isolate in a government-approved hotel quarantine facility for 10 days. The page detailing countries from which entry to the UK is banned - 'red list' countries has been updated accordingly on gov.uk.

Other Government announcements

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TIER UPDATE 2 APRIL

Please see below today’s update. The TIER team will be taking a short break over Easter so our next regular update will be on the afternoon of Tuesday 6 April, although I will provide a summary of the Prime Minister’s statement which is currently schedules for Monday as well as share any significant updates if needed. My contact details are at the end of this email should you need any assistance. In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all a very happy long weekend.

Review of coronavirus restrictions in Wales

The Coronavirus restrictions in Wales were reviewed today. The Welsh Government has confirmed that, subject to the public health situation remaining favourable will, regulations will be brought forward so that from 12 April:

  • To allow for all non-essential retail to reopen.
  • To allow for all close contact services to resume, including mobile services.
  • Remove travel restrictions within the UK and Common Travel Area.
  • Include restrictions on international travel unless a person has a reasonable excuse.
  • To allow for wedding ‘show-arounds’ by appointment in hospitality or other premises otherwise required to close.

The Welsh Government is also developing a programme of pilot events that they hope will be able to take place in May. These pilot events will be for between 200 and 1,000 people and will build on the test events held last September. All events would be subject to Local Authority and public health agreement.

Cabinet has agreed to the approach to the next review cycle from 22 April, subject to the public health situation remaining favourable. 

From Monday 26 April:

  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.  Indoor hospitality will remain closed except for takeaways.

From Monday 3 May:

  • Organised outdoor activities for adults for up to 30 people can again take place.
  • Weddings receptions can take place outdoors, but will also be limited to 30 people

From Monday 10 May:

  • Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen.  This will include individual or one-to-one training, but not group exercise classes.
  • Extended household will be considered (an exclusive bubble of allow two households who can meet and have contact indoors)

The next review after those changes will take place on 14 May. Preparations will be made to allow an incoming government to consider further easements, including organised indoor activities, exercise classes, the reopening of community centres and the potential reopening of all accommodation and indoor hospitality, in order for them to be open before the Whitsun bank holiday at the end of May.

New Restart Grants scheme launched (England)

Through the Restart Grants scheme delivered by local authorities, from today, businesses in England in the non-essential retail sector will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are reopening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000.

Minister Scully and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston have written to the leaders of 314 councils in England urging them to do all they can to pay out grants money more quickly and ensure businesses in their local authority area get the support they need. The letter states that Local Authorities may want to support businesses that fall outside the business rates system with this additional cash. This could include travel and tour operators, including B&Bs and event industry providers, wholesalers, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses like caterers, wedding photographers, hairdressers and makeup artists and market traders, and wraparound care providers.

It also encourages councils to support pubs and restaurants to open outdoor areas and host outdoor events in a safe and secure manner.

Other news

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 1 APRIL

  • Clarification on Coach Trips

Your will have seen  that the DCMS Q&A that I circulated earlier this week stated the Coach trips would only be allowed to take a single household until 17th May.

The new Visit Economy guidance has corrected this by stating that:

Private hire coach tours can take place for a private group of single households (or support/childcare) bubbles, for day-trips only. Large coach trips and tours with multiple groups are not permitted

This means that coaches can undertake daytrips with multiple groups on board provided that each group is a single household and that social distancing is maintained between each single household group on the coach.

               It is also worth explaining that were the guidance states Large coach trips and tours with multiple groups are not permitted”, meaning that coach tours longer than a daytrip are not allowed.

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

  • Track and Trace Requirements for Attractions

I’ve been getting a number of queries asking whether attractions that have on-site food outlets such as a café or restaurant have to collect the data of each customer every time that they stop for a break. This would seem to be an unnecessary waste of effort seeing that customers would have to provide their details when entering the attraction. There is a provision in the guidance for operators of food halls whereby a cordon can be placed around the area to take customers data once rather than every time they enter a different food outlet. I’ve asked DCMS whether this approach applies to attractions as the entrance to the attraction is the cordon around the food outlets inside.

  • Launch of Restart Grant Scheme

The Restart Grants Scheme launches today.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fresh-wave-of-grant-funding-launched-as-councils-are-called-on-to-do-their-bit-to-continue-supporting-businesses

As part of this launch, Ministers Paul Scully and Nigel Huddleston have sent a joint letter to Local Authority CEOs which encourages them to distribute the funding to businesses as quickly as possible. The letter goes on to state that:

“Funds from the latest £425 million ARG top-up will be provided to Local Authorities if existing scheme money has been spent by 30 June 2021. Local Authorities may want to support businesses that fall outside the business rates system with this additional cash. This could include travel and tour operators, including B&Bs and event industry providers, wholesalers, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses like caterers, wedding photographers, hairdressers and makeup artists and market traders, and wraparound care providers.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/975485/Letter_to_all_LAs_from_Ministers_Scully_and_Huddleston.pdf

  • LGA Bulletin with ARG and Pavement Guidance

The LGA have just sent their latest Culture, Tourism & Sport Bulletin to local authorities. Included in the Bulletin are the following items on the new ARG Funding, which includes the specific reference to the businesses that we have been lobbying on, and the letter from MHCLG regarding support for hospitality businesses

Additional Restrictions Grant

Given their important role in sustaining the financial models of the wider cultural and visitor economy Government has changed guidance to specifically encourage councils to provide grants to businesses that have been falling through the cracks in the Additional Restrictions Grant. Please speak to your Business Rates Teams as Government guidance has changed to encourage councils to issue grants to: 

  • Group travel and tour operators (includes coach operators), other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers)
  • Wholesalers, English language schools, breweries
  • Freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses)
  • Wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received grant funding.

Letter to local authorities on helping hospitality businesses

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have written to local authorities reminding them of the relaxation of planning rules to support hospitality businesses to reopen safely. Key measures are:

  • Allowing pubs, restaurants and cafes to obtain temporary pavement licences to place outdoor tables and seating on footpaths.
  • Automatic right for restaurants, pubs, and cafes to serve takeaway food.
  • Temporary rights that allows local authorities to use land to hold a market without having to apply for planning permission.

Here’s the link to the Bulletin

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKLGA/bulletins/2ca9823

  • Restart Grant Allocations

The Government has published the allocations of the Restart Grant that have been given to each Local Authority in England. So if businesses would like to see how much has been given to their local authority, here’s the link

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/975500/Restart_Grants_-_Local_Authority_Final_Allocations.csv/preview

  • Reminder on Furlough Claims

HMRC has updated it’s guidance of furlough to remind businesses that claims for furlough days in March 2021 must be made by 14 April 2021

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

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TIER UPDATE 1 APRIL

Please see below today’s update. The TIER team will be taking a short break over Easter so our next regular update will be on the afternoon of Tuesday 6 April, although I will provide a summary of the Prime Minister’s statement which is currently schedules for Monday as well as share any significant updates if needed. My contact details are at the end of this email should you need any assistance. In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all a very happy long weekend.

Review of coronavirus restrictions in Wales

The Coronavirus restrictions in Wales were reviewed today. The Welsh Government has confirmed that, subject to the public health situation remaining favourable will, regulations will be brought forward so that from 12 April:

  • To allow for all non-essential retail to reopen.
  • To allow for all close contact services to resume, including mobile services.
  • Remove travel restrictions within the UK and Common Travel Area.
  • Include restrictions on international travel unless a person has a reasonable excuse.
  • To allow for wedding ‘show-arounds’ by appointment in hospitality or other premises otherwise required to close.

The Welsh Government is also developing a programme of pilot events that they hope will be able to take place in May. These pilot events will be for between 200 and 1,000 people and will build on the test events held last September. All events would be subject to Local Authority and public health agreement.

Cabinet has agreed to the approach to the next review cycle from 22 April, subject to the public health situation remaining favourable. 

From Monday 26 April:

  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality can resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.  Indoor hospitality will remain closed except for takeaways.

From Monday 3 May:

  • Organised outdoor activities for adults for up to 30 people can again take place.
  • Weddings receptions can take place outdoors, but will also be limited to 30 people

From Monday 10 May:

  • Gyms, fitness facilities, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen.  This will include individual or one-to-one training, but not group exercise classes.
  • Extended household will be considered (an exclusive bubble of allow two households who can meet and have contact indoors)

The next review after those changes will take place on 14 May. Preparations will be made to allow an incoming government to consider further easements, including organised indoor activities, exercise classes, the reopening of community centres and the potential reopening of all accommodation and indoor hospitality, in order for them to be open before the Whitsun bank holiday at the end of May.

New Restart Grants scheme launched (England)

Through the Restart Grants scheme delivered by local authorities, from today, businesses in England in the non-essential retail sector will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000, while businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors, which are reopening later, will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £18,000.

Minister Scully and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston have written to the leaders of 314 councils in England urging them to do all they can to pay out grants money more quickly and ensure businesses in their local authority area get the support they need. The letter states that Local Authorities may want to support businesses that fall outside the business rates system with this additional cash. This could include travel and tour operators, including B&Bs and event industry providers, wholesalers, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses like caterers, wedding photographers, hairdressers and makeup artists and market traders, and wraparound care providers.

It also encourages councils to support pubs and restaurants to open outdoor areas and host outdoor events in a safe and secure manner.

Other news

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 1 APRIL

Clarification on Coach Trips

Your will have seen  that the DCMS Q&A that I circulated earlier this week stated the Coach trips would only be allowed to take a single household until 17th May.

The new Visit Economy guidance has corrected this by stating that:

Private hire coach tours can take place for a private group of single households (or support/childcare) bubbles, for day-trips only. Large coach trips and tours with multiple groups are not permitted

This means that coaches can undertake daytrips with multiple groups on board provided that each group is a single household and that social distancing is maintained between each single household group on the coach.

               It is also worth explaining that were the guidance states Large coach trips and tours with multiple groups are not permitted”, meaning that coach tours longer than a daytrip are not allowed.

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

  • Track and Trace Requirements for Attractions

I’ve been getting a number of queries asking whether attractions that have on-site food outlets such as a café or restaurant have to collect the data of each customer every time that they stop for a break. This would seem to be an unnecessary waste of effort seeing that customers would have to provide their details when entering the attraction. There is a provision in the guidance for operators of food halls whereby a cordon can be placed around the area to take customers data once rather than every time they enter a different food outlet. I’ve asked DCMS whether this approach applies to attractions as the entrance to the attraction is the cordon around the food outlets inside.

I’ll come back to you when I hear back

  • Launch of Restart Grant Scheme

The Restart Grants Scheme launches today.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fresh-wave-of-grant-funding-launched-as-councils-are-called-on-to-do-their-bit-to-continue-supporting-businesses

As part of this launch, Ministers Paul Scully and Nigel Huddleston have sent a joint letter to Local Authority CEOs which encourages them to distribute the funding to businesses as quickly as possible. The letter goes on to state that:

“Funds from the latest £425 million ARG top-up will be provided to Local Authorities if existing scheme money has been spent by 30 June 2021. Local Authorities may want to support businesses that fall outside the business rates system with this additional cash. This could include travel and tour operators, including B&Bs and event industry providers, wholesalers, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses like caterers, wedding photographers, hairdressers and makeup artists and market traders, and wraparound care providers.”

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/975485/Letter_to_all_LAs_from_Ministers_Scully_and_Huddleston.pdf

  • LGA Bulletin with ARG and Pavement Guidance

The LGA have just sent their latest Culture, Tourism & Sport Bulletin to local authorities. Included in the Bulletin are the following items on the new ARG Funding, which includes the specific reference to the businesses that we have been lobbying on, and the letter from MHCLG regarding support for hospitality businesses

Additional Restrictions Grant

Given their important role in sustaining the financial models of the wider cultural and visitor economy Government has changed guidance to specifically encourage councils to provide grants to businesses that have been falling through the cracks in the Additional Restrictions Grant. Please speak to your Business Rates Teams as Government guidance has changed to encourage councils to issue grants to: 

  • Group travel and tour operators (includes coach operators), other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers)
  • Wholesalers, English language schools, breweries
  • Freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses)
  • Wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received grant funding.

Letter to local authorities on helping hospitality businesses

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have written to local authorities reminding them of the relaxation of planning rules to support hospitality businesses to reopen safely. Key measures are:

  • Allowing pubs, restaurants and cafes to obtain temporary pavement licences to place outdoor tables and seating on footpaths.
  • Automatic right for restaurants, pubs, and cafes to serve takeaway food.
  • Temporary rights that allows local authorities to use land to hold a market without having to apply for planning permission.

Here’s the link to the Bulletin

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKLGA/bulletins/2ca9823

  • Restart Grant Allocations

The Government has published the allocations of the Restart Grant that have been given to each Local Authority in England. So if businesses would like to see how much has been given to their local authority, here’s the link

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/975500/Restart_Grants_-_Local_Authority_Final_Allocations.csv/preview

  • Reminder on Furlough Claims

HMRC has updated it’s guidance of furlough to remind businesses that claims for furlough days in March 2021 must be made by 14 April 2021

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

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TIER UPDATE 31 MARCH

The visitor economy guidance has been published on the Gov.uk website. It confirms some of the updates previously provided by DCMS for step 1b as follows:

  • Outdoor guided tours are permitted but must operate within the legal gathering limits. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 6 people, or two households), or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the activity.
  • Private hire coach tours can take place for a private group of single households (or support/childcare) bubbles, for day-trips only. Large coach trips and tours with multiple groups are not permitted.
  • Heritage railway services which operate as an indoor attraction must remain closed. This applies to services provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes, or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point. Heritage railway services going from place to place (i.e. point A to point B) are considered ‘public transport’, and can be permitted if required for the purposes of transport (provided all social distancing and face covering requirements are followed).
  • Visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event (even if the venue is otherwise closed) is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home. Other viewings (where there is not a permitted exemption such as essential work) are not permitted, and should not take place in closed venues.
  • Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: weddings/civil partnerships and funerals can take place, however there are limitations on the types of activity and the number of guests who can attend. You should check the guidance on weddings and civil partnerships or the guidance for funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures.

Member updates

Figures showing the number of visits made in 2020 to visitor attractions in membership with ALVA

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has released figures that show the number of visits made in 2020. Key findings include:

  • The total number of visits to ALVA sites in 2020 was 45.4million, an annual decline of 70% from 2019.
  • The most visited attraction in the UK was Tate Modern with 1,431,704 visits. The Natural History Museum (South Kensington) moved up two places to 2nd with 1,296,763 visits and British Museum 3rd with 1,275,466 visits.
  • For the first time, two gardens appeared in the Top 10 - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which moved up 7 places to 4th with 1,226,289 visits and RHS Garden Wisley jumped 21 places into the 7th position with 993,516 visits.
  • The most visited attraction outside London was Chester Zoo, which moved 8 places to 6th with 1,182,652 visits.

 Industry news

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer figures of international arrivals in January 2021

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has published their World Tourism Barometer which shows an 87% fall in international tourist arrivals in January 2021, compared against 2020.  The figures show that all world regions continued to experience large drops in tourist arrivals in the first month of the year. Asia and the Pacific recorded the largest decrease in international arrivals in January at 96%. Europe and Africa both saw a decline of 85% in arrivals, while the Middle East recorded a drop of 84% and the Americas decreased by 77% in January 2021.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 31 March

  • Updated Visitor Economy Guidance

As with the primary guidance for  Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation and the Visitor Economy Guidance has been updated to include information on:

    • The reasonable adjustments that businesses are required to make to protect disabled staff
    • Changes to NHS Test and Trace regulations
    • Changes to national restrictions from 29 March.

It is important to note when reading the guidance that it is only for the period 29th March to 11th April and will be updated ahead of Step 2 on 12th April.

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

  • Legal Requirement to Refuse Entry

I’ve had a few questions regarding the legal requirement for businesses to refuse entry to people refusing to provide Trace and Trace data. With the new requirement for certain tourism and hospitality businesses to collect the data from all members of a group that are 16 or over, this has the potential to cause conflict between customers and staff. It should be noted that Regulation 16 provides that where certain services are provided, as listed in Part 1 of the Schedule, the person providing the service must take all reasonable steps to prevent access to an individual who refuses to provide the requisite details.

This businesses in Schedule One that this relates to are:

    • restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs
    • cafes, including workplace canteens
    • bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
    • public houses.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1005

  • ALVA – Visitor Attraction Figures

I’ve attached a copy of ALVA’s visitor attraction figures for 2020 along with the associated press release which highlight a number of important things including:

    • Visitor number declined by 70% on average
    • Indoor attractions where the worst affected with most reporting a 70-90% reduction in numbers
    • No indoor attraction had a fall in visitor number of less than 40%

This all emphasises the need for the public to support these businesses when they re-open.

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TIER UPDATE 30 MARCH

Updates to the working safely during coronavirus guidance (England)

The hotels and other guest accommodation and restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services sections of the working safely during coronavirus guidance have been updated.

Hotels and other guest accommodation guidance

  • Self-catering properties and caravans: People can travel where necessary to visit, maintain, clean and collect belongings from their self-catering properties and their caravans on parks which are currently closed, but should minimise travel where possible. Overnight stays are not permitted.
  • Events and meetings: Visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event (even if the venue is otherwise closed) is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home. Other viewings (where there is not a permitted exemption such as essential work) are not permitted, and should not take place in closed venues.

 Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Following the move to Step 2 of the roadmap:

  • Outdoor areas at hospitality venues can reopen to serve customers in groups of up to six people or two households. These venues may allow customers to use toilets, baby changing rooms or breast feeding rooms located inside.
  • Some venues may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.
  • At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (even if no alcohol is ordered). If a hospitality venue does not serve alcohol, then customers will be able to order and collect food and drink from a counter, but must consume food and drink while seated at a table.
  • Hospitality venues will also be allowed to provide takeaway alcohol. Takeaway food and drink (including alcohol) must not be consumed on the premises or adjacent to the premises.

Changes to restrictions in Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today confirmed that changes to restrictions in Scotland Friday 2 April and Monday 5 April are able to go ahead.

From 2 April:

People across Scotland can make non-essential journeys in their local authority area, when the Stay at Home rule will be replaced with the requirement to Stay Local. Restrictions on non-essential travel across local authority boundaries will remain in place for another 3 weeks.

From 5 April:

Hairdressers, garden centres, homeware stores and non-essential click and collect services will be able to open.

Read the full news story here.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 30 March

Here’s today’s update

  • Correction to DCMS Q&A

DCMS have made a correction to the Q&A that they send out regarding the opening of Heritage Railways. The corrected guidance is:

Q. When can Heritage Railways reopen?

 Heritage railway services going from place to place (i.e. point A to point B) are permitted from 29 March for the purposes of transport, providing all social distancing and face covering requirements are followed

 Heritage railway services provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes; or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point (a loop) must remain closed alongside other indoor attractions until Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May, when they can reopen in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; and multiple groups are permitted.

 This means that point to point railways are treated as part of the transport system and can operate now that the Stay at Home requirement has been listed.

  • Guidance for Step 2

Staying with DCMS, I’ve also been informed that the guidance tourism and hospitality businesses related to Step 2 will be published next week.

  • Business Impacts of Local and National Restrictions

ONS has published a report on the impact that the lockdowns and restrictions have had on different sectors of the UK economy by comparing the performance of single-site businesses in different areas. The results of the research show that, unsurprisingly, tourism and hospitality businesses have been impacted the most. The key findings is include:

    • Tourism and hospitality businesses are four times more likely to have employees on furlough (63%), compared with single-site businesses across all industries (16%).
    • Regional figures show that the regions with the largest tourism industries generally show the greatest level of impact
    • 48% of tourism and hospitality businesses are currently trading compared to 74% of single-site businesses across all industries
    • 43% of single-site businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector have less than three months of cash reserves compared with 35% across all industries.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/articles/businessinsightsandimpactontheukandsubnationaleconomy/march2021

  • Updates to Working Safely During Coronavirus

The primary guidance for hospitality businesses has been updated to include information on:

    • The reasonable adjustments businesses need to make to the workplace so disabled staff can work safely, and the need to assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
    • Changes to NHS Test and Trace regulations
    • Changes to national restrictions from 29 March

Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation

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

Restaurants Offering Takeaway or Delivery

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery

  • Airlines UK Report

I’ve attached a copy of a new study published by Airlines UK which sets out the opportunity for the UK economy if air travel restrictions are eased to key global markets from 17 May. Findings include: 

  • Enabling a safe and sustainable resumption of international travel would generate £47.6bn in GDP during 2021 (200m a day) and help secure over one million jobs otherwise under threat
  • Conversely, the hit to UK GDP of delaying any restart until September would be £26.2bn, in addition to lost trade, encompassing imports and exports, of £55.7bn. Around 574,000 jobs would be at risk including 73,000 within the UK tourism industry. The wider hit to our tourism sector would cost £3.0bn.
  • No air link to the US alone until September would cost the UK £2.4bn (£23m per day), putting 51,600 jobs at risk 

With the vaccine rollout accelerating both in the UK and abroad, and with widespread testing becoming ever further embedded, this new data shows why a phased easing of restrictions is so important to helping the UK’s economy recover.

  • #WeCreateExperiences

The Events industry has launched a B2C version of the #WeCreateExperiences campaign today, on the back of their successful B2B campaign in December 2020 and need your support on social media to ensure the key messages are shared and spread. They are encouraging consumers to feel inspired by the range of experiences they deliver and reassured about planning for live experiences – they are also clear in their messaging that events will only come back in phases over time,

Using the #WeCreateExperiences hashtag, can everyone share the event they’re most looking forward to, whether it’s outdoor shows, festivals, live sporting activations, concerts, weddings or any other consumer event that they have missed – so as to showcase the range of experiences that touches people’s lives every day. 

  • Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme

To coincide with the warm weather, the fourth round of vouchers for the fix your bike scheme has been launched. Here’s the link to apply

https://fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk/

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TIER UPDATE 29 MARCH

This afternoon Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty held a press briefing outlining the latest data and some of the freedoms that have been granted today, including outdoor sports and rule of six in private gardens and outdoor spaces. The Prime Minister urged everyone to proceed with caution.

During the Q+A the Prime Minister was asked about relaxing international travel for those with family abroad, or will seeing family be incorporated as an exception to international travel like the exception to travel for business purposes. He said the priority was to protect the country from new variants from abroad, seeing family abroad will be covered by the international travel rules, at the moment it is still forbidden to travel abroad, some further information will be available after 5 April based on the recommendations of the Global Travel Task Force.

A further question asked about the next relaxations expected on 12 April for the opening of outdoor hospitality and if there were concerns about the rising cases in some parts of Europe affecting the reopening. The Prime Minister said they are continuing to be cautious, they are evaluating the data and would be saying more in due course and that all of these dates were subject to the four conditions outlined in the roadmap. Vallance explained that they felt four weeks of data was needed to make recommendations, this would be available next week

Please find attached clarification issued by DCMS on tourism and hospitality related questions on the reopening roadmap for England. Updates include:

Coach tours:

Step 1b:  Private coach hire tours are permitted from for a private group of a single household/support bubble (day trips only). Coach driver and tour guide don't  count towards single household/bubble rule

Step 2:  Private coach hire tours are permitted from for a private group of a single household/support bubble. Coach driver and tour guide don't  count towards single household/bubble rule

Step 3: Larger coach trips and tours in line with wider social contact limits (in a group of 6 or 2 households)

Outdoor guided tours

Guided walks consisting of either a single permitted group or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the tour. These types of activities are subject to the gathering limits set out in the Roadmap - i.e. outside in groups up to a maximum of 6 people (the Rule of 6) or with one other household, though people from different households will still need to socially distance from each other. Support bubbles will continue to be counted as part of the same household. The tour guide does not count towards the Rule of 6 or 2 households limits

Zoos and other animal attractions

DCMS is seeking for outdoor attractions at zoos and other animal attractions to open at Step 2. Indoor attractions at these venues will follow at Step 3. Operators of these businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that bookings and admissions follow the social contact rules, and that groups do not mix within the premises.

Zoos and other animal attractions should not be operating demonstrations or any other events, such as feedings sessions scheduled for public viewing, until Step 3.

Zoos will also be able to reopen outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail at Step 2, provided that these are in self-contained units and are directly accessible from the outdoors (i.e. without going through indoor elements). Although visitor centres and other indoor attractions must remain closed at this step, this does not include toilets or through spaces to toilets or to outdoor areas, such as ticket halls.

They are seeking to reopen indoor hospitality within animal attractions at Step 3, alongside indoor attractions.

Licensed animal attractions and stand-alone bird of prey displays/performances at outdoor events (away from where the birds are kept, which would not be licensed as animal attractions but likely to have a separate animal exhibition licence) are not permitted to take place until Step 3.

Other updates include:

  • That showrounds for business events, meetings, training and education are permitted from 29 March if this cannot reasonably be done from home (even if the venue is otherwise closed). Viewings where there is not a permitted exemption for work purposes or otherwise should not be taking place at closed venues, however.
  • Weddings showrounds  can only take place when the venue is permitted to open for leisure purposes - people must not visit a closed venue for the purposes of a wedding viewing
  • Heritage Railways can re-open in line with social contact limits at step three
  • Visitor information centres not located within an indoor attractions may open at step 2. Visitor centres within indoor attractions should be able to re-open at step 3.

View the attachment to see all the full Q&A

Guidance updated to reflect step 1b of reopening from 29 March (England)

 The following pages have been updated to reflect guidance for step 1b that came into effect from 29 March in England. A summary restriction poster for the guidance from 29 March is available.

Other updates

  • Updated guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships: Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are no longer limited to exceptional circumstances. Receptions and celebrations are still not permitted, but small gatherings can take place in line with social contact limits.
  • Bespoke testing regime: The UK government has announced new details of a bespoke testing regime available from 6 April for international arrivals who will be exempt from quarantine for work purposes, including for hauliers, aircraft crew and pilots, aerospace engineers, international rail crew, passenger and freight operations (Eurostar, Eurotunnel, Network Rail and high-speed rail workers), Seafarers and masters arriving from outside the Common Travel Area into England. Further guidance is available here.
  • Workplace testing programme expands: from 6 April, the workplace testing programme will supply home test kits to companies with over 10 workers where it is not possible to set up testing on-site, due to a lack of space or because companies operate across multiple sites. Businesses must register interest by 12 April to access free tests.
  • New testing guidance for employers: Employers that require staff to travel regularly across UK borders must take reasonable steps to facilitate employees to take tests.

Member updates – BVEP:

On the back of the successful B2B campaign in December 2020, the B2C version of the #WeCreateExperiences campaign is activating on Tuesday 30 March. The campaign encourages consumers to feel inspired by the range of event experiences on offer and feel reassured about planning for live experiences.

Using the #WeCreateExperiences hashtag, the event industry wants everyone to share the event they’re most looking forward to, whether it’s outdoor shows, festivals, live sporting activations, concerts, weddings or any other consumer event that they have missed – to showcase the range of experiences that touch people’s lives every day. 

A 30 sec teaser extract from the campaign video to use is available here – https://we.tl/t-OY0yIu6Kiw -  the full length video will be posted on Tuesday morning across social channels and onto the www.wecreateexperiences.co.uk website. TIER members are encouraged to support the campaign on social media. 

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 29 MARCH

Here’s today’s update. There has been large swathe of guidance that has been updated today due to the move to Step 1b of the roadmap. In much of this, the changes have been minimal so I’ve concentrated today’s update on the key guidance that you should be aware of.

  • Guidance for Step 1b

The Cabinet Office has produced the full guidance for Step 1b of the Roadmap which came into effect today. The key rules are:

    • People can meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
    • People can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
    • Childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children
    • Formally organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be counted in this number

While it is now no longer a legal requirement to only travel for a permitted reasons, people are advised to minimise travel where possible. This means:

    • Avoiding making unnecessary trips
    • Combining trips where possible

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

  • Updated Guidance on Businesses Restrictions

With the start of Step1b, the guidance on which businesses are able to open and which businesses must remain closed has also been updated. The key points here are the list of types of outdoor activity that are now allowed includes outdoor sports facilities such as:

    • Gyms
    • swimming pools
    • sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts)
    • golf courses, including mini golf
    • water sports venues
    • climbing walls
    • driving and shooting ranges
    • riding arenas at riding centres
    • archery venues

People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-businesses-and-venues-in-england/reopening-businesses-and-venues

It is also worth noting that the guidance states that any closed premises can open for the purposes of:

    • enabling access by the site owners or managers, staff or people authorised by them (including volunteers) for maintenance where this is reasonably necessary. This may include exhibit maintenance, animal or plant feeding, or repairs. Other work to ensure readiness to open, such as receiving deliveries of supplies, may also go ahead
    • making a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england#what-can-be-done-in-businesses-that-are-closed

  • DCMS Q&A for Outdoor Activities Operators

DCMS have provided the following Q&A for businesses undertaking outdoor activities that are allowed to open from today

Q. Can organised walking or climbing groups take place?

A. Organised outdoor group activities such as walking and climbing groups can take place and can happen with any number of participants, as long as it is undertaken in line with COVID-secure guidance issued by the organising body.  Restarting organised sport and physical activity should happen when the leaders (volunteers and / or staff) feel ready and comfortable.  There is no obligation for everyone to restart activity from 29th March.

  • Updated Guidance for Transport Operators

DfT has published guidance for transport operators including organised coach travel which seems to contradict DCMS’s Q&A. This guidance states that:

These rules do not place any capacity constraints on public transport services and private hire vehicles, including organised coach travel. Operators should continue to provide transport services that can accommodate separate multiple groups which conform to the requirements of the relevant social contact rules.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-transport-guidance-for-operators

  • Updated Wedding Guidance

The guidance on wedding has been updated to reflect that they are no longer limited to exception circumstances. However, they are still limited to just six people and receptions are still not allowed. However, outside gatherings that comply with the Rule of 6/two households and that have BYO or delivery catering can take place in line with social contact limits.

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

  • New Poster on Rules and Restrictions

A new poster has been produced regarding the rules and restrictions that apply to this phase of the Roadmap which is a good resource for customers and staff

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/974017/COVID-19_Roadmap_Posters_Step1_web.pdf

  • Increased Test and Trace Requirement

It is important to note that the Test And Trace Guidance has been changed to state that from 29 March 2021, every customer or visitor should be asked to scan the NHS QR code or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member. This requirement applies to:

    • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
    • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
    • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
    • Community centres, libraries and village halls

Annex A of the guidance has the complete list of businesses that have to comply with this new requirement – there are some odd exceptions such as leisure attractions but I’m informed that they are included as well.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

  • Guidance on Playgrounds and Outdoor Gyms

The guidance on the management of outdoor playgrounds and gyms has been updated has been updated for businesses that are providing this equipment for customers as part of the new relaxations

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms

  • Guidance on Green Spaces

This guidance has also been updated in line with Step 1b. The key point in the guidance is that, when accessing green spaces, people should avoid travelling further than is reasonably necessary to access a green space.

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

  • Rapid Home Testing For Businesses With 10+ Employees

The Government has announced that it is expanding the workplace testing regime so that businesses with more than 10 staff can order free testing kits for employees to use at home. To get the free tests, you must register interest by 12 April. The tests will be sent to employers to distribute to their staff and come with clear instructions about how to take the test. Staff will then complete the test at home, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided gov.uk address. The tests used for this are the lateral flow tests which can detect the virus in 30 minutes which means that staff can use them prior to coming into work.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/workplace-testing-programme-expands-to-offer-free-rapid-home-testing

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TIER UPDATE 26 MARCH

Wales announce end to stay-local message

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that Wales’ stay local rule will be lifted from 27 March, and will be replaced by an interim all-Wales travel area, which will remain in place until 12 April, subject to the public health situation. For the next two weeks only those with a reasonable reason, such as work, will be able to travel into or out of Wales. The current restrictions on international travel for holidays will remain in place.

From 27 March, self-contained holiday accommodation, including hotels with en-suite facilities and room service, will be able to reopen to people from the same household or support bubble.

Other changes include:

  • Six people from two different households, excluding children under 11, will be able to meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens;
  • Organised outdoor activities and sports for children and under 18s will be able to resume;
  • There will be a limited opening of outdoor areas of some historic places and gardens;
  • Libraries and archives will be able to re-open.

 Member updates

The Business Travel Association has published its recommendations made to the Global Travel Taskforce on how business travel can safely begin again. Recommendations include:

•               Implementation of global standards for testing and health certification

•               Removal of all quarantine requirements for business travellers 

•               Creation of business travel bi-lateral corridors

•               Coverage of Red List countries under FCDO “all but essential travel” advice

•               A 72-hour window before any introduction of a country to a red list.

Read the full submission here.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 26 March

  • Guiding Guidance

First up, we have received the following guidance on guiding from DCMS that will help operators when restrictions ease on Monday and mean that guided activities can be undertaken over the Easter holidays.

Q. Can outdoor guided tours take place from 29 March and if so can these be for multiple groups of 6?

From the 29th March, outdoor, socially-distanced, organised activities including workshops such as photography, gardening, and crafts at heritage sites and other outside spaces will be permitted. 

Other outdoor activities such as themed walking trails will also be permitted, including guided walks consisting of either a single permitted group or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the tour.  These types of activities are subject to the gathering limits set out in the Roadmap - i.e. outside in groups up to a maximum of 6 people (the Rule of 6) or with one other household, though people from different households will still need to socially distance from each other. Support bubbles will continue to be counted as part of the same household.

The tour guide does not count towards the Rule of 6 or 2 households limits.

  • Updated Guidance on Self Hire Boats

The Environment Agency has updated the guidance on self-hire boats that applies from Monday. Under the new guidance, boat hire premises can open and people can hire a boat for the day under the following rules:

    • An enclosed boat can only be hired by a single household or bubble
    • An open boat can be hired by people conforming to the Rule of Six or two households provided social distancing can be maintained between people / different households

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update-5-march-2021

  • New Regulations Published

The new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 have been published and looking through there doesn’t seem to be any significant amendments. It will be work bookmarking the following link so that you can easily reference the legislation as we go through the opening phases.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/364/contents/made

  • Social Impacts of Coronavirus

The ONS has published the latest round of its research on the social impacts of Coronavirus. The main points are:

    • 29% adults felt that life will return to normal in less than six months which is the same as last week
    • the proportion of adults that felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal increased to 23% from the 21%  last week

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/26march2021

  • Claiming Back Statutory Sick Pay

The Guidance to employers on how to claim back statutory sick pay for employees with coronavirus  under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has been updated with a change to the new weekly rate – from 6 April the new rate is £96.35, up from £95.85 previously.

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

  • Applying for a Visa for the UK

The Home Office  has yet again amended their guidance on visa applications. The ability for people to apply for a visa online if their VAC is closed, which was to have run-out on 31 March, has now been extended to 30 June 2021. This concession applies to any form of UK visa application.

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

  • Updated Guidance for Places of Worship

The guidance for places of worship has been updated to take into account the easing of restrictions that will occur on Monday. These changes include:

    • The ability to host outdoor services
    • The opportunity for singing
    • The ability to host out-of-school groups for children

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-from-2-december

  • R Number and Growth Rate

And, because it’s Friday, we end with the R Number and Growth Rate figures which are, respectively, 0.7 to 0.9 and -5% to -2%. While still decreasing, these figures are slightly worse that last week and are the same as we saw in the beginning to mid-February.

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

TIC Update 26 March 2021

Please find attached our updated TIC Q&A document with answers to your questions, (new Q&A additions highlighted). Our Visitor Economy and Hotels and Other Accommodation guidance will be updated online shortly to reflect Step 1b changes from 29 March.

The Government has extended temporary insolvency measures. The measures were introduced in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act in March 2020, including protecting businesses from aggressive creditor enforcement and removing personal liability on company directors, and have been previously extended on a number of occasions. The measures are being extended till the end of June 2021.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has launched a call for evidence to seek stakeholders’ views on the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) immigration route.  The ICT route has different salary thresholds and requirements than the Skilled Worker route. The MAC have been asked to advise on the points below:

  • the salary threshold for entry to the ICT route
  • what elements, if any beyond base salary should count towards meeting the salary requirement
  • whether, as now, different arrangements should apply to the very highly paid
  • what the skills threshold for the route should be
  • the conditions of the route, in particular those where it differs from the main Tier 2 (General)/Skilled Worker route

The deadline for submitting your responses to the call for evidence questionnaire is 15 June 2021.

Social Distancing Review

As you may be aware, under the Roadmap, HMG has committed to conducting a review of social distancing measures to determine when and under what circumstances social distancing guidance can be lifted or amended; and the implications of doing so for other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including face coverings and working from home guidance. The review is due to report in two phases: 1) ahead of Step 3, in relation to private interactions; and 2) ahead of Step 4, in relation to workplace measures. You may wish to review the terms of reference of the review that have now been published here

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TIER UPDATE 25 MARCH

Government extends business support measures

The UK Government has extended temporary insolvency measures. The measures, that are being extended to the end of June 2021, were introduced in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act in March 2020, including protecting businesses from aggressive creditor enforcement and removing personal liability on company directors, and have been previously extended.

The measures being extended are:

•                 Statutory demands and winding-up petitions will continue to be restricted to protect companies from creditor enforcement action due to debts related to coronavirus.

•                 Small suppliers will not have to continue to supply a business in insolvency. However, larger suppliers will not be able to cease their supply or ask for additional payments while a company is going through a rescue process.

•                 Entry into a moratorium will remain relaxed and a company will be able to enter a moratorium if they have been subject to an insolvency procedure in the previous 12 months. These measures will be extended until 30 September 2021

New recovery plan for tourism, hospitality and events sector published (Wales)

The Welsh Government has published a new recovery plan for the tourism, hospitality and events sector. The plan “Let’s Shape the Future: working in partnership to reconstruct a resilient future for the visitor economy in Wales” was developed in consultation with the Tourism Taskforce and informed by stakeholders from across the sector. 

It includes a shared partnership framework of essential themes around which interventions will be built to support businesses through short to medium-term recovery.

The eight themes include:

  1. Supporting business.
  2. Valuing people.
  3. Reopening safely.
  4. Rebuilding consumer confidence.
  5. Stimulating and managing demand.
  6. Developing local visitor economies.
  7. Transforming the sector to be more resilient.
  8. Developing tailored recovery plans.

Given the uncertain path to recovery for the industry, the intention is for this plan to evolve, providing an important bridge back to the Strategic Plan for the sector Welcome to Wales: Priorities for the Visitor Economy 2020-2025”.

Cultural Recovery Fund Phase 2 grant (Wales)

The Cultural Recovery Fund Phase 2 will open for applications from the week beginning 6 April and close on 20 April. The funding is to cover the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021. Application criteria can now be reviewed prior to its opening through the Eligibility Checker. Find out more on the Business Wales website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates

Other updates

 

TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – 25 March

  • New £1.5bn Business Rates Relief Fund

The Treasury has announced a new fund for businesses not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business rates relief. The announcement states that the funding will be distributed according to official data on the impacts of the pandemic on different sectors to ensure an even and more proportionate allocation of support across England based on the economic impacts of COVID-19. The funding will be allocated to local authorities based on the stock of properties in the area whose sectors have been affected by COVID-19. Local Authorities will then use their knowledge of local businesses and the local economy to make awards.

I will update you when I find out what the official data is that they are basing this on to make sure that tourism businesses that have missed out on Business Rates Relief previously are included.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/business-rates-relief-boosted-with-new-15-billion-pot

  • NI Exemption for Covid Testing and Test and Trace Payments

HMRC has announced that any payments that an employer makes to an employee to reimburse them for the cost of a relevant coronavirus antigen test will be disregarded for the purposes of calculating National Insurance contributions. As such, there will be no National Insurance contributions liability for the employee or employer provided that the test that was paid for is one that can detect the presence of a viral antigen or viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) specific to Covid 19.

The disregard will apply to any advance payments or reimbursements made to an employee for the cost of a relevant coronavirus antigen test made on or after 25 January 2021, until 5 April 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/income-tax-and-national-insurance-contributions-exemption-for-employer-reimbursed-coronavirus-antigen-tests/income-tax-and-national-insurance-contributions-exemption-for-employer-reimbursed-coronavirus-antigen-tests

In addition, HMRC has also announced that it will disregard payments made under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme in England to employees who are on a low income and have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace so that payments made under the scheme will not be liable to employer or employee Class 1 National Insurance contributions. Employers will also not be liable to Class 1A National Insurance contributions in respect of the payments.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exemption-from-national-insurance-contributions-for-covid-19-test-and-trace-support-payments/exemption-from-national-insurance-contributions-for-covid-19-test-and-trace-support-payments

  • New Report on Testing to Open Air Travel

A new report from Oxera and Edge Health demonstrates that air passenger testing can be used to safely reopen international air travel from 17 May. It found that a single rapid antigen test on-arrival was as effective as completing 10 days quarantine and demonstrates how a risk based ‘traffic light’ framework could be safely introduced to re-open international travel at scale. A single test strategy could be appropriate for countries categorised as medium-risk, with testing and a three days isolation could be used for higher risk countries.

The key findings of the report are:

    • Rapid antigen tests can reduce the number of ‘infectious days’ of an international arrival by 63% — the same as ten days of self-isolation once compliance is taken into account
    • A two-test strategy (antigen and PCR) with three-day quarantine could be an effective strategy for screening arrivals from countries with higher prevalence rates of COVID-19, capturing 87% of infectious days – and enabling genomic sequencing to mitigate variants of concern.
    • Analysis of real-world 2020 US/EU passenger data shows that even a single test at the border would have reduced the imported case rate below existing UK community transmission levels.

https://www.oxera.com/publications/effectiveness-of-dual-testing-schemes-for-air-passengers/

  • DMO Review Expert Group

The membership of review team for the DMO review has been announced. The membership is:

    • David Curtis-Brignell
    • Michael Hirst
    • John Hoy
    • Kate Kennally
    • Franks Rogers
    • Sarah Stewart
    • Nigel Wilkinson
    • Kate Willard
    • Laura Wyld

Background information on the members of the Expert Group are available on the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-destination-management-organisations-dmos

  • CBILS, CLBILS and BBLS Close, Recovery Loan Scheme Opens

Applications for CBILS, CLBILS and BBLS loans end on 31 March 2021 and are being replaced by the new Recovery Loan Scheme, which will run until 31 December 2021 to ensure that businesses can access Government-backed finance during the reopening of the economy. With the end of the old loan schemes the Government has announced that:

    • three Bounce Back Loans have been issued every minute since May 2020 launch
    • a total almost £180 billion in loans have been issued  since March 2020
    • the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) scheme has supported firms responsible for 2.5 million jobs

Which you can either view as a significant success or the dire state that many businesses.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-backed-loans-help-thousands-of-businesses-to-protect-jobs-during-pandemic

  • CJRS Analysis

ONS has published another analysis on use of the CJRS for the period up to 28th February. The main findings are:

    • The provisional figures show that 4.7m people were furloughed at the end of February
    • The accommodation and food services sector have the highest take-up of furlough with provisional estimates showing this increased to 69% of employers at 28 February.
    • Within this, the beverage serving activities sector had the highest proportion of eligible employments furloughed, with a take-up rate of 78%. This was followed by the hotels and similar accommodation sector which had 69%
    • The provisional estimates show the number of employments furloughed decreased to 1.15m from 1.23m during February
    • Accommodation and food services account for a quarter of all people on furlough
    • in the passenger air transport sector, 61% of employers eligible were being furloughed furloughing (35,300 employees)

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-march-2021/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-march-2021

  • Updated Guidance for Sports Organisations

DCMS’s guidance for organisations that are holding sports events that are allowed to restart on Monday has been updated to provide detailed guidance on how sports events should be managed to make sure that they are covid secure. The guidance focuses on four principles for covid secure operation:

    • Key Principle 1 - Off-field activity
    • Key Principle 2 - prior to activity
    • Key principle 3 - during activity
    • Key Principle 4 - facility usage

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-grassroots-sports-guidance-for-safe-provision-including-team-sport-contact-combat-sport-and-organised-sport-events

  • Filing Extensions End on 5th April

Companies House is warning businesses that the automatic filing extensions that were introduced last year with regard to the following activities come to an end on 5th April 2021:

    • Accounts
    • Confirmation statements
    • Event-driven filings
    • Mortgage charges.

However, for accounts filing deadlines that fall after 5 April, companies can still apply for a 3-month extension.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/automatic-filing-extensions-granted-by-the-corporate-insolvency-and-governance-act-due-to-come-to-an-end

  • Updates to CJRS Guidance

There has been a update to the guidance to businesses claiming CJRS, to explain that earliest that they can make a claim for May 2021 is 19 April 2021. A new section has also been added regarding the ability to claim for employees that have caring responsibilities. This states that employee are eligible for the grant and can be furloughed if they have Covid-related caring responsibilities that mean they are:

    • unable to work (including from home)
    • working reduced hours

Examples of caring responsibilities include caring for:

    • children who are at home as a result of school or childcare facilities closing
    • a vulnerable individual in their household

The section on training during furlough has also been updated to state:

    • Furloughed employees can engage in training during hours which you record your employee as being in furlough, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training.
    • Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages

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

  • £25m for Tourism Recovery in Scotland
    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced £25m of funding to support the tourism sector’s recovery from COVID-19. The programme, which has been developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in partnership with businesses, will support the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce objectives.

The recovery programme includes:

    • a holiday voucher scheme to create a more socially sustainable and inclusive tourism industry
    • a days out incentive scheme to support areas such as attractions, tours, activities and experiences
    • a talent development and leadership programme for tourism and hospitality staff
    • a Net Zero Pathway to make Scotland’s tourism industry more green and sustainable
    • a marketing fund to support organisations to promote their destination or sector when domestic travel is able to resume

https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-25-million-for-tourism-recovery/

Additional update from Tourism Alliance issued yesterday evening

  • Tax Policies and Consultations Summary Document

This is the summary document for the large raft of tax papers and consultations that were published yesterday so it probably the one document in the pile that you should skim through to make sure that you are up to speed on that changes that the Government is proposing and don’t miss anything that may be important to your members. The core papers are:

Modernising tax administration

    • Making Tax Digital
    • HMRC: investment in digital infrastructure
    • Tax administration framework review
    • Timely Payment
    • Raising standards in the tax advice market
    • Reducing inheritance tax reporting requirements

Tackling non-compliance

  • Clamping down on promoters of tax avoidance
  • Tackling disguised remuneration tax avoidance
  • Off-payroll working rules
  • No Safe Havens
  • Tax Conditionality: licensing in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • Sanctions for illicit tobacco

Further tax policy announcements

  • Fundamental review of business rates
  • Aviation tax
  • Strengthening the self-catering accommodation criteria for business rates
  • Review of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS)
  • Residential property developer tax
  • Dormant Assets Scheme expansion
  • Pensions tax technical updates
  • Tax treatment of Superfunds
  • Aggregates Levy
  • Landfill Tax review
  • Carbon Emissions Tax (CET)
  • Notification by large businesses of an uncertain tax treatment
  • VAT grouping
  • Partial Exemption and Capital Goods Scheme
  • New rules to prevent value shifting for VAT
  • VAT and the public sector
  • Simplification of the land and property VAT rules
  • Capital allowances: technical amendment to allowance statement requirements for Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA)
  • Transfer pricing documentation
  • Securitisation tax rules
  • Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/972056/Tax_policies_and_consultations_2021_Web_accessible.pdf

  • APD Consultation

This consultation

    • Seeks views on the government’s position to support domestic connectivity, the effective rate of APD on domestic flights should be reduced and the potential options through which this could be achieved.
    • Seeks views on a potential increase to the number of distance bands, in order to align the tax more closely with Governments environmental objectives. (Govt wants more bands)
    • Sets out the position regarding the devolution of APD in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales (which is, respectively, devolved, semi-devolved and not devolved)
    • Sets the government’s initial position on a potential Frequent Flyer Levy (it’s not keen)

The closing date for submission on this is 14th June 2021

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971943/Aviation_Tax_Reform_Consultation.pdf

  • Strengthening the Self-Catering Accommodation Criteria for Business Rates

The government has announced that it will legislate to change the criteria determining whether a holiday let is valued for business rates to account for actual days the property was rented. This is aimed at ensuring that owners of properties cannot reduce their tax liability by declaring that a property is available for let while making little or no actual effort to do so. Further details of the change and implementation will be included in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s response to the consultation on the business rates treatment of self-catering accommodation which will be published shortly.

  • Business Rates Review – Interim Report

An interim  report was published on the Government’s Business Rates Review which the Tourism Alliance submitted evidence to last year. Of particular note for tourism businesses are the sections on Business rate relief  and proposals for an Online Sales Tax.

    • Most respondents from the retail and hospitality sectors called for extension of the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure discount, and expressed concerns about a ‘cliff edge’ reintroduction of 100% rates payable in April 2021. Several respondents called for an extension of the current 100% discount, particularly those in the hospitality sector.
    • Some respondents highlighted abuse by firms claiming SBRR on multiple properties, including in the short-term letting sector. Others raised the issue of second homeowners registering their properties as holiday lets, despite rarely letting them out, to claim SBRR, and proposed strengthening the eligibility to pay business rates rather than council tax
    • However, some respondents also noted that as well as online retail sales, which account for approximately £100 billion in the UK annually, the wider value of UK online sales (excluding financial services) is £700 billion annually and these respondents argued that sales including travel, accommodation, and software which previously would have occurred on the high street should also be in scope. These respondents stressed that uniform business rates reductions would be provided to all rate payers across industries, whereas the OST would just be paid by online retailers, which they considered unfair.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971681/Fundamental_Review_Interim_Report.pdf

  • Costs and Benefits of Making Tax Digital for SMEs

A research report from Kantar for HMRC has found a very mixed picture on the costs and benefits of SMEs and micro businesses having to comply with the MTD requirements for VAT filing with a significant percentage of the businesses interviewed feeling that there has been no real benefit in having to use the new system to file returns.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/968418/HMRC_research_report_605_-_Exploring_the_costs_and_benefits_of_MTD_for_VAT.pdf

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TIER UPDATE 24 MARCH

Funding for tourism recovery announced in Scotland
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced £25m of funding to support the tourism sector’s recovery from COVID-19. The programme, which has been developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) in partnership with businesses, will support the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce objectives.

The recovery programme includes:

  • a holiday voucher scheme
  • a days out incentive scheme to support areas such as attractions, tours, activities and experiences
  • a talent development and leadership programme for tourism and hospitality staff
  • a Net Zero Pathway
  • a marketing fund to support organisations to promote their destination or sector when domestic travel is able to resume.

Further details on the allocation of funds will be set out in due course.

Call for evidence for the Global Travel Taskforce
TIER members who are planning on submitting written evidence to the Global Travel Taskforce are encouraged to do so this week. You can submit evidence by emailing globaltraveltaskforce@dft.gov.uk.

Submit views on the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) immigration route
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has launched a call for evidence to seek stakeholders' views on the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) immigration route. The ICT route currently sits alongside the Skilled Worker route for skilled workers in the current immigration route. This route is designed to enable employers in the UK to easily move existing senior employees and specialists who have been employed by the company for at least 12 months from overseas offices to roles in the UK. Those with relevant knowledge, expertise or experience can submit evidence via a questionnaire available here. The deadline is 15 June 2021.

VisitBritain Brexit consumer sentiment research
VisitBritain’s report on the latest wave of Brexit consumer sentiment research is now live. Please note that at the time fieldwork was conducted (22 February – 9 March 2021), the UK had left the EU, the transition period had ended, and the conditions agreed in the deal between the UK and the EU applied from 1 January 2021. At the same time the COVID-19 pandemic affected the ability to travel to Britain for non-essential reasons from all markets surveyed.  Read the full document here.

Other updates

  • The page COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities has been updated to reflect the UK Government’s commitment to extend the prevention of evictions by enforcement officers in England to 31 May 2021, and to confirm that legislation requiring landlords to provide 6 months’ notice to tenants in most cases has been extended until 31 May 2021.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 24 MARCH

  • Welcome Back Fund

The Communities Secretary has announced a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund to boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups. Part of this funding will be allocated specifically to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months. The funding can also be used by councils to:

  • Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible
  • Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses
  • Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety
  • Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-raft-of-measures-to-prepare-our-high-streets-and-seaside-resorts-for-summer

                Here is a link to how much from this fund has been allocated to each council in England

                https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6059f3d4d3bf7f2f1a015bc0/welcome-back-fund-allocations.pdf

  • Restrictions on Temporary Structures Eased Again

The Communities Secretary has also announced plans to ensure that businesses such as pubs and restaurants, including where these premises are in listed buildings are able to make the most of the summer, by allowing them  to use their land more flexibly to set up marquees and provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease. To this end he is proposing that these businesses erect temporary structures for the whole summer rather than the 56 days currently permitted.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-raft-of-measures-to-prepare-our-high-streets-and-seaside-resorts-for-summer

  • Guidance on Outdoor Sports and Facilities

New guidance has been issued related to the relaxation of rules on social contact that comes into effect on Monday 29th March as part of Step 1b. This relaxation of social contact rules to allows people to meet in groups of up to six people or two separate households. This allows the restarting of certain sorts activities and facilities. So, from Monday:

  • Outdoor sport for adults and children is permitted in larger numbers, provided it is formally organised (for example, by a national governing body or a qualified instructor 
  • Where the sport is informal, it is limited to the Rule of 6 or two households
  • Personal training is permitted outdoors, in outdoor sport facilities, and in private gardens, where it is formally organised and follows COVID-secure guidance.
  • Organised sport participation events such as races and organised walks can take place outdoors and are exempt from legal gathering limits provided they are managed in a Covid Secure manner
  • Outdoor sport facilities can reopen, and can be used for sport, physical activity and exercise. This applies to all outdoor sport facilities, including but not limited to outdoor gyms, swimming pools, courts, pitches, golf courses (including mini-golf), water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres and archery venues.
  • Outdoor skating rinks and trampolining parks must remain closed.
  • Changing rooms should not be used, except by people with disabilities, although toilet facilities can be accessed.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-grassroots-sports-guidance-for-the-public-and-sport-providers

  • Transport Select Committee Session on Coach Tourism

The Transport Select Committee held a session today on the impact of Covid on coach operators. On the Government side, the Minister for Roads, Baroness Vere, and Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston presented evidence on the Government’s approach to the sector. One worthwhile thing that can out of the session was that Nigel Huddleston again emphasised the need to councils to include coach operators in the ARG funding rounds. Here is a link to the video of the session

https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/4d6a8442-9e10-413f-9c25-bd3a8ac1c87e

  • VAT Deferral Scheme Guidance Updated

HMRC has updated the guidance on the VAT Deferral Scheme to clarify the maximum number of instalments that a business can make is related to when they joined the scheme. Here’s the table from the Guidance that clarifies this:

If you join by

Number of instalments available to you

19 March 2021

11

21 April 2021

10

19 May 2021

9

21 June 2021

8

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deferral-of-vat-payments-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Westminster Support for Businesses In Scotland

The Government has produced a new publication that highlights the support available for businesses in Scotland that has come from Westminster in the form of national initiatives. This includes schemes such as:

  • CJRS
  • SEISS
  • Kickstart
  • Business Loans

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-government-support-for-business-in-scotland-march-2021

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

TIER UPDATE 23 MARCH

This evening the Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a press briefing in which he was joined by England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. The briefing focused on the collective efforts one year on from the announcement of a first lockdown.

A question was asked concerning a third wave in Europe and what measures there are to stop the virus coming into the UK. Boris Johnson answered this question mentioning the mandatory tests for international arrivals; the passenger locator form; the tests on day 2 and day 8 since arriving and managed hotel quarantine for arrivals from red list countries.

Another question was asked about international holiday homes ownership. The Prime Minister answered that he understands many are interested in an overseas holiday but that it is too early to say. He said he would wait for the Global Travel Taskforce to report and he hopes to say more by 5 April.

Clarity for accommodation and Step 2 of the reopening roadmap for businesses in England

The UK Government has published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 in relation to the roadmap steps. 

Along with this DCMS has shared some clarity on guidance on the reopening of accommodation. 

  • From Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, separate and self-contained accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes.

What can open:

  • At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.
  • Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
  • All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.

What cannot open:

  • This phased approach to reopening means that the rest of the sector will follow at Step 3. Between now and Step 3 this means a continued closure of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation that relies on sharing these facilities. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.
  • From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.

Step 2 will also see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed - if necessary - from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2, located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required.

Regulations set out that pave the way for restrictions easing from 21 June in England

The government has set out regulations which will pave the way to the easing of all restrictions from 21 June. The regulations mean that from 29 March outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed including in private gardens. The regulations will be voted on by Parliament this Thursday, and if approved, will replace the ‘all tiers’ regulations which were made to enact the tier system at the end of last year. Read the press release

This comes as a new One Year report is published that details which powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are currently active.

Changes to restrictions in Scotland

First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon today announced that people living in all parts of Scotland will be able to attend places of worship in gatherings of up to 50, where there is space for physical distancing, from Friday 26 March. People will also be able to travel between Level 4 areas to attend their usual place of worship.

Na h-Eileanan Siar will move to Level 3 at 6pm on Wednesday 24 March and all other council areas will remain at their current levels, with restrictions on non-essential travel across local authority boundaries.

Measures to support the reopening of high streets and seaside resorts in England

The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a package of support to help local economies and businesses in England. The package includes a new £56 million Welcome Back Fund will help councils boost tourism, improve green spaces and provide more outdoor seating areas, markets and food stall pop-ups – giving people more safer options to reunite with friends and relatives. Part of this funding will be allocated to support coastal areas, with funding going to all coastal resorts across England to safely welcome holiday makers in the coming months. The funding can also be used by councils to:

·         Boost the look and feel of their high streets by investing in street planting, parks, green spaces and seating areas to make high streets as beautiful and welcoming as possible

·         Run publicity campaigns and prepare to hold events like street markets and festivals to support local businesses

·         Install signage and floor markings to encourage social distancing and safety

·         Improve high streets and town centres by planting flowers or removing graffiti

Northern Ireland Executive Financial assistance scheme opens for travel agents

First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill have announced the opening of a Covid support scheme for travel agents experiencing difficulties as a result of the pandemic. The Travel Agents (Coronavirus) Financial Assistance Scheme 2021 is open for applications and support offered will be via a one-off grant payment of £10,000 for travel agents in Northern Ireland operating from commercial premises, and a one-off single payment of £3,500 for self-employed travel agents working from home in Northern Ireland. 

Travel agents with more than one premises may apply for a payment for each premises. The scheme closes on Friday 26 March at 5pm, with all supporting evidence to be provided by 5pm on Sunday 28 March. Read full details on eligibility and how to apply.

Other Government updates

  • Pages advising on the closing certain businesses and venues and reopening certain businesses and venues in England have been updated. Information includes updates on business support and business rates; and changes to reflect that people can leave the home to take part in outdoor recreation and exercise.
  • Government have outlined the accelerated process that partially exempt VAT registered businesses whose trading activities have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) should follow to request temporary alterations to their partial exemption method.
  • Dates that a person can request exceptional assurance, as their visa or leave has expired, have changed. If a person is in the UK and their visa or leave expires by 30 June 2021, they may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 23 MARCH

  • Draft Regulations

The Government has published the draft regulations that will apply when businesses reopen. These regulations will be voted on in Parliament on Thursday. Of particular importance is the section on page 57 that relates to accommodation opening on 12th April.

(5) Holiday accommodation referred to in sub-paragraph (1) may continue to be provided if that accommodation is provided—

(a) in a campsite or caravan park, provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points, or

(b) in separate and self-contained premises.

(6) Premises are separate and self-contained for the purposes of this paragraph only if—

(a) they are provided for persons who are —

(i) members of the same household, or

(ii) members of two households which are linked households in relation to each other, and

(b) none of the following are shared with the members of any other household—

(i) kitchens,

(ii) sleeping areas,

(iii) bathrooms, or

(iv) indoor communal areas.

(7) In this paragraph—

(a) a reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility for the purposes of sub-paragraph (5)(a), or an indoor communal area for the purposes of sub-paragraph (6)(b);

(b) “communal areas” includes in particular corridors, lifts and staircases used to access premises contained in part of a building, lounges or sitting areas.

 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/364/pdfs/uksi_20210364_en.pdf

  • DCMS Guidance on Stage 2 Accommodation Opening

DCMS has sent out the following guidance in relation to the interpretation of the legislation above. The guidance is:

    • At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.
    • Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).
    • All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.
    • Any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above will be required to stay closed during Step 2
    • Step 2 will see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed - if necessary - from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-Secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2,  located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required
  • Status of Tourism Deal

The Shadow Tourism Minister, Alex Sobel MP has received the following answer to a written question regarding the status of the Tourism Deal

Question: Alex Sobel

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to amend the Tourism Sector Deal as a result of the Government announcing the covid-19 recovery strategy.

Answer: Nigel Huddleston

The UK Government will publish a Tourism Recovery Plan in the Spring. Given the significant impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, we now face different challenges to when the Tourism Sector Deal was published. The Recovery Plan will build on the foundations of the Sector Deal.

  • Treatment of Expenses

HMRC has updated the guidance for businesses on the treatment of businesses expenses by adding a new section related to paying or refunding transport costs.  

If you provide transport to your employee for travel between their workplace and home because of coronavirus, this is considered to be a benefit in kind - journeys between an employee’s workplace and home are private journeys. If you reimburse the cost of transport between workplace and home for your employee, this is treated as earnings and you must deduct and pay PAYE tax and Class 1 National Insurance through payroll. In some circumstances there is an exemption from paying tax on this benefit. For this to happen, all of the following 4 conditions must be met:

    • the employee has to work later than usual, and until at least 9pm
    • this happens irregularly
    • by the time the employee finishes work, either:
      • public transport has stopped
      • it would not be reasonable to expect them to to use public transport
    • the transport is by taxi or similar road transport

Your employees may regularly travel to work in a car with one or more other employees using a car-sharing arrangement. If this arrangement stops because of unforeseen and exceptional circumstances, which are coronavirus related, and you provide transport or reimbursement of the expense of transport from your employee’s home to workplace, this may also be exempt. The total number of exempt journeys cannot exceed 60 journeys in a tax year. This is a single limit that applies to the late-night journeys and the failure of any car-sharing arrangement, together. If these requirements are not met, free or subsidised transport is taxable and should be reported through a PAYE Settlement Agreement as a coronavirus related benefit.

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

  • Temporary Resident Guidance Updated

Only four days after saying that foreign nationals with visas to stay in the UK can apply for exceptional assurance to expend their stay if their visa expires before the end of April. The Home Office has realised that it’s unlikely that international flights will resume by the end of April and extended exceptional assurance to the 30th June instead.

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

TIC UDPATE 23/03/2021

Accomodation and Step 2 of the Roadmap

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 have been published in relation to the roadmap steps. 

I would like to clarify some queries that have been raised regarding the reopening of accommodation and can confirm the agreed Government position is that:

·  From Step 2, no earlier than 12 April, separate and self-contained accommodation will be open for leisure stays. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities (kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as: lifts, staircases, lounges, sitting areas and internal corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area if they are required in order to be open for check-in purposes.

What can open

·  At Step 2, accommodation in which all facilities listed above are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open. This will mean that holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels which do not rely on sharing those facilities listed may open.

·  Campsites and caravan parks will be permitted from Step 2 provided that the only shared facilities used by guests at the campsite or caravan park are washing facilities, toilets, water points and waste disposal points. These facilities should be operated so as to ensure no household mixing takes place. This would involve either assigning shower facilities to one household group/support bubble, (i.e. making them private), or running a reservation and clean process (whereby one household can exclusively book the shared facilities for a fixed time, and the facilities are cleaned between reservations and kept well-ventilated).

·  All accommodation may continue to open for the current permitted reasons, such as to provide accommodation for those who are unable to return to their main residence; for the homeless; for those who need accommodation for work, education or training purposes; for those who need to attend medical appointments; or for those self-isolating as required by law including for the Managed Quarantine Service for high risk international arrivals.

What cannot open

·  This phased approach to reopening means that the rest of the sector will follow at Step 3. We recognise that between now and Step 3 this means a continued closure of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation that relies on sharing these facilities. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above.

·  From Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, all remaining accommodation will be permitted to reopen for leisure stays.

Step 2 will also see the reopening of non-essential retail; personal care facilities and close contact services such as beauty salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas); and indoor sports and leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools. Where these facilities are located within a hotel or other guest accommodation, they are permitted to reopen and can be accessed - if necessary - from inside the building i.e. without the requirement for direct street access, though businesses should continue to comply with COVID-Secure guidance to mitigate transmission risk. Outdoor hospitality which is permitted to open at Step 2,  located on a hotel premises or other guest accommodation, may also reopen, and customers will be permitted to use indoor toilets as required.

Rationale

The government recognises the significant contribution that hotels and similar accommodation have made by providing their services for managed quarantine, sheltering rough sleepers and other vulnerable groups, and providing safe accommodation for a variety of legally permitted reasons throughout the last year. 

However, the Government has set out its plan to allow cautious and gradual reopening of the economy. This is a phased roadmap and we are not opening the sector in one go, meaning leisure stays in different types of accommodation will be permitted gradually alongside the phased reopening of other businesses and services. This is because we need to act cautiously to keep prevalence low and avoid the need for re-escalation. As TIC members have indicated, reopening and then having to close again would be far more damaging than a phased reopening. 

Although cases are in decline, the SPI-M scientific modelling shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further surge which could overwhelm the NHS, leading to another lockdown. As a result, accommodation that relies on the shared use of indoor facilities will not open for leisure stays for a further 5 weeks until Step 3 while we assess the impact of reopening at Step 2. 

Further, in aggregate Step 2 prioritises outdoor activity over indoor activity, and activity within households rather than between them. The likelihood of transmission is substantially lower in the open air rather than indoors. Travel and tourism inherently involves a lot of travel across the country, as well as household mixing. Allowing both the opening of all guest accomodation and household mixing before more of the population is vaccinated would substantially increase the risk of the NHS being put under unsustainable pressure. 

The approach we are taking is slow and cautious, to ensure it is irreversible. A number of measures have been put in place to assist the sector prior to reopening and to return to profit upon reopening. These include the extension of the furlough scheme, VAT cut and business rates relief, the new restart grants, a new loan scheme and the Help to Grow scheme.

Our guidance for Hotels & Other Guest Accommodation will be updated in advance of each step of the roadmap with further detail.

Additional Restrictions Grants

The Government has updated its guidance regarding eligibility for the Additional Restrictions Grants. Please see here. Of note is paragraph 27 (copied below) which now specifies a greater number of businesses as being eligible:

Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include, but is not limited to, group travel and tour operators, other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers), wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding. This list is not directive nor exhaustive, and Local Authorities should continue to issue grants at their discretion, based on local economic needs. 

Welcome Back Fund

On Saturday, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a series of new measures to support a safe and successful reopening. This includes a new £56m Welcome Back Fund, with a heavy tourism focus. Please see this announcement for further detail.

Global Travel Taskforce - written submissions

Should you be planning on submitting written evidence to the Global Travel Taskforce, then it would be appreciated if you could do so this week. As per my previous email, you can do this by emailing globaltraveltaskforce@dft.gov.uk .

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

TIER UPDATE 22 MARCH

Passengers from Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar and Somalia to Scotland to enter managed quarantine

On 19 March, the Scottish Government announced that travellers arriving in Scotland from Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar and Somalia will be required to enter managed quarantine if they have been in one of these countries in the 10 days before arrival, including people travelling on from elsewhere in the UK or in Ireland. Portugal and Mauritius are removed from the list.

Wave 26 of VisitEngland’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker

The latest wave of VisitEngland’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker has been published, with fieldwork carried out from 8-12 March. The survey has been updated to reflect the evolving nature of the pandemic and includes new questions on the likelihood to take day trips. The survey has additional answers to questions including differentiation between large and small cities or towns, under destination type, and ‘unwilling to travel unless vaccinated’ has been added within the ‘trip confidence’ question.

Highlights from wave 26 include:

  • There has been a significant decline in those believing the ‘worst is still to come’ with a corresponding rise in those who now consider the ‘worst has passed’ (at 40%).  However, there is still pessimism around life ‘returning to normal’ anytime soon, with just 10% expecting this to be the case by June, down from 16% last wave.
  • Confidence is on the rise with 38% now confident a June trip would proceed as planned (up from 32% in wave 25).  Trip intent is also up with 16% anticipating a trip this spring (up from 14%). Summer trip intent rebounds to 37%, which is a 10 point rise on the last wave. 23% now claim they don’t have any plans to take an overnight domestic trip, which is down 11 points from wave 25. 
  • There is higher trip intent (for spring) among those who have been vaccinated, although summer intent onwards appears broadly unaffected by the vaccine take-up.
  • Planning and booking activity remains subdued, with 43% of spring intenders claiming to have planned their trip and just 29% already booking it. Among summer intenders it’s 27% and 20% respectively. 
  • While planned day-trip activity is low in the near term (next two weeks), it does accelerate later this spring/summer with 37% saying they anticipate a day trip to the countryside/village and 41% to a traditional coastal/seaside town. Trips to urban locations are predictably lower (under one quarter).
  • The accommodation types most likely to be used on overnight trips this spring are ‘commercial rentals’ (e.g. holiday cottages) on 40%. ‘Hotel/motel/inn’ (36%) ‘camping/caravan’ (35%) and a ‘private home’ closely behind.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UDPATE – 22 MARCH

ARG Guidance Amended

Some good news to start the week. We’ve managed to get the ARG guidance changed to encourage councils to provide grants to a range of tourism businesses that had previously fallen through the cracks. Para 27 of the guidance now reads:

Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include, but is not limited to, group travel and tour operators, other tourism businesses (including B&Bs and event industry suppliers), wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses (including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses), wraparound care providers, and other businesses that may have not received other grant funding. This list is not directive nor exhaustive, and Local Authorities should continue to issue grants at their discretion, based on local economic needs.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971482/additional-restrictions-grant-la-guidance.pdf

  • Further Guidance on Stage 2 Wedding Venues

The Government has issued further guidance on holding weddings during Stage 2. The new guidance states that, from 12th April, wedding ceremonies can take place in venues which are permitted to open for the purposes of providing unrestricted services. This includes:

  • Conference centres and exhibition halls
  • Holiday accommodation, including hotels (in a room approved for the solemnisation of marriage and formation of a civil partnership)
  • Any purpose built wedding venue (where that is its sole purpose, and it is not also a hospitality venue or visitor attraction)
  • Visitor attractions may be used (if licensed) if the part of the venue used to hold the ceremony is used solely for that purpose and is not ordinarily open to the public (for example a building used for wedding ceremonies within the grounds of a botanical garden).
  • Rooms or spaces within indoor visitor attractions (for example a room within a museum) if they can be accessed directly from the street, or open outdoor areas of the venue.

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

  • Wales Tourism Recovery Plan - Let’s Shape the Future

The Welsh Government has published a Tourism recovery Plan for the tourism industry in Wales. Developed in consultation with the Tourism Taskforce, the plan includes a shared partnership framework of essential themes around which interventions will be built to support businesses through short to medium-term recovery. The 8 essential themes include:

  1. Supporting business.
  2. Valuing people.
  3. Reopening safely.
  4. Rebuilding consumer confidence.
  5. Stimulating and managing demand.
  6. Developing local visitor economies.
  7. Transforming the sector to be more resilient.
  8. Developing tailored recovery plans.

It should be noted that this is very much an outline recovery plan and much more meat will need to be added to this framework plan.

https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2021-03/lets-shape-the-future_0.pdf

  • Lockdown Guidance Updated

The Lockdown Guidance has been updated to include a summary of the changes that will occur next Monday (29th March) as part of Stage 1b. The main changes are:

  • People will be able to meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
  • People will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
  • Childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
  • Formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be not counted in this number

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

  • Hotel Quarantine Guidance Updated

The guidance for people staying in a quarantine hotel has been updated with the following information

  • Permission can be requested to leave quarantine for a limited period if a close family member or household member is dying.
  • Permission can be requested to leave quarantine to attend a funeral. This is limited to the day of the funeral or, in exceptional circumstances, an overnight stay where it is not possible to travel to the funeral and back within one day
  • If an unaccompanied minor child is arriving, a parent, guardian or appropriate adult is expected to join their child in managed quarantine on arrival. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england

               There has also been an amendment to the guidance to clarify the length of stay of people who test positive while in a quarantine Hotel

  • If you receive a positive test result on day 2, you must quarantine for 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken.
  • If you are test positive on day 2 and are in quarantine with people you have travelled with, they will also need to quarantine for 10 further days.
  • If you receive a positive result for your day 2 test, you will not be required to take any further tests but people you are staying with will need to take a day 8 test.
  • If you receive a positive test result on day 8 you will be required to quarantine for 10 further days.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/managed-quarantine-what-to-expect/managed-quarantine-what-to-expect

  • Test and Trace Support Payment

The test and trace Support Payment is the £500 payment that people can get if they’ve been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020. The guidance on this payment has been updated to reflect that you can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period, and that the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has been extended to parents and guardians who need to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme-claiming-financial-support/claiming-financial-support-under-the-test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme

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TIER UPDATE 19 MARCH

Coronavirus Control Plan updated for Wales

The Welsh Government has updated its Coronavirus Control Plan, setting out how and when Wales will emerge from lockdown. The plan has been updated to take account of Wales’ vaccination programme and the emergence of more infectious variants of the virus. It also reflects the risk of new, potentially vaccine-resistant variants of coronavirus being imported into Wales from people holidaying and travelling overseas.

The new plan aims to support the Welsh Government to continue to relax restrictions while the public health situation continues to remain positive. If there are strong signs of a growth in infections, it also sets out how the relaxations may need to be slowed, paused or in the worst case, reversed.

Other updates:

TOURISM ALLIANCE CORONAVIRUS UPDATE – 19 MARCH

  • Events Research Programme ToR

The terms of reference for the Events Research Programme have been published. This is one of the four reviews announced alongside the Roadmap and is being undertaken to support the opening of large scale events. The objective of the research programme is to oversee a range of pilot events in Spring/Summer which will build evidence on the risks associated with Covid-19 transmission routes, the characteristics of events and surrounding activities, and the extent to which mitigation measures can effectively address these risks. The evidence from these pilot events will be used to inform the government's decision around Step 4 of the roadmap and will shape government policy to bring about the phased return of fuller audiences to venues and events up and down England.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970528/Terms_of_Reference-_Events_Research_Programme.pdf

  • Destination Management Organisations Consultation Launched

The DMO consultation has been launched. The main questions in the consultation are:

    • What do you feel works well overall about the current ways in which DMOs are structured and operate in England?
    • what do you think could work differently or could be improved about how DMOs are structured and operate in England?
    • Why should there be DMOs?
    • What should DMOs do to be at their best?
    • Who and/or what do you think benefits from the work DMOs carry out?
    • What examples do you have of DMOs demonstrating their value and/or Returns on Investment to stakeholders?
    • What views do you have about the ways in which DMOs are funded currently, and how this could change?
    • What views do you have about the ways in which individual DMOs are structured currently, and how this could change?
    • What do you think works well about how DMOs work with:

a) other DMOs;
b) local/regional tourism businesses; and
c) other relevant sectors currently, and what could work better?

    • What do you think works well about how DMOs work with other local structures (e.g. local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, mayoral combined authorities, universities, etc), and what could work better?
    •  What do you think works well about how DMOs currently work with the British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain/VisitEngland), and how could this work better?
    •  What do you think works well about how DMOs currently work to support business visits and events, and how could this work better?
    • How do you think DMOs can best support government priorities, both locally and nationally?
    • What lessons do you think can be learned from other historical and/or international models for structuring and/or funding DMOs?
    • How can DMOs best support the recovery and rebuilding of the tourism sector over the next year both in terms of leisure and business tourism, following the COVID-19 pandemic?
    • What risks do you see for the potential for DMOs to support the recovery and rebuilding of the tourism sector, again both in terms of leisure and business tourism, over the next year?
    • What do you see as the biggest opportunities for DMOs over the next ten years?
    • And what do you see as the biggest challenges for DMOs over the next ten years?
    • What one thing do you think could be done to ensure the financial and organisational sustainability of DMOs over the next ten years?

The consultation will close on Wednesday 28th April and submissions can be make through the Online Survey on the following link

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/independent-review-of-destination-management-organisations-dmos-consultation

This is a very important consultation for the future of sub-national tourism support and development, so I’m in the process of organising a seminar on this for Tourism Alliance members in the week of 19th April and will send round more details on this next week.

  • Business Adaptation to Coronavirus

ONS has produced data on how businesses have adapted to lockdowns during the pandemic by finding ways to continue trading in some form. The data show that the number of businesses that have closed completely during the current lockdown is considerably lower than during the first lockdown last year. For example

    • 54% of food service and accommodation businesses are currently closed compared to 81% in the first lockdown
    • 56% of arts. entertainment and recreation businesses are currently closed compared to 82% in the first lockdown

While this can be seen as businesses becoming more innovative, it could also be seen as a sign that businesses are increasingly desperate for any revenue. It is also worth noting that:

    • overall, only 12% of all businesses are closed
    • The percentage of people working in their normal workplaces is increasing – from 37% in the first lockdown to 44% now – which is a trend that will help support hospitality and tourism businesses in city centres when they reopen.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/articles/coronavirushowpeopleandbusinesseshaveadaptedtolockdowns/2021-03-19

  • Lateral Flow Test Sites

The Government has launched an online postcode checker so you can see if new rapid lateral flow testing is available in your area. These tests are free and results are available in 30 minutes so they are an important component in a covid management regime.

https://www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site

  • Guidance for Temporary Residents

The Home Office guidance for those people in the UK in temporary visas that intend to leave the country but have not been able to do so has been updated again to say that if they have a visa that expires before 30 April 2021, they can request additional time to stay (exceptional assurance) by emailing cihassuranceteam@homeoffice.gov.uk

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

  • R Number and Growth Rate

And because it’s the end of the week, we have the latest R number and Growth Rate – which are respectively 0.6 to 0.9 and -6% to -3%. This is a slight increase from last week’s figures of  0.6 to 0.8  and -7% to -4%

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

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TIER UPDATE 18 MARCH

Today’s press briefing was led by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty and Dr June Raine, MHRA. The Prime Minister addressed concerns over vaccine supply, stating there is a delay in a shipment which means slightly fewer vaccines will be received in April. The Prime Minister explained that this delay would not impact the current vaccination targets, and that there was no change to next steps of the roadmap. 

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

Read the full document here.

Please find attached the TIER note which highlighted the Tourism Minister stating that these grants are aimed at businesses that have not been eligible for other grants, should you wish to share with your members to help make the case to local authorities. 

More guidance for local authorities on the Restart Grant for non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England is available here.

Under the Restart Grant scheme, Local Authorities will receive funding to be allocated in one-off grants to businesses. Grants of up to £6,000 will be paid to non-essential retail business premises, to help them reopen safely. Grants of up to £18,000 will be allocated to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises, which may open later under plans set out in the roadmap and will be more impacted by restrictions when they do reopen

To note:

  • The Restart Grant is a one-off grant
  • Businesses will be eligible for this support from 1 April 2021 and Local Authorities must not make payments to businesses before this date
  • Local Authorities will be responsible for determining whether businesses are entitled to a grant under the non-essential retail thresholds, or under the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business thresholds

Call for views on independent review of Destination Management Organisations

The review of England’s Destination Management Organisations (DMOs is now open for responses and will close at 11.45pm on 28 April 2021. The independent review will assess how DMOs across England are funded and structured, and how they perform their roles, in order to establish whether there may be a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at the regional level. Those interested in submitting a view should complete this online survey. More information on the review is available here.

Terms of reference for the Events Research Programme have been published

The Government has published the terms of reference for the Events Research Programme, which was committed to in the roadmap.

The Events Research Programme will oversee a range of pilot events in Spring/Summer to build evidence on the risks associated with Covid-19 transmission routes, the characteristics of events and surrounding activities, and the extent to which mitigation measures can effectively address these risks.

The evidence from these pilot events will be used to inform the government's decision around Step 4 of the roadmap and will shape government policy to bring about the phased return of fuller audiences to venues and events up and down England.

Read more information on timings and the scope of the programme here.

Wave 7 of ALVA’s Attractions Recovery Tracker

The latest wave of visitor sentiment research, commissioned by ALVA and undertaken by Decision House is now available. The full document is attached, and the headlines are below:

  • Since the end of January there has been a notable positive shift in confidence around visiting attractions when they re-open.
  • The growth in confidence has been driven by those living in the south of England and Scotland, with the Midlands and North of England yet to see the same increases
  • The positive and safe visit experiences at attractions in 2020 have helped lay the foundations for visitor confidence in 2021
  • This easing of anxiety and growth in confidence is being driven primarily by less concern around new variants and high infection rates, plus perceived success around the vaccine rollout
  • Vaccines are having a strong positive impact on visit confidence across all age groups, although impact is lower in the Midlands and North of England regions at present (uplift of +6%)
  • Having the first vaccine dose now increases the proportion saying they will visit any attraction from 47% to 57% (+10%). This compares with an uplift of just 44% to 48% (+4%) at the end of January.
  • Most safety measures will still be highly comforting to visitors, although with visit confidence now growing, their impact on the visit decision is perhaps diminishing a little. There is now a small minority (around 7%) who will not visit until a ‘normal’ experience can be delivered

TOURISM ALIIANCE Coronavirus Update – 18 MARCH

  • Show Rounds

One clarification from DCMS that has come through today is that, from  March 29, visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home (Covid Secure Safety guidelines must be adhered to while doing this). Viewings where there is not a permitted exemption for work purposes or otherwise, should not be taking place in closed venues at this time.

In practice that means venue viewings for leisure activities is being treated differently to venue viewings for business activities as the former is restricted while the latter is permitted under the current guidelines. So this means that a show round for a conference or meeting is allowed but a show round for a leisure trip or a wedding is still not allowed.

  • Clarification on Restart Grants

The email that I send round earlier on the restart grants should have read:

The rates that apply for the hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses are:

  • £8,000 for businesses with a rateable value of up to and exactly £15,000
  • £12,000 for businesses with a rateable vale over £15,000 and less that £51,000
  • £18,000 for businesses with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or greater

DFT Travel Tracker

DFT has published the third wave of their Travel Tracker – which cover November so it’s somewhat ancient history now. However, it does show that people are very hesitant about using public transport. During the November lockdown, 65% of people drove a car, but only 13% of people took a train and 24% of people took a bus.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-travel-behaviour-during-the-lockdown

  • DCMS Provision GVA Analysis – 2019 and 2020

DCMS has published data on the monthly GVA of sectors under it’s responsibility. The data shows that tourism’s GVA in 2020 decreased from £70.3bn to £48.7bn – a decrease of 31%.

It is worth noting that I have an ongoing conversation with ONS about the Tourism Satellite Account figures which are used to calculate tourism GVA and employment. ONS have accepted that there are severe problems with how tourism GVA and employment is calculated which means that these figures significantly under-estimate the contribution of tourism to the UK economy. My estimation is that the GVA figure is about £15bn lower than it should be. Nevertheless, these figures are good at highlighting the relative decrease in GVA during 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ad-hoc-statistical-analysis-202021-quarter-4

  • £500 Payment Update

This one is for employees - the Government has updated the guidance associated with the one-off £500 payment that is being made to households that receive tax credits. The update is to clarify that the payment is non-taxable and will not affect benefits. It does not need to be declared as income for Income Tax Self Assessment or for tax credit claims and renewals.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-one-off-500-payment-for-working-households-receiving-tax-credits

  • Environment Agency Update

The Environment Agency has updated it’s guidance on what water-based activities (including water sports and boating) are allowed at different stages of the Roadmap

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update/environment-agency-waterways-coronavirus-covid-19-update-5-march-2021

  • Northern Ireland Relaxations

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to gradual changes which will come into effect before the next formal review date on or before 15 April.

From 1 April, the regulations will change to:

  • Permit ten people from two households to undertake outdoor sporting activities as defined in the regulations. This allows sports such as golf and tennis to resume from this date in small groups of individuals from two households, however club houses and sport facilities including changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms must remain closed apart from essential toilet facilities.
  • Up to six people (including children) from two households may meet outdoors in a garden
  • Garden centres and plant nurseries can operate a contactless click and collect service.

From 12 April, it the Executive hopes to:

  • Increase the numbers who can meet outdoors in a garden from six to ten (including children) from two households;
  • Allow contactless click and collect service for all non-essential retail;
  • Allow for sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to fifteen people but with all indoor spaces closed except for essential toilet facilities
  • Remove of the ‘stay at home’ provision in the legislation; promotion of the stay local and work from home messages.

               https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/news/executive-agrees-number-early-relaxations-covid-19-regulations

BVEP UPDATE 18 MARCH

Show rounds  / site visits

DCMS have advised that the Cabinet Office have agreed that after March 29 - when the stay at home restriction is lifted - visiting a business event venue for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking for a work-based event (even if the venue is otherwise closed) is permitted if this cannot be reasonably done from home. Safety guidelines for workplaces should be adhered to. Viewings where there is not a permitted exemption for work purposes or otherwise, should not be taking place in closed venues at this time.

In practice that means venue viewings for leisure activities is being treated differently to venue viewings for business activities as the latter is permitted under the guidelines, whereas the former is still restricted.

Guidance will be updated in due course.

Restart Grants and ARG

Please see the update from the Tourism Alliance below. Please note that event venues are included in Annex C of the guidance below.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 18 MARCH Restart Grants and ARG

The guidance on the restart Grants and the new £425m ARG grant have been published

  • Restart Grants

The restart grants are available to non-essential retail businesses and businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors. The rates that apply for the hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses are:

  • £8,000 for businesses with a rateable value of exactly £15,000
  • £12,000 for businesses with a rateable vale over £15,000
  • £18,000 for businesses with a rateable value of exactly £51,000

There is a full list of the types of business that are eligible for the grants in Annex C of the guidance but the general definitions are:

Hospitality

  • a business whose main function is to provide a venue for the consumption and sale of food and drink

Leisure

  • a business that provides opportunities, experiences and facilities, in particular for culture, recreation, entertainment, celebratory events, days and nights out, betting and gaming

Accommodation

  • a business whose main lodging provision is used for holiday, travel and other purposes.

Gym & Sport

  • a commercial establishment where physical exercise or training is conducted on an individual basis or group basis, using exercise equipment or open floor space with or without instruction, or where individual and group sporting, athletic and physical activities are participated in competitively or recreationally.

Of particular disappointment is that there is a specific paragraph that states that the definition of a leisure business excludes coach tour operators and tour operators.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970686/Restart_Grant_-_LA_guidance_170321.pdf

  • ARG Guidance

The ARG guidance has been updated to include the additional £425m announced in the Budget. This funding it to be allocated from 1 April 2021. While the conditions for the new ARG round are essentially the same as previously, it is worth noting that previous guidance for the Additional Restrictions Grant indicated that businesses must have been trading before relevant restrictions were introduced in order to be eligible. This is no longer the case. All businesses that are trading and meet other eligibility criteria may apply to receive funding under this scheme. There is no starting date from which businesses must have been trading in order to qualify for grant funding.

It is also worth noting that Local Authorities have until 30 June 2021 to prove that they have spent or made a validated attempt to spend 100% of their first two ARG allocations. This is to speed up the allocation of the existing £1.6bn in ARG funding as only around 12% of this was spend when the last figures were published.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970687/RESTART_UPDATE_Additional_Restrictions_Grant_-_LA_guidance_170321.pdf

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TIER UPDATE 17 MARCH

Please see below today’s TIER and Tourism Alliance Updates.

Additionally, please note the statement below which has been provided by DCMS for the Outdoor Events sector to provide some information as to the progress of the Events Research Programme. A similar statement for business events has been requested and will be circulated once received.

‘We have so far only announced that the F.A cup final at Wembley stadium on May 15, and the world snooker championships at the Crucible theatre in Sheffield, which conclude on May 3, will be pilot events. The pilots will not be just sporting events and we have supplemented these via our partnership with Liverpool City Council (‘Project Encore’) to ensure the events represent a comprehensive range of settings. Over the coming weeks the research programme’s board will continue to assess which types of events and settings will be most suitable for establishing an evidence base, following the criteria set by our Science Board. The shortlist of pilot events takes into account a range of requirements needed to test different science-led criteria, including but not limited to indoor and outdoor settings, small and large venues, seated and standing events, different forms of audience participation, transport to events, duration, and ventilation’.

Early relaxations for some COVID regulations announced in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to gradual changes which will come into effect before the next formal review date on or before 15 April.

From 1 April, the regulations will change to:

  • Permit ten people from two households to undertake outdoor sporting activities as defined in the regulations. This allows sports such as golf and tennis to resume from this date in small groups of individuals from two households, however club houses and sport facilities including changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms must remain closed apart from essential toilet facilities.
  • Up to six people (including children) from two households may meet outdoors in a garden
  • Garden centres and plant nurseries can operate a contactless click and collect service.

The Executive also agreed an indicative date of 12 April for:

  • Increasing the numbers who can meet outdoors in a garden from six to ten (including children) from two households;
  • Allowing contactless click and collect service for all non-essential retail;
  • Allowing for sports training to resume by sports clubs affiliated with recognised Governing Bodies, in small groups of up to fifteen people but with all indoor spaces closed except for essential toilet facilities; and
  • Removal of the ‘stay at home’ provision in the legislation; promotion of the stay local and work from home messages.

These relaxations planned for 12 April will be subject to Executive ratification in the week after the Easter weekend.

The Executive has also agreed to increase the provision for elite sports from 25 March to allow a number of new competitions to begin.

No spectators will be permitted at any sporting event.

Find out more.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 17 MARCH

  • Digital Green Passport

Further to the emails I’ve been sending round regarding certification, the European Commission has launched a proposal for a Regulation on the Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Digital Green Certificate will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. It will be available, free of charge, in digital or paper format and will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the certificate. The Commission will build a gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU, and support Member States in the technical implementation of certificates.

European tourism associations have welcomed the initiative and asked for more action to coordinate travel restrictions; create an EU framework for travel-related testing activities and launch a coordinated approach for reopening the tourism businesses.

It is therefore important that any UK certification programme either links with the EU’s Digital Green Passport, or that there is mutual recognition of EU and UK schemes, in order for tourism flows to be as smooth a possible.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/en_green_certif_just_reg130_final.pdf

  • Unanswered Questions

I’m very conscious that there are a large number of unanswered questions on issues such as:

    • Shared facilities
    • Day Visitors
    • Guiding
    • Weddings

There is a Tourism Industry Council meeting tomorrow so I will raise the issue of how guidance on these issues is urgently needed if businesses are to be able to plan to open from 12th April. If there are other key issues that guidance is needed on for the 12th April, please let me know and I will include this as well.

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TIER UPDATE 16 MARCH

Timetable for further easing of lockdown in Scotland

This afternoon First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined a timetable for the easing of lockdown in Scotland. The key dates include:

 2 April

·         Stay at Home’ requirement to be replaced with a ‘Stay Local’ message (retaining the current, local authority-based travel restrictions for at least a three-week period) 

5 April – subject to review

Easing a wider range of current restrictions in level 4 areas, including:

  • Reopening of non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail
  • Extending the list of retail permitted to include:
    • garden centres (indoor and outdoor), key cutting shops, mobility equipment shops, baby equipment shops, electrical repair shops, hairdressers and barbers (with shopfronts – not mobile services), by appointment only, homeware shops, vehicle showrooms (appointment only) and forecourts
  • The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.

26 April – subject to review

If the data allows it, the Scottish government expects a more significant reopening and easing of restrictions from 26 April. This will likely include the following: (some of these activities/settings are already permitted/open in Level 3 island communities).

  • Extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
  • Allowing 12-17 year olds to meet outdoors in groups of 6 from up to 6 households
  • Extending outdoor socialising to permit up to 6 people from up to 3 households to gather
  • Social mixing in indoor public places will be subject to current maximum of 4 people from up to 2 households The prohibition of in-home socialising will continue to be kept under review at this date.
  • Travel within all of mainland Scotland permitted (subject to other restrictions that remain in place)
  • Tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)
  • Weddings and funerals for up to 50 (including wakes and receptions with no alcohol permitted)
  • Libraries, museums, galleries to re-open
  • Outdoor hospitality to open till 22:00 with alcohol permitted. Indoor hospitality permitted without alcohol and closing at 20:00
  • Remaining shops can reopen and mobile close contact services can resume
  • Gyms can reopen for individual exercise 

17 May – subject to review and progress of vaccination programme

New indicative date for further easing of restrictions. From 17 May it is hoped the following easing of restrictions can be introduced:

  • Further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 22:30 indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 22:00 outdoors with alcohol permitted
  • Re-introducing in-home socialising for up to 4 people from up to 2 households
  • adult outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercises can resume
  • cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can re-open
  • small scale indoor and outdoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints (to be confirmed following stakeholder engagement)
  • non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors

June

·         At this stage no specific dates have been given for easing of restrictions beyond May.

·         To help businesses plan it has been indicated from the start of June, it is hoped that Scotland can move back to Level 1.

·         From the end of June, it is hoped that Scotland will be able to move to Level 0.

Support for business announced

It was also announced that grants of up to £7,500 for retailers and up to £19,500 for hospitality and leisure businesses will be paid in April to help businesses re-open progressively. These one-off re-start grants will replace ongoing Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF) payments and will provide more money up front to help with the costs of re-opening.

Eligible businesses must have applied to the SFBF by 22 March in order to receive these payments. The last four-weekly SFBF payment of up to £3,000 will be paid on 22 March, as scheduled.

Targeted restart grants for businesses that are not in scope for the current SFBF support package may be considered if the Scottish Government receives further consequentials from the UK Government.

The Scottish Government will continue to work with sector bodies and business organisations to ensure that guidance is developed collaboratively. They recognise that some sectors will still be restricted even at Levels 0 and 1, they will continue to talk to business and other sectors about the contents of Levels 0, 1 and 2, for example the size of gatherings allowed at sporting and cultural events and in places of worship.

The need for physical restrictions and social distancing will also be kept under review.

Travel

The Scottish Government will ease restrictions on international travel, including the requirement for some travellers to enter managed isolation on arrival in Scotland, as soon as it is safe to do so. Discussions with the aviation sector on what conditions would need to be met to restart nonessential travel to some international destinations again will be taking place. Even when overseas travel does resume, it is very likely that pre-departure and post-arrival testing will remain in place for some time to come. However, this will be kept under close review.

Currently non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the wider Common Travel Area (CTA) (i.e. the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) is prohibited as a measure to reduce the risk of importation of the virus. Travel within the UK and the wider CTA is important to many families and to the tourism sector. This will be kept under review.

Input into UK Government's review on COVID status certification

The UK Government is seeking views on the role of Covid-status certification could play in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. COVID-status certification refers to the use of testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that individuals have a lower risk of getting sick with or transmitting COVID-19 to others. Views are being sought from a wide range of interests and concerns

To submit evidence go to -  https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/covid-status-certification-review-call-for-evidence

See the Terms of Reference for the Covid-status certification review.

Countries added and removed from UK red list  

Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar have been added to the UK’s red list. From 4am on Friday 19 March 2021, visitors who have departed from or transited through these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into the UK. Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and must stay in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8 in England and Scotland.  Everyone who arrives directly in Scotland from any country outside the CTA, must quarantine for 10 days and have a valid Managed Quarantine Facility booked prior to departure (unless exempt).

A ban on commercial and private planes travelling from Oman, Ethiopia and Qatar will also come into force on Friday to reduce the risk of importing variants of concern. This excludes cargo and freight without passengers. 

Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) and Mauritius will be removed from the list  on Friday 19 March.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 16 MARCH

  • Weddings

Yesterday the Working Safely with Coronavirus guidance for hotels and historic location was updated to take into account Stage 1 relaxations. Both sets of guidance stated:

Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: Weddings and civil partnerships are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.

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

However, this morning the UK Weddings Taskforce came out with a statement saying that they have been told that from 12th April to 17th May, weddings can only be held in “places of worship, public buildings, locations and outdoor settings that are already permitted to open”

https://ukweddings.org/updates/statement-16-03-21

  • Northern Ireland Business Support Grants

New business support grants of £178m have been announced in Northern Ireland. The two grants that have the most significance for tourism businesses are: 

    • 50k for businesses with an NAV over 51k that are eligible for the 12 months rates holiday (retail, hospitality, leisure, tourism, manufacturing, childcare, newspaper producers). Examples of the kinds of business that this will benefit are shops, car showrooms, garden centres, gyms and fitness suites, equestrian centres, and caravan parks
    • 10k for businesses that received the £25k Retail, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and have not been paid LRSS or CRBSS Part B.

https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/news/murphy-delivers-ps178-million-support-businesses

  • Artist Mobility Webinar

Arts Infopoint UK (a partnership between Wales Arts International/Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and Arts Council Northern Ireland) is holding a free webinar at 2pm – 3:30pm on Monday 22 March 2021 to provide businesses with a general overview of what has changed since the UK’s exit of the EU and how professionals can prepare for cross border work in the near future. The session will be chaired by Marie Fol, President of the board of On the Move, in conversation with Anita Debaere, Director of PEARLE* - Live Performance Europe and Anaïs Lukacs from MobiCulture.

                This webinar will be of interest to destinations and venues that stage events with performers or cultural exhibits from Europe.

Register via Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-an-introduction-to-artist-mobility-to-the-eu-tickets-146353801159

  • Travel Demand Management Toolkit

DfT has produced a toolkit for local transport authorities to help them develop travel demand management programmes that will:

    • support LTAs in managing the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the transport system
    • manage a range of other scenarios where there are increased pressures on the transport network or a mismatch between supply and demand

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-demand-management-toolkit-for-local-authorities

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TIER UPDATE 15 MARCH

New business support grants announced for businesses in Northern Ireland

The schemes will include: 

·        A £50,000 grant for large businesses unable to access grant funding during the first lockdown;

·        Top-up payments of £5,000 and £10,000 for businesses which received grants during the first lockdown but are not eligible for one of the current Executive support schemes.

The Department of Finance will bring forward the Regulations needed to make these payments and will release further information once the Regulations are made at www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/covid-business-support-grants.

Working safely during coronavirus guidance updates (England)

The visitor economy, heritage locations, hotels and other guest accommodation and performing arts sections of the working safely during coronavirus guidance have been updated with a shorter format focussing on actions to make workplaces COVID-Secure and updated guidance covering Step 1 of the roadmap out of lockdown. Please see new information below:

The visitor economy:

·        Some outdoor spaces at visitor attractions can be visited for the purposes of exercise and recreation (for example, for a picnic), where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact but can travel a short distance within the local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). This applies to outdoor locations at visitor attractions such as sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, landmarks, and heritage locations including historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for. Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service. You can find more information in the changes to facilities and services section of the guidance.

Heritage locations:

·        Some outdoor heritage locations can be visited for the purposes of exercise and recreation (for example, for a picnic), where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact (see below) and should stay local (within the village, town, or part of the city where they live) but can travel a short distance within the local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). Where possible, people should minimise travel. This applies to outdoor heritage locations including cultural World Heritage Sites and historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for.

Passenger ships update

In response to a question to the Department for Transport on passenger ships resuming,  the following answer has been provided by Robert Courts:

The Global Travel Taskforce report will consider a safe and sustainable reopening of international travel. International cruises will be included within the scope of this report. Domestic cruises within England will restart under step three of the Government’s Roadmap out of lockdown. This will align with the opening up of domestic indoor tourism and hospitality and will occur no earlier than 17 May.

Other updates:

·        The CMA has published an update on its actions in relation to cancellations and refunds in a number of sectors throughout the pandemic, including package holidays and holiday lets.

·        The national bus strategy for England published it outlines the reforms of how bus services are planned and delivered

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 15 MARCH

  • Revised Primary Guidance for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

The Primary Guidance on Working Safely During Coronavirus for different components of the Tourism Industry has been updated to take account of changes in Rules associated with Step one of the Government’s Roadmap. I’ve been though the guidance and highlighted the key changes to be aware of.

Visitor Economy Guidance

    • In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes should only take place where they cannot be delayed or reasonably be conducted remotely. If you intend to host these types of meetings in your facility, you must be able to demonstrate that you have followed this COVID-19 guidance and that social distancing can be maintained throughout the event. You can find more information in the section on business meetings and events.
    • Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, you must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You can find more information in the section on business meetings and events.
    • Some outdoor spaces at visitor attractions can be visited for the purposes of exercise and recreation (for example, for a picnic), where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact (see below) but can travel a short distance within the local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). This applies to outdoor locations at visitor attractions such as sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, landmarks, and heritage locations including historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for. Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service. You can find more information in the section on changes to facilities and services.

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

Heritage Locations

    • Some outdoor heritage locations can be visited for the purposes of exercise and recreation (for example, for a picnic), where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact (see below) and should stay local (within the village, town, or part of the city where they live) but can travel a short distance within the local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). Where possible, you should minimise travel. This applies to outdoor heritage locations including cultural World Heritage Sites and historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for.
    • Those outdoor venues that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service.
    • Indoor locations, such as roofed and enclosed historic buildings remain closed, although any grounds including car parks and toilets can remain open, where they can be accessed separately to the indoor attractions.
    • Visitor centres remain closed, at both indoor and outdoor heritage locations. Toilets may remain open.
    • Events and meetings: Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, they must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You should check the guidance for the Visitor Economy and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.
    • Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: Weddings and civil partnerships are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.

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

Hotels and Guest Accommodation

    • Events and meetings: permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, they must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You should check the guidance for the Visitor Economy and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on business meetings and events.
    • Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: Weddings and civil partnerships are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.
    • Hospitality: there are restrictions on how you provide food and drink, and hospitality facilities (such as restaurants, bars and pubs) in your venue must remain closed, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery. You can find more information in the section on hospitality (food and drinks), and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

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

  • Certification Consultation

One of the four reviews that the Government announced on 22nd Feb to sit alongside the Roadmap as on the use of Certification. The government is reviewing whether COVID-status certification could play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. Such certification would be available both to vaccinated people and to unvaccinated people who have been tested. As part of this the Government is undertaking a short, 2 week consultation the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of a potential certification scheme, and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/covid-status-certification-review-call-for-evidence/covid-status-certification-review-call-for-evidence

  • Further Details on Wedding Reopening
    • Step 1 - 8 March

Weddings of 6 can happen but these should only be in exceptional circumstances. Receptions are not permitted.

    • Step 1a - 29 March

Weddings of 6 can happen (with no requirement for this to be in exceptional circumstances). Receptions can only take place in line with social contact limits (i.e. outdoors in a group of six, or two households).

    • Step 2 – 12 April

Weddings and receptions are permitted for up to 15 people.

    • Step 3 – 17 May

Weddings and receptions can proceed with up to 30 people. A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

    • Step 4 – 21 June

Ahead of this date, the Government will launch the Events Research Programme, to consider how and when restrictions can be lifted from large events including wedding receptions.

  • Budget Debate

There was a budget debate in the Lords on Friday at which Baroness Doocey again raised the issue of support for tourism businesses that have so far fallen through the cracks in terms of support (I’ve attached a copy of her speech). She is following up on this with Lord Agnew so I will let you know of the outcome of this.

  • Bus Back Better

The Government has published it’s long-term national bus strategy for England (excluding London). The strategy aims to reform of how bus services are planned and delivered. The core of the strategy for every local transport authority and bus operator in England to be in a statutory enhanced partnership or a franchising arrangement. The Government will make £25 million available for these to be developed and to produce Bus Service Improvement Plans by the end of October 2021. These plans are to set out a roadmap to better services for passengers and communities, urban and rural, and be driven by local needs. The strategy also includes a commitment to consult on ending the sale of new diesel buses by 2030 and the announcement that 17 rural and suburban communities will receive £20 million from the government’s Rural Mobility Fund to trial on-demand services that are able to get closer to where people live and at a time convenient for them.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/969205/DfT-Bus-Back-Better-national-bus-strategy-for-England.pd

  • CMA Analysis of Complaints and Activities

The CMA has produced an analysis of the complaints that it has received during the outbreak. The two most significant sources of complaint being price increases and cancellations and refunds – which have  accounted for the majority of complaints since March 2020. These complaints peaked at 22,500 complaints in May before rapidly dropping off and have remained level at around 2,000 complaints a month since October 2020. In terms of value,  weddings accounted for only 2,400 complaints but the average value of the complaint was very high at £6,500.  Due to the level of these complaints, the CMA’s activities have on various components of the tourism industry and the report highlights the actions that have been taken in respect to Holiday companies, airlines, wedding organisers and holiday letting firms.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/update-on-work-of-the-cma-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-15-march-2021/protecting-consumers-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-update-on-the-work-of-the-cma#tackling-harmful-practices

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TIER UPDATE 12 MARCH

First steps out of lockdown for Wales

This afternoon First Minister Mark Drakeford outlined Wales’ first steps out of lockdown. The stay-at-home restrictions will be replaced by a new interim stay local rule in Wales from Saturday 13 March. The new stay local rule will mean people can leave their homes and travel within their local area – usually within 5 miles. Local outdoor sports facilities will also be opened. The 5-mile rule of thumb will be set out in guidance – people living in some parts of Wales, especially rural areas, may need to travel further than 5 miles to access shops and other public services.

 From Saturday 13 March:

  • No more than 4 people from 2 households will be able to meet in their local area outdoors, including in gardens. Children under 11 and carers do not count towards this limit. There must be no indoors mixing and social distancing should be followed.
  • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen, including tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens. A maximum of 4 people from 2 households can take part in activities using local sports facilities.
  • Indoor care home visits can resume for one designated visitor, with the permission of the care home.

 From Monday 15 March:

  • All primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return.
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen by appointment only to cut hair.

 From Monday 22 March:

  • The first steps to re-open non-essential retail will begin. Restrictions on the sale of non-essential items will be lifted for those shops, which are currently open.
  • Garden centres will also reopen.

During the third week of the review period, the Welsh government will look at the latest evidence before confirming changes for the Easter holidays. If the public health conditions continue to be favourable, from 27 March:

  • The stay local restrictions will be lifted to allow people to travel within Wales.
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation will re-open for one household.
  • Organised children’s activities outdoors will restart.
  • Libraries will reopen.

The review on 1 April will consider whether all remaining shops and close contact services can reopen on the 12 April. This is in line with planned re-opening in England.

Extra £150 million to support businesses in Wales

An additional £150 million has been announced to support businesses in Wales not yet able to open. Businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates qualify for this additional payment. This fund will operate as a top up to the Restrictions Business Fund. An eligible business with a rateable value of £12,000 or less receive an extra £4,000 grant payment. Firms with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £500,000 will receive £5,000. The funding, aimed at helping businesses with their costs up to 31 March, will be available to firms regardless of the number of employees. Businesses that pay non-domestic rates and have already received a payment since the firebreak in October do not need to take action. However, businesses that have not registered with their local authority, should take action now to ensure they receive the financial support they are entitled to.

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 12 MARCH

  • CJRS Guidance Updated

The guidance documents for businesses in the details of the scheme and how to apply have been updated to incorporate the extension of the furlough until the end of September – so these are the ones to send out to your members.

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

  • Changes to Scottish Guidance

The Scottish Government has updated it’s Stay at Home guidance to allow:

    • Up to 4 adults from up to 2 households can meet outdoors – you should still stay as close to home as possible adults can take part in outdoor non-contact sport and organised group exercise in groups of up to 15 people
    • Young people aged 12 to 17 can meet outdoors in groups of up to 4 people from 4 different households take part in outdoor non-contact sports and other organised activities in groups of up to 15 people - and travel across local council boundaries to take part in these activities

The Scottish Government also announced plans to allow communal worship to restart with up to 50 people from 26 March

At present, and subject to review, the Scottish Government plans to move the country to Level Three status on 26th April, which will allow hospitality businesses to open.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/

  • Impact of Coronavirus on the Economy

With the publication of the GDP and trade figures today, the ONS has also produced an analysis of the impact on different sectors of the UK economy. As ever, this highlights that the tourism businesses are still being disproportionate impacted. Some of the key findings are, unsurprisingly, that:

    • Aviation is operating at just 6.4% of what it was in February 2020
    • Tour Operators and Travel Agents are down 88.7% on Feb 2020
    • The Accommodation sector is down 79.3%
    • Arts and entertainment is down 68.7%
    • Pubs and restaurants are down by 63.3%

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/articles/coronavirusandtheimpactonoutputintheukeconomy/january2021

Interestingly, however, the ONS’s weekly social impact survey shows that perceptions of life returning to normal stagnated this week with 30% of adults feeling that life will return to normal in six months or less (down from 32% last week) while 20% felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal (the same as last week).

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/12march2021

  • Environment Agency Boating Guidance

The Environment Agency has updated it’s guidance on boating along the lines of the Q&A answer on boating that I sent through a couple of day’s ago. The guidance is:

    • For all steps of the Government roadmap, those who live aboard their boats can continue to travel to access essential services and facilities.
    • From 29 March, people should still avoid travelling further than is reasonably necessary on board their boat or to take part in their waterway activity, continue to stay local where possible and minimise travel throughout the first 3 steps of the roadmap. “Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.”
    • Boats and businesses must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits at each step unless meeting the conditions for a permitted organised gathering. These will be reintroduced at Step 2 for outdoor gatherings and Step 3 for indoor gatherings.
    • Where activities are permitted, you must still adhere to the latest social distancing rules. COVID-Secure guidance will also remain in place up to and including Step 3 (subject to a proposed review of social distancing rules ahead of Step 4).
    • Anyone making plans for later in the summer should follow government advice carefully and check GOV.UK to ensure you are keeping yourselves and others safe.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-environment-agency-update

  • R Number and Growth Rate

This week’s R Number and Growth Rate are 0.6 to 0.8 and -7% to -4% respectively. This is lower than last week’s  R number of 0.7 to 0.9 and growth rate of -5% to -3%  which suggests that, so far, the reopening of education has not impacted on infection rates which is good news.

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

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TIER UPDATE 11 MARCH

Please find below today’s TIER and Tourism Alliance Updates – note the shaded information directly relevant to business travel and business events. The first shaded item results from Brexit. The latter is related to permission to allow accommodation provision associated with training and educational meeting which we notified partners of yesterday.

Please also note the following updates:

Outdoor Event Guidance – New Version

A new version of the COVID Guidance for outdoor events is now available here.   This guidance contains the latest information and has been comprehensively restructured – so please use this rather than previous versions. 

Protect Duty Consultation

The Home Office has issued a consultation on plans to require businesses that are accessible to the public to assess the risks from terrorism, put measures in place for minimising these and for how they would respond if something occurs.   The proposals will affect most events.   You can see the consultation at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/protect-duty

Update from Northern Ireland

In a press briefing today, Northern Ireland First Minister, Arlene Foster, shared that the Executive has agreed to 100% rates relief for retail, hospitality, leisure, airports, entertainment and tourism for 2021/22. 

She went on to announce a £1.175m Travel Agents Scheme. Support will include a flat payment of either £10,000 to travel agency businesses operating from commercial premises, or a payment of £3,500 to self-employed travel agents working from home.

The scheme will be launched on 19 March 2021 and will be open until 26 March 2021. More information including eligibility criteria is available here.

A review of the current restrictions will take place next Tuesday.

UK Government announces extension to ban on commercial evictions

The UK Government announced yesterday that the ban on commercial evictions has been extended for a further 3 months until 30 June 2021. Any businesses that can pay all or any of their rent should do so. Further information can be found here.

Welsh Government to provide an additional £380m package of non-domestic rates relief for businesses

Minister for Finance and Trefnydd Rebecca Evans, announced yesterday that all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of up to £500,000 will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief for the duration of 2021-22. Local authorities in Wales will be responsible for the administration of the scheme.

Read the cabinet statement here

Welsh Government extends measures to protect businesses from eviction until end of June 2021

The Welsh Government has announced that retail, hospitality, tourism and other businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic will now be protected from eviction until 30 June 2021. Businesses should continue to pay rent wherever possible.

Read the full announcement here.

Economic Resilience Fund Sector Specific Grant application deadline tomorrow

The application window for the Sector Specific Grant for Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism phase 2 is currently open and will close at 8pm tomorrow (Friday 12 March), or until funds are fully committed.

Find out more on the Business Wales website and use the criteria tool to check eligibility before applying.

Further investment and extension of the Employer Incentive Scheme in Wales

The Welsh Government has invested a further £18.7 million to extend incentives to support businesses in recruiting apprentices in Wales. The Employer Incentive Scheme, which will now run until 30 September, enables businesses to claim up to £4,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is an uplift from the previous £3,000 grant.

  • The £4,000 incentive will be available to businesses that are employing a young apprentice for at least 30 hours per week.
  • Welsh businesses could also receive £2,000 for each new under 25 year old apprentice they employ for less than 30 hours a week, which is an increase of £500.
  • For workers aged 25 and over, businesses can access £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire on a 30 hour or more contract, and a £1,000 incentive for apprentices working less than 30 hours.
  • Payments are restricted to ten learners per business.

More information on the scheme is available on the Business Wales Skills Gateway. Read the press release here.

Other updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 11 MARCH

  • Business Travel to the EU

This one is a Brexit rather than Coronavirus. The Government has produced a new explainer document for people travelling to the EU on business.

You will need a visa or work permit if you are:

    • taking part in activities or providing services that are not covered by a country’s visa-waiver rules
    • staying for more than 90 days in a 180-day period for any reason
    • transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in a different country (‘intra-corporate transfer’), even for a short period of time
    • carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in another country in which your employer has no presence
    • providing services in another country as a self-employed person If you are travelling for less than 90 days in a 180-day period,

You will not need a visa if you are:

    • going to a business meeting, attending a conference, attending cultural or sports events or exchanges
    • travelling for journalistic or media purposes

If you’re taking goods worth more than £390  for business reasons you will need an ATA Carnet to avoid paying duty. This includes things like:

    • samples to show at trade fairs or sales meetings
    • publicity materials
    • recorded film and audio
    • equipment you need for work like laptops, cameras or sound equipment
    • goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
    • personal effects and sports goods

You will also need to make a customs declaration if you are taking commercial goods out of the UK

                https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/UKDECC/2021/03/01/file_attachments/1708487/Business%20Travel%20Explainer%20-%20FINAL.pdf

  • Educational Gatherings

With the restart of education, it is worth reminding everyone that there are a range of exemptions for businesses to provide accommodation for people undertaking educational activities and for businesses to host educational and training activities.

On the accommodation side, businesses can accept  " any person who needs accommodation for the purposes of education or training of a kind mentioned in paragraph 4(4) or, where that person is a child, their parent"

                Para 4 (4), which also covers the exemption on gatherings reads:

(4) Exception 3 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary for the purposes of—

(a) early years provision;

(b) educational activities of a school;

(c) a course of study or essential life skills training provided by—

(i) a 16 to 19 Academy,

(ii) a provider of further education, or

(iii) a higher education provider;

(d) activities relating to residing at a school, a 16 to 19 Academy or a provider of further education;

(e) provision specified in an education, health and care plan;

(f) the suitable education of a child otherwise than by regular attendance at school arranged by a parent in accordance with section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (and for this purpose “suitable education”

     has the meaning given by section 436A(3) of the Education Act 1996);

(g) the suitable education of a child otherwise than by regular attendance at school arranged by—

(i) a local authority, as defined by section 579(1) of the Education Act 1996, in accordance with section 19 of that Act, or

(ii) the proprietor of a school at which the child is a registered pupil, including where the arrangements are made in connection with section 29A of the Education Act 2002 or section 100 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, (and for this purpose “suitable education” has the meaning given by section 19(6) of the Education Act 1996);

(h) activities provided by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body for the purposes of—

(i) obtaining a regulated qualification, within the meaning of section 130 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, or

(ii )meeting all or part of the entry requirements for an educational institution;

(i) preparing for work through a skills programme consisting of—

(i) a work experience placement, or

(ii) work preparation training;

(j) applying for, and obtaining, work;

(k) meeting a requirement for a particular area of work;

(l) professional training that is working towards an external accreditation recognised by a professional body;

(m) exams and assessments carried out in connection with any of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (l).

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1374/schedule/3/paragraph/4/data.xht?view=snippet&wrap=true

  • IATA Consumer Confidence Poll

Attached is a copy of a survey that IATA have undertaken on consumer confidence in international travel which points to pent up demand and a willingness to travel. Quarantine restrictions, unsurprisingly, remain a massive blocker to travel and recovery. There is also very positive data on consumer acceptance of heath travel credentials and the need for standardised vaccine certificates. Some key points are:

Travel Restrictions

  • 88% believe that when opening borders, the right balance must be struck between managing COVID-19 risks and getting the economy going again
  • 85% believe that governments should set COVID-19 targets (such as testing capacity or vaccine distribution) to re-open borders
  • 84% believe that COVID-19 will not disappear, and we need to manage its risks while living and traveling normally
  • 68% agreed that their quality of life has suffered with travel restrictions
  • 49% believe that air travel restrictions have gone too far

Future Travel Trends

  • 57% expect to be traveling within two months of the pandemic being contained (improved from 49% in September 2020)
  • 72% want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible (improved from 63% in September 2020)
  • 81% believe that they will be more likely to travel once they are vaccinated
  • 84% said they will not travel if there is a chance of quarantine at destination (largely unchanged from 83% in September 2020)
  • 56% believe that they will postpone travel until the economy stabilizes (improved from 65% in September 2020)

IATA Travel Pass (a mobile phone app that manages people’s health credentials)

  • 89% of respondents believe that governments need to standardize vaccine and testing certificates
  • 80% are encouraged by the prospect of the IATA Travel Pass App and would use it as soon as available
  • 78% will only use a travel credential app if they have full control over their data
  • BVA-BDRC Sentiment Tracker

Also attached a copy of BVA-BDRC’s latest sentiment tracker. The headlines from the tracker are:

    • Britain is increasingly optimistic about the coronavirus crisis outlook
    • Anticipated timelines to normality shorten significantly
    • Britain’s out-of-home economy remains dormant, but more consumers feel ready to re-engage
    • Consumers are evenly split on whether they will re-visit old favourites or seek new destinations
    • Business sentiment and confidence in survival is on the up
  • On Your Bike

The Department for Transport has launched another wave of the Fix your Bike initiative whereby people can get a £50 voucher to have their bike fixed. The Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme has been set up to encourage more people to embrace cycling as a means of travel during the coronavirus pandemic, reduce congestion and improve physical activity. Here’s the link with more details and how to apply.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fix-your-bike-voucher-scheme-apply-for-a-voucher

  • Travel Test Package Guidance

The Government has produce a new guidance document for people booking a Travel Test Package – which is the testing that must be undertaken on days 2 and 8 of quarantining by people arriving into the UK. The new guidance document pulls together existing guidance and provides a list of providers that people can book tests from and the costs of these tests.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/providers-of-day-2-and-day-8-coronavirus-testing-for-international-arrivals

  • Holiday and Out-Of-School Clubs

New guidance has been produced for businesses that provide holiday and out-of-school activities for children.

As of 8 March, providers can offer face-to-face indoor and outdoor provision to:

  • vulnerable children and young people, under any circumstance
  • all other children, where the provision is one of the following:
  • reasonably necessary to enable their parents and carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need, or attend a support group
    • being used by electively home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education
    • being used as part of their efforts to obtain a regulated qualification, meet the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments

From 29 March out-of-school settings and wraparound providers will be able to offer the following provision.

    • Outdoor provision to all children, without restrictions on the purpose for which they may attend.
    • Indoor provision to:
      • vulnerable children and young people, under any circumstance
      • children on free school meals, where they are attending as part of the Department for Education’s holiday activities and food programme
      • all other children, where the provision is one of the following:
        • reasonably necessary to enable their parents and carers to work, search for work, undertake education or training, or attend a medical appointment or address a medical need, or attend a support group
        • being used by electively home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education
        • being used as part of their efforts to obtain a regulated qualification, meet the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments

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

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TIER UPDATE 10 MARCH

UK Government announces vision for Improvements to transport infrastructure

 As part of an announcement today by Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson setting out his vision to improve connectivity across the UK, the government will launch a consultation on reforming Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the spring. They will consult on cutting Air Passenger Duty (APD) on internal UK flights and will include options to change the APD treatment for domestic flights, such as reintroducing a return leg exemption or creation of a new lower domestic rate. In addition, it will also look at the case for increasing the number of international distance bands.

The interim report of Sir Peter Hendy’s union connectivity review was published today. £20 million has been committed towards exploring the development of projects such as:

  • Improved rail connectivity between the north coast of Wales and England
  • Upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer – a key route for south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland but almost entirely single-carriageway
  • Faster rail links from England to Scotland, including looking at options to enhance the West Coast Main Line
  • Rail improvements in south-east Wales, building on ideas from the Welsh Government’s Burns Commission

The government will receive the final union connectivity review recommendations ahead of the Spending Review, where it will consider and confirm funding plans for delivering improved connectivity across the UK.

On connectivity £4.3 million has also been announced to fund a 2-year extension to the flight route between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted – beginning on 1 April 2021. The route, which is jointly funded by the Department for Transport and the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy. Loganair is set to continue operating 13 return flights a week.

Other updates

Member updates:

Cruise Britain has shared that at the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group, Maritime Minister Robert Courts said that that domestic cruising in England (Phase 1 of restart) is included in Stage 3 of the England Roadmap, meaning it could restart from 17 May at the earliest. We will share further information on this when it is available.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 10 MARCH

  • Consultation on APD

The Prime Minister, in a range of transport initiatives launched today (see below), has announced that the Government will launch a consultation this spring on reforming Air Passenger Duty tax in order to boost air transport connections within the UK. The Government will also be exploring new requirements to offset emissions and continue to decarbonise aviation

The consultation will include options to change the APD treatment for domestic flights, such as reintroducing a return leg exemption or creation of a new lower domestic rate and will look at the case for increasing the number of international distance bands.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/move-to-boost-transport-connections-across-the-whole-of-the-uk

  • Ban On Commercial Evictions Extended

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has announced that the Government has extended the ban on commercial evictions until to 30 June in order to help support businesses during the re-opening phase. In addition, the Government is also launched a call for evidence on commercial rents to help monitor the overall progress of negotiations between tenants and landlords. The call for evidence will also set out potential steps that government could take after 30 June, ranging from a phased withdrawal of current protections to legislative options targeted at those businesses most impacted by COVID-19. This call for evidence will inform a review of commercial landlord and tenant legislation later this year and will consider a broad range of issues including the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 Part II, different models of rent payment, and the impact of Coronavirus on the market.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-support-for-commercial-and-residential-tenants

  • Accessing Green Spaces Safely

The guidance on public outdoor spaces that people can visit to exercise or to undertake outdoor recreation (such as having a picnic) has been updated. The current list is:

    • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
    • public and botanical gardens - whether or not you pay to enter them
    • the grounds of a heritage site
    • outdoor attractions at sculpture parks
    • allotments
    • public playgrounds
    • parks or village greens that have freely accessible sports equipment - such as football goals

It should be noted that people must minimise the amount of time they spend outside their home and should not travel outside their local area – so this does not allow daytrips to the seaside or to visit outdoor gardens and attractions outside their area.

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

  • VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

The VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme was launched on 23 February and allows businesses to:

    • pay deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free
    • choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when the business joins the scheme join)

The guidance has been updated so that, from today, businesses on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, can now join this scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deferral-of-vat-payments-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Funding for London – Derry Route

The Government has announced that it will provide Loganair with £4.3 million to fund 13 return flights a week between City of Derry Airport and London Stansted for a period of two tears from 1 April 2021 in order to keep this route open.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vital-flight-route-between-london-and-derry-to-continue-as-government-agrees-43-million-funding-boost

  • Union Connectivity Review

The Government announced the Union Connectivity Review last year. The purpose of the review being to consider:

    • the quality and reliability of major connections across the UK
    • likely current and future demand for transport links
    • the environmental impact of policy options (including with regard to climate change)
    • existing work completed by the government on cross-UK connectivity

Today, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, who is undertaking the review, published the interim report which sets out the following key issues. The ones with tourism implications are:

    • Faster and higher capacity connections for passengers from HS2 to Scotland and North Wales, and consequently better freight capacity too
    • Higher capacity and faster journey times to and from Scotland from England and Wales and Newcastle by rail (East Coast Main Line) and road (A1)
    • A higher capacity and faster connection on the A75 from the ferry port at Cairnryan to the M6 corridor for freight and passengers to and from Northern Ireland
    • Relief from congestion for the M4 corridor in South Wales, on which the Burns Commission recently reported to the Welsh Government, and consequent improvements to the South Wales main line
    • Better port capacity at Holyhead, and connections from Ynys Môn and the North Wales coast to Merseyside and Manchester for freight and passengers
    • Faster and higher capacity connections from Belfast to North West Northern Ireland, and to the Republic of Ireland, for passengers and freight, and to link with the Republic’s plans for rail development
    • Better air links to England to and from Northern Ireland and Northern Scotland, including but not exclusively to and from London Heathrow, for worldwide connections for passengers and freight; including the appropriate rate of Air Passenger Duty for journeys not realistic by rail

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/968214/DfT-Union-Connectivity-Review-Interim-Report-March-2021-accessible.pdf

                Building on this, the Prime Minister has announced £20m for exploring the development of projects such as:

    • improved rail connectivity between the north coast of Wales and England
    • upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer – a key route for south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland but almost entirely single-carriageway
    • significantly faster rail links from England to Scotland, including looking at options to enhance the West Coast Main Line
    • rail improvements in south-east Wales, building on ideas from the Welsh Government’s Burns Commission

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/move-to-boost-transport-connections-across-the-whole-of-the-uk

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TIER UPDATE 9 MARCH

Please find below today’s TIER and Tourism Alliance Updates.

Success!! – Businesses in the events sector now specifically mentioned in the ARG grant guidance. See shaded text below.

Changes to Level 4 restrictions in Scotland

First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon today announced changes to Level 4 restrictions that can take place from Friday 12 March:

  • Up to four adults from two households will be able to meet locally in any outdoor space, including in private gardens, for social and recreational purposes as well as exercise. People should only go indoors if it is essential in order to reach a back garden, or to go to the toilet.
  • Outdoor non-contact sports and group exercise will also resume for adults in groups of up to 15 people.
  • Young people aged 12 to 17 can meet outdoors in groups of up to four people from four different households, participate in outdoor non-contact sports, and other organised activities in groups of up to 15 and travel across local authority boundaries to participate in such activities.

Should progress suppressing the virus continue, the Scottish Government intends to reopen places of worship with attendance limits increased from 20 to 50 where there is space for social distancing on Friday 26 March. A final decision will be taken on Tuesday 23 March ahead of Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi.

Global Travel Taskforce terms of reference

The Terms of Reference have been published here. There is an opportunity to offer your thoughts and share any written evidence or ideas by emailing globaltraveltaskforce@dft.gov.uk

Subsidy allowance and application deadlines for COVID support grants
Following the increase in cap on COVID support grants to businesses in England, details of the new subsidy allowance which came into effect on 4 March have been added to the following guidance, along with the deadline for applications:

Businesses should apply using their local council’s website.

Other government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 9 MARCH

  • Grant Subsidy Allowance

The Government has updated the guidance on the current grants that are available to businesses in line with the Government’s recent announcement that the State Aid caps were being changed now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU. The replacement for Coronavirus support is called the Grant Subsidy Allowance and has a cap of £10,935,000, which consists of three components:

  1. Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance

Businesses allowed up to £335,000 (subject to exchange rates) over any period of 3 years

  1. COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance

Businesses are allowed up to £1,600,000

  1. COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance

Businesses that have reached their limits under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance and COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance may be able to access a further allowance of funding under these scheme rules of up to £9,000,000, provided certain conditions are met

The details of these three allowances is available in the updated guidance documents for the different grant schemes

ARG

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966854/20210304_Additional_Restrictions_Grant_-_LA_guidance.pdf

LRSG (Closed)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966855/20210304_Local_Restrictions_Support_Grant__CLOSED__applicable_2_December_-_LA_guidance.pdf

LRSG (Sector)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966861/20210304_Local_Restrictions_Support_Grant_-__SECTOR__-_LA_guidance.pdf

                Christmas Support Payment for Pubs

                https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-christmas-support-payment-for-wet-led-pubs

  • Closing Dates for Grant Applications

The Government has also updated the closing dates for applications to the various grants. These are:

LRSG (Closed)

National lockdown, 5 November 2020

31 March 2021

National lockdown, 5 January 2021: first payment cycle, 5 January to 15 February

31 March 2021

National lockdown, 5 January 2021: second payment cycle, 16 February to 31 March

31 May 2021

 LRSG (Sector)

Closing Date - 31 March 2021

 LRSG (Open)

 Closing Date – 31 March 2021

Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment

Closing Date - 31 March 2021.

  • ARG Update

The guidance on the ARG grant has been updated to specifically include tourism and events businesses that are not eligible for other grants.

Local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. However, we expect the funding to help those businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions.

This could include:

  • businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
  • businesses in the tourism and events sectors
  • business required to close but which do not pay business rates

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant

  • Updated Financial Support Finder

The government’s online tool for helping businesses find what financial support they are entitled to has been updated in line with recent changes to support announced in the budget

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

Subject: COVID-Secure guidance – BEIS request for feedback

To whom it may concern,

On Monday, the Prime Minister set out the government’s roadmap for cautiously easing lockdown restrictions in England. While the vaccination rollout, alongside falling infections and hospitalisations, is paving the way for the safe and gradual lifting of restrictions, we must be mindful not to prematurely relax the safety measures that have been put in place to protect our workers and the most vulnerable in our society.

The Prime Minister announced that people should continue to work from home and minimise travel wherever possible. For those businesses that are permitted to open, it is crucial they continue to follow the COVID-Secure guidance. In line with guidance, we would encourage businesses to take the time to review their risk assessments and refresh as needed.

At this key point in the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to take this opportunity to build on the collective input and insights shared by businesses, unions and representative organisations, which resulted in our COVID-Secure guidance, which was published in May 2020.

Since then, we have kept the guidance under constant review on the basis of the latest scientific advice from Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, as well as user perspectives from representative organisations, unions and individual businesses.

Following the publication of the roadmap, we are therefore writing to you again to seek your latest feedback on the COVID-Secure guidance alongside your reflections on how the roadmap may impact your workplace settings.

We are keen to understand how well the guidance has been working in practice when it comes to business operations, workplace safety, disproportionate impacts, and any wider lessons learned to date.

We ask that you share this feedback by responding to this email (safer.workplaces@beis.gov.uk) by Friday 12 March so that we are able to gather and synthesise your combined insights, informing any further evolution of the guidance over the coming weeks.

Best regards

BEIS Safer Working Team

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TIER UPDATE 8 MARCH

Today’s press briefing was led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and he was joined by England's deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries and the briefing focused on schools reopening as part of the first step of the roadmap.

A question was asked on vaccine passports and how they would work for those aged under 16. Boris Johnson confirmed that the government are looking at ways a vaccine certificate may work and that consideration will be given to those who are under 16 or cannot have a vaccine, for instance due to medical circumstances.

Letter to local authorities on supporting the reopening of outdoor hospitality

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick has written a letter to local authorities outlining that in step 2 of the Government’s roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoor and the measures to support the safe re-opening of hospitality businesses. The letter states:

Al fresco dining

  • Continuation of the simplified route for pubs, restaurants and cafes to obtain a temporary pavement licence to place furniture including outdoor tables and seating on the highway, including a capped application fee of £100 and a 10-working day consultation and determination period.
  • Licences to be granted for 12 months or more unless there are good reasons not to, and an expectation that licences granted under these provisions to continue to apply into this summer so that businesses do not have to reapply or be charged a further application fee when they are able to re-open to serve customers outdoors.
  • Currently due to expire on 30 September 2021, but subject to Parliamentary approval, this will be extended for a further 12 months,

Freedom to use land for community events and outdoor hospitality

  • Continuation of greater flexibility for businesses to hold outdoor events such as summer fairs or motorsports on land without the need for a planning application
  • Car-boot sales, or people or businesses such as pubs wishing to set up marquees will also be exempt.
  • Such temporary events to be allowed for 56 days until 31 December 2021.

Outdoor markets

  • A new temporary right, extended to March 2022, that allows local authorities, either by themselves or by others on their behalf, to use land to hold a market without having to apply for planning permission.

Takeaways

  • Measures to support restaurants, drinking establishments such as pubs and cafes to serve takeaway food when they were otherwise closed due to coronavirus restrictions extended until March 2022.

Businesses can register to order free lateral flow tests for employees

Businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can register from today to order free lateral flow tests for their employees. The lateral flow tests will remain free until the end of June and registration closes on 31 March.

More information on rapid workplace testing is available on an online portal for businesses as well as information to plan and deliver a testing programme.

If small businesses cannot offer rapid workplace testing, all local authorities in England are now offering rapid lateral flow testing and businesses can find their local test site online.

Updates to guidance in England based on new guidance coming into effect from 8 March

There have been updates to the following pages:

 Updates to guidance following new declaration form for travel outside of the UK from England

Following the announcement that from today people travelling outside the UK from England must complete a declaration form stating the reason that they need to travel abroad, there have been updates to Gov.uk to reflect the new guidance:

Advice for consumers:

Advice for industry:

NB Tourism Alliance update for 8 March is a repeat of the above

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TIER UPDATE 5 MARCH

This evening Matt Hancock was joined by Dr Susan Hopkins from Public Health England and they gave an overview of the health situation including falling cases, the vaccine programme and testing. See the full statement here.

Cap on COVID support grants raised

On 4 March Paul Scully MP announced on twitter the cap on COVID support grants has been increased from £3m to £10.9m. The guidelines for local authorities have been updated. In summary for businesses it means:

  • On Thursday 4 March new subsidy allowances were established for the COVID-19 business grants schemes, on the basis of the principles set out in Article 3.4 of the TCA.
  • Grants under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance, the COVID-19 Business Grant Allowance and the COVID-19 Business Grant Special Allowance may be combined for a potential total allowance of £10,935,000 (subject to the exact amount applicable under the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance Allowance using the Special Drawing Right calculator).
  • From Thursday 4 March Local Authorities must apply the updated scheme rules set out in updated guidance documents for the following

Business support package for January 2021 lockdown

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) addendum

Additional Restrictions Grant

  • The updated scheme rules do not apply retrospectively. Therefore, where a Local Authority has previously rejected an applicant’s application before Thursday 4 March on the grounds that the applicant had reached previous scheme limits, the Local Authority must not revisit this decision. The applicant may however submit a new application if still within a current payment cycle.
  • Local Authorities should not accept applications or make retrospective payments to those businesses where the payment cycle has passed.  

New mandatory form for international travel (England)

From 8 March 2021, people must complete a declaration form stating the reason that they need to travel abroad. The form must be completed for anyone travelling outside the UK from England. Different rules apply for international travel from Northern IrelandScotland and Wales. People don’t need to complete the form for travel within the UK, to Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. People may be asked to show this declaration form at the port of departure. They may carry evidence to support your reason for travel. Entering a port of departure to travel internationally without a completed form is a criminal offence, for which fines apply. Some people are exempt from completing the declaration form because of the job they do. Find out about which jobs are exempt and the conditions that apply.

Guidance is available here and the full list of legally permitted reasons here.

Updated guidance for the use of waterways in England

From 29 March, as part of the first step, ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions will be lifted, however government guidance instructs people to continue to stay local where possible and minimise travel throughout the first 3 steps of the roadmap. “Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.” This means that during the first step from 29th March, people should avoid travelling further than is reasonably necessary on board their boat or to take part in their waterway activity. All references to permitted activities must still adhere to the latest social distancing rules. COVID-Secure guidance will also remain in place up to and including Step 3 (subject to a proposed review of social distancing rules ahead of Step 4). Boats and businesses must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits at each step unless meeting the conditions for a permitted organised gathering. These will be reintroduced at Step 2 for outdoor gatherings and Step 3 for indoor gatherings.

Anyone making plans for later in the summer should follow government advice carefully and check GOV.UK to ensure they are keeping themselves and others safe.

All boating activity on waterways should follow the guidance set out here .

Other updates:

  • Updated information  has been added to the Kickstart Scheme guidance on ‘How you will get the funding’ and more detail to the steps in ‘Getting the young people into the job placements’.
  • An overview of the similarities and differences between the fortnightly Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) survey furlough estimates and HMRC’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme data, over the period 23 March 2020 to 31 January 2021 has been published.
  • New ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of coronavirus guidance is available. This includes guidance for workplaces and for workplaces

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 5 MARCH

  • New ARG funding

With the allocation of a further £450m to the ARG in the budget, there is a further opportunity for businesses to apply for funding. To help businesses with this, a link to the bulletin that the LGA sent out in January that highlights the Minister’s statement in parliament that coach and tour operators, ELS and event organisers are eligible for these funds and should be supported is available here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKLGA/bulletins/2bd2c1b

  • ARG Funding For Tourism Businesses

In response to the disappointment that a number of sectors of the tourism industry such as tour and coach operators and English Language Schools are not included in the updated LRSG guidance, the Tourism Minister has again Tweeted a link to a speech he made in parliament where he affirmed that these businesses were eligible for ARG grants and called on Councils to give them due consideration to prioritising support.

 

  • ONS’s Social Impact Monitoring

There’s some good news from the latest round of ONS’s social impact monitoring. The proportion of adults that felt that life will return to normal within six months increased by almost 50% (from 22% to 32%) over the last week, while the proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year decreased by almost a third (from 27% to 20%). This is a very substantial change in the space of a week and is the first time since June 2020 that more than 30% of people thought that life will return to normal within 6 months.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/5march2021#perceptions-of-the-future

  • Graduate Entry Route

The Home Office has confirmed that the Graduate Route will open for applications on 1 July 2021. This route will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above and who have valid Tier 4 or Student permission at the time of application. Successful applicants will be able to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years (three for Doctoral students), and, once they have found a suitable job, will be able to apply to the Skilled Worker route from within the UK. The cost is £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge at the full rate of £624 per year and the graduate does not need a sponsor in order to apply.

This move should go some way to help tourism businesses recruit employees with the skills that they need without going through the sponsored immigration route. It also means that businesses with ongoing recruitment needs should form closer relationships with local tertiary institutions.

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/14/fact-sheet-graduate-immigration-route/

To help with recruitment and labour issues, I’ve also attached a copy of a new explanatory Document that the Home Office have sent through for distribution to businesses wth detail on everything from the EU Settlement Scheme, the Points based Immigration policy and the various entry routes

  • State Aid Limited Increased to £10.9m

Paul Scully has confirmed via twitter that the government is removing the EU Sate Aid cap of £3m and replace it with a higher limit of £10.9m. This will help many large businesses in the tourism sector which would otherwise not have benefitted from the additional support announced in the budget on Wednesday.

 https://twitter.com/scullyp/status/1367447728406601737?s=20

  • Furlough Statistics

The latest round of furlough statistics have been released and show, yet again, that tourism businesses are the most impacted with around 60% of people working in the sector being on furlough in January compared to just 20% for UK businesses as a whole.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/articles/comparisonoffurloughedjobsdata/march2020tojanuary2021#sector-comparison

  • Vulnerability Analysis

ONS have also undertaken an analysis of the types of jobs that have been most and least vulnerable to reduced hours or pay during the coronavirus. The analysis again highlights the impact on the hospitality sector and the need to protect people in the industry. Two key findings are:

  • Waiters and waitresses saw a pay decrease of 10.0% compared with 2019; 77.3% were furloughed.
  • Chefs, and restaurant and catering managers saw similar drops in pay, and staff in these jobs were furloughed at a rate of 67.9% and 72.8%, respectively.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/visualisations/dvc1227/index.html

  • Kick Start Update

The guidance for the Kick Start scheme has been updated (yet again) to include more detail on the process for hiring an employee and the payment schedule for people employed through the scheme. The process for recruiting someone is:

  • You or your Kickstart gateway will give DWP job descriptions that work coaches at Jobcentre Plus will use to match candidates to the job placements.
  • You or your Kickstart gateway will receive a notification email each time a young person is referred to the job placement (‘referrals’).
  • Referred candidates may choose to apply for the job placement.
  • You’ll then be able to interview the candidates who have applied.
  • You or your Kickstart gateway will tell DWP when the young person has started so we can process the funding.

The payment schedule is

 

Funding type

When we usually process the funding

When you’ll usually receive the funding

Setup costs

After you or your gateway has told DWP the young person has started

Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed

First wage payment

6 weeks after the start date

Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed

All other wage payments

4 weeks after the previous wage payment

Up to 11 working days after it’s been processed

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-kickstart-scheme-grant

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TIER UPDATE FOR 4 MARCH

Further to discussions at the meeting, during a Parliament debate on Golf Tourism on 27 January, the Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston provided a comment that may be useful to include to support applications for grant schemes through local authorities. The minutes from the debate are available here, (see column 503) and a direct quote from the Tourism Minister is below:

‘I have received a number of reports that some tourism-related businesses, which might not be ratepayers and are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance on these grant schemes, are being deemed ineligible by some local authorities. To be clear to those local authorities and those businesses, although the ultimate decision is at the local authority’s discretion, the fund can, and in my opinion certainly should, be used to provide grants to tour operators, coach operators, school travel companies, English language schools, event organisers and similar businesses, all of which serve as vital facilitators to the tourism industry even if they do not sell to consumers directly on a specific premise. I therefore encourage and expect local authorities to be sympathetic to applications from those businesses and others that have been impacted by covid-19 restrictions but are ineligible for the other grant schemes.’

Please see today’s updates below.

Government announce new Graduate route for international students

The Government has announced today that the new Graduate route will open for applications on 1 July 2021, to allow the UK to retain international students from around the world.  The Graduate route will be unsponsored, meaning applicants will not need a job offer in order to be eligible. There will be no minimum salary requirements nor caps on numbers. Graduates on the route will be able to work flexibly, switch jobs and develop their career as required.

Find out more information here.

Other updates

Information has been added to the following pages about government legislating to extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT:

The page on applying for the Zoo Animals Fund has been updated to reflect the extension of the deadline to 28 May, and the scheme deadline to 30 June.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 4 MARCH

  • Updated Grant Guidance

The guidance for the LRSG (Closed), LRSG (Open) and ARG have been updated with closing dates added, subsidy allowance guidelines amended and clarification of the requirement for a business to have been trading before restrictions were announced in order to be eligible for funding. I’ve had a quick look through and can’t see any substantive changes.

LRSG (Closed)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966855/20210304_Local_Restrictions_Support_Grant__CLOSED__applicable_2_December_-_LA_guidance.pdf

LRSG (Open)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966858/20210304_Local_Restrictions_Support_Grant__OPEN__applicable_2_December_-_LA_guidance.pdf

LRSG (Sector)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966861/20210304_Local_Restrictions_Support_Grant_-__SECTOR__-_LA_guidance.pdf

ARG

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966854/20210304_Additional_Restrictions_Grant_-_LA_guidance.pdf

  • Night Flights Restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted

DfT has launched a consultation night flights restrictions post 2024 at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The consultation is seeking views and evidence on:

    • revising night flight dispensation guidance, allowing airport operators and the Secretary of State for Transport to disregard movements from the existing restrictions in certain circumstances
    • the night flight restrictions at the designated airports beyond 2024 including:
      • structure of the government’s night noise quota count system
      • length of the future regime
      • future movement and noise quota allowances
    • national night flight policy, including on the health impacts of aviation noise at night and the economic value of night flights plus the emergence of new technology

This consultation will close on 31 May 2021 so if you have any views that you would like incorporated into a response, please let me know.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flights-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-beyond-2024-plus-national-night-flight-policy/night-flights-restrictions-at-heathrow-gatwick-and-stansted-airports-beyond-2024-plus-national-night-flight-policy

  • Guidance for Boarding School Students from Red List Countries

The government has published guidance for Boarding school that have students coming to stay from Red List countries when they open on 8th March.

The key feature of the guidance is that, rather than being required to stay at a quarantine hotel, the quarantine for boarding school students is to take place in accommodation that comprises of residential facilities organised by the school or college in England that the student is due to attend. However to do this, Schools should send these students:

    • a copy of the letter from the Department for Education to the school confirming that boarding school students are covered by an exception
    • a letter from their school to the boarding school student meeting the requirements set out in the letter from the Department for Education to the school

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966598/Boarding_school_students_from_red_list_countries_quarantine_arrangements_1.pdf

  • Guidance for Student Sponsors, Migrants and Short-Term Students

Speaking of students, the Government has produced a new version of its guidance for student sponsors for the reopening of schools. The main changes to the former guidance are:

    • Added clarification confirming that sponsors are able to use the current Student sponsor guidance to permit students to defer their studies for a period exceeding 60 days due to exceptional circumstances.
    • Graduate route launch date added following confirmation of launch date.
    • Amended date that students must have entered the UK by to remain eligible for the Graduate route and clarification added to refer to any eligible course for the route, including one-year masters programmes
    • Clarification added to confirm that students who have previously entered within the validity of their permission will be eligible provided they re-enter before the expiry of their permission and make an in-time application for the Graduate route

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966653/Student_Guidance_-_Covid-19_response_03032021_FINAL.pdf

  • Advice For Temporary UK Residents

The Home Office has amended its guidance for overseas residents intending to stay in the UK to state that they will need to apply for the relevant permission to stay, meet the requirements of the route they are applying for and pay the UK application fee.

The terms of their current permission will remain the same until their application is decided. If they are switching into work or study routes, they may be able to commence work or study while their application is under consideration, depending on the terms of their current permission. They are also able to apply for permission to remain in the UK if they have been issued with an ‘exceptional assurance’. However, to do this, they must submit their application before the expiry of their ‘exceptional assurance’.

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

  • Business Rates Relief In Wales

The Welsh Government has announced that their business rates holiday has been extended for 12 months, This applies to the retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with rateable values up to £500k and also applies to charities.

https://gov.wales/business-rates-holiday-extended-12-months

               And An Additional £30m

The latest round of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund will see £30m of targeted support being made available to support small, medium and large businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors as well as related supply chain businesses. The funding is targeted to businesses employing ten or more staff in recognition of the relatively higher level of operating costs that these businesses face.

               https://gov.wales/additional-funding-hospitality-leisure-and-tourism-businesses

  • The Tour Operators Margin Scheme

If you are a business that buys in and resells travel, accommodation and certain other services, and you act in your own name, you may operate the Tour Operators Margin Scheme to simplify your calculations.

Further information about how the introduction of the temporary reduced rate of VAT will affect your calculations can be found in Tour Operators Margin Scheme (VAT Notice 709/5).

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

TIER UPDATE 3 MARCH

Budget update for businesses in England

This afternoon the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, outlined his tax and spend policies in the budget. Below is a summary of the budget for the tourism and hospitality industry. You can read the what you need to know page summary here or view the budget document here.

 Highlights include:

 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extension

The CJRS will be extended across the UK for five months until 30 September 2021.  Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June. From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September, as the economy reopens.

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

SEISS fourth grant – the fourth SEISS grant will be worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The grant will cover the period February to April, and can be claimed from late April. Self-employed individuals must have filed a 2019- 20 Self Assessment tax return to be eligible for the fourth grant.

SEISS fifth grant – there will be a fifth and final SEISS grant covering May to September. The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850. The final grant can be claimed from late July. 

Restart Grants

The government will provide ‘Restart Grants’ in England of up to £6,000 per premises for non-essential retail businesses and up to £18,000 per premises for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses. The government is also providing all local authorities in England with an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated.

VAT reduction for the UK’s tourism and hospitality sector

The temporary reduced rate of 5% VAT for goods and services supplied by the UK tourism and hospitality sector will be extended until 30 September 2021. A 12.5% rate will apply for the subsequent six months until 31 March 2022.

Business rates reliefs

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

New Recovery Loan Scheme for UK businesses

From 6 April 2021 a new Recovery Loan Scheme has been announced to enable businesses of any size to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. Launching on 6 April and open until 31 December, subject to review, the Government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course. Term loans and overdrafts will be available between £25,001 and £10 million per business. Invoice finance and asset finance will be available between £1,000 and £10 million per business. Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years. Find out more, including eligibility criteria. .

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme

Small and medium-sized employers across the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible SSP costs per employee. This scheme is a temporary COVID-19 measure intended to support employers while levels of sickness absence are high.

VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme

Any business that took advantage of the original VAT deferral on VAT returns from 20 March through to the end of June 2020 can now opt to use the VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme to pay that deferred VAT in up to eleven equal payments from March 2021, rather than one larger payment due by 31 March 2021, as originally announced.

Extended loss carry back for businesses

To help otherwise-viable UK businesses which have been pushed into a loss-making position, the trading loss carry-back rule will be temporarily extended from the existing one year to three years. This will be available for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses.

  • Unincorporated businesses and companies that are not members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22
  • Companies that are members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £200,000 of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22 without any group limitations
  • Companies that are members of a corporate group will be able to obtain relief for up to £2 million of losses in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22, but subject to a £2 million cap across the group as a whole

This will be legislated in the forthcoming Finance Bill. Further detail on the group cap will be announced in due course.

Other measures include:

  • £300 million to extend the Culture Recovery Fund to continue to support theatres, museums and other cultural organisations in England.
  • £90 million for continued support for government-sponsored National Museums and cultural bodies in England.
  • £300 million for continued support to major spectator sports in England, supporting clubs and governing bodies.
  • Duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will be frozen for another year
  • Employers in England who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.
  • Employers in England who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire, compared with £1,500 per new apprentice hire (or £2,000 for those aged 24 and under) under the previous scheme. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16-18 year-old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.
  • £7 million fund will be available from July 2021 to help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships to enable people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers.
  • A new Help to Grow training scheme over three years for SMEs on digital skills and management skills.
  • Airports and Ground Operations Support Scheme renewed for a further six months from the start of 2021-22, providing support for eligible businesses in England up to the equivalent of half of their business rates liabilities during 2021-22, subject to certain conditions and a cap per claimant of £4 million.
  • Zoo Animals Fund extended for a further three months until 30 June 2021, providing licensed zoos and aquariums in England with continued support for animal care and essential maintenance costs.
  • Funding (over £1 billion) for a further 45 towns in England through the Towns Fund
  • Eight new English Freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.
  • £18.8 million to transform local cultural projects in Hartlepool, Carlisle, Wakefield and Yeovil.
  • £28 million to fund the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, delivering a major celebration for the UK.
  • £2.8 million to support a UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup and £25 million investment in UK grassroots sports, enough for around 700 new pitches.
  • From the summer, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding (with some exceptions) through the £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses e.g. pubs, theatres, shops, or local sports clubs.
  • Publication of the prospectus for the £4.8 billion UK-wide Levelling Up Fund, providing guidance for local areas on how to submit bids for the first round of funding starting in 21-22

Increase in corporation tax

The rate of corporation tax will increase from April 2023 to 25% on profits over £250,000. The rate for small profits under £50,000 will remain at 19% and there will be relief for businesses with profits under £250,000 so that they pay less than the main rate

Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates to increase in line with RPI from April 2022

This means that the reduced and standard short-haul rates will remain frozen, Long-haul rates will increase in line with RPI. The rates for long-haul economy flights from Great Britain will increase by £2, and the rates for those travelling in premium economy, business and first class will increase by £5. Those travelling long-haul by private jets will see the rate increase by £13.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

An additional £2.4 billion has been allocated to the devolved administrations in 2021-22 through the Barnett formula, as follows

  • the Scottish Government: £1.2 billion
  • the Welsh Government: £740 million
  • the Northern Ireland Executive: £410 million

The devolved administrations will also receive £1.4 billion of funding in 2021-22 outside the Barnett formula.

Other take-outs include:

  • Individuals and businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue to be supported by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, self-employment grants, loan schemes and VAT cuts..
  • Three Growth Deals in Scotland – Ayrshire, Argyll & Bute, and Falkirk – will receive funding more quickly.
  • Up to £30 million for the Global Centre for Rail Excellence in Wales.
  • Three City and Growth Deals – in North-Wales, Mid-Wales and Swansea Bay – will receive funding more quickly.
  • Northern Ireland will benefit from the Corporation Tax exemption for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Northern Ireland’s biggest landlord.

See more information here.

Wales announces additional funding for hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses

£30m of targeted support is being made available to support small, medium and large businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors as well as related supply chain businesses. The funding is targeted to businesses employing ten or more. Should restrictions be extended at the 12 March review, £150m will be made available for businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates to receive an additional payment of up to £5k regardless of the number of employees they have. The Sector Specific Grant application phase 2 window opens on Tuesday 9 March 2021 until 8pm on Friday 12 March 2021. In the meantime, Businesses can access the Eligibility Checker and calculator on the Business Wales website

Other updates:

  • New data available on transport use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • New policy paper detailing updates to tax charges when a person is no longer eligible to Self-Employment Income Support Scheme payments
  • Updated risk assessment guidance for drivers of taxis and PHVs considering installing a safety screen in their vehicle.
  • Guidance for those affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to coronavirus has been updated to split the coronavirus guidance for student and worker sponsors into 2 documents.
  • Update to Kickstart scheme guidance - added information about what employers should spend the £1,500 funding for setup costs on in ‘What you’ll get’. Also added information about what to do if a young person leaves their job placement early in ‘Getting the young people into the job placements’.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 3 MARCH

  • Reduced VAT Rate Extension

The guidance on the reduced VAE Rate extension has been revised following today’s budget announcement. It is essentially the same as previously, except for the introduction of the 12.5% rate from 1 October 2021 to 31st March 2022

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

The guidance on attractions that are eligible for the reduced VAT rate extension have been revised. The list looks the same as last time and includes:

    • Shows/Theatres/Cinemas
    • Circuses/Fairs
    • Amusement parks
    • Concerts
    • Museums
    • Zoos
    • Exhibitions
    • Similar cultural events and facilities

Examples included in the guidance are a planetarium, botanical gardens, studio tours and factory tours

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

It is also worth noting that small businesses that are on the flat Rate VAT Scheme will have their VAT rate changed for the 1 Oct 2021 – 31 March 2022 period. The rates are:

                                                Up to 1 Oct         After 1 Oct

Restaurants/cafes           4.5%                      8.5%

Accommodation              0%                          5.5%     

Pubs                                      1%                          4%

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

  • Changes to CJRS

The details of the extension to the CJRS have been published. The following table provides a good summary of the changes through the tapered support period of 1 July to 30 September

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/changes-to-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

One important change is that, for periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 2 March 2021 to claim for periods from starting on or after 1 May 2021.

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

  • SEISS Extension

Also as announced in the budget today, the SEISS scheme is being extended until September. The guidance on the fourth grant has been published with the details. The grantwill be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500. It will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in the 2019/20 tax year. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged.

The online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021 and will be followed by a fifth and final grant which will cover the

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

While we are on SEISS, the government has announced changes to the time and circumstances when a 100% tax charge may arise in relation to Self-Employment Income Support Scheme payments. It enables HMRC to recover grants where an individual was entitled to the grant at the time of claim but subsequently ceases to be entitled to all or part of the grant. It also extends the Treasury’s regulation making powers in relation to charges if a person is not entitled to a coronavirus support payment, to bring the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme within scope of the legislation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/updates-to-tax-charges-when-a-person-is-no-longer-eligible-to-self-employment-income-support-scheme-payments/updates-to-tax-charges-when-a-person-is-no-longer-eligible-to-self-employment-income-support-scheme-payments

  • Northern Ireland  Exit Plan

The Northern Ireland Executive has published their exit plan. The framework outlines nine pathways, each of which has five phases detailing the level of restrictions required. They have nine pathways are; Home and Community, Sports and Leisure Activities, Work, Education and Young People, Worship and Ceremonies, Retail and Services, Culture, Heritage and Entertainment, Travel and Tourism, and Hospitality. 

There are no set dates for when each of the five phases will take place. Instead there will be a Formal Review on 16 March and then every 4 weeks thereafter - 15 April, 13 May and 10 June – at which decisions will be made on whether to move to the next phase.

https://www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/execoffice/executives-pathway-out-of-restrictions.pdf

  • Build Back Better

The Government has published its Build Back Better strategy for rebuilding the UK economy. It contains six key themes:

    • Infrastructure
    • Skills
    • Innovation
    • Levelling Up
    • Net Zero
    • Global Britain

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966176/Plan_for_Growth_Web_accessible.pdf

  • Recovery Loans
    • The outline guidance on the new Recovery Loans that were announced today have been published. Term loans and overdrafts will be available between £25,001 and £10 million per business.
    • Invoice finance and asset finance will be available between £1,000 and £10 million per business.

 

Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years. No personal guarantees will be taken on facilities up to £250,000, and a borrower’s principal private residence cannot be taken as security.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recovery-loan-scheme

  • Super-Deduction Guidance

From 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023, companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets will be able to claim:

    • a 130% super-deduction capital allowance on qualifying plant and machinery investments
    • a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate assets

The super-deduction will allow companies to cut their tax bill by up to 25p for every £1 they invest, ensuring the UK capital allowances regime is amongst the world’s most competitive.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/super-deduction

  • Three New Funds

The UK government has launched three new investment programmes to support communities right across the country. All share common challenges and opportunities, which the UK government is determined to address in collaboration with local partners. These new investment programmes are:

    • The UK Community Renewal Fund
    • The Levelling Up Fund
    • The Community Ownership Fund

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-levelling-up-and-community-investments

  • Community Renewal Fund

To help the UK prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which replaces EU funding programmes, the government is providing £220m in the 2021-22 years through the UK Community Renewal Fund in order to pilot programmes and new approaches ahead of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  The prospectus for this funding has been published and will prioritise projects that target investment at communities in need in 100 priority places based on an index of economic resilience.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus-2021-22

  • Levelling Up Fund

Second up is the prospectus for the £4.8 billion levelling up fund to support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets and the priority areas for it’s use.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/levelling-up-fund-prospectus

  • Community Ownership Fund

And finally we have the Community Ownership Fund which will enable community groups to bid for up to £250,000 matched-funding to help them buy or take over local community assets at risk of being lost, to run as community-owned businesses.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-ownership-fund/community-ownership-fund

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

TIER UPDATE 2 MARCH

Northern Ireland announce lockdown exit plan

The Northern Ireland Executive has today published their plan to ease Northern Ireland out of current restrictions. The framework outlines nine pathways, each of which has five phases detailing the level of restrictions required.

The nine pathways are; Home and Community, Sports and Leisure Activities, Work, Education and Young People, Worship and Ceremonies, Retail and Services, Culture, Heritage and Entertainment, Travel and Tourism, and Hospitality.

The five phases are:

  1. Lockdown Restrictions
  2. Cautious First Steps
  3. Gradual Easing
  4. Further Easing
  5. Future

There are no set dates for when each of the five phases will take place, but the Executive has committed to a four-week review cycle, where they will monitor the data on a range of health and societal impacts, before considering what relaxations can be made safely. The first Comprehensive Formal Review will be held on 16 March and subsequent dates are 15 April, 13 May and 10 June. The NI Executive does not expect the current picture to change significantly before Easter.  Their next consideration of potential relaxations will therefore take place in mid-April.

See below for what each of the phases will mean:  

Phase 1 - (Lockdown Restrictions)

  • Contact limited to own household and support bubble
  • Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors but not at a private dwelling
  • Indoor and some outdoor visitor attractions closed, all indoor seated venues closed
  • Theatres and concert halls can open for rehearsal and recording
  • Outdoor exercise with one household or one in other person is permitted (in their local area) along with training and competition for elite athletes
  • 25 guest limit at civil partnerships, marriages and funerals – pre and post gatherings are not permitted
  • Essential travel only
  • All tourist accommodation closed, with exceptions
  • Those who cannot work from home can attend work, but remote working is the default position
  • Only essential retail is open.
  • Non-essential retail, including Click and Collect is closed, as well as close contact services
  • Curfew on alcohol off-sales
  • All hospitality is closed, except for takeaway sales. There is an 11pm curfew on takeaways.

Phase 2 - (by the end of this Cautious First Steps phase)

  • Stay at Home message relaxed, up to six people from two households can meet outdoors at a private dwelling. Up to ten from two households can meet outdoors (not at a private dwelling)
  • All outdoor visitor attractions re-open
  • Outdoor sports facilities re-open for training and organised group activities
  • Outdoor competitive sport can resume with no spectators. Outdoor sport can also resume for children with accompanying adults allowed to attend
  • Return to services in places of worship with a risk assessment.
  • Increased numbers at indoor and outdoor civil partnerships, marriages and funerals with a risk assessment
  • Public transport capacity increases within limits of social distancing requirements
  • Relaxation of restrictions on workplace attendance. Working from home where possible remains the recommended approach.
  • Click and Collect for non-essential retail is allowed
  • Curfews will be lifted on takeaway
  • Premises where alcohol cannot be consumed open with table service, six people from two households

Phase 3 – (by the end of this Gradual Easing phase)

  • Wider range of outdoor learning will resume, as well as Extended School activity
  • Indoor visitor attractions, including heritage sites reopen. Low risk activities including rehearsal and practice can take place.
  • Leisure centres and all indoor sports facilities reopen, including swimming pools and gyms. Indoor group activities and classes can also resume.
  • Leisure activity venues reopen, including soft play
  • Indoor activities for children can resume with accompanying responsible adults allowed to attend
  • Receptions can take place with mitigations and limited numbers. Pre- and post-funeral gatherings can take place, with mitigations and limited numbers.
  • Caravan sites open, but shared facilities remain closed
  • Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs reopen, with mitigations
  • Public transport returns to full service, with mitigations
  • Phased return to on-site work and office spaces. Seminars and meetings can take place.
  • All non-essential retail now open. Off-sales curfews lifted.
  • Close contact services can resume, with mitigations
  • Premises where alcohol can be consumed, excluding wet pubs, open with table service, for six people from two households

Phase 4 – (by the end of this Further Easing phase)

  • School clubs, FE colleges & university student extracurricular and support activities and youth services resumed
  • Seated venues, including theatres, concert venues and cinemas reopen
  • Amateur and youth performance activity can take place, with mitigations
  • Outdoor organised events can take place, with limited numbers
  • Limited number of both indoor and outdoor spectators allowed
  • No upper limit on numbers for pre and post-gatherings for civil partnerships, marriages and funerals - determined by venue risk assessment
  • Limited live music at receptions
  • Hostels, bunkhouses, campsites and other accommodation with shared facilities open
  • Campus accommodation for tourism purposes open
  • Hotels can offer wider range of services beyond accommodation & meals, e.g. beauty treatment in a hotel spa
  • Revised risk assessments allow more workplaces to reopen. Work conferences can resume.
  • All close contact services open without appointments, with remaining mitigations
  • Increased in-store capacity in all retail
  • Wet pubs open with table service, 6 people from 2 households
  • Limited entertainment relaxations

Phase 5 – (preparing for the future)

  • Household limits lifted in private dwellings. Organised outdoor gatherings are limited only by risk assessment and mitigations.
  • Larger outdoor organised events, concerts and festivals can take place
  • Further indoor and outdoor spectators allowed
  • Further mitigations relaxed for pre- and post-gatherings for civil partnerships, marriages and funerals. Live music, entertainment and dancing at reception allowed.
  • Preparing for the full return of leisure travel
  • Workplaces fully reopen
  • All retail and close contact services open with reduced mitigations
  • Bar service permitted in wet pubs. ‘Six from any’ relaxed.
  • Live entertainment in hospitality venues
  • Nightclubs open

The full document is available here. An executive summary is available too.

First meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce today

The Secretary of State Grant Shapps has today chaired the first meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce to set out a plan for restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way.

Several government departments, industry bodies, transport operators and travel agencies met to discuss the work of the taskforce and how international travel can be re-opened safely. This includes developing a new risk-based framework to facilitate international travel, using the measures the government already has in place, such as testing and isolation, and the recommendations from the first Global Travel Taskforce last year.

They will also look at how existing measures, such as the government’s testing and isolation schemes, could be used to facilitate travel while managing the risk of imported cases and ‘variants of concern’.

It will also take place in parallel and be closely integrated with the review into COVID-status certification led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on 12 April, which will be used to help government determine when and how to resume safe international travel no earlier than 17 May 2021.

The decision on when international travel can resume will be dependent on:

  • the global and domestic epidemiological picture
  • the prevalence and location of any ‘variants of concern’
  • the progress of vaccine rollouts here and abroad
  • what more the government has learned about the efficacy of vaccines on variants, and the impact on transmission, hospitalisation and deaths

The taskforce will provide a report to the Prime Minister on 12 April, which will be used to help government determine when and how to resume safe international travel no earlier than 17 May 2021.

Update from First Minister of Scotland

The Scottish Government has today announced that phase 2 of school return will commence on 15 March (all remaining primary school children with all secondary pupils returning on a part-time basis from that date).

In a press conference, the First Minster also stated that next week she hopes to confirm to Parliament the other changes to the level 4 restrictions that will take effect from 15 March. The following week the First Minister is scheduled to set out a firmer timetable for the period after 26 April. She said that if the data allows any relaxation of the rules to be brought forward, this will be considered

VisitBritain announces ‘We’re Good To Go’ and WTTC ‘Safer Travels’ stamp partnership

VisitBritain has announced that tourism businesses in the UK registered to the ‘We’re Good To Go’ (WGTG) industry standard scheme can now be automatically issued with the international ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The “We’re Good To Go” scheme has been recognised by WTTC as meeting its international global standardised health and hygiene protocols and for its role in supporting the recovery of the UK tourism sector.

The WTTC stamp enables travellers to recognise destinations around the world which have adopted global standardised protocols - so they can experience ‘Safe Travels.’

Businesses that have already signed up to We’re Good to Go just need to:

  • Log into their WGTG account via the website
  • Go to the new section that has been added under the address details area of the form
  • They will be given further instructions of how to download the logo
  • By downloading the stamp, they will be agreeing that your business name and website can be shared with WTTC

Businesses not already signed up can apply to the “We’re Good to Go” scheme and if they are successful they will be given the option to download the stamp alongside.

Other updates

The following pages have been updated to include information on the roadmap out of lockdown:

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 2 MARCH

  • Kick Start Scheme Update

The guidance on the kick Start Scheme has been updated again with more information on what businesses can spend the £1500 setup costs and employability support grant on. The funding is given for each person employed through the scheme and can be spent on:

  • training and employability support (provided by the employer, Kickstart gateway or another provider)
  • IT equipment and software
  • uniform or Personal Protective Equipment

There is also further detail on what happens if the placement leaves the job placement early. In this situation, the employer must tell DWP as soon as possible if the placement:

  • leaves their job placement before the end of the 6-month period
  • needs to temporarily leave their job placement (for example for special leave or coronavirus-related restrictions)

DWP may be able to extend the funding period if the young person has to temporarily stop working while if they leave permanently, DWP will pay the grant until the end of the month that they stopped working.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-employers-apply-for-a-kickstart-scheme-grant-kickstart-gateway 

  • Setting Up “Time to Pay” Self-Assessment Payments

HMRC’s guidance on self-assessment payments has been updated to say that “Time to Pay” arrangements can be set-up online for amounts up to £30,000 up to 60 days after 31 January 2021 without having to contact them. When you have filed your return you’ll need to wait at least 72 hours before you can set up your Time to Pay arrangement online.

Late payment penalties are charged when tax remains unpaid for 30 days, 6 months and 12 months after the payment due dates. You can avoid the penalties if you enter into a Time to Pay arrangement before they become due and you pay all the tax owing under that arrangement on time. For Self Assessment payments that were due on 31 January 2021, you will avoid the first late payment penalty if you set up a Time to Pay arrangement by 2 March 2021. The 6 month and 12 month penalties can be avoided if you pay all the tax owing under that arrangement on time.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/self-assessment  

  • Letter to Food, Drink and Environment Services

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, has written to Food, Drink and Environmental Services businesses encouraging them to have their staff tested for coronavirus by registering for free testing kits provided by the government.

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/965828/eustice-letter-workplace-testing-210302.pdf

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BVEP/TIER UPDATE 1 MARCH

This evening’s UK Government press briefing was led by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock. He was joined by Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Health England, and deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam. The briefing covered vaccinations and the Brazil variant cases identified in England and Scotland.

Within questions, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam was asked if there is any prospect of a foreign holiday this summer. He answered that there is uncertainty about what the virus will do next. Many countries in Europe are behind the UK in the delivery of vaccinations and travel will depend on advice from the governments of other countries 

A question was asked about the travel ban list and how effective it is at stopping variants from entering the UK. Matt Hancock answered that countries that are not on the travel ban list have low proportions of variant cases. He then went on to say that home quarantine is required for all inbound arrivals to the UK along with pre-departure tests plus tests on day 2 and day 8.

To close the briefing, there was a question on digital green pass (vaccine passports) and restarting international travel. Matt Hancock said work is taking place with international partners who require certification if countries require it for entry. The EU proposal is a certification of whether you have had a vaccination and if not, you would need to take a coronavirus test before travel.

UK Government announces independent review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs)

The UK Government has announced an independent review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) across England. This review aims to examine and assess how Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) across England are funded and structured, and how they perform their roles, in order to establish whether there may be a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at the regional level, and if so what that model may be. The structure of the national tourism boards, VisitEngland and VisitBritain, will only be in scope of the review where it is relevant to the structures and funding of DMOs.

The review will be led by the current Chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board, Nick de Bois, acting in an independent capacity and reporting directly to the Secretary of State. An experienced advisory panel will be convened to assist him with his review.

A diverse and representative spread of as many DMOs as possible will be consulted as well as a wide range of local, tourism and other related stakeholders The review will take place over spring 2021, with a written report, including recommendations, delivered to the Secretary of State by Summer 2021.

Read the terms of reference and find out how to get involved.

Other government news:

  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated. If a person intends to leave the UK but havs not been able to do so and they have a visa or leave that expires between 1 March 2021 and 31 March 2021 they may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.
  • Welsh Government has launched a new campaign, ‘We’re in Your Corner’, to encourage Welsh businesses to use skills and employment advice and guidance that is on offer through the Skills Gateway for Business online portal.

Questions on the roadmap announcement and the update of Cabinet Office Reopening Businesses and Venues guidance

Following the Roadmap announcement and the update of the Cabinet Office Reopening Businesses and Venues guidance last week, questions from members have been collated and logged with Cabinet Office. DCMS has advised that Cabinet Office will be prioritising answering questions according to the dates in the Roadmap, beginning with 8th and 29th March related questions. They are pressing that answers are required with as much forward notice as possible in order to prepare for reopening, plan events, and take bookings

The updated ‘Visitor Economy’ and ‘Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation’ guidance will be made available online prior to the dates of each step of the Roadmap. In the meantime, DCMS will endeavour to answer questions as soon as possible, including any about the definition of ‘self-contained accommodation’, the restart of coach tours and guided tours, the extent of outdoor recreation and leisure permitted in March, and the position on smaller business events.

Please find some initial answers below.

Q. Can work meetings currently take place?

In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes can still take place but only where it is not possible to carry out the activity from home, and if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed COVID-19 guidance. People should only attend a business meeting in person if it is necessary for them to be there - social meetings with work colleagues should not happen. Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely in Step 1 and 2.

  Q. Is the roadmap/steps set in stone and is the roadmap guidance or law?

The timings outlined in the roadmap are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change. The roadmap will be underpinned by regulations, though these are yet to be made. As set out in the roadmap, we hope to ease restrictions, incrementally, over a period of time. Until those points people must continue to follow the rules set out in law.

Q: Why is the rule now either 6 people or 2 households?

A:  We will re-introduce the ‘Rule of Six’ outdoors from 29 March, as well as enabling larger groups to meet if they are from two households. A ‘household’ can include a support bubble where eligible. This rule allows either 6 people from different households or 2 households to gather. Applying either limit provides greater flexibility, recognising the different situations faced by families and individuals; two households will be more helpful for families, while the Rule of 6 is likely to help people in different households to reunite outdoors, including those living alone or in shared accommodation. Those eligible to form a support bubble will still be able to do so, enabling close contact for many of those in most need of support, and will continue to be counted as part of the same household.

Q.  When can indoor elements of outdoor attractions such as botanical gardens, heritage homes, zoos and other animal attractions and landmarks open?

Before Step 3, indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes, zoos and other animal attractions and landmarks must close, though the outdoor attractions of these premises can open from Step 1 or 2 (depending on the attraction). Indoor toilet facilities can open at outdoor attractions at Step 2.  

Q. When can funfairs and circuses be permitted to open?

Outdoor funfairs and fairgrounds can reopen in Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. These events will be subject to local authority approval. Groups must be limited to up to 6 people or 2 households.
Outdoor circuses can reopen in Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May - with other outdoor performance events. Outdoor circus events will be subject to local authority approval.

Funfairs, fairgrounds and circuses will also need to be organised by a business, charity or similar organisation; comply with COVID-Secure guidance with reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission and the completion of a risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for work purposes, or supervised activities for children). 

Q. When can active outdoor leisure activity such as ziplining restart?

Ziplining and other active outdoor leisure activities can restart in Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April, with outdoor attractions such as adventure parks in line with social contact rules - in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors.

Q. When can tenpin bowling centres, trampolining and climbing reopen? 

Outdoor climbing walls can open from 29 March. People can use these in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed. 

Indoor climbing walls can open from Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - as a single household or bubble indoors.

Outdoor trampolining parks can open in Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors.

Indoor trampolining parks can open in Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors.

 

Indoor bowling can open in Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May. Unless a specific exemption exists, it must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors.

Q. When can outdoor and indoor swimming pools reopen?

From 29 March outdoor sports facilities such as swimming pools and gyms will be open. People can use outdoor pools and gyms in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed. At this stage, these gatherings must only include participants - not spectators. 

Indoor swimming pools can open in Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. This is in line with indoor gyms, leisure centres and sports courts. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - as a single household or bubble indoors

Q. When can recreational boating take place?

From the 8th March self drive day hire of boats is permitted for the purpose of open air recreation in a public outdoor place (the vessel must be open air) for single household/bubble only.
From the 29th March self drive day hire of boats is permitted for 6 people / 2 households per boat if the vessel is open air and for a single household if the vessel is enclosed.

From 12 April self drive holiday hire boats are permitted for single household/bubble only. 

From 17 May self drive holiday hire boats are permitted for 6 people / 2 households per boat.

Clarification on skippered boats will be sought and provided as soon as possible.

Private boating is permitted for recreation on waterways accessible to the public from 8 March for single household/bubble only. People should stay local, no overnight stays. From 29 March private boating is allowed for a single household/bubble in an indoor boat and 6 people / 2 households in an outdoor boat. People should minimise travel, no overnight stays.  From 12 April overnight stays are permitted for a single household/bubble. From 17 May overnight stays are permitted for 6 people / 2 households.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 1 March

  • Reopening High Streets Safely Fund

MHCLG has produced a new version the Guidance and FAQ associated with this £50m fund to councils. This latest version is aimed at the reopening under the Government’s Roadmap and as such, the end date for the RHSSF project is now 30 June 2021 so all expenditure needs to be defrayed and delivery completed by this date.

Another change is that, after a review, the cost of High Street Ambassadors and Wardens can now be paid for through this funding which will help with the management of town centres as businesses reopen and help encourage people to visit knowing that it is a safe environment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reopening-high-streets-safely-fund-guidance

  • Visa Application Update

The Home Office has updated the guidance for people in the UK by updating the guidance on the exceptional assurance visa. This is help people who intend to leave the UK but have not been able to do so and have a visa or leave that expires between 1 March 2021 and 31 March 2021 by allowing them to request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

Requests for an exceptional assurance can be applied for by emailing cihassuranceteam@homeoffice.gov.uk  with evidence as to why the person cannot leave the UK.

Exceptional assurance will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after leave has expired. If conditions of the person’s original visa allowed them to work, study or rent accommodation, they may continue to do so during the period of their exceptional assurance.

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

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BVEP/TIER UPDATE 26 FEB

At today’s press briefing, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock was joined by England's deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam and Dr Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Health England. It focused on the vaccination programme. During the briefing, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam spoke about case rates stating that they are high overall and increasing in some areas. Matt Hancock spoke about the roll out of the vaccination programme and the interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) stating how those aged under 50 will be prioritised.

A question was asked about the regional differences and whether local lockdowns would return. Matt Hancock answered that the Government is proposing to come out of the national lockdown together but wouldn’t rule out action if there are local flare ups.

When asked whether people will need to show proof of vaccination to go to a pub or football match, Matt Hancock stated these considerations will go into a review of vaccination passports being led by Michael Gove and would not comment. He also said the government should help people who need to show proof of a vaccine to allow them to travel to countries that require a vaccination passport.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam also answered a question about the association of the eat out to help out scheme with an increase in transmission and whether the scheme should return. He said it was a matter for the Chancellor rather than clinicians.

Government announcements:

  • Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has written a letter to encouraging businesses in England who’s staff cannot currently work from home, to test their staff for COVID-19 by registering for free testing kits.
    • The government is providing employers with 50 or more employees with lateral flow testing kits to test their staff that cannot currently work from home, or who will return to the workplace as the economy opens up as set out in the Roadmap announced on 22 February.
    • The test kits are free of charge until 30 June 2021 for firms that have registered by 31 March 2021.
    • Companies with fewer than 50 employees can take advantage of community testing for their staff.
  • The government has announced that an extension to the airports slot allocation waiver  will come into force from 26 March 2021. Airlines will not have to operate flights at least 80% of the time to retain their slots.

Industry news:

  • Gatwick Airport has published their 2020 annual results which show passenger numbers at Gatwick fell 78% and a £465.5m loss for the twelve month period.
  • International Airlines Group, which includes Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling and others, has released their 2020 annual results which report an operating loss for the year to December 31 2020 of €7.4 billion.

Other news:

  • The government have set out plans on a new Protect Duty; a legal requirement for public places to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks. A consultation is open with responses welcome from anyone with an interest in, or experience of, the areas being consulted on. Publicly accessible locations include a wide variety of everyday locations such as:
    • sports stadiums
    • festivals
    • music venues
    • hotels
    • pubs
    • clubs
    • bars
    • casinos
    • high streets
    • retail stores
    • shopping centres and markets
    • schools and universities
    • medical centres and hospitals
    • places of worship
    • government offices
    • job centres
    • transport hubs
    • parks
    • beaches
    • public squares and other open spaces

Tourism Alliance Update – 26 February

  • Northern Ireland Economic Recovery Action Plan

Northern Ireland has launched a £290m economic recovery plan which focuses on four key themes:

    • R&D and Innovation (£20m)
    • Highly Skilled and Agile Workforce (£50m)
    • Green Economy (£20m)
    • Investment, Trade and Exports (£200m)

There are a wide range of tourism-related action in the recovery plan, many of which would be worthy of consideration for inclusion in DCMS’s Recovery Plan, including:

    • Delivering the COVID Digital Innovation and Productivity Programme to support businesses across the tourism sector to enhance their digital capability.
    • Delivering Crisis Management and Turnaround Fund support for tourism businesses
    • Deliver a ‘Holiday at Home’ voucher campaign to stimulate demand from NI residents to staycation in NI in support of the tourism industry
    • Deliver an “Experience Development Programme” to provide grant funding for tourism experience providers to help develop their businesses
    • Accelerate the development of the Tourism Data Hub to support the industry with real time data to inform decision making.
    • Delivery of a Website Development Programme for tourism businesses to receive capital grants for the upgrading of their websites to make them bookable online.
    • Develop a sustainable regenerative Tourism Strategy for NI.

https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/publications/economic-recovery-action-plan

  • “We’re Good to Go” Links With “Safe Travels”

Ahead of reopening, VisitBritain has linked it’s We’re Good to Go” consumer confidence scheme with the WTTC’s international “Safe Travels” scheme. This means that any business not already part of We’re Good To Go can apply to the scheme and indicate that you wish to use the additional global WTTC stamp.

Here's the link to apply for the use of one or both marks

https://goodtogo.visitbritain.com/

  • Business Innovation Support Package

The Guidance on the Business Innovation Support package has been updated. Although applications for Continuity Grants and Loans have ended, there are still Business advisory support packages available for around 6,000 innovative high-growth-potential, high-growth and scaling SMEs over the next 2 years managed through Innovate UK EDGE. There are available to help businesses:

    • exploit innovation, intellectual property, and connections in the UK and abroad
    • enter new markets at home and abroad
    • access funding and finance and getting investment ready.

Further information on the support and how to apply is available on the following link

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package

  • Slots Waiver Extension

DfT has announced that it is introducing legislation to extend the waiver on the rules that airlines have to operate flights at least 80% of the time in order to retain their slots airports. This requirement lead to a rise in the number of ghost flights during the first lockdown as airlines continued to fly without passengers in order not to lose very valuable slots. The extension will come into force from 26 March 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/slots-waiver-extended-in-boost-to-uk-airlines

  • A Bit of Humour For a Friday

I sent you the transcript of the oral question Baroness Doocey asked in the House of Lords the other day regarding reopening. Here’s a link to the video of the exchange - you have to admire the Leader of the House for her complete honesty.

https://twitter.com/DooceyDee/status/1364560604195926020?s=20

  • R Number and Growth Rate

Finally, this week’s R number and Growth Rate, which are respectively 0.6 to 0.9 and -6% to -2%. This is the same as last week so cases of the infection as declining at the same rate as previously

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

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BVEP/TIER UPDATE 25 FEB

Today’s update includes the recommendation that the UK should move from COVID alert level 5 to 4, the publication of the Northern Ireland Economic Recovery Plan as well as the more guidance on reopening businesses and venues In England

Reopening businesses and venues in England

Further to the release of the UK Government’s COVID-19 four-step plan to ease lockdown in England, new guidance on reopening businesses and venues in England has been published. Please see a summary of the relevant guidance for tourism businesses below. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available

Step 1 - from 8 March

Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.

From 29 March

People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.

  • Outdoor sport facilities: Gyms, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues.

Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April

At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits- as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble can reopen
  • Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”)
  • Outdoor attractions can reopen at adventure parks and activities, animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums), drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances, film studios, funfairs and fairgrounds, model villages, museums and galleries, skating rinks, theme parks, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks
  • Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions - such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.
  • Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits
    • This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of 6 people or two households. ‘
  • Indoor events that bring people together - even if they do not mix with other households - must not run until Step 3. However, at this point, funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • Non-essential retail will reopen and includes retail travel agents
  • Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen, including hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology)
  • Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen including: gyms and leisure centres, sports courts, swimming pools, dance studios and fitness centres, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas, archery venues, climbing wall centres

Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May

At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).

  • Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen
  • Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen. As with outdoors, table service will be required.
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below)
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
  • Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation can be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance.
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.
  • Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.

Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June

  • The hope at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues,
  • To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.

Northern Ireland Economic Recovery Action Plan

Yesterday the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance and CBI joined the Minister Dodds for the economy when she announced the publication of the Economic Recovery Action Plan. The plan sets out the key actions required to rebuild the Northern Ireland economy and it is significant as the Tourism industry has been recognised as a key economic driver in that recovery.  The plan can be downloaded here. The plan is based around 4 themes:

  • R&D and Innovation
  • Highly Skilled and Agile Workforce – HATS leads on this for the tourism & hospitality sectors
  • Green Economy
  • Investment, Trade and Exports

There are number of actions relating to Tourism which cover demand stimulation across home markets, Covid Holiday at Home voucher, product and experience development programmes, supporting regional connectivity and the development of a Sustainable and Regenerative Tourism Strategy.

Other updates

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates

A reminder of the date for claims for CJRS for furlough days in February 2021 must be made by 15 March 2021 has been added to the following pages:

Information about the banded ranges and employer claim data have been updated on the following pages:

New statistics are available for the following schemes:

Other updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 25 FEBRUARY

  • Essential Workers for Covid Testing

DHSC has published guidance on who is deemed to be an essential workers to be prioritised for PCR testing. From a tourism perspective it includes:

  • Those working in air, water, road and rail passenger transport
  • Those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
  • Teaching and support staff including specialist education professionals

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/essential-workers-prioritised-for-covid-19-testing

  • Planning Inspectorate Guidance

The Planning inspectorate has issued guidance to say that they are reviewing how they will operator over the forthcoming months in light of the Government’s Road Map in easing restrictions as well as liaising with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on their expectations for the planning system in the light of planning reform and wider system changes. After which they will “carefully evaluate the full range of practical options” continue to “engage with all customers, participants and stakeholders”.

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

  • Passenger Arrivals

The Home Office has released data on arrivals into the UK since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak. The key findings are:

  • There were around 630,000 air passenger arrivals to the UK in January 2021
  • This monthly average for April to June 2020 was less than 200,000
  • The figure for January 2021 is around 91% lower than the figure for January 2020, when there were 7.1 million arrivals.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-passenger-arrivals-since-the-covid-19-outbreak-february-2021/statistics-relating-to-passenger-arrivals-since-the-covid-19-outbreak-february-2021#key-findings

  • Apprenticeship Guidance Updated Again

The guidance for businesses providing apprenticeships has been updated again to state that eligible apprentices can now start their EPA before they achieve their functional skills qualifications, if they have been prevented from doing so by coronavirus restrictions.

                https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response

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BVEP /TIER UPDATE 24 FEB

Please see below today’s TIER and Tourism Alliance updates.

We also wanted to draw your attention to the press release from the APPG for Events on their statement on the Government’s roadmap for leaving lockdown – you can read it https://www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com/news/partnernews/961-appg-for-events-statement-on-the-government-s-roadmap-for-leaving-lockdown

Levelling Up Fund extended to include the whole of the UK

Today the Treasury announced that the Levelling Up Fund will be extended to include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

The initial £4 billion fund, announced at the Spending Review, will be increased to £4.8 billion as the scheme becomes UK-wide. It will be for investment in local infrastructure that has an impact on people and their communities, such as regeneration and transport.

 

Further details on how the Fund will operate, including who can bid, the types of projects eligible for funding, and the criteria for assessing will be published in the prospectus at Budget on 3 March.

 

Find out more information here.

 

UK Government press briefing

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was joined by Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England at a press briefing this afternoon. He provided an update on the plan on the return to schools and was asked the following questions:

 

  • When asked if the data appears to better than expected, would restrictions in England be lifted faster, Gavin Williamson stated that Prime Minster has said there were no plans to move ahead of the proposed roadmap dates. Jenny Harries reiterated that the timeline gives the Government the opportunity to look at the impact of each step.
  • A further question was asked about the possibility of extending quarantine in light of evidence that suggested the Kent variant infects people for longer. Dr Harries said they were continually looking at these variants, but they were working to keep quarantines as short as possible to limit impact.

 

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE – 24 FEBRUARY

  • Well, That Explains Everything …

I offer up the following question on the Roadmap in the House of Lords without comment.

Baroness Doocey (LD)

My Lords, self-catering accommodation can open from 12 April, but only if there are no shared facilities. Camping grounds cannot open because they have shared toilet blocks. Pubs can also open from 12 April, for those people sitting outside, and those people can use the pub’s toilets. Could the Leader explain why it is considered safe to use a shared toilet in a pub but not in a camping site?

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con)

No, I am afraid I cannot.

  • Business Grants Data

The government has published the latest round of business grants data, showing the government funding delivered to each council in England to support their local businesses. What is of particular interest in is the percentages of LRSG and ARG grants that has been allocated. Although the data is over a month out of date, it shows that Councils have been slow to allocate this funding to businesses - especially the ARG grants that many businesses are depending on.

The data tables for the individual grants show which councils are performing well and which councils are performing badly in this regard. Here’s a couple of examples:

 

                ARG Funding

  • Blaby District Council in the East Midlands has received £2m in funding from Government but only given out 13 grants totalling £16k
  • Bromsgrove District Council in the West Midlands has received £2m in funding and only given out 5 grants totalling £12k
  • Norwich Council has received £2.8m in funding and only allocated 14 grants totalling £20k

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses

  • Road Map Questions

Attached is a copy of the collated questions on the Roadmap that I’ve sent through to DCMS. If you have further questions, please let me know and I will continue updated this

  • Revised Guidance for Holiday and Out of School Clubs

With schools about to reopen on 8th March, the guidance for premises hosting holiday and after-school clubs has been updated to outline who can attend after-school settings and what actions providers will need to take from 8 March

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

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TIER UPDATE 23 FEB

Updated strategic framework for easing lockdown restrictions for Scotland

This afternoon First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined Scotland’s approach to easing lockdown restrictions and Scotland’s updated COVID-19 strategic framework has been published.  

Assuming that progress in suppressing the virus and vaccinating key groups remains on track restrictions would be eased as follows, with a likely gap of at least three weeks between each phase to assess the impact of changes, and to check that it is safe to proceed further using the six conditions for safe easing set out by the World Health Organisation:

  • Phase 1 of the framework began on 22 February (yesterday) with early learning and childcare, schools for primary years 1-3 and some senior phase pupils for essential practical work returning.
  • Phase 2 (minimum 3-week gap from phase 1, indicatively from 15 March, subject to conditions being met, unlikely before 15 March) The next phase of school returns. Also the limit on outdoor mixing between households to increase to four people from a maximum of two households
  • Phase 3 (minimum 3-week gap from phase 2, indicatively from 5 April and subject to conditions being met) The stay at home restriction to be lifted and any final school returns to take place. This phase would also see the re-opening of retail, starting with an extension of the definition of essential retail and the removal of restrictions on click-and collect. In this phase the government will seek to ease the restrictions on outdoor gatherings so that at least 6 people from 2 households can meet together.
  • Phase 4: (minimum 3-week gap from phase 3, indicatively from 26 April and subject to conditions being met) return to a levels approach with all of Scotland moving to at least level 3, with some possible adjustments. This would include the phased re-opening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers.

Financial support will continue to be available to businesses as Scotland comes out of lockdown, including the ongoing commitment to fund the Strategic Framework Business Fund and to provide Level 4 payments for an additional month once businesses are moved down a level. These proposals are contingent on receipt of additional consequentials from the UK Government.

In her statement, Nicola Sturgeon said that further details will be set out in mid-March including on the indicators that will guide decisions on levels, and the expected order of the reopening of the economy and restricted businesses.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-statement-23-february-2021/ and Read the press release here.

Other updates:

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 23 February

  • The Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG (Closed) Addendum)

The second wave of LRSG payments for closed businesses has been announced and covers the period 16th February to 31st March 2021. The payments for this 44 day period are:

  • £2,096 - if your business has a property with a rateable value of up to £15,000
  • £3,143 - if your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000
  • £4,714 - if your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or more

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-business-is-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-grant-due-to-national-restrictions-for-closed-businesses

  • Apprenticeships During Coronavirus

The Government has revised and updated the guidance publication on managing apprenticeships to provide information on:

  • the temporary flexibilities that have been applied during the coronavirus (COVD-19) outbreak
  • how and when apprentices can safely train and undertake an assessment in the workplace and educational and assessment settings

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964021/Providing_apprenticeships_during_the_coronavirus__COVID-19__outbreak.pdf

  • Road Map Scenarios

If you’ve got a bit of time and interested about these things, the Government has published a series of papers by different research groups including Imperial College and Warwick University which model a range of reopening scenarios including ones very similar to the road map published yesterday

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/imperial-college-london-unlocking-roadmap-scenarios-for-england-18-february-2021

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963428/S1128_Roadmaps_for_Relaxation_of_NPIs__modelling_impact_of_vaccine_rollout._University_of_Warwick.pdf

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TIER UPDATE 22 FEB

Roadmap for easing of restrictions in England announced

In his statement to the House of Commons today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government roadmap that outlines how lockdown restrictions will be eased in England. The roadmap is in four steps. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

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

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

The full roadmap document is available here. A simplified table of the steps is available on pages 47-48. See below for a summary of the key points:

Step 1 (two parts split between 8 and 29 March)

From 8 March:

People will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with one other person, or with their household or support bubble. People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise which is already permitted.

There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel. Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.

From 29 March

People will no longer be legally required to stay at home, but some restrictions will remain such as continuing to work from home where possible and minimising all travel. The rule of six will return for outdoors, and meetings of two households will also be permitted. This includes in private gardens.

Outdoor sports and leisure facilities will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will be able to resume, subject to guidance.

Step 2 – from 12 April at the earliest, subject to an assessment of the data against the four tests

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

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

In addition:

  • Domestic overnight stays will be allowed and self-contained accommodation - those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities - can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household.
  • Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
  • International holidays will not be permitted.

All newly open settings must abide by the social contact rules. This will be accompanied by mitigations including workforce testing and continued social distancing guidance. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays will still be prohibited.

Step 3 – from 17 May at the earliest and at least five weeks after Step 2

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

Sectors which will reopen include:

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

In addition

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

Step 4 – from 21 June at the earliest, and at least five weeks after Step 3

With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact, reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme) and remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.

Read the press release here and the Prime Minister’s Statement here.

In parallel to these steps, four formal reviews will also take place on the issues of:

  1. Social distancing and face masks
  2. The resumption of international travel – the global Travel Taskforce will report on 12 April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. Following that, the Government will determine when international travel should resume, which will be no earlier than 17 May.
  3. COVID status certification to enable reopening of businesses, mindful of discrimination and privacy
  4. The return of major events

Further details of business support will come from the Chancellor’s budget next Wednesday. A plan for reacting to local outbreaks will also be published next month, with measures to tackle new variants. He could not rule out implementing restrictions at a local level if required.

Update from Visit Wales on accepting bookings for Easter in self-contained holiday accommodation

In response to queries regarding accepting bookings for the Easter period in self-contained holiday accommodation, the latest industry newsletter from Visit Wales states that:

  • Any bookings that fall beyond the 21-day review period (the next review is on the 12 March) are at the business’s and the customer’s own risk.  No bookings can be taken ahead of 12 March.

Wave 25 of VisitBritain consumer sentiment research published

VisitEngland has published the next wave of its consumer sentiment research. Please see the report here. They are pleased to report that they will be continuing this research until the end of August. The next report will be in four weeks’ time.

Other updates

 

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TIER UPDATE 19 FEB

Update on Wales lockdown, changes to some of the rules and schools reopening

First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed today that following the recent review of restrictions, Wales will remain at Alert Level 4. The next review will take place in three weeks’ time.

The following changes to the current rules were also announced:

  • From Saturday 20 February, four people from two different households will be able to meet outdoors for socially distanced local exercise. This doesn’t apply to private gardens.
  • From 1 March, the law will be changed to allow licensed wedding venues, such as visitor attractions and hotels, to re-open but only to perform wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.
  • Sport Wales will make arrangements for talented athletes to resume training and playing.
  • With more people living and working in older people’s care homes being vaccinated, guidance for care home visits will be looked at.

He also stated that from Monday 22 February, children aged three to seven will begin returning to schools in a phased way, while some vocational learners, on courses that require practical learning, will return to college.

Business Rates Review update

The Government has announced that it will now publish the final report on the fundamental review of business rates in Autumn 2021.

The review was announced at last year’s Budget and the call for evidence closed in July. An interim report which will include a summary of responses to the call for evidence will be published on 23 March 2021.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 19 FEBRUARY

  • Social Impact of Coronavirus

The ONS’s weekly update has been published and, somewhat surprisingly, even though the roll-out of the vaccine has been successful and the Prime Minister is set to announce the reopening Roadmap next week, there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in optimism regarding life getting back to normal. Just 20% of people feel that life will return to normal in six months or less (compared to 21% last week), while 29% of people feel that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal (up from 27% last week).

This indicates that while there is considerable demand for some sectors of the tourism industry such as self-catering, considerable effort will be required to encourage people to return to city destinations and activities such as going to pubs and restaurants or entertainment venues.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/19february2021

  • GVA By DCMS Cluster

DCMS has published data on the GVA of different industries under their responsibility. These figures show that the GVA from tourism is £74.5bn of the total GVA of £291.9bn generated by businesses across Arts, heritage and Libraries, Design and media, Digital, Gambling, Sport and Civil Society

There are also figures for employment in industries under DCMS’s remit which unfortunately don’t include any figures for tourism. This is extremely disappointing both in terms of the current economic situation and that it would be relatively easy to produce figures for tourism by applying Tourism Satellite Account ratios for tourism-related industries to the Labour Force Survey

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ad-hoc-statistical-analysis-202021-quarter-4

Repaying EOTHO

HMRC has update their factsheet for businesses that participated in the Eat Out To Help Out Initiative on how to repay any money that was accidently overclaimed and of their new powers to recover amounts of Eat Out to Help Out payments businesses have overclaimed.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-receiving-payments-you-were-not-entitled-to

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TIER UPDATE 18 FEB

Note from BVEP: 

  • PROSPECTS FOR RESTARTING OUTDOOR EVENTS - The Events Industry Forum held a meeting on Wednesday, 10th February with Tom Rodden, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Digital, Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS). A summary of the discussions can be found here:  https://www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com/news/partnernews/954-prospects-for-restarting-outdoor-events.
  • A similar meeting, with representatives from the BVEP, to discuss reopening of the business events sector took place last Tuesday. The notes from that meeting will be circulated shortly.

Northern Ireland restrictions extended for 4 weeks

First Minister Arlene Foster and Finance Minister Conor Murphy announced that COVID-19 restrictions will be in place for another 4 weeks (until 1 April) with another full review on 18 March. The Northern Ireland Executive will publish their decision making framework, the pathway to recovery on 1 March.

They shared an overview of how the health situation is progressing, the R rate in Northern Ireland is now around 0.7-0.8 and the peak period of the infection has passed. However, with the prevalence of the new variants being more infectious community transmission is still a concern, meaning the lifting of restrictions will be cautious and gradual based on the scientific data.

They also announced the gradual return of children to schools from 8 March for some school years. Parents were urged to restrict contact as much as possible.

Other changes will include:

  • From Monday 8 March up to 10 people from 2x households will be able to meet outdoors in parks and public spaces
  • From Monday 8 March there will be a reinstatement of some Click and Collect services for items that have now become essential (e.g. shoes, clothing and baby equipment (click and collect will be looked at more widely as part of the next  review).

People were urged not to make plans or book anything for the Easter weekend. Financial assistance is being looked at.

Other updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 18 FEB

  • Ordering Home Testing Kits

The Government has announced that it is making it is introducing three new measures to make it easier for people to order home testing kits. These measures are:

  • Home test kits can now be ordered over the phone by calling 119 as well as via  the internet
  • NHS Test and Trace partnership with Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to improve home testing service for people with visual impairments
  • New video-call support service with specially trained NHS Test and Trace staff will assist people with vision impairments to test at home

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-home-testing-kits-now-easier-to-order

  • WTTC letter to the Prime Minister

WTTC have written to the Prime Minister  putting forward four principles of an exit strategy for reopening international tourism flows. The four principles are:

  • An international coordinated approach, led by the UK, including public and private collaboration, to establish an international mobility framework to allow the safe movement of people and remove restrictions such as blanket quarantines, hotel-based requirements and travel bans.
  • Shift to individual traveller risk assessments instead of country risk assessments, to avoid importing and exporting the virus through robust testing, supported by technology, such as digital health passes, virus detectors and contact tracing systems, to ensure a seamless experience.
  • Reinforce health & hygiene protocols, including mandatory mask wearing, in addition to the vaccination roll out, as part of an integral solution.
  • Continued support for the sector, including, fiscal, liquidity and worker protection, with a clear strategy to resume economic activity and provide consistency and certainty, in addition to promoting the importance of the sector.

 

  • Business Growth Programme for Leeds

BEIS have launched a business growth programme through the Leeds LEP which will provide grants of between £10,000 to £250,000 to small and medium-sized businesses and between £100,000 to £250,000 to large businesses (those with more than 250 employees)

To be eligible, businesses must be based in or moving to the Leeds City Region and:

  • have a capital investment project over £50,000, that will create jobs
  • have been established for at least 12 months
  • operate from commercial premises

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/business-growth-programme-leeds-city-region

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TIER UPDATE 17 FEB

Please see below today’s updates

  • Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today called on businesses to continue supporting the national vaccine rollout effort, recognising warehouses, pubs and shops that have been repurposed used as vaccination hubs, restaurant chains delivering free meals to volunteers at vaccination centres and employers offering paid time off for employees to receive their jab and volunteer. See what organisations pledged
  • The First Minister for Wales has announced that St David’s Day will be used to support delivery of their International Strategy, to encourage people to buy Welsh, make plans to visit or study in Wales in the future, invest in Wales and share content on Wales. Read the statement here.

Tourism Alliance Update – 17 February

  • £650m in Support for Wales

Westminster has allocated an additional £650 million to the Welsh Government to support people, businesses and public services affected by coronavirus. The Welsh Government will be able to carry over any of the £650 million not spent this year into the 2021/22 financial year in order to provide continuing support.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-650-million-funding-boost-for-covid-19-response-in-wales

  • Kick Start Brand Guidelines

Those businesses that have been approved funding for taking on an unemployed young worker through the Kick Start scheme are allowed to use the Kick Start branding to advertise that they are part of this initiative. The branding and the guidelines for using it are on the following list.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/kickstart-scheme-employer-resources

  • Scottish Reopening

While the focus is on the Government’s reopening roadmap being announced on Monday, it is worth noting that the Scottish Government has announced that it is currently preparing a revised strategic framework, which will set out in much more detail when and how the country might gradually emerge from this lockdown. It is hoped that the new strategic framework will be published next week (probably Tuesday). The framework will:

  • set out as far as possible the conditions that we think need to be met, in terms of the data, for us to start lifting restrictions.
  • detail the broad order of priority for re-opening, including what a return to a geographic levels approach might look like in due course.
  • try to be clear about what the government doesn’t think will be possible for a while longer.
  • advise against booking Easter holidays, either overseas or within Scotland, as it is highly unlikely that we will have been able to fully open hotels or self catering accommodation by then

The First Minister, in making this announcement stated that, for the summer, it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable. However, staycations within Scotland might be allowed by then depending on the data nearer the time.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-statement-16-february-2021/

In Wales, the publication of a reopening strategy has yet to be announced by First Minister Mr Drakeford has said that discussions are being held with tourism and hospitality leaders in Wales about the possibility of opening up around Easter and that Wales would implement a process of slowly moving down the alert levels.

  • Testing for Coach Drivers

The government has updated the  guidance on testing for coach drivers which includes a list of locations where they can take a COVID-19 test, which they need to travel to:

  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Netherlands

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/haulier-advice-site-locations

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TIER UPDATE 16 FEB

Review of restrictions in Scotland

The First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon gave a statement today in which she confirmed the core stay at home requirement will be in place until at least the beginning of March.

She confirmed that the phased and gradual return to school will start from Monday 22 February and that being able to get children back to education may other restrictions are in place for longer.

She confirmed that the Scottish Government is revising the strategic framework, which will set out in more detail when and how Scotland might come out of lockdown and this would be published next week. Continued travel restrictions were mentioned as a trade off for continuing to prioritise education, followed by greater family contact and the phased re-opening of the economy.

The framework will try to clarify what may not be possible for a while longer. In giving examples, she said they are likely to advise against booking Easter holidays either overseas or domestically as it is highly unlikely hotels and self-catering accommodation will have been able to open fully by then. She then said it is unlikely that overseas holidays in summer may be possible or advisable, however staycations might be possible depending on the data nearer the time.

Scottish budget update

In a statement to Scottish Parliament, Finance secretary Kate Forbes outlined proposals following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending. The Scottish Government will be able to carry over any of the £1.1 billion not spent this year into the 2021/22 financial year on top of their existing tools to transfer funding between years.

She also confirmed that extension of 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, tourism, hospitality and aviation businesses in Scotland for the whole of 2021-22.

Other government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 16 FEBRUARY

  • Clarification on Who’s Banned from Travel to the UK

The Government has amended statements that it has made regarding who is banned entry into the UK under the new quarantine regime. Previous statements had been that only UK residents were able to travel to the UK from Red List countries. The new guidance is that British or Irish nationals or those with UK residency rights are able to travel to the UK from Red List countries

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-introduce-tougher-measures-and-enforcement-rules-for-quarantined-passengers

  • Asking HMRC Not to Publish CJRS Details

HMRC have published an amendment to the guidance on businesses making requests to HMRC that they do not publish details of their furlough claims after complains from businesses that requests could only be made but the company rather than by their accountants who handle CJRS claim processing. As a result, the updated guidance is that agents can make requests on behalf of the businesses that they represent.

Here is a link to the updated guidance where businesses (and their agents) can submit a request.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ask-hmrc-not-to-publish-your-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-claim-details

  • Support for Self-Catering and B&Bs in Scotland

The Scottish Government has introduced a new package of sector specific support to help the following accommodation businesses closed or impacted by current protective measures. 

    • Large self-catering properties
      • Self-catering businesses are eligible if they have a property which accommodates 7 or more people for which they pay Non Domestic Rates. The number of bed spaces will be linked to records held by Rates Assessors. The large self-catering grant will make one off payments of £2,000 available to eligible applicants. 
    • Exclusive use properties that provide accommodation
      • Exclusive use properties that provide accommodation are eligible for one off grants of £10,000, if they pay Non Domestic Rates and have been evaluated by the Scottish Assessors Association as an Exclusive Use Venue providing overnight accommodation,
    • B&Bs paying Council Tax
      • B&Bs paying Council Tax will get equivalent support - comprising £2,000 for every 4 weeks of Level 4 restrictions. 

 https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-self-catering-exclusive-use-properties-bed-and-breakfast-establishments/pages/background/

  • Scottish Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Project Fund

Staying with Scotland, the Government has also launched the Scottish Zoo and Aquarium Project Fund which is up to £400,000 for businesses experiencing financial hardship which is affecting your conservation projects. The eligibility criteria are:

    • the project is for the conservation benefit of native Scottish species
    • the project is for promoting or developing understanding of scientific matters
    • all reasonable actions have been taken to minimise costs while maintaining conservation project objectives such as the coronavirus job retention scheme, business rates holiday, tax deferral, statutory sick pay rebate, etc
    • the project has budget monitoring and forecasting
    • the organisation is in possession of a current full licence or dispensation under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, or have been inspected and granted an exemption under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 due to your small size

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scottish-zoo-and-aquarium-conservation-project-fund/

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TIER UPDATE 15 FEB

This afternoon Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a coronavirus news briefing from Downing Street. Joining him were Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens. Johnson spoke about the vaccination programme and mentioned next week he will set out the roadmap out of lockdown.

During the briefing there were questions on next week’s announcement of the roadmap and the lifting of restrictions. Boris Johnson answered that decisions are yet to be taken and will be made based on the data, which will become clearer over the course of this week, Current reports in the media are speculation.

There was a question whether people should rule out get togethers and get aways at Easter. The Prime Minister Johnson said he could not give any guarantees and that whilst he was optimistic about the future, the roadmap needs to be realistic and cautious.

Asked about vaccine passports, Johnson acknowledged other countries may insist there is evidence of vaccination, much like the vaccination against yellow fever. He said it was still early days, but under consideration in this country for opening up the domestic economy is mass vaccination and lateral flow/rapid/on the day testing, especially for those businesses which could not reopen last year, such as night clubs and theatres.

On hotel quarantine, Boris Johnson was asked if someone had to extend their stay following a positive test would they pay for the accommodation. He restated that it is illegal to travel abroad and he expects people who are travelling from red list countries to cover their cost.

New guidance to support mandatory hotel quarantine introduced today

From today, Monday 15 February, anyone who has visited a country on the UK’s travel ban ‘red list’ will have to enter England through a designated port and have pre-booked a quarantine package to stay at one of the government’s managed quarantine facilities.

Details for arrivals on what to expect at managed quarantine hotels have been published and include what to do before travel, what to expect at the hotel, tips on what to pack and details of when the passenger will take a COVID-19 test on the second and eighth day of quarantine.

Anyone arriving in England from today who has not visited a red list country must still quarantine for 10 days at home and more detailed guidance on completing two mandatory COVID-19 tests on the second and eighth day after arriving is now available. Details of jobs with COVID-19 testing travel exemptions have been published.

Read today’s press release.

Guidance on the new quarantine rules has been updated on the following pages:

In Scotland, from today, people who are travelling from outside of the Common Travel Area (comprising of the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands), and do not qualify under an exemption, will be required to quarantine in managed isolation for 10 days on arrival in Scotland.
Guidance is available on international travel and managed isolation. Read further information what a passenger must do on arrival into Scotland.

At her daily update today, First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon spoke about the new rules for international travel into Scotland. She spoke about the difference in hotel quarantine rules in Scotland and the risk should someone arrive at a port elsewhere in the Common Travel Area and travel on to Scotland.

Support for self-catering, exclusive use properties and bed and breakfast establishments and zoos and aquariums in Scotland

 Eligibility details have been published for:

  • Grant payments to support large self-catering properties, exclusive use properties that provide accommodation and B&Bs paying council tax. These grants were announced on 21 January 2021. Local authorities will identify and invite eligible businesses to register for payment from 15 February 2021. There is no need to apply.
  • Zoos or aquariums in Scotland experiencing financial hardship which is affecting conservation projects may be able to apply. Details on how to apply have been published.

Office for National Statistics publishes an analysis of the coronavirus impact on travel and tourism in the UK.

The Office for National Statistics has published an analysis of the how industries related to travel and tourism in the UK have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Key figures include:

  • Monthly air passenger arrivals to the UK fell from 6,804,900 in February 2020 to 112,300 in April 2020, a fall of 98.3%.
  • Greater London saw the largest fall in room occupancy of any English region from 2019 to 2020, with 20% of rooms occupied in July 2020 compared with 90% in the same month in 2019.
  • Accommodation and travel agency businesses saw the sharpest decline in turnover during the first national lockdown, falling to 9.3% of their February levels in May 2020.
  • In the three months to June 2020, employment in accommodation for visitors fell by 21.5% compared with the same three months of 2019.
  • In travel and tourism industries overall, the number of people aged 16 to 24 years saw the largest fall in employment of any age group between Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019 and Quarter 3 2020.

The analysis looks at the demand for travel and tourism during the pandemic including passenger numbers as well as the impact to business turnover and trading status.

 TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 15 FEBRUARY

  • Quarantine Hotels and Testing

With the implementation of the new testing and quarantine regime for people entering England today, there are a few details that are worth being aware of

Who needs to Quarantine

There seems to be some confusion on who needs to quarantine.

    • DCMS have informed me that if there is a flight from a non- Red List Country (say Spain) which has someone on board that has been in a Red List country within the last 10 days, then it’s only that person that needs to use a quarantine hotel.
    • However, they are also saying that if a flight from a non Red List country stops over in a Red List country, then everyone on board needs to use a quarantine hotel

Personally, I’m struggling to see the difference between 2 Red List people getting on a plane in a non Red List country and 2 red list people getting on a plane from a non Red List Country when it travels through a Red List country so I’ve asked DCMS to check this as it will impact flights through airports like Dubai.

Transiting airside through the UK

People transiting through the UK who stay airside do not need undertake a  do not need to show a passenger locator form or pre departure test as they will will not pass through the UK border.

Exemptions from Testing

Bus and coach drivers are exempt from testing if they can to show that their travel is part of their job, for example a letter from your employer, a consignment note or your operator’s licence. This applies to drivers of public service vehicles and other employees of community licence holders for the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus.

Aircraft pilots and crew as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 2016(h), where such crew have travelled to the UK in the course of their work

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

  • Clarification on Support Groups

The Government has produced greater clarification on the support groups exemption from the lockdown rules. Support that has to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. Support groups must not take place in a private home. Examples of support groups include those that provide support to:

    • victims of crime (including domestic abuse)
    • those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour
    • recent parents (including breastfeeding, postnatal, and baby and toddler groups, for the provision of support)
    • those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness or terminal condition or who are vulnerablethose facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender

The limit of 15 does not include children under 5 who are accompanying a parent or guardian.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

  • ALVA Sentiment Tracker

I have attached a copy of the latest wave of ALVA’s Customer sentiment Survey. The main findings of which are:

    • Confidence around visiting attractions is now more polarised compared with the first lockdown – whilst more will return quickly, there has been even greater growth in the segment unlikely to visit for a long time
    • Around 40% feel less positive about visiting than they did during the first lockdown (18% feel more positive), with the impact of the virus now feeling greater for many – high infection rates, new variants etc.
    • Concerns around distancing remain the focal point – pre-visit reassurance around limiting capacity (via pre-booking) and the ability to control distancing in practice will continue to be vital. The market is now much more accepting of mandatory mask wearing
    • But when re-opening again, we need to remember that there are growing numbers who are questioning the value of the experience – we need to try to offer as full / normal a visit as possible
    • With that in mind, it is important to note that anxiety around using facilities at attractions, while still high for many indoor facilities, is easing slightly – apart from interactives and audio guides
    • The advent of vaccines is beginning to have some positive impact upon attraction visiting prospects, although this will be limited until the market feels that rollout to the wider population is complete
    • In the short term, the impact of the vaccine is mainly in encouraging the fearful to at least consider a visit - moving people from ‘unlikely to visit for a long time’ to ‘wait and see what happens for a short while’
    • Attractions are unlikely to see short term rapid increases in visits driven by a vaccination rollout – the impact of having the first vaccine dose increases the proportion saying they will visit any attraction from 44% to 48%, although the impact is greater (+7%) among those aged 55 or over

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TIER UPDATE 12 FEB

Guidance on travel and quarantine for Scotland

The guidance has been updated to reflect that all international arrivals into Scotland will have to undergo a managed isolation in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days from arrival. This applies to arrivals from all countries outside the CTA and includes British citizens.

In summary arrivals must:

·        Provide a Coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before they travel

·        Before departure for arrivals from Monday 15 February, book and pay for managed isolation in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days from arrival. People can book their managed isolation using the booking portal

·        Complete an online passenger locator form before travelling, and provide contact details, travel details and the address of their final destination. People will need to enter the booking reference for their managed isolation package.

·        Be tested on day of 2 and 8 of the 10-day quarantine

·        Follow the national rules on Coronavirus in Scotland.

 Quarantine hotel booking portal link live for England

Following the issues yesterday with the quarantine hotel booking portal the link has now been added to the booking and staying in a quarantine hotel guidance and how to quarantine when you arrive in England guidance. Please also find attached the quarantine stakeholder toolkit from DHSC.

 Other updates:

·        The guidance on the phased return of elite sport has been updated to reflect the latest changes to travel restrictions

·        The ONS has released the latest results of the coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain survey for the period 3-7 February.

·        The ONS has also released the latest statistics for coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy for December 2020. The release provides an analysis of monthly growth for the production, services and construction industries in the UK economy between November and December 2020, highlighting the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

·        The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that Lastminute.com faces legal action unless it pays outstanding refunds

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 12 FEBRUARY

  • Social Impacts of Coronavirus

ONS’s weekly survey of public perceptions of coronavirus seems to be starting to reflect the roll-out of the vaccine with the proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal falling slightly this week (down from 29% to 27%). There was also a corresponding increase in the number of people who feel life will return to normal with six months ( from 17% to 21% this week) but it should be noted that the number of people who are “pessimistic” still outnumber those that are “optimistic”.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/12february2021

  • CMA Threatens Last Minute.com With Court Action

The CMA has publicly warned Lastminute.com that it will take them to court if the company does not refund £1 million to 2,600 customers who’s holidays were cancelled due to coronavirus. The CMA had previous reach an agreement with LastMinute.com that all customers would be refunded by 30 January and ongoing complains that the company was still now repaying all customers entitled to a refund within 14 days of their package holiday being cancelled.

This warning highlights the CMAs’ increasingly tough stance on companies selling package holidays and will increase public expectation that all tourism businesses will provide a full refund on bookings that are impacted by coronavirus. As such, with people starting to book for summer, it emphasises the need for businesses to have customer focused refund policies that are clearly communicated to customers before they book.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lastminute-com-faces-legal-action-unless-it-pays-outstanding-refunds

  • £17.5m for Events Sector in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced the provision of another £17.5m businesses in the events sector including freelance workers. Of that, £8.5 million will go towards the events sector – distributed through the Pivotal Event Businesses Fund and the Events Industry Support Fund 2 as well as targeted support.  The remaining £9 million will be distributed as a top-up to the Creative Freelancers Hardship Fund bringing the total value of support for creative freelancers to £17 million.

                https://www.gov.scot/news/support-for-freelancers-and-the-events-sector/

  • R Number and Growth Rate

As ever on a Friday, here are this week’s R Number and Growth Rate – which are, respectively, 0.7 to 0.9 and -5% to -2%. These figures are marginally better than last week when they were 0.7 to 1.0 and -5% to -2% but notable for the fact that this is the first time that the R Number range has been below 1 since 31st July 2020

So some good news to end the week.

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

  • UK Economic Contraction

The main headline in the news this morning is that the UK economy contracted by 9.9% during 2020.

What is worth noting is another ONS report released today on the economic impact of coronavirus on different sectors of the UK economy. This report shows how the tourism and hospitality sectors have borne the brunt of this fall in GDP by contracting by the following percentages compared to February 2020.

  • Air transport                                                      - 89.3%
  • Travel Agents and Tour Operators            - 85.9%
  • Tourism Accommodation                           - 73.3%
  • Rail Transport                                                    - 64.0%
  • Creative Arts and Entertainment              - 60.7%
  • Domestic Staff                                                   - 50.8%
  • Aircraft Repair                                                   - 49.2%
  • Food and Beverage Services                       - 48.0%
  • Museums, Libraries Cultural Service         - 38.9%
  • Aircraft manufacture                                      - 37.4%
  • Alcohol Drink Manufacture                          - 33.9%

Tourism sectors are 8 of the 10 most impacted in the service sector – on the manufacturing side, aircraft repair (-49.2%), aircraft manufacture (-37.4) and Alcoholic drink manufacture (-33.9%) have also been heavily impacted.

So a better way of putting it is the tourism comprises 6 of the 10 worst impacted sectors of the UK economy.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/articles/coronavirusandtheimpactonoutputintheukeconomy/december2020

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TIER UPDATE 11 FEB

Additional COVID-19 funding for freelancers and events sector in Scotland

A further £17.5 million of emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) funding has been allocated to support creative freelancers and the events sector. Of that, £8.5 million will go towards the events sector – distributed through the Pivotal Event Businesses Fund and the Events Industry Support Fund 2 as well as targeted support.  The remaining £9 million will be distributed as a top-up to the Creative Freelancers Hardship Fund bringing the total value of support for creative freelancers to £17 million.

New guidance for internationals arrivals from 15 February (England)

Details of the steps individuals need to take before entering England, on arrival and during quarantine have now been published on gov.uk

  • Take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before travel - this includes UK citizens. Proof of a negative coronavirus test is needed to travel to England – this includes UK citizens.
  • Book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of your quarantine. Everyone must book a travel test package – this costs £210.
  • Complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will be home quarantining on arrival and the travel test package booking reference number

If people are travelling from somewhere in the Common Travel Area and you have not left the Common Travel Area for the past 10 days, they do not need a test before leaving or to home quarantine and take tests after arriving.

New guidance for booking and staying in a quarantine hotel for England

The guidance details how to book a place in a quarantine hotel (the link to the booking portal is due to be available later today) and arrange coronavirus (COVID-19) tests for people who have travelled to England from a country on the banned travel list.  The costs have been confirmed as follows:

  • Rate for 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights): £1750
  • Additional rate for 1 adult (or child over 12): £650
  • Additional rate for a child aged 5–12: £325

All package prices will be reviewed before the end of March and may change. While hotels normally set a zero fee for children aged under 3, the Government is setting this for children under 5 years old because they will not be tested. For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is only available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits, and they will be required to pay back in 12 monthly installments.

The only ports of arrival in England for people arriving from banned travel list locations currently are - Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Birmingham Airport, Farnborough Airfield. Other ports of entry may be added in the future. People are responsible for changing their own booking if they are not due to land at one of these airports. After 15 February carriers will not be permitted to carry anyone who has been in a red list country in the previous 10 days to any other port of entry other than those specified.

Read the full guidance to find out more about how the quarantine arrangements will work

New testing, self-isolation and quarantine rules updates

The following pages have been updated with links to the new testing, self-isolation and quarantine rules that will apply from 15 February:

Other updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 11 FEBRUARY

Here’s today’s update which concentrates on the new quarantine regime that come into effect on the 15th Feb. It is worth noting that the booking portal for tests and quarantine accommodation is not yet live due to a technical problem. I’ll send round links when they sort that out.

  • People Arriving From a Non-Red List Country

This applies to everyone entering the England (with minor exceptions) from a destination outside the Common Travel Area that is not a Banned or Red List country

Before travelling, all people entering the country must:

  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before travel
  • book and pay for a travel test package, which will include COVID-19 tests to be taken on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 of quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will quarantine and the travel test package booking reference number

People entering the country who have not been in a banned (red list) country within 10 days of arrival can quarantine:

  • in their home
  • with friends or family
  • in temporary accommodation that is not a managed quarantine hotel

The place of quarantine must be the one they list on the passenger locator form and the person must stay there for the entire 10 days. People must travel directly from the port of entry to the place of quarantine, and only using public transport or stay somewhere along the way if absolutely necessary.

During the 10 day quarantine period:

  • no visitors are allowed outside medical and other emergency assistance
  • no leaving the property is allowed, not even for shopping, exercise or walking a dog

Other people living in the property do not need to quarantine, unless:

  • they also travelled overseas
  • someone living in the property develops coronavirus symptoms

The 10 day quarantine can be ended after 5 days if a person:

  • takes the test for variant surveillance on or before Day 2
  • takes a test on the 5th full day of quarantine under the “Test to Release” scheme and the result is negative
  • takes the test for variant surveillance on or after Day 8

People traveling to the UK in the next 7 days and facing a set of circumstances that are not covered by the guidance are asked to contact the NHS using the following address dhsctesttrace.customerfeedbackteam@nhs.net

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england

  • How to Test at Home

To tie-in with the need to undertake home testing if returning from overseas, the Government has updated and expanding the guidance for the public on how to conduct testing at home. This includes a step by step guidance, a guidance on how to test children and a guide for use in Wales.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/testing-for-coronavirus-at-home

  • People Arriving from Banned or Red List Countries

People arriving into the UK who have been in, or passed through, a banned or red list country within 10 days of arrival are only allowed to arrive into England at:

  • Heathrow Airport
  • Gatwick Airport
  • London City Airport
  • Birmingham Airport
  • Farnborough Airfield

(others will be added to this list)

People with a pre-existing booking to a different port of entry on or after the 15 February have to change it to one of the ports of entry specified above.

Before travelling, all people entering England from a Red List country must:

  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and get a negative result during the 3 days before travel
  • book a managed quarantine hotel package which includes the hotel accommodation, quarantine transport and a travel test package for COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine
  • complete a passenger locator form with details of where they will quarantine with the quarantine package booking reference number

The cost of a package is

  • Rate for 1 adult in 1 room for 10 days (11 nights)               £1750
  • Additional rate for 1 adult (or child over 12)                         £650
  • Additional rate for a child aged 5–12                                        £325

People staying in a Quarantine Hotel are not allowed visitors are can only  leave their room in very limited circumstances including:

  • to travel directly to leave the Common Travel Area
  • to fulfil a legal obligation including attending court or satisfying bail conditions or to participate in legal proceedings
  • to exercise but only with special permission from hotel staff or security. This is not guaranteed
  • in exceptional circumstances

People staying in a quarantine hotel will be tested on Day 2 and Day 8

  • A person with a positive test result on Day 2, and anyone they travelled with, must quarantine until day 12
  • A person with a positive test result on Day 8, and anyone they travelled with, must quarantine until day 18
  • There is no option of undertaking a “Test to Release” test on Day 5 to shorten a stay

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/booking-and-staying-in-a-quarantine-hotel-when-you-arrive-in-england

  • Red List Countries

Here is a link to the current Red List countries. Talking to DCMS officials earlier, they envisaged the list would be review approx. every two weeks but that changes to countries on the list will be driven by the spread of variants that are of concern rather than specific dates.

There is also more detail coming on what constitutes arriving from a red list country but working assumption is that it includes passenger who remain airside when transiting through a red list country. This includes situations where they remain on the plane while other passengers board.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-measures-to-protect-the-uk-from-variant-strains-of-covid-19#travel-bans-to-the-uk---banned-countries

  • Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes Guidance Updated

The primary guidance for restaurants, pubs and cafes has been updated to include a section on Workplace testing which states that it’s important to continue to follow the working safely measures, even if employees have:

  • received a recent negative test result
  • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)

Also that employers can order rapid lateral flow tests, to test employees with no coronavirus symptoms if:

  • the business is registered in England
  • the business employs 50 people or more
  • employees cannot work from home

There is also a requirement that the businesses have to be operating at the moment so many businesses in these sectors will probably have to wait until they reopen in order to be able to order tests.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery#tests-and-vaccinations

  • Test And Trace Payment Privacy Notice

The Government has updated the Private Notice to inform people that local authorities can use Test and Trace Payment Support data for wider benefit accuracy checks.  Local authorities will also validate bank account details before making payments to ensure they align with the applicant, for anti-fraud purposes.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/test-and-trace-support-payment-scheme-privacy-notice

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

TIER UPDATE 10 FEB

In his statement at Downing Street today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was joined by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. The statement provided an update on the vaccination programme, as well as an update that the number of hospital admissions and the number of people testing positive for coronavirus were reducing.

In the Q+A

·        When asked whether the public should be booking holidays, the Prime Minister stated that it’s currently illegal to go on holiday but they were looking at the data every day. The roadmap for reopening would be released on the 22nd and that would hopefully provide some more clarity on timings.

·        On whether lateral flow tests could be used to help restart weddings and events, numbers need to come down first, but lateral flow tests could be a useful tool for the sector when it does reopen.

·        Channel 5 asked about IATA’s plan to develop a travel app that could record vaccination status, and whether the government had been involved in these conversations. The Prime Minister response was that they’re looking at things they may wish to do in the months ahead, but the vaccination programme is the priority at the moment, to give people the protection they need.

View the statement and the slides.
 

Other updates

·        The travel advice: coronavirus page has been updated to reflect yesterday’s announcement on changes at the border from Monday 15 February, as well as a link to Scottish government quarantine guidance.

Tourism Alliance Update – 10 February

  • Innovate UK EDGE

BEIS has launched Innovate UK EDGE as part of the UK innovation agency’s investment in the innovative businesses that drive economic growth. It is an addition to Innovate UK project funding and will provide free tailored support and advice to help small businesses (up to 250 employees) innovate and grow internationally. This support includes:

    • finding the right partners for research, development and innovation
    • finding new markets for your products
    • accessing funding and finance
    • assessing and planning your internal resources

While the video and support material on the website is very much focused on high tech research and development, this support is actually available to businesses from any sector and might be of interest to some of your member who have a new product or service that they would like to develop.

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support/innovate-uk-edge

  • Lateral Flow Results in 30mins

The Government has announced that people undertaking lateral flow tests should now get their results within 30mins rather than the previous 2 hour waiting period. This reduction in waiting time may increase the usefulness of these tests for enabling the freer flow of tourism.

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

  • Covid-19 Community Testing/Postcode checker
    The Department for Health and Social Care have announced that over 230 local authorities in England are now offering rapid Covid-19 testing. They have also launched a new postcode checker to help people who need to leave home for work find out if rapid Covid-19 testing is offered by their local authority or near their place of work.

    https://www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site

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

TIER UPDATE 9 FEB

Matt Hancock announces tougher measures at the border

In a statement to the House of Commons today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced new measures at the border.

From Monday 15 February:
All arrivals at English ports will be required to undertake 2 mandatory COVID-19 tests – on day 2 and day 8 of their 10-day quarantine. Tests must be booked from a list of government-approved test providers. Test to Release will continue to be in operation – however, arrivals will still be required to purchase the 2-testing package.

Anyone arriving who has been in a country on the UK’s travel ban list in the previous 10 days will be required arrive into a designated arrival port and to purchase a quarantine package. Bookings will be made through a dedicated online portal and will include:

  • assigned government transportation
  • food and drinks
  • accommodation in a government-approved facility
  • security
  • welfare
  • testing

The charge for a single adult will be less than £1,750.

The new measures build on those already in place:

  • Refusing entry to non-UK residents from ‘red list’ countries.
  • All passengers, no matter which country they have travelled from, required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 3 days before departure and must self-isolate on arrival
  • A passenger locator form must also be completed with fines for those who fail to comply – these most now detail their quarantine and testing package as well as their travel journey

Increased enforcement has also been confirmed:

  • Passengers must show proof of a negative test in the 3 days before departure
  • They must also complete a passenger locator form in the 2 days before arriving in the UK
  • Carriers must check both of these for every passenger before they board the plane
  • Passengers are then checked again by frontline airport staff and Border Force upon arrival – passengers arriving without a completed form and negative test face a £500 fine and the airline faces a £2,000 fine
  • If they have been in a red-listed country in the past 10 days, they will be denied entry to the UK unless they have a residency right
  • All passengers must then self-isolate at the place they are staying for 10 days after they arrive – spot checks will be enhanced to make sure people are self-isolating and they may be referred for police action including a fine of up to £10,000
  • Increased checks for those self-isolating and by police at ports and airports

Guidelines for travellers are due be published on GOV.UK and the booking portal will go live on Thursday.

Read the press release for more information.

Information on hotel quarantine and procedure in Scotland announced

In his statement today, Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity announced that from Monday 15 February, all international travellers arriving into Scotland will need to enter managed isolation.

All international travellers arriving into Scotland, with some limited exemptions, should meet the requirement to isolate in a managed facility.

  • Passengers flying to Scotland from overseas will be required to book and pay for mandatory isolation in a quarantine hotel through the same online portal system operated by the UK Government, which goes live on Thursday 11 February.
  • The cost to the first traveller in a room will be £1,750, with supplements for additional family members.
  • These costs will include a mandatory testing regime, and will require all arrivals to be tested twice - on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.

He then mentioned that a Managed Isolation Welfare Fund will be developed for travellers who may be unable to meet the charge.

There will be some exemptions from the requirement to isolate in a managed facility. However, many exemptions will require travellers to self-isolate at home or their own accommodation. They will only be able to leave self-isolation for the essential work they are here to do.

A very small number of arrivals will be not be required to isolate, for example in essential supply chains for goods coming into Scotland, foreign diplomats and essential defence activities.

Read the news story here.

Guidance on how to join the VAT deferral new payment scheme

If businesses deferred VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, they can:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full, on or before 31 March 2021
  • join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23 February and 21 June 2021

The new scheme lets businesses:

  • pay deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free
  • choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when you join)

Businesses on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, will be invited to join the new payment scheme later in March 2021.

Find out more information here.

Other updates

Update from The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the National Worker Testing Programme

The asymptomatic testing offer announced by the DHSC aims to provide free testing to all those who still need to leave home to go to work during the national lockdown is now open for registration. The scheme encourages organisations with more than 50 employees to set up their own workplace testing sites. The programme is coordinated by the Department of Health and Social Care alongside their contractors, Trivandi.

How to sign up to register for the webinars and the tests

The DHSC are encouraging businesses with more than 50 employees that cannot work from home to register on the Egress system, and attend one of the daily DSHC run webinars to find out more about the programme. The webinar will guide businesses through the registration process, the legal standings and the operational process. This will be the best platform for businesses to ask any questions to DSHC. Once the webinar is complete, it will be up to the business to decide if the process is right for them and for them to progress with ordering tests on the Egress system. Tests will be delivered to the business. The current waiting time for tests is approximately 7-14 days.

Please use the Egress landing page on GOV.UK here. The Egress system has links to the webinars and businesses will be able to progress to registering for their tests.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 9 FEBRUARY

  • Short-Term Paid Work in Adult Social Care

The government is asking people to register their interest in taking up short-term paid work in the adult social care sector to meet urgent additional staffing requirements during winter.The work could include:

  • providing people with direct care
  • wellbeing support such as check-in and chat
  • helping people with cooking and cleaning
  • administrative support

The work could be in residential settings or in people’s own homes, supporting elderly people or learning-disabled adults and can be full-time or part-time.People employed will be classed as key workers and will be vaccinate accordingly.

This scheme will be of interest for businesses that have staff on furlough who need the additional income and/or want to help others.

Here’s the link for more information and how to register interest in undertaking this work.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-urged-to-consider-work-in-adult-social-care

TIC Update 9 Feb 2021

National Worker Testing Programme

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has provided an update on the workplace testing programme that we’d asked for your input in January.

The asymptomatic testing offer announced by the DHSC (press notice can be found here) that aims to provide free testing to all those who still need to leave home to go to work during the national lockdown is now open for registration. The scheme encourages organisations with more than 50 employees to set up their own workplace testing sites. The programme is coordinated by the Department of Health and Social Care alongside their contractors, Trivandi.

How to sign up to register for the webinars and the tests?

The DHSC are encouraging businesses with more than 50 employees that cannot work from home to register on the Egress system, and attend one of the daily DSHC run webinars to find out more about the programme. The webinar will guide businesses through the registration process, the legal standings and the operational process. This will be the best platform for businesses to ask any questions to DSHC. Once the webinar is complete, it will be up to the business to decide if the process is right for them and for them to progress with ordering tests on the Egress system. Tests will be delivered to the business. The current waiting time for tests is approximately 7-14 days. 

Please use the Egress landing page on Gov.uk using this link here. The Egress system has links to the webinars and businesses will be able to progress to registering for their tests. 

National Worker Testing Programme Q&As

What happens beyond the 31st March?

As it stands, the Government funding for the programme is due to cease on the 31st March. 

What is involved at the Webinar?

The webinars are separated into 2 sessions. The first webinar is aimed at decision makers  to provide an overview of testing and answering initial questions. The second webinar is an operational overview which will talk through the logistics of the programme, including advice on how to set up a site and talking through the legal documents that will need to be signed at registration.

What is involved in the Egress process?

The Egress system will take businesses through the legal paperwork that needs to be downloaded, signed and uploaded to the registration site, businesses can then proceed to ordering their testing kits through the site. It is also an online repository for the latest comms, Q&A’s and general information about the programme as well as setting up an Asymptomatic Test Site (ATS).

Does this cover registered charities? Or only businesses?

Yes, it covers any organisation that meets the 50+ employee threshold.

If an organisation has 80-100 staff, but only 2 going into work, do they need to register? 

No, this project is not designed to drive people back to work. It is there to provide testing for those who cannot work from home and are requiring 50+ employees to come to work everyday.  In this case, the organisation does not need to register. For organisations with fewer than 50 employees who cannot work from home, these employees should get tested regularly via the open community testing centres in their area. Organisations and employees should visit their local authority's website (https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council) for further information about their local authority’s testing offers.

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TIER UPDATE 8 FEB

This evening the Secretary for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock was joined by England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, and NHS England's medical director for primary care, Dr Nikki Kanani. His update focused on the roll out of the vaccination programme. Hancock also mentioned workplace testing is being offered to those businesses with over 50 employees in sectors that are currently open.

During questions, Matt Hancock was asked if we should continue to expect strict rules on international travel, given that there may be a need for a third booster jab in the Autumn. He replied that the proportion of cases coming from abroad was very low, in part because it is illegal for people to travel abroad and we would need to know the impact of the vaccine before looking at lifting measures. On how elaborate domestic summer holiday plans could be (e.g. in terms of household mixing), Professor Jonathan van Tam, said it was too early to say and it would be a couple of weeks before readouts of the success of the vaccination programme would be. Restrictions will need to be released gradually and the more elaborate people’s plans, the more likely people would be making guesses into the unknown.

Flexible repayment options offered to businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan

Today, the Chancellor announced repayment flexibilities for Bounce Back Loan borrowers, with the ability to tailor payments according to individual circumstances. The scheme provides the option for small and medium-sized businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.

The new options include:

  • Extending the length of the loan from six to ten years (reducing monthly repayments by almost half),
  • Making interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan
  • Pausing repayments for up to six months. This will be available to all from their first repayment, rather than after six repayments have been made. This means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out.

This is in addition to the Government covering the costs of interest for the first year of the loan.

From today lenders should begin reaching out to borrowers to provide information on repayment schedules and how to access flexible repayment options. Borrowers should only expect correspondence three months before their first repayments are due.

If a business already has a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than they were entitled to, the existing loan can be topped up to the maximum amount. The top-up request must be made by 31 March 2021. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

Applications now open emergency funding for zoos and aquariums in Scotland

Zoos and aquariums in Scotland are invited to apply for a new round of emergency funding. Applications are open until 10 March for the Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund, with up to £2.5 million available to support animal care and key conservation work. The conservation element of the Fund will open for applications later this month. Read the press release.

VisitEngland’s latest domestic consumer sentiment tracker

Wave 24 of the domestic consumer sentiment tracker is available on VisitEngland’s website. The fieldwork was conducted between 25-29 January 2021. Results show that overall mood and optimism is up but there has been no improvement in either confidence nor trip intent. 56% of UK adults anticipate life will ‘return close to normal’ between October-December, with confidence showing a similar trend. Only 18% of adults now expect ‘normality’ by end of June, down 3 points compared to last wave.

Other findings include:

  • Short-term intent remains subdued, with the proportion of adults anticipating going on an overnight trip this spring (between April-June) falling 3 points to 14%. 
  • Summer trip intent is largely stable at 27%, while 20% now anticipate taking a trip sometime after October which represents a 4 point rise from last wave. This possibly suggests people may be more cautious and are increasingly looking to later in the year for sufficient stability/normality to return before committing to overnight trips.  
  • Significantly fewer consider the ‘worst is still to come’ compared to the last wave, falling by 22 percentage points to 34%
  • Almost a third of adults anticipate taking more or the same number of overnight domestic trips between now and end June compared to normal. This compares with just under a quarter of adults with similar intent regarding overseas trips.
  • 4% anticipate taking an overnight trip this winter, rising to 14% in spring (April-June) and 27% during the summer (July-September). This compares to 4%, 17% and 26% respectively in the last wave.
  • More positively, among those who are intending to take a trip this spring, 38% have reached the planning and 29% the booking stages of their trips (versus 28% and 21% last wave).
  • The leading destination type for spring trips is ‘traditional coastal/seaside town’ (33%) followed by ‘countryside or village’ (31%).
  • ‘Hotel/motel/inn’, ‘commercial rentals’ (e.g. holiday cottages) and ‘camping/caravan’ have a joint lead regarding the accommodation type likely to be used on overnight trips this spring, with 32% shares respectively.

Tourism Alliance Update – 8 February

  • Self Assessment Payments Including Class 2 National Insurance Contributions

Self Assessment taxpayers were given the option of deferring payment of their July 2020 Payment on Account until 31 January 2021 and, as a result, have 3 payments to make on this date:

  • The deferred July 2020 payment on account (if it remains unpaid)
  • Any 2019 to 2020 balancing charge
  • The first 2020 to 2021 payment on account

However, there is a Time to Pay option which some people would have taken which could result in 2019 to 2020 Class 2 National Insurance contributions being paid after their due date of 31 January 2021, leading to a detrimental effect on certain contributory benefits claimed.

People affected by this are advised to contact HMRC as soon as possible for help. They may be able to allocate monies have already paid for 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment liabilities against the Class 2 National Insurance contributions, resulting in a small amount of interest being paid and contributory benefit claims being protected.

HMRC is also advising Self Assessment taxpayers that they can still pay tax by instalments if they are unable to pay in full by 31 January 2021. If you have not filed your 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment return, you will need to file it as soon as possible and they will let you  know what payments you owe and how to set up a Time to Pay instalment arrangement. People owing up to £30,000 you can do this online without contacting HMRC.

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

  • Workplace Testing

Cabinet ministers have been tasked to encourage their sectors to take up the offer of rapid workplace testing in order to normalise testing in the workplace. To do this they have opened a new portal where you can register to order tests. The criteria for registering for workplace testing are:

  • your business is registered in England
  • you employ 50 people or more
  • your employees cannot work from home
  • your business is open

https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests

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TIER UPDATE 5 FEB

Mandatory hotel quarantine to be introduced from 15 February

Today the Government announced that from 15 February anyone travelling to the UK from a country on the UK’s travel ban list will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

The Department for Health and Social Care have issued a commercial specification to hotels near ports and airports, asking for proposals on how they can support the delivery of managed quarantine facilities ahead of formal contracts being awarded.

Further details will be set out next week on how passengers will be able to book into the designated accommodation facilities.

The government is also working closely with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the changes come into effect.

Changes have been made to the travel advice coronavirus and foreign travel insurance pages to take account of the announcement.

Read the press release on hotel quarantine.

Welsh Government urges businesses to register for financial support

The Welsh Government is urging businesses to ensure they are registered for financial support to help them deal with the ongoing impacts of coronavirus, as businesses need to have registered with their local authorities in October or later in order to receive the payments. Last month, the Welsh Government announced an additional £200m package to help firms through to the end of March. Read the announcement in full on Gov.Wales.

Other government updates:

Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated::

  • If applying for a visitor visa, visa in transit or direct airside transit visa (DAT), the application decision may be delayed if applying from a country where travel to the UK is suspended. If travel to the UK is suspended but a person needs to travel urgently for compassionate reasons, you’ll still need to apply for a visa in the usual way,
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter the UK (ILE) will lapse if a person is absent from the UK for over 2 years. If their ILR/ILE lapsed on or after 24 January 2020, and they’ve been unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions in place relating to coronavirus, they may apply under the Returning Resident visa route to return to the UK and get indefinite leave. If people have already obtained a Returning Resident visa because their ILR/ILE lapsed on or after 24 January 2020 and they were unable to return to the UK due to travel restrictions in place relating to coronavirus, they may be eligible for a refund of their visa fee. 

Other industry updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 5 FEBRUARY

  • Sage Paper on Border Controls for Preventing Coronavirus Entering the UK

The Government has published an interesting paper produced by Sage on the options available to prevent the importation of coronavirus from overseas, given the emergence of a number of variations of concern. This paper considers the evidence behind different approaches, and highlights remaining unknowns and determinants of effectiveness. Some of the highlights are:

    • Evidence from the continued spread of the South African and UK variants suggests that reactive, geographically targeted travel bans cannot be relied upon to stop importation of new variants once identified, due to the time lag between the emergence and identification of variants of concern, and the potential for indirect travel via a third country
    • Travel bans applied pre-emptively can have substantial social and economic implications for both the UK and other countries
    • No single intervention, other than a complete, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival in designated facilities, irrespective of testing history, can fully prevent the importation of cases or new variants

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/958847/S1046_International_importation_and_border_-_travel_measures_.pdf

  • Perceptions of the Future

ONS’s latest survey on the social impacts of coronavirus and perceptions of the future has found that

    • The proportion of adults in Great Britain that felt that life will return to normal in six months or less continued to gradually fall, now at 17% compared with 20% last week.
    • The proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal continued to gradually rise. Just under 3 in 10 (29%) of adults felt it will take more than a year for life to return to normal, compared with 28% last week.
    • Around a third (33%) of adults felt that it would take between seven months and a year for life to return to normal, a slight decrease from 35% last week.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/5february2021

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TIER UPDATE 4 FEB

The deadline to apply for the Strategic Framework Business Fund in Scotland is tomorrow

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon provided a statement today on COVID-19. She stated that any eligible business who has not yet applied for the Strategic Framework Business Fund should do so, as the deadline for businesses on the mainland for applying is tomorrow, Friday 5 February. (There are now slightly longer timescales to apply for the Special Islands funding)

The Strategic Framework Businesses Fund was set up to help hospitality, leisure and retail businesses that have been required to close. In December top-up funding was announced for those businesses, in addition to the monthly grants they receive.

This top up support is worth £25,000 for larger hospitality businesses and £6,000 for smaller hospitality businesses.

To apply for this fund, businesses need to apply through their Local Council. Find out more information on eligibility and the application process here.

COVID-19 Situation update 4 February 2021

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 4 FEBRUARY

Lord’s Questions on Hospitality Minister

There were questions in the Lords yesterday on the proposal to appoint a Hospitality Minister where many of the questions related to the broader issue of the impact of coronavirus on the industry and the need for the Government to provide further support for businesses including extending the VAT reduction, Business Rates Relief and the Furlough scheme – so the key messages are certainly getting through.

In Reply, Lord Callanan stated several times “We keep all of these recovery measures under constant review and if we need to extend them further, we will of course do so. With regard to the recovery plan, it is impossible to say at the moment when we will be able to reopen the sector, but we should be able to be clearer on this towards the middle of this month.”  - which is a pretty standard response but at the same time reasonably encouraging regarding the willingness to consider extending support.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2021-02-03/debates/CB6A2813-55D0-4786-AA86-9BD872505F0B/HospitalitySectorMinister

  • We’re Good to Go Extended

VisitBritain has extended the duration of the We’re Good to Go industry standard programme for the next few months to help support the industry by increasing consumer confidence in taking domestic holidays.

The programme, which is run in partnership with VisitScotland, Visit Wales and Tourism Northern Ireland, is for businesses across the sector to demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and check they have the required processes in place. Over 43,000 businesses across England signed up since its launch in June last year.

https://www.visitbritain.org/business-advice/were-good-go-industry-standard?utm_source=vbve_enews_03_02_2021&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=vbve_03_02_2021

  • VB Inbound COVID-19 sentiment tracker

Staying with VisitBritain, they have just published the latest version of their sentiment tracker. Some of the key findings are

    • Encouragingly, 70% of respondents said that they would consider an international leisure trip in 2021
    • 35% express interest to visit friends and/or relatives suggesting there is a real need for connection
    • 63% said they would leave bookings to the last minute
    • 74% of respondents also say they would look for less crowded places
    • 86% of those considering a trip to Britain would travel to England, 51% would go to Scotland, and 29% would go to Wales.
    • Geographically close markets such as France, Germany, and the Irish Republic tend to have poorer perceptions of the safety of Britain’s nations when compared to some long haul markets.

https://www.visitbritain.org/node/123858/

  • Consultation On Subsidy Control

As you will be aware that there has been significant confusion about State Aid limits in relation to coronavirus payments. Much of his has been caused by the Governmen not having a policy on stateaid. To rectify this, the Government has launched a consultation document on establish a State Aid policy. The aim is to develop a regime that:

    • facilitates strategic interventions to support government priorities, including supporting the economy’s recovery from COVID-19
    • takes account of the economic needs of the UK’s individual nations and strengthens the economic bonds of our Union
    • protects the UK’s competitive and dynamic market economy
    • ensures that subsidies in the UK are given in line with our international commitments including those in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)

 

The consultation is open until 31 March 2021 so if you have any comments or suggestions for the Tourism Alliance submission, please let me know.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957958/subsidy-control-consultation-document.pdf

  • Environment Agency Update

The Environment Agency has updated its guidance to state that all navigation on their waterways should be limited to essential travel only. Travel on waterways and overnight stays are only permitted where the boat is your permanent residence or it is necessary for work, education or similar reasons. Those who live aboard their boats should limit their travel to access essential services and facilities.

                https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-environment-agency-update

  • CJRS Update

HMRC has updated it’s guidance to businesses on the CJRS to say that there is no right of appeal if you are deemed to be ineligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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

                HMRC has also updated their examples of how businesses should calculate their CJRS claim by adding examples of how to work out wages for different types of pension schemes. The two examples are:

    • An employee works for X Ltd and earns a fixed amount of £2000 per month. The employee contributes 5% of this = £100 to an employer pension scheme, through a Net Pay arrangement.

The employer also makes a 3% contribution = £60. The full amount of the employee’s earnings, including the amount they contribute to their pension, should be included in the CJRS calculation. The employer contribution should not be included. The amount of wages X Ltd should include in the CJRS calculation is £2000.

    • A different employee works for Y Ltd. The employee entered into a salary sacrifice arrangement in 2018. Their contract was amended and their pay was reduced from £2000 to £1800 in exchange for an employer pension contribution.

In the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020, they earned £1800 per month and the employer made a £200 pension contribution on their behalf. The amount of wages Y Ltd should include in the CJRS calculation is £1800.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-examples-to-help-you-work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages/examples-of-how-to-work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-national-insurance-contributions-and-pension-contributions#work-out-80-of-your-employees-normal-wage

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TIER UPDATE 3 FEB

In his statement at Downing Street today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was joined by England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty. After paying tribute to Captain Tom Moore, the session focussed on an update on the vaccination roll out and the latest data which is showing that whilst cases are still very high, the third peak has been passed. View the statement and slides.  

In the Q&A

  • When asked if guidance could be relaxed for those who have been vaccinated, the Prime Minister said they were carefully monitoring the impact of the vaccine on the level of infection, but that he would like to be able to relax rules when it’s safe for everyone.
    A route map is due to be launch on the 22 February. He did not rule out a national approach
  • The Health Secretary will be providing an update tomorrow on hotel quarantine.

Northern Ireland Public Expenditure allocations

Finance Minister Conor Murphy provided a statement yesterday on the Public Expenditure allocations in Northern Ireland. In his statement he announced:

  • Over £12 million is being allocated to continue supporting businesses with £7.4 million to extend the Large Tourism and Hospitality Business Support Scheme and £5 million to extend the Covid Restrictions Business Support Schemes for four weeks.
  • A further £2.2 million of financial assistance is being provided to Belfast International and Belfast City Airport.
  • A further £15 million is being provided for Translink on top of the £90 million already provided this year.

Read the ministerial statement in full here.

Guidance published on how to apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

·                     100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months

·                     Associated employer National Insurance contributions

·                     Employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

Find out more information on eligibility, how to apply and the job placement criteria here.

Other updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 3 FEBRUARY

  • DCMS Questions

DCMS oral questions are being held between 9.30 and 10:10am tomorrow and will feature questions including:

What progress his Department has made on delivering support for the culture and heritage sector through the Culture Recovery Fund.

Giles Watling MP (Clacton, Conservative)

What recent assessment he has made of the financial effect of the covid-19 outbreak on people working in the large entertainment events industry.

Derek Twigg MP (Halton, Labour)

What steps his Department is taking to support businesses in the (a) hospitality, (b) entertainment and (c) arts and culture sectors.

Catherine McKinnell MP (Newcastle upon Tyne North, Labour)

                The session will be streamed on Parliament TV

                https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Commons

  • FCA Guidance on Pay as you Grow Repayment of Bounce back Loans

This one is important for your members with Bounce back Loans. The FCA has published guidance to loan providers on how they are expected to treat businesses that have decided to use the “Pay As You Grow” repayment option for their Bounce Back Loan. The core principle in the guidance is that the FCA expects loan companies to have clear, effective and appropriate policies and procedures for dealing with customers. Regardless of the delivery channel or the communication channel

used, firms should treat all customers in a manner that supports them and leads to appropriate and fair outcomes. The Guidance includes sections on:

    • Identifying and supporting customers in financial difficulties
    • Helping customers make informed choices before selecting PAYG
    • Ability to opt out of automated journeys
    • Provision of repayment plans
    • Effective oversight of third-party debt collection agents
    • Support for vulnerable customers
    • Referring customers for debt advice support

https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/finalised-guidance/bounce-back-loans-scheme-guidance-firms-pay-as-you-grow-options.pdf

  • Transport Use

The DfT figures for transport use are out and show car use is down by 45%, whereas public transport use is down by a much greater percentage – 88% for national rail and 72% for bus services. This shows the level of risk people associated with public transport over private vehicle use.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

  • IATA Figures for 2020

IATA have published their global travel figures for 2020 and forecast for 2021. The key points are{

    • Full-year global passenger traffic results for 2020 (RPKs) fell by 65.9% compared to 2019, by far the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history
    • Bookings for future travel also remain hugely down with bookings made in January 2021 down 70% compared to a year-ago
    • Their forecast for 2021 is for a 50.4% improvement on 2020 demand that would bring the industry to 50.6% of 2019 levels
    • However, there is a severe downside risk if more travel restrictions are imposed in response to new variants -  demand improvement could be limited to just 13% over 2020 levels, leaving the industry at 38% of 2019 levels.
    • European carriers saw a 73.7% traffic decline in 2020 versus 2019. Capacity fell 66.3% and load factor decreased 18.8 percentage points to 66.8%.

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TIER UPDATE 2 FEB

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

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock gave a statement to Parliament this afternoon. His statement covered points made in yesterday’s press conference on vaccine roll-out and supply, and efforts to contain the South African variant.

Scotland review of COVID restrictions

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today shared an update on the latest review of COVID restrictions in Scotland. Highlights include

  • Current lockdown restrictions will remain in place until at least the end of February, requiring people to stay home except for essential purposes.
  • The introduction of managed quarantine requirements for all international arrivals into Scotland, not only those on travel-ban lists; details will be available in due course about how the managed quarantine system will operate and how to manage arrivals entering through other parts of the UK.
  • A phased reopening of schools will tentatively start 22 February, pending review of COVID restrictions in two weeks’ time.

The press release is available here.

Increased funding for Scotland’s tourism and rural economy

Following the Scottish 2021/22 budget announcement last week, the Scottish Government has today announced increased funding for Scotland’s tourism and rural economy. The 2021-22 Scottish Budget proposals also include:

·         £55 million for tourism in Scotland, based on the recommendations of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce.

·         £103 million for rural enterprise bodies supporting green recovery in our most fragile communities and work to deliver the national mission for jobs as well as protecting existing jobs and businesses

·         Doubling the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to £6.2 million to tackle visitor management issues and boost visitor facilities such as car parks and toilets

·         £5 million investment to deliver year two of the Food & Drink Sector recovery plan supporting recovery from COVID and mitigation of Brexit consequences

Broadband competition for event venues opens for round two

Round two of the broadband competition for event venues is now open to applicants until 2 March. Launched in August 2019 as part of the Tourism Sector Deal, the new scheme aims to improve broadband connectivity in event venues, enabling them to receive full fibre access.

This round is open to event venues with a minimum capacity of 250 delegates. Unsuccessful applicants of round 1 are welcome to apply again. Their previous applications will not be taken into account in the second round.

Winners will receive a portion of the £200,000 fund (exact costs will vary per site).

More information is on the Gov website or if you have questions, please contact broadband.competition@dcms.gov.uk.

Other government updates

  • The bidding process to apply for Freeport status closes on 5 February. Those granted Freeport status will receive generous tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and government support, boosting the local economy. Sea, air and rail ports and their communities across England are encouraged to apply.
  • The Government published advice for people in England on how to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19) and passing it on to others. Included in the guidance is advice to:
    • Protect yourself and others
    • Keep a safe distance
    • The basics of good hygiene
    • Wear a face covering
    • Get tested if you have symptoms
    • Self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive result
    • Details on the vaccination programme.

Tourism Alliance Update – 2 February

  • When to Call Your Local Health Team

The DoH has updated it’s guidance to employers as to when they When to contact your local health protection team so that they can undertake a risk assessment, provide public health advice and, where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak. The crux of this update is that the guidance tells businesses to refer to the individual business action cards for further information on when to should contact your local health protection team.

Here's a link to the Action Cards which cover a wide range of tourism-related businesses including specific packs for businesses in hospitality and travel.

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

                The updated information in the Action cards generally says that businesses should contact their local health protection team if:

    • They think they might need to close because of the number of people affected
    • An employee has been admitted to hospital
    • They are getting significant interest from local media about the number of Covid cases they are experiencing

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

  • Support Finder Tool

The Government has launched a support finder tool that can be used by people to find out what help and advice is available from the government and other organisations on a wide range of coronavirus-related issues and impacts. These include:

    • what to do if you’re feeling unsafe where you live, or if you’re worried about someone else
    • paying your bills, rent, or mortgage
    • getting food or medicine
    • being made redundant or unemployed, or not having any work if you’re self-employed
    • what to do if you’re worried about going in to work
    • self-isolating
    • having somewhere to live
    • mental health and wellbeing, including information for children

This is a good resource for businesses to make employees aware of as part of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act which includes a general duty on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare (which includes mental health) of all employees.

https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support

  • Guidance on Providing Apprenticeships

DfE has published a new version of their guidance document “Providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak” with updated information on face-to-face training and when to consider a break in an apprenticeship.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957704/Providing_apprenticeships_during_the_coronavirus__COVID-19__outbreak.pdf

  • Guidance to Employees

The government’s guidance to employees has been updated to clarify that their employer can furlough them if they are shielding or have caring responsibilities because of coronavirus (COVID-19) -ie., that shielding or having caring responsibilities does not convey any protection from being furloughed.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work

  • ESF Q&A

I’m not sure if there are any Tourism Alliance members involved in European Social Fund projects but, in case there are, here is a link to an updated Q&A which addresses issues such as whether RSF money can be used as the employee contribution for staff on Furlough and the State Aid limits that now apply

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-investment-funds-coronavirus-covid-19-response/european-social-fund-2014-to-2020-programme-questions-and-answers-on-covid-19-response

  • VAT and Germany

Finally, here is an item from ETOA which will be of interest to any businesses selling product in the German Market. The German Federal Tax Office has stated that the Tour Operators Margin Scheme (Sonderregelungen für Reiseleistungen) is only available to companies within the European Union. This means that non-EU companies that deliver travel services within Germany must now register for, and pay, VAT with the German Tax Authorities. It also has wider implications as this could be adopted by other member states, and constitute a serious threat to UK tourism businesses operating in Europe.

                https://www.etoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Germany-Ministry-of-Finance_TOMS_2021.1.29.pdf

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TIER UPDATE 1 FEB

Health Secretary Matt Hancock led a press briefing this evening where he gave an update on vaccines and shared an update on the 105 cases of the South African variant that have been found in the UK. Of these cases 11 do not have a link to international travel – these cases are now being isolated, and enhanced contact tracing has been carried out. Matt Hancock said working in partnership with local authorities, enhanced testing and sequencing will be targeted within specific postcode areas including: East of England (EN10), London (W7, N17, CR4), North West (PR9), South East (ME15, GU21), West Midlands (WS2). People who live in these postcodes are advised to stay at home, and everyone over 16 living in these areas is strongly encouraged to get a test even if they do not have symptoms.

Applications for Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs extended (England)

The Christmas Support Payment (CSP) supports wet-led pubs that have been severely impacted over the Christmas period due to temporary local restrictions. The deadline for applications for the Christmas Support Payment has been extended to 28 February 2021.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) update

Claims for the third SEISS grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021. Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021.

Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 27 January the UK Government announced new rules for outbound and inbound passengers. The page has been updated to reflect this - under current UK COVID-19 restrictions. People must stay at home. They must not travel, including abroad, unless they have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes. Check the rules that apply to in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Other updates

·        The When you can leave home section in the National lockdown: Stay at Home guidance has been updated to include campaigning for electoral events as ‘a further reasonable excuse’

·        List of providers: Test to Release for international travel and List of providers: general testing have both been updated.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 1 FEBRUARY

  • FCA Business Interruption Policy Checker and FAQ

Following the Supreme Court test case on a range of business Interruption insurance policies, the FCA has produced a Policy Checker which takes businesses through a process whereby they can check to see whether their insurance policy covers business interruption losses due to coronavirus. It should be noted that each claim will still need to be individually considered to determine whether the policy provides cover for the effects of coronavirus. Policyholders will need to check:

    • the extent of their cover including how long it covers them for (length of their indemnity period)
    • what losses are included - such as loss of profit, fixed costs or increased costs of working

https://www.fca.org.uk/decision-tree/business-interruption-insurance-policy-checker

In addition to the Policy Checker, the FCA have also developed a FAQs which gives business further information on:

    • How to make a claim
    • The disease clauses in policies
    • What to do if they have already made a claim or complaint
    • What they can claim for.

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/business-interruption-insurance-policy-checker/general-faqs-policyholders

  • CBIL Repayment Extensions

In September last year the Chancellor announced that, as part of him winter economy place to support businesses, he was going to give Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-outlines-winter-economy-plan

However, I am getting reports that lenders are refusing to extend the repayment period of some businesses’ CBIL loans from 6 to 10 years. I’ve raised this with DCMS and they are keen to know whether this is an isolated problem or something that is occurring across the industry. So, if any of your members are experiencing problems extending their CBIL loan, could you please let me know.

  • Penalty Notices Doubled

The Government has passed an amendment to Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020s doubling the fixed penalty notice issued to a person in respect of a large gathering offence. A large gathering is defined as 15 people inside a dwelling. The fines are now:

    • £800 – or £400 if the amount is paid within 14 days.

Then

    • £1,600 for second offence
    • £3,200 for a third offence
    • £6,400 for any further offences

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/97/contents/made

Covid-19 News

BBC @BBC
"How we treat our elders says a lot about who we are as a society, and we need to do better." Chloé Zhao, acceptin… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
5 hours 12 min ago
BBC @BBC
Noel Clarke's BAFTA acceptance speech has hit us right in the feels 🙌 #BAFTAs "This is for the under-represented" https://t.co/4T13nxI1bf
5 hours 38 min ago
Stay healthy & safe during the month of #Ramadan ☪️ Protect yourself and loved ones by following local health guid… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
6 hours 54 min ago
BBC @BBC
Nomadland has done BRILLIANTLY tonight as it picks up another @BAFTA award - this time for Best Film. Huge congra… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
7 hours 2 min ago
BBC @BBC
Frances McDormand wins the Leading Actress @BAFTA for her role in Nomadland! 🙌 #BAFTAs https://t.co/ZlPUiLM5KI
7 hours 4 min ago
BBC @BBC
"He gave everything, and a little bit more." @anthonyhopkins wins the @BAFTA for Leading Actor for his role in The… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
7 hours 9 min ago
BBC @BBC
RT @RhiannaDhillon: Shouting YESSSSSSSS at the screen when Chloe Zhao won Best Director is an experience I hope to repeat, so delighted for…
7 hours 11 min ago
BBC @BBC
The @BAFTA for best Director goes to Chloé Zhao for her film #Nomadland. #BAFTAs Congratulations! https://t.co/kRR7kxD4El
7 hours 11 min ago
BBC @BBC
RT @BAFTA: Recipient of the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship is filmmaker Ang Lee, who has brought us diverse classics such as Crouching Tiger,…
7 hours 21 min ago
BBC @BBC
That moment when @Bbukkx won the @BAFTA for Rising Star. 😂 Shocked is an understatement. Congratulations!… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
7 hours 23 min ago

News archive