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TIER & TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES 28 OCT

Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire Districts and Boroughs and Nottingham City, to move into local COVID alert level very high (England)

Newark and Sherwood District Council has announced that due to the increase in infection rates across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Newark and Sherwood, along with the other Nottinghamshire Districts and Boroughs and Nottingham City, will move into local COVID alert level very high. This is expected to come into force at 00:01 Friday 30 October. Further details including the financial support are expected to be published shortly. 

Lockdown Business Fund open for applications (Wales)

The Lockdown Business Fund is now open for applications. The purpose of the fund is to support businesses with cash flow to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions put in place. To receive the grant businesses will need to register and or make an application for the discretionary elements of the fund. Registration and applications will open on 28 October 2020 via links to each Local Authority (LA) site which will be provided on the Business Wales website.

Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) phase 3 opens for applications (Wales)

Phase 3 of the ERF business development grant is now open for applications for businesses in Wales and will remain open until 25 November 2020 or until funds are fully committed. See more details on the Business Wales website. 

Updates to the working safely during coronavirus guidance (England)
The guidance for providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities has been updated in the following sections:

  • (Section 2) keeping your customers and users of sports and gym/leisure facilities safe
  • (Section 4) social distancing
  • (Section 6.4) changing rooms and showers
  • (Section 8) Cars, accommodation and visits

Other Government updates

  • Information asking employees for a shielding note or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield has been added to the employer guidance on claiming employees’ coronavirus-related statutory sick pay.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 28 OCTOBER

  • Ensuring All Businesses are Eligible for Business Grants

With the announcement of the revised Job Support Scheme and the additional cash grants of up to £2,100 per month for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas, we have written to the Secretary of State to ask him to ensure that these grants are available to all components of the tourism industry.

  • Claiming Back Statutory Sick Pay

The Guidance on who can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay has been updated so employers can ask for a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

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

  • ONS Compendium on Coronavirus Research

The ONS has produced a useful compendium of the research that they have undertaken on the impacts of Coronavirus which is well worth bookmarking. The compendium includes research on:

    • Levels of infection and preventative measures
    • Deaths
    • Natural environment
    • Impact on mental health
    • Household and community impact
    • Social impacts
    • Mobility and trade
    • Labour market impact
    • UK output and productivity
    • Inflation and retail sales
    • Sector accounts and government finance
    • Business impact

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19reviewdataandanalysismarchtooctober2020/2020-10-28  

  • Transport Use

The Department for transport’s weekly figures for transport use indicate that public transport use is starting to decline again with National Rail down to 30% of usual capacity (a level last seen in July), while bus use is also starting to show signs of weakening. There is also signs that private vehicle use is also falling with average car use over the last week falling below 85% of usual for the first time since July. None of which is particularly good news for destinations and attractions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

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TIER & TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES 27 OCT

Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 27 October

Here is a link to latest FAQ on the Wales firebreak and below is today’s update.

New Towns Deals announced (England)

The Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government today announced that Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Norwich, Torquay and Warrington are the first of 101 places to be offered a Town Deal.

Examples of tourism-related investment in these areas include:.

  • £39.5 million to be used to update the Blackpool Illuminations, for a return to tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic, which used to attract 4 million visitors and bring in £284 million a year, and to support the development of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
  • £21.9 million to modernise Torquay town centre, transforming it into a retail and leisure destination for people visiting, working and living in the town as well as improving transport links with a new focus on walking and cycling route

Further Town Deals are due to be announced in November.

Update on hospitality provisions in Scotland

The provision of hospitality will be expanded within the new levels system, with effect from Monday 2 November and will be kept under review.

Under the new system set out by the Scottish Government, hospitality premises may sell alcohol indoors with a main meal up to 8pm at level two, enabling the service of an early evening meal. At present, hospitality premises outside the central belt cannot serve alcohol indoors and must close indoors at 6pm. At level three – equivalent to the current restrictions in the central belt – the definition of cafes will be removed, enabling all hospitality premises to operate in the daytime, up to 6pm, without the sale of alcohol. Hotels and other accommodation will continue to be able to serve evening meals to residents. The Scottish Government has also announced that it is working with the industry to take forward a range of additional mitigations suggested by the industry.  

UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) status update:

UKVCAS has been designated an essential service, with staff considered key workers. This means that service points throughout the UK will not be impacted by changes to lockdown restrictions, or by regional variations implemented under the UK Government’s COVID-19 tier system. Customers seeking to book appointments at a UKVCAS centre are advised to continue to check here for the up to date list and operating status of our Service Point locations.

Update on overseas Visa Application Centres:

As of 23 October, 210 Visa Application Centres (VACs) have reopened with 21 VAC locations currently closed due to local restrictions and second wave closures. For the most up to date information on locations customers are advised to check the relevant commercial partner page:

TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East

VFS global for all other countries

COVID-19 Situation update 27 October 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 27 OCTOBER

  • Find a Kickstart Gateway

The Government has updated the search function for businesses wanting to employ someone under the KickStart Scheme through a Gateway organisation. The new search function enabled tourism an hospitality businesses to search for a specialist gateway provider for the sector on a regional, national and UK basis. 

https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/find-a-kickstart-gateway

If you need a refresher on what the Kickstart Scheme is, it 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

Here’s a link to the detailed guidance.  

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

  • Restrictions Relaxed for Pubs and Restaurants in Scotland

The First Minister has announced that pubs and restaurants in level two areas of Scotland will be able to serve alcohol indoors with a meal until 8pm from next Monday.

Pubs and restaurants in level three areas will also be allowed to reopen but must not serve alcohol. 

  • Return to Recreational Team Sport Framework Updated

DCMS has updated the framework for enabling a return to recreational team sport, highlighting that the framework only applies to sports being undertaken in Medium Alert areas. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/return-to-recreational-team-sport-framework

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TIER: COVID-19 and Brexit update 26 October

Warrington to move into local COVID alert level very high

Warrington will move into local COVID alert level very high from 00:01am on Tuesday 27 October. This means that new baseline measures will come into place including:

  • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, in any private garden, or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
  • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals, any alcohol must only be served alongside such a meal
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ alert level or entering a ‘very high’ alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey
  • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the ‘very high’ alert area

In addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from 00.01 on Tuesday 27 October additional closures will include betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres and areas.

The government will provide a financial support package of £1.68m to Warrington, as well as £4.2m in business support funding.

Nottingham, Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe Council areas to move to local COVID alert level very high

It has been announced that Nottingham, Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe Council areas will move to local COVID alert level very high, from 00.01 on Thursday 29 October. More details are due to be announced tomorrow 27 October.

Welsh Government announces an additional £10 million package

On 23 October Finance Minister Rebecca Evans announced an extra £10 million package to help protect workers not eligible for the job retention scheme and wider support for those in need of urgent financial help.

Other Government updates

  • The full list of local COVID alert levels by area has been updated to reflect that Slough, Stoke-on-Trent and Coventry have moved into ‘local COVID alert level: high’ and Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire have moved into ‘local COVID alert level: very high’.

COVID-19 Situation update 26 October 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 26 OCTOBER

  • Test and Trace Support Payment Guidance

People contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020 could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment. The guidance on claiming this payment has been updated with further details on the information people need to provide to the local authority when applying for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

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 

  • Local Authority Coronavirus Infection Rate Trends

The Government has published data on infection rates and trends in individual local authorities in England. There are also data sets on infections by region and epidemiological charts for each local authority in England

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/lower-tier-local-authority-watchlist-epidemiological-data-23-october-2020

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TIER UPDATE 23 OCT

Scotland publishes new strategic framework – five levels of protection

In a statement today Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon outlined the new strategic approach Scotland will be following to manage the COVID-19 outbreak based on five levels of protection. The new model will come into force from Monday 2 November. The strategic framework that was published today sets out the five levels and how Scotland will manage the next phase of the pandemic. Restrictions under the five levels include:

  • Level 0 is broadly comparable to the position reached in Scotland in August when the virus was very suppressed, but still a threat. At this level, you would be able to meet indoors with 8 people from 3 households, and most businesses would be open, albeit with safety measures in place.
  • Level 1 sees slightly more restrictions - indoor household meetings would reduce to 6 people from 2 households - but there would still be a reasonable degree of normality overall.
  • Level 2 entails restrictions broadly similar to those currently in place (not including increased restrictions in the central belt) including limitations on hospitality and no gatherings inside people’s homes.
  • Level 3 is broadly similar to the tougher restrictions which currently apply across the central belt, with much of hospitality being closed completely. However, it is envisaged that restaurants would be able to be at least partially open in level 3.
  • Level 4 – the highest level, will not be used unless absolutely necessary – The restrictions at level 4 are closer to a full lockdown. For example, non-essential shops would have to close at level 4. However, even under level 4 restrictions, 6 people from up to 2 households could still meet outdoors; there would be no limit on outdoor exercise for individuals.

Request from the Welsh Government for Holiday Accommodation Businesses to provide accommodation for vulnerable groups

The Welsh Government is making an urgent appeal for holiday accommodation providers to help by making accommodation available for vulnerable people. Accommodation businesses across Wales are being asked whether they can assist Local Authorities in providing high quality emergency provision both during this Coronavirus fire- break lockdown and beyond. See further details here.

Clarification from DCMS on guidance:

Q: Metropolitan Police letter. Concerns around the Met Police advising businesses including hotels to check guest IDs in a letter circulated to all Designated Premises Supervisors in the pub and bar sector.

A: We have worked with the Home Office to confirm that whilst the letter from MPs is more proactive than government guidance, it still suggests ('should/could') rather than mandates any action, and is intended to ask businesses to take reasonable steps to encourage individuals to adhere to Covid restrictions. We can confirm that there is no legal requirement for businesses to check guest IDs, nor to take action to enforce Covid regulations - enforcement lies with the police and Local Authorities. And no action is being threatened if a business does not check individual IDs/addresses.

Q. Room service - is this only allowed to the hotel room or could room service deliver to a public lounge in the hotel?
A. Room service should be directed to the guest’s hotel room and not a public lounge area to avoid gathering and consumption of food and drink in these areas.

Q. What can be done to ensure that local lockdown support includes intermediaries rather than solely customer facing businesses, who have their trade restricted?

A: The Chancellor announced on 22 October new increases in financial support for businesses, including cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas. see further details below TIER UPDATE 22 OCT.

Guidance Updates

Hotels in Local COVID alert level: very high.

Hotels in ‘very high’ alert level areas can remain open and accept overnight bookings, but people must not stay overnight with other people who are not members of the same household or support bubble. Food and drink must not be served from 10pm - 5am and hotel restaurants must remain closed during these hours. Hotel bars not serving substantial meals are not permitted to open. Where food is served, it must be seated table service only and alcohol can only be consumed with a meal. Room service can continue past 10pm provided orders are placed online or over the phone, and alcohol is permitted in room service.

Hotels responsibility to ensure guests adhere to Local COVID alert level: very high rules.

The Government strongly advises against people in ‘very high’ alert level areas travelling or staying overnight outside their local area. However, there are certain circumstances in which travel is necessary, for example for work or education purposes or to fulfil caring responsibilities. As such - whilst we expect all businesses to act responsibly to stop the spread of the virus - businesses are not legally responsible for ensuring that customers are adhering to government guidance nor for enforcing that guidance. Enforcement remains for the police and Local Authorities.

Closure of cafes and coffee shops in Local COVID alert level: very high areas.
Cafes and coffee shops are treated as restricted businesses for the purposes of the new local alert level regulations (the same as restaurants, bars & pubs etc). The expanded Job Support Scheme provides temporary support to businesses whose premises have been legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set by one or more of the four governments of the UK.

Are marquees considered indoor or outdoor spaces.

As set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2)(England) Regulations 2020 a place is indoors if it would be considered to be enclosed or substantially enclosed. This includes enclosed or partially enclosed structures, such as marquees or tented structures. Therefore businesses with marquees need to follow indoor COVID secure guidelines such as limiting capacity so that social distancing can be maintained along with any additional mitigations and restrictions associated with the tiers.

Results from VisitEngland’s latest  COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker

Please see the results from the most recent wave of VisitEngland’s consumer sentiment tracker report.  The fieldwork for this was 12-16 October. The findings shows some additional negative shifts in terms of people’s attitudes and behaviours, continuing the downward trend seen in the last two sets of results.

Other points of interest:

  • The national mood sinks back to 6.5 (equalling the low point from wave 15) and two thirds of the adult population are now feeling the ‘worst is still to come’ regarding the pandemic and just 19% expecting ‘normality’ to return to their lives by next March. 
  • Similarly, confidence in being able to take an overnight trip remains subdued, with just 17% being very/fairly confident for trips in November. ‘Restrictions on travel from Government’ extends its lead as the primary reason for this lack of confidence, with 59% citing this compared to the 47% having ‘concerns about catching Covid-19’ in second place. 
  • Trip intention between November and March declines from 21% last wave to 18% this wave
  • Last wave, cities had the leading share among winter intenders with 36% share, but in this wave it has declined to 30%, behind ‘countryside or village’. 

Other Government updates

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TIER UPDATE 22 OCT

The Chancellor announced increases in financial support for businesses and workers on 22 October.

  • open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5%
  • business grants are expanded to cover businesses in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas, helping them stay afloat and protecting jobs
  • grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings

Job Support Scheme - open

The announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5%, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. Employers using the scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for each employee that meets the eligibility criteria of the JRB. This is worth £1,000 per employee. Taking JSS-Open and JRB together, an employer could receive over 95% of the total wage costs of their employees if they are retained until February.

Business Grants

  • The Chancellor has also announced approved additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas. These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Tier 3.
  • It will be up to Local Authorities to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and what precise funding to allocate to each business.
  • Businesses in Very High alert level areas will qualify for greater support whether closed (up to £3,000/month) or open. In the latter case support is being provided through business support packages provided to Local Authorities as they move into the alert level.

From Friday 23 October, Greater Manchester will be in local COVID alert level: very high.

Local COVID alert level: very high is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. In addition to the baseline guidance for very-high areas, the following businesses will not be allowed to open in Greater Manchester:

  • casinos
  • bingo halls
  • betting shops
  • adult gaming centres
  • soft play areas

From Saturday 24 October, South Yorkshire will move from local COVID alert level high to very high 

Following close discussions with local leaders, South Yorkshire will move from local COVID alert level high to very high. In addition to the baseline guidance for very-high areas, the following businesses will not be allowed to open in South Yorkshire:

  • casinos
  • betting shops
  • adult gaming centres
  • soft play centres
  • gym classes will not be allowed and social distancing guidelines should be followed between people from different households (but gyms will remain open)

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TIER UPDATE 21 OCT

South Yorkshire to move to Local COVID alert level very high

South Yorkshire will move from local COVID alert level high to very high. The change in alert level will take effect across all parts of South Yorkshire including Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and the City of Sheffield and will come into effect from 00.01 on Saturday 24 October.

This means that new measures will come into place including:

  • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
  • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area, other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey
  • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area

In addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from 00.01 on Saturday 24 October:

  • Additional closures will include: betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and soft play centres
  • Gym classes will not be allowed and social distancing guidelines should be followed between people from different households (but gyms will remain open)

COVID alert level guidance updates

Liverpool City Region's tier-3 restrictions will be updated to align with those in Lancashire from Friday 23 October 2020. This means that gyms will be allowed to reopen and soft play areas will close.

Current measures in Scotland to be extended until 2 November

In an update this afternoon First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the current measures in Scotland will be extended until 6:00am Monday 2 November. These measures will be replaced from 2 November with a new strategic framework (to be published on Friday 26 October) that will include a five-tier system of virus alert levels. The extension of these measures means that bars and restaurants in Scotland's central belt are to remain closed until 2 November.

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 21 OCTOBER

  • HSE Inspections

The Health and Safety Executive is carrying out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses in all areas to ensure they are COVID-secure, checking that the measures that businesses have put in place are in line with government guidance.

Their website includes further details on this and includes a short video explaining:

  • how spot checks and inspections work
  • what their inspectors will need to check
  • how they can help businesses keep their workplace COVID-secure
  • actions they will take if employers are not managing the risk of COVID spreading

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/regulating-health-and-safety/spot-inspections.htm?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=spot-checks-webpage&utm_content=digest-21-oct-20

  • Global Travel Taskforce

I have attached a copy of a letter from Robert Courts MP - Minister for Aviation, Maritime and Security which outlines the work being undertaken by the Global Travel Taskforce and a series of workshops that are being help to feed into this work including a DCMS organised workshop tomorrow on Restarting international travel, engagement and communications.

  • Performing Arts Guidance Updated

The Primary Guidance on how businesses should put on shows and performance in a Covid secure manner has been undated with new guidance on Staging and capacity highlighting that  In Medium Local Covid Alert Level areas it is against the law to gather in groups of more than 6, unless everyone is from the same households or support bubble and, in High and Very High areas, it is against the law to gather indoors in groups which do not consist only of the same household and support bubble.

                https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/performing-arts#arts-3-2

  • Questions in Parliament

Here’s the answers to further questions that Baroness Doocey has asked regarding support for tourism businesses in Very High Alert areas and guidance on how businesses should treat bookings from customers who are travelling from Very High Alert areas.

Q1. Many accommodation businesses in Very High Alert areas will effectively be closed as a result of the Guidance that people do not make unnecessary journeys into the area or stay overnight.   Please can you clarify if their staff are eligible for the Extended Job Support Scheme.

Q2. In addition, many travel-related businesses will also be effectively closed – local travel agents, tour operators and coach operators who will be unable to take people anywhere – please can you clarify whether or not they are eligible?    

This Extended Job Support Scheme is only eligible to cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection only services from their premises.

We are acutely aware that businesses may suffer over the winter. We want to support those that need it the most: those that are impacted by Covid and who can support their employees doing some work, but that need more time for demand to cover. Businesses that have not been legally required to close can  claim support from the Job Support Scheme - designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand due to Covid. The Government will pay a third of hours not worked, with the employer also contributing a third. The scheme will open on 1 November.

  •  

Q3. Please can you clarify the legal situation for accommodation businesses outside Very High Alert areas – are they required to refuse bookings from people coming from inside these areas or, because limiting unnecessary travel outside the area is just guidance, do they have to accept the booking because it is a legal contract?

Accommodation providers may continue to take bookings, and we recognise there are a number of reasons people may need to stay overnight (e.g. for work or for school). However, we are asking all individuals to avoid overnight stays within an Alert Level: Very High area other than for those types of visit.

We encourage all accommodation providers to consider their approach towards guests from inside areas designated Local COVID Alert Level: Very High.
Accommodation providers should communicate to all customers, including those with existing bookings, reminding them not to travel outside the area unless it is essential (such as for essential work purposes or attending a funeral). For existing bookings, accommodation providers should give guests a chance to cancel their bookings if they intend on no longer travelling and staying at the accommodation.

Accommodation providers outside of an area with restrictions may refuse a booking or cancel a booking from guests from inside a 'Local COVID Alert Level: Very High' area. The decision to refuse service is at the discretion of the business owner, and the terms of the booking contract may allow for discretionary cancellations. Any decision to refuse service should be done with sufficient notice to the guest, and we would expect any funds already paid by the consumer to be repaid.

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TIER UPDATE 20 OCT

This evening Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gave a briefing on the latest COVID-19 measures. During his statement the Prime Minister announced that Greater Manchester will move to the ‘Very High’ local alert level from midnight on Thursday 22 October.

This means that:

  • Pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals.
  • Households can’t mix indoors or in most outdoor settings.
  • In some public outdoor spaces, groups must be limited to the rule of six.
  • Travel into and out of the area is strongly advised against.

In line with the additional measures taken in Lancashire, casinos, bingo halls, betting shops, adult gaming centres and soft play areas must also close. The regulations will be laid in Parliament on Thursday and come into force just after midnight.

Greater Manchester will receive £22 million of funding, in addition to funding already provided to local authorities in England to support them.

Discussions on moving to the ‘very high’ alert level continue with local leaders in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East. We will keep you updated

Wales: Economic Resilience Fund update

The Welsh Government has announced it is increasing the amount available in the third phase of the Economic Resilience Fund to nearly £300m to support businesses through the “fire-break” that will take place 23 October-9 November, requiring a range of businesses to close.

The economic package will include:

  • Payments of £1,000 for businesses that are eligible for Small Business Rates relief and occupy a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
  • Payments of up to £5,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are required to close and which occupy a property with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £50,000.
  • A discretionary £2,000 top-up grant for businesses closed or materially affected by the firebreak lockdown.
  • A further discretionary £1,000 grant for businesses that were materially affected by local lockdown measures for 21 days or more prior to the start of the firebreak lockdown period.

The Welsh Government is also providing a further £20m towards Business Grants (£100m will be available for this purpose). Previously, companies were required to provide a percentage of the funding to access these grants, but the Welsh Government has now confirmed it will provide 100% funding for businesses forced to close during the firebreak.

More information can be found on the Business Wales website.

Update on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Guidance has been made available for those who need to return to their Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim. The online service allows users to check the status of their payment, if they think the grant amount is too low or HMRC has asked for claim details to be updated. (please note applications for the second grant are now closed).

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 20 OCTOBER

  • DCMS Clarifications

At the VEWG meeting this morning DCMS clarified a couple of issues.

  • Visitors to accommodation businesses need scan the QR code every day that they are there because the system resets at midnight each night removing customers details
  • While Businesses should take reasonable steps to ensure that customers are complying with the law on things like the Rule of Six and going on holiday with other households, the  legal responsibility for compliance is with the customer and not the business
  • Buying food or drink to take-away also includes situations where there is a stall or café in an attraction where no seating is provided and the customer walks around the attraction with the food/drink

DCMS are also still checking to see whether business meetings can be held outside of meeting rooms – for example, in other areas of a hotel or in a café or restaurant. I’ll come back to you when we get the answer to this.

  • Information for Individuals and Businesses in Wales

The Government has updated it’s homepage for guidance and support for people and businesses in Wales to take into account the announcement of the lockdown beginning on Friday.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-wales

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TIER UPDATE 19 OCT

Please find below today’s update which includes the “fire-break” in Wales announced today, other Government updates in England and minutes from the last TIER meeting.

National coronavirus “fire-break” to be introduced in Wales on Friday

Today the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, gave a press conference regarding to COVID-19, where he announced a “fire-break” which will start at 18:00 on Friday 23 October and end on Monday 9 November. It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are in force in some parts of the country.

  • People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes, such as for exercise
  • People must work from home wherever possible
  • People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with either indoors and outdoors
  • No gatherings will be allowed outdoors, such as Halloween or fireworks/Bonfire night or other organised activities
  • All non-food retail, hospitality businesses, including cafes, restaurants and pubs (unless they provide take-away or delivery services), close contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, and events and tourism businesses, such as hotels must close
  • Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will be required to close
  • Face coverings must be worn in indoor public spaces, which remain open, including on public transport and in taxis.

During this time:

  • Adults living alone or single parents will be able to join with one other household for support
  • Primary and special schools will re-open as normal after half-term
  • Secondary schools will re-open after the half-term for children in years seven and eight and most vulnerable children. Pupils will be able to come in to take exams but other pupils will continue their learning from home for an extra week
  • Universities will provide a blend of in-person and online learning
  • NHS and health services will continue to operate
  • Local parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will remain open.

Businesses affected by the firebreak will be supported with a new £300 million fund, which will open next week:

  • Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment.
  • Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.
  • There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses, which are struggling.
  • The £80 million fund announced last week to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased to £100 million, which includes £20 million ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

Businesses will also be able to access the support available through the existing Job Retention Scheme or the new expanded Job Support Scheme.

An overview can be found on the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/national-coronavirus-fire-break-to-be-introduced-in-wales-on-friday

Government updates

  • Update to guidance for those who work in performing arts in England on thinking about risk and managing performances.
  • Update to guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships in England to reflect the local COVID alert levels

Industry updates:

Cathay Pacific today announced it expects to operate approximately 10% of their pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity for the rest of 2020 and under 50% for overall 2021.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 19 OCTOBER

  • Wales Lockdown

A couple of resources for you

Ask a Minister a Question About Coronavirus

Here is something of an opportunity - the Government is inviting people to ask questions about Coronavirus. What makes it a particularly interesting opportunity is that the government will not be involved in choosing questions – this will be done by an independent polling organisation  -   and the minister answering the questions will not see the questions in advance.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ask-a-minister-a-question-about-coronavirus

  • Finding Financial Support

The Government has updated it’s online tool to help employers and the self-employed find out what financial support is available to them and how to access it in light of all the recent changes. This tool can be used by businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and provides information on eligibility for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

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

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TIER UPDATE 16 OCT

Local COVID alert level update for Lancashire

Lancashire will move from local COVID alert level high to very high on Saturday 17 October. The local COVID alert level very high will take effect across all parts of Lancashire including, Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre.

The new measures that will come into place include:

  • People must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue.
  • All pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey.
  • Residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area.

In addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from Monday 19 October:

  • The adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops, and soft play areas must close
  • Car boot sales would not be permitted

These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

Support package for Lancashire

To support the local authority during this period, the government will be providing a support package worth £12 million as well as establishing a dedicated, ministerial-led taskforce with additional funding to work with Lancashire leaders to support local businesses to recover over the coming 6 months.

New travel restriction for entering Wales become regulations from 18.00 Friday 16 October

Under the regulations that come into force from 18.00 today, Friday 16 October, people who live in areas of high coronavirus infection rates across the UK are not allowed to travel to Wales unless it is for work, education or other essential purpose (a reasonable excuse). The areas this applies to are:

Travel to those areas of Wales with local restrictions is already prohibited (and this applies to all, whether living in Wales or not). The restrictions work both ways, so for example, people are not for example permitted to travel between Pembrokeshire to Merseyside without a reasonable excuse.

Please see below some recent guidance clarifications for England from DCMS, which you may find useful.

Travel and overnight stays in local COVID alert level: high areas
People can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but should only do this with other people in their household or support bubble. People can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but must only do so with other people in their household or support bubble.

Travel and overnight stays in Local COVID alert level: very high areas

Residents of very high alert areas should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, except if they need to do so for work, education or caring responsibilities and they must not stay with anyone they do not live with elsewhere in the UK. People are being asked to avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area where possible, except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities. Residents from a very high alert level area may travel to hotels and other guest accommodation within that area but should only do so with people in their household or support bubble.

How local COVID alert level: medium differs from previous national regulations

Local COVID Alert levels introduced earlier this week have seen the nationwide regulations that were in place, replaced by ‘Local COVID Alert Level: medium’. There are some differences which are worth noting for tourism and hospitality as follows:

  • Motorway services, airports and seaports will be exempted from the 10pm hospitality curfew (though no alcohol is to be served between 10pm and 5am).
  • In addition to delivery and drive-thru, hospitality venues will now be able to offer a click-and-collect service for the sale of food and non-alcoholic drink between 10pm and 5am, provided customers have pre-ordered by phone, online, or by post.
  • Theatres, concert halls and cinemas will be exempt from requiring people to be seated whilst ordering food and drink.
  • The restrictions on singing, dancing and loud music in hospitality premises will be removed.

Guidance for outdoor events catering

  • Where there is a seating in an adjacent area to a stall or outlet that is serving food and drink, and customers will be using it, their orders must be taken and served at the table if the stall or outlet sells alcohol. Where the sale of alcohol is not offered, customers will need to be seated when eating but can order food from the counter.
  • Customers eating and drinking at tables will need to sit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6). Signs should be put up to remind customers to only interact with their group.
  • Where there is no seating available, the stall or outlet will be providing a take away service. The customer can order their food and drink including alcohol to eat and drink anywhere in the outdoor setting.
  • Customers should be reminded to adhere to safe social distancing when queuing for food and drink by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that customers can follow or employing extra marshals to enforce this.
  • Customers eating and drinking in the outdoor setting should not gather in groups of more than 6 people

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

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

 Other Government updates

COVID-19 Situation update 16 October 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 16 OCTOBER

Here’s today’s update. Have a good weekend and, if you are one of the areas moving from Medium to High Alert start tomorrow, don’t forget to take a friend to the pub tonight (and take your household for a Sunday roast over the weekend after visiting a local attraction).  

  • A Good Rule of Thumb

I’ve been getting a number of enquiries from people asking about the rules when people travel from an area with one Alert status are to an area with a different Alert status. Here’s an easy way of thinking about these situations and the restrictions that apply:

  • When people travel to an area with a lower alert level than the one they came from, they take the rules that apply to meeting family and friends with them
  • When people travel to an area with a higher alert level than the one they came from, they adopt the local rules for meeting family and friends.  

Wales Update

The First Minister for Wales has said today that, although no final decision had been taken, the Welsh Government was planning a "fire break" set of lockdown restrictions that would see people confined to their homes and businesses shutting for two or three weeks. It is expected that an announcement of whether this plan will go ahead will be made on Monday and could come into force on as soon as next Friday. He also told the media that there would be new national restrictions after the lockdown to take us up until Christmas. 

  • Updated Guidance on Singing and Dancing

The Primary Guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services on how to operate in a Covid Safe manner has been updated to include new guidance on background music, singing and dancing. The new guidance on this states that:

All venues should ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. This includes, but is not limited to, lowering the volume of background music, and refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, particularly if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. Evidence on the most effective steps that can be taken to limit the transmission of the virus continues to be regularly reviewed. This guidance may be updated in the future in response to changing scientific understanding.

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

  • Updated Visa Guidance

The Home Office’s guidance on applying for visas has been updated regarding the family and private visa concession and loss of income caused by coronavirus. On loss of income the guidance now states that:

If you’ve experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus up to 1 January 2021, we will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income, provided the minimum income requirement was met for at least 6 months immediately before the date the income was lost. If your salary has reduced because you’re furloughed, we will take account of your income as though you’re earning 100% of your salary.

If you’re self-employed, a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 will usually be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.

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

  • Tax Free Shopping Oral Questions

On 20th October here will be an oral questions session in the House of Lords on the financial impact on the retail and tourism sector of the decision to withdraw the VAT Retail Export scheme led by Lord Vaizey of Didcot. The session will start sometime after 12 noon.  

  • Updated Guidance on Special Religious Services and Gatherings

The guidance on special religious services and gathering has been updated to take into account the three new alert levels and to incorporate checklists on what people should do in celebrating events such as Xmas.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july/special-religious-services-and-gatherings-covid-19-checklist

  • National Weekly Report

Here’s a link to this week’s PHE weekly national Influenza and COVID19 surveillance report. It contains a wealth of information on Covid cases across the UK in different demographics but one of the more interesting series of graphs are graphs 16-20 that show the number of Covid incidents in different settings. This shows that not only is the number of incidents in restaurants very low (20-25 per week), they have remained stable  at this level for six weeks now.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/927142/Weekly_Flu_and_COVID-19_report_w42.pdf

  • The R Number

The latest R number figures have been published and the range for the UK is 1.3-1.5, while the growth rate range for the UK is +4% to +7% per day. This is slightly down on last week where the comparable R number range was 1.2-1.5 and the growth rate range was +4% to +9% per day

Interestingly the region showing the fastest rate of growth in the South West at +6% to +10%

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

Visitor Economy Working Group (VEWG) – 16 October Update

Business Meetings in Local COVID Alert Level High and Very High areas

Currently venues can host business meetings for up to 30 people in high and very high alert level areas. Businesses should find out if additional measures apply in their area and if restrictions are in place for Local Alert Level: Very High areas.

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

TIER UPDATE 15 OCT

Please see below today’s update including changes to COVID alert levels across England, changes to the UK travel corridor list, as well as an update to the visitor economy guidance for outdoor events. 

 Update to local alert levels in England

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has given a statement in the House of Commons today on COVID-19, after discussions with local leaders.

The following areas will move from local COVID alert level: medium to local COVID alert level: high from Saturday 17 October 00:01:

  • ·        London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
  • ·        Elmbridge
  • ·        Essex (area covered by Essex County Council only)
  • ·        Barrow-in-Furness
  • ·        York
  • ·        North East Derbyshire
  • ·        Erewash
  • ·        Chesterfield

This means that for these areas, the following additional measures will be in place:

  • ·        people must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • ·        people must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space
  • ·        people should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.

In areas where prevalence is highest, discussions are still ongoing with local leadership about moving from local alert level: high to local alert level: very high. A decision is yet to be made.

An overview of what the different alert levels mean and associated restrictions can be found on GOV.UK alongside a postcode checker shows which alert level applies in each area.

Guidance for event organisers and local authorities on outdoor events

The outdoor events section (Annex A) of the visitor economy guidance has been updated with ten steps for event organisers to protect themselves, their staff and customers including:

  • 1.     Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, taking into account emergency situations and any security risks
  • 2.     Consult with your local authority as early as possible.
  • 3.     Engage with neighbouring businesses, transport operators and Local Transport Authorities to assess any risks to the local area of increased visitors from other locations and potentially apply additional mitigations.
  • 4.     Clean more often
  • 5.     Ask your customers to wear face coverings.
  • 6.     Make sure everyone is social distancing.
  • 7.     Let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people
  • 8.     Increase ventilation
  • 9.     Meet NHS Test and Trace requirements
  • 10.  Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away.

The guidance on assessing applications for large outdoor events has been updated for local authorities.

The Welsh Government updates Passenger Information Regulations

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Public Health Information for Persons Travelling to Wales etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 has been updated today with amendments to the Passenger Information Regulations to enable passengers to make a better-informed decision about whether they wish to travel to Wales by:

  •  prescribing the information that operators of international travel services must give to passengers at booking and at check-in; and
  •  requiring operators of international travel services to provide further specified information to passengers between 24 to 48 hours before they are due to travel to Wales.

These amendments will come into force on the 4 November 2020. Further details can be found on the Welsh Government website.

Changes to travel corridors

Effective 04.00 on Sunday 18 October, Italy, Vatican City state and San Marino will be removed from the travel corridor list for the UK. Please note the implementation date has moved to Sunday instead of Saturday and applies UK wide. Meanwhile, from 04.00 Sunday 18 October, people will no longer need to self-isolate when entering the UK from the Greek Island of Crete. The week, whole of the UK is now aligned on advice around all of the Greek islands.

The FCDO has revised their guidance on countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel to reflect these changes.

VisitBritain overseas impact report  

In summary, as a result of the rising numbers and lockdowns in the UK, the German foreign office has declared Northern Ireland, Scotland, North East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales as high risk areas, meaning that people will need to quarantine for 14 days when arriving into Germany from these areas. There has also been media coverage in Spain and the USA regarding the rise of COVID-19 numbers in the UK, changing regulations and lockdown restrictions imposed by the government.

 TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 15 OCTOBER 

  • Updated List of High and Very High Alert Areas in England

Following this morning’s announcement of various areas including London, York, Derbyshire and Essex moving to the High Alert level, the Government has updated the list of areas under all three alert levels which includes a list of sub-regions.

It is important to note that the Government’s postcode tracker that details the Covid Alert status of areas only states the current status of an area – ie.,  it does not indicate the changes announced today and coming into effect this weekend. Therefore, businesses should not use it to check bookings that they have.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-covid-alert-levels-by-area

  • Liverpool Fund

The details of the £40m fund for hospitality and Tourism businesses in Liverpool have been published and includes the following requirements:

  • Small and micro hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Based in the Liverpool City Region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral
  • One full time equivalent employee or more
  • Going concern
  • Business to consumer
  • Trading from a commercial premises

The guidance includes a list of eligible business types and I’m in the process of trying seek clarification as to whether this list is definitive or whether other tourism businesses can apply.

https://liverpool.gov.uk/media/1359765/hospitality-and-leisure-support-grant-guidance-notes.pdf 

  • Travel Corridor Update

DFT have updated the Travel Corridor list, removing the following countries from the list countries exempt from quarantine:

  • Italy
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City State

They have also added  the following countries to the exemption list:

  • Crete

All changes apply in England only and will be effective from 04:00 on Sunday 18th October. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/italy-removed-from-travel-corridor-list-and-crete-added-to-list-for-england 

  • Visitor Economy Guidance Update

The Primary Guidance for Visitor Economy businesses on working in a Covid Safe manner has been updated to include guidance for event organisers and local authorities on outdoor events. This guidance is in Annex A and sets out ten steps for businesses to take in order protect staff and customers. These being:

  • Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, taking into account emergency situations and any security risks
  • Consult with your local authority as early as possible.
  • Engage with neighbouring businesses, transport operators and Local Transport Authorities
  • Clean more often
  • Ask your customers to wear face coverings
  • Make sure everyone is social distancing.
  • Let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people
  • Increase ventilation
  • Meet NHS Test and Trace requirements
  • Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away.

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

  • Updated Guidance for Places of Worship

The Guidance on the safe use of places of worship has been updated to incorporate the new three Tier Alert system. 

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

  • Guidance for Volunteers

For tourism businesses that have volunteer helpers, it is worth noting that the guidance to volunteers has been updated to state that clinically extremely vulnerable people should volunteer from home wherever possible. However, if they cannot do this, they can still volunteer outside their home. However, if they live or volunteer in an area where formal shielding advice has been put in place, they should not volunteer outside their home. So that’s all clear now.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely--2/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely

Wales Travel Restrictions

Here is the link to the announcement by the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, of travel restrictions to prevent people who live in areas with high coronavirus infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales.

https://gov.wales/wales-to-introduce-travel-restrictions-to-prevent-the-spread-of-coronavirus

VisitWales has confirmed that the restrictions will apply to all of Northern Ireland, the central belt of Scotland and to High Alert and Very High Alert areas in England.

The restrictions will come into effect at 6pm this Friday

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 14 OCTOBER

Here’s today’s update with more details on the new three tier Coronavirus Alert system including a FAQ that will provide answers to most questions

  • Legislation

The legislation underpinning the new 3 tier alert system has been published. There are three pieces of legislation that apply to the different Alert levels. The important part of the each of the regulations is Schedule 1 which sets out the restrictions related to each of the alert levels:

  • Very High Alert -

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1105/made

  • High Alert

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1104/made

  • Medium Alert

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1103/made

To help you navigate your way through this I’ve attached a copy of a excellent FAQ that UKHospitality, BBPA and BII have produced that explains the alert levels and the restrictions associated with them.

  • Transport Use

DFT’s weekly transport use update has been published and shows that public transport use remains static with national rail usage being a third of normal and bus use still down by over 40%

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic 

Updated Wedding Guidance

The Guidance on weddings has been updated to incorporate recent changes including the reduction of attendees at weddings to no more than 15 people.

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

Kickstart Promotional Material

Promotional material including a guide for employers, videos and posters have been produced to support the Government’s Kickstart initiative which is a £2 billion fund dedicated to creating hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/kickstart-scheme-promotional-materials

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

TIER UPDATE 14 OCT

Wales to introduce travel restrictions to visitors from parts of the UK

The Welsh Government has announced that they are preparing urgent action to prevent people who live in areas with high coronavirus infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales. Under new regulations being prepared by Welsh Ministers, people living in areas with a high-prevalence of coronavirus in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland would not be able to travel to Wales for the time being. The new restrictions are planned to come into force on Friday October 16 at 6pm.

Additional restrictions to be introduced in Northern Ireland from 16 October

Today, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster outlined the additional restrictions that are being put in place from 6pm on Friday 16 October for a period of four weeks.

In addition to current household restrictions, the following measures will come into regulatory effect:

  • Bubbling to be limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households;
  • No overnight stays in a private home unless in a bubble;
  • Closure of the hospitality sector apart from deliveries and takeaways for food, with the existing closing time of 11.00pm remaining.
  • Other takeaway premises will be brought in line with hospitality with a closing time of 11.00pm;
  • Close contact services such as hairdressers and beauticians are not permitted to open, apart from those relating to the continuation of essential health interventions and therapeutics.
  • No indoor sport of any kind or organised contact sport involving household mixing other than at elite level;
  • No mass events involving more than 15 people (except for allowed outdoor sporting events where the relevant number for that will continue to apply);
  • Gyms may remain open but for individual training only with local enforcement in place;
  • Funerals to be limited to 25 people with no pre- or post-funeral gatherings;
  • Off licenses and supermarkets will not sell alcohol after 8.00pm;
  • Wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships to be limited to 25 people with no receptions.  This will be implemented on Monday 19 October.  Venues providing the post-ceremony or partnership celebration this weekend may remain open for this purpose but may not provide other services for people who are not part of the wedding or partnership party and this will be limited to 25;
  • Retail sector will stay open at this time

The following advice will be added to the existing health guidance:   

  • Work from home unless unable to do so;
  • Universities and further education to deliver distance learning to the maximum extent possible with only essential face to face learning where that is a necessary and unavoidable part of the course;
  • No unnecessary travel should be undertaken.

The half term holiday break will be extended to a two-week break to run from 19th to 30th October.

Business Events guidance from Cabinet Office

DCMS received the following guidance from Cabinet Office confirming the current national position on business events will apply in Local Alert Level: Very High areas. Therefore, currently, venues can host business meetings for up to 30 people in Liverpool.     

In very high alert level areas, additional restrictions may apply depending on discussions between central and local government. Businesses should find out what additional measures apply in the Liverpool area and restrictions that are in an area with the Local Alert Level: Very High.

Business meetings and events of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. The rule of six does not apply to work, education and training activities.

Exhibition and conference centres are permitted venues, if they have small, separate and directly accessible meeting facilities as part of the site, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 secure guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. Business meetings and events of over 30 people should not currently take place in any venue. Banqueting and private dining events should not currently take place in any venue.

NB: DCMS are also changing the government guidance for cinemas to confirm that business events are also capped at 30 for their venues, in line with the other permitted venues.

New COVID-19 planning guidance published for UK festivals

The Events Industry Forum has published festival guidance. The guidance includes contributions from across the festival industry and was worked on in collaboration with DCMS and Public Health England. It covers eight key themes and COVID-19 safety measures, including medical and welfare arrangements; crowd considerations; response plans; security; site adjustments; and specific mitigation measures. The press release and link to the guidance is available on the BVEP website.

DCMS Select Committee

The Secretary of State Oliver Dowden this morning appeared before the DCMS Committee, discussion during the committee covered the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund, the Job Support Scheme, the pilot events and mass events. You can watch the committee here.   

Other Government updates

=================================

TIER UPDATE 13 OCT

Guidance for new COVID alert levels in England

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on the three tiered COVID alert levels yesterday a series of new guidance has been published. The what you need to know guidance provides information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are.

Detailed guidance for the specific alert levels is also available:

·        Very High :Local COVID Alert level: Very High (Liverpool City Region), Local COVID Alert Level: Very High

·        High : Local COVID Alert level: High

·        Medium : Local COVID Alert level: Medium

Alert level posters are available for businesses to download and display - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-covid-alert-level-posters

The government postcode tracker to find out the coronavirus restrictions in a local area is now live: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

Government updates

·        A new hotline has been launched to stop fraudsters illegally targeting COVID-19 stimulus schemes

·        The guidance for managing beaches, the countryside and coastal areas has been updated to reflect the new guidance on local alert levels.

·         The safer travel guidance for passengers has been updated with instructions about using the NHS COVID-19 app.

·        Local authority powers to impose restrictions under coronavirus regulations guidance has been updated with examples of premises which would form part of essential infrastructure’: ‘individual hospitality settings’ and ‘where safe and feasible, delivery takeaway options should be allowed to continue operating’.

·        The Welsh Government has sent letters to the UK travel industry and UK ministers about local lockdowns in Wales outlining the situation about local lockdowns in Wales.

 Revised VisitBritain inbound tourism forecast

A revised inbound outlook for the UK has been published on VisitBritain.org. The central scenario forecast for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020, as of October 12th, is for a decline of 74% in visits to 10.6 million and a decline of 79% in spending to £6.1 billion. This would represent a loss vs the pre-COVID forecast of 31.1 million visits and £23.8 billion spending. This central scenario assumes that a vaccine will not be widely available during 2020. It assumes that the UK will not go back to the April-June situation of a full national lockdown and near-zero international travel although it is consistent with local lockdowns being imposed.

VisitBritain Inbound Consumer Sentiment report

VisitBritain’s latest inbound consumer sentiment research is now available on the VisitBritain website. The field work for the report was conducted between 15-24 September 2020 and looks at perceptions of Britain’s welcome, perceptions of Britain’s value for money and propensity to visit Britain. The findings show that COVID-19 is a strong barrier but respondents have expressed an encouragingly resilient interest in visiting Britain in general.

 The overall top-line findings: 

·        Likelihood to visit: Most travellers continue to state their likelihood to visit Britain has not been affected by the EU referendum decision. On net balance, there has been improved or stable sentiment in the latest wave across almost all markets, albeit still remaining negative in some European markets.

·        Opinion of Britain: Since March 2020, Britain’s net reputation has become more positive in the all-market and European totals; however, the picture varies strongly by market. While in many markets the views are now more positive on balance than in August 2016 or on similar levels, the strongest negative shift is witnessed in Spain.

·        Interest in visiting Britain: Overall, interest in visiting the country has changed minimally since September 2019 at the global level halting the previous downward trend. It remains, however, much lower than in August 2016.

·        COVID-19: While Britain can rely on its traditional set of drivers of interest in visitation for 2021, inevitably COVID-19 is currently stated as the top barrier to visiting Britain. The top reason given by those currently not interested in visiting Britain in 2021 was that the pandemic would need to be over or fully under control first. For now, those who are interested in visiting Britain have the highest propensity to travel in the period between April and September 2021. Currently just over a third of international travellers are in the mood for travelling abroad in 2021.

·        Concern around uncertainty: In September 2020, levels of concern about the uncertainty of travel arrangements to Britain from 2021 onwards have markedly increased again after they had eased in March 2020. Almost half of European travellers (48%) are concerned about the uncertainty and levels of concern among Chinese and American travellers are also very high (88% and 58% respectively).

·        Entry documentation: The levels of ID card ownership are higher than for passports in all European markets but the Netherlands and Sweden. 7% of Europeans would stop travelling to Britain when ID cards are phased out.

·        Concerns around potential policy changes: More than half of Europeans are now concerned that they might have difficulty accessing healthcare in Britain, that mobile data charges could increase or there could be changes to the customs process. The focus on healthcare is a likely result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Chinese market concerns are highest about potentially longer queues when arriving in Britain (79%) and in the USA about potential difficulty to claim compensation if travel arrangements are cancelled (58%).

·        Value: Value for money perceptions have improved since the previous wave and now stand at similar levels as in August 2016 once again. Just over half of respondents regard Britain as a destination which offers value for money.

·        Welcome: Most travellers continue to see Britain as a destination which is welcoming to visitors, open-minded and tolerant.

·        Safety/security: Perceptions of Britain as a safe and secure destination had recovered from the low in 2017-18, following a number of terrorist attacks, by spring 2020. However, in the latest wave they recorded declines. The most recent changes likely are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, seven in ten international travellers still think that Britain is a safe and secure destination.

·        Market differences: Perceptions vary greatly by market. As observed over the last eight waves of research, respondents from US and China generally continue to hold the most positive attitudes. Among European markets the picture is less clear cut.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 13 OCTOBER

Here’s today’s update. First, thank you to everyone on the feedback on the new alert levels. The three main issues that have come through so far are:

  • Support for businesses inside Very High Alert areas that are not legally required to close but will effectively be unable to operate
  • Support for travel and transport businesses that rely on moving people in or out of VHA areas
  • The legal position of businesses outside a VHA area that cancel a booking from a customer from inside the area (and when people outside a VHA cancel a booking inside the area) seeing that the travel restrictions are only guidance.

If you have any further issues or queries, please continue to feed them through.  

  • Detail Guidance for New Alert Levels

The Government has published detailed guidance for each of the new Covid Alert Levels. For each alert level the Guidance covers:

    • Meeting family and friends
    • Visiting other venues, including shops, restaurants, pubs and places of worship
    • Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus
    • Businesses and venues
    • Going to work
    • Going to school, college and university
    • Childcare
    • Visiting relatives in care homes
    • Travel
    • Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals
    • Sport and physical activity
    • Moving home
    • Financial support

It is worth noting that, for VHA areas, there is base guidance and then there is also Area-specific guidance. So the Guidance for Liverpool comprises the HVA area guidance and also the Liverpool VHA guidance.  

  • Alert Level Posters

There is also a series of posters that correspond to each on the Alert Levels/ You can print these off for staff and/or customers or even add them to your website to inform people of the situation in your area. There are also a really good aide memoire so you don’t have to constantly refer to the more detailed guidance above.

             https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-covid-alert-level-posters 

  • Coronavirus Postcode Tracker

The Government has launched a postcode tracker where you can enter any postcode and it will tell you the Alert level of the area and provide a link through to the guidance for that alert level. If you ender a postcode for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you will be directed to the landing page for Coronavirus control in these administrations. This will be very handy for business checking as to whether customers are coming from VHA areas (visitors from MA and HA areas are still allowed to travel outside their area on holidays).

https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions 

  • DCMS Select Committee Evidence Session – 14th Oct

The DCMS Select Committee is holding an evidence session tomorrow morning with Oliver Dowden. The session will focus on the effectiveness of the Treasury’s Winter Economy Plan in supporting industries under DCMS’s responsibility. The session starts at 9:30am tomorrow morning and can be viewed live on the following link - https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/e0c11fd2-c610-4dfc-be42-24709bb089a6

  • Guidance Updated as a Result of the New Alert Levels

The Government has update a wide range of guidance so that it aligns with the guidance for the new alert levels. The changes are generally small and either link to the new alert guidance or encourage the use of the NHS app. 

              Guidance for Managing Beaches, Countryside and Coastal Destinations

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

Guidance on Managing Playgrounds and Outdoor Gyms

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

Guidance on managing Community Facilities

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

Guidance on Safer Travel

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

  • Local Authority Regulatory Powers Guidance Updated

The Government has updated the statutory guidance for Local Authorities on how to exercise the powers in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 that come into force on 18 July 2020. This legislation enables local authorities to:

  • restrict access to, or close, individual premises
  • prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place
  • restrict access to, or close, public outdoor places (or types of outdoor public places)

The guidance on examples of premises which would form part of “essential infrastructure” has been updated to read: 

  • any facility or setting which produces, manufactures, distributes or sells food other than food retailers smaller than 280sqm; individual hospitality settings. Where safe and feasible, delivery takeaway options should be allowed to continue operating. In smaller towns and villages, local authorities should ensure the exercise of this power does not prevent residents from accessing core food supplies

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-powers-to-impose-restrictions-under-coronavirus-regulations/local-authority-powers-to-impose-restrictions-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-england-no3-regulations-2020

  • Covid Fraud Hotline

The Government has launched a COVID Fraud Hotline in response to concerns that some people are illegally targeting COVID stimulus schemes. The hotline number is 0800 587 5030 and is open 24/7. Alternatively, there is a form can be completed on online on a dedicated website https://forms.theiline.co.uk/crimestopperscovidfraudhotline

              https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-hotline-launched-to-report-covid-fraudsters

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TIER UPDATE 13 OCT

Three tiered system of local COVID alert levels to be introduced in England

At 15.30 the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons.Today’s announcement sets out how the Government plans to standardise and simplify local lockdown measures, by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England - set at medium, high, and very high.

Local COVID Alert Level - Medium

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

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors

Local COVID Alert Level - High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. The “high” alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country.  This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the “high” alert level. As a result of rising infection rates Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the “high” alert level.

Local COVID Alert Level - Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

Local Authorities in the Liverpool City Region will move into the “very high” alert level from Wednesday. In addition, to pubs and bars, in Merseyside gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close.

Regulations will be laid before MPs today, debated tomorrow, and come into force from Wednesday. There will be a 4-week sunset clause on interventions in very high areas. A postcode search on GOV.UK and the NHS App will let people know what level their area is in. Guidance for the vulnerable will become available too.

Job Support Scheme guidance updated (England)

The Guidance for the Job Support Scheme has been updated to include businesses required to close as a result of the new Alert Scheme. New information has been added to clarify the support for businesses with different rateable values:

  • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).
  • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).
  • Properties with an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month).

Local restrictions in Bangor (Wales)

The restrictions in Bangor came into force at 6pm on 10 October 2020 and apply to everyone living in the 8 wards. The restrictions will be kept under review.

The main restrictions include:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households, with the exception of temporary bubbles for single people and single parents.

The restrictions are in addition to the rules that apply everywhere in Wales. More information (including the wards covered and a list of Frequently Asked Questions)  is available.

Other COVID-19 Government updates

  • Businesses in Wales can check if they can apply for funding from the third phase of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) by visiting the online Eligibility Checker.
  • The guidance on deferring your Self-Assessment payment on account has been updated.
  • Guidance on who can claim support and how to apply for the test and trace support payment scheme has been published.
  • The advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents has been updated to state that customers can now apply at any VAC centre if their closest one is closed.
  • The G20 Tourism Ministers, met under Saudi Arabia's G20 Presidency to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic; promote recovery of the travel and tourism sector and realise its potential to drive faster economic recovery post health crisis. For the full G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting Diriyah Communique October 07, 2020, see here. The WTTC and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also hosted a public-private sector event focussed on how to accelerate the recovery, which Nigel Huddleston attended.

COVID-19 Situation update 12 October 2020

Non-Covid-19 tourism-related Government updates

An updated Border Operating Model has been published. The guidance provides further detail for businesses and passengers on how the GB-EU border will operate after the end of the transition period. Key announcements are:

  • Confirmation that from 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will require a passport to travel to the UK. This will not apply to those EU, EEA and Swiss nationals whose rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, including those eligible for European Union Settlement Scheme status, frontier workers and joining EUSS family members. These individuals will continue to be able to use a national identity card for travel until at least 31 December 2025 and thereafter if the cards are compliant with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
  • Hauliers will need a Kent Access Permit to proceed to the border.

See more here in the Press notice, Operating Model and Written Ministerial Statement

Union Connectivity Review
The Department for Transport has published the terms of reference for this independent review. Chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the review will make recommendations on how the UK government can level up transport infrastructure and improve connectivity between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, boosting access to opportunities and improving people’s everyday connections. The review will look at road, rail, air and sea links, and how they could be improved to fuel the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about the review see here and the press release here

Intra-company transfers: The Home Office yesterday commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake a study of the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) immigration route. We will keep you informed of when the consultation launches.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 12 OCTOBER

  • Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme

The Government has published guidance on the Test and Trace Payment Support Scheme. People contacted through the Test and Trace system in England and told that they need to self-isolate  are eligible for a £500 payment if they meet the following criteria:

  • they’re employed or self-employed
  • they’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • they’re currently receiving at least one of the following:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

People in England who do not fulfil the above criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if they meet the following criteria:

  • they have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • they are employed or self-employed
  • they are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • they are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
  • they are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are 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

  • Westminster Hall Debate on the Events Industry

Tomorrow from 11.00 am - 11.30 am there is a Westminster Hall debate on Fiscal support for the events industry during the covid-19 outbreak lead by the SNP whip Owen Thompson MP.

  • VisitBritain Coronavirus Sentiment Tracker

The proportion feeling ‘the worst is still to come’ rises again, albeit by just 1 point to 59%.  Those expecting life will return ‘close to normal’ by December is also fractionally down to just 5% of the population, while ‘appetite for risk’ is unchanged at 2.5/4 following last wave’s dip.  The confidence in being able to take a domestic overnight trip in March 2021 fell significantly last wave to 48% and it’s declined yet again to 40%, indicating people are anticipating disruption well into next year.  As reported last time, ‘restrictions on travel from the government’ is the leading reason cited for this lack of confidence (51%), followed by ‘concerns about catching Covid-19’ (48%).  The subsequent leading reasons are also very reflective of the current situation; namely ‘it’s not responsible to travel in this period’, ‘restrictions on opportunities to socialise’ and ‘fewer things to do/places to visit’.  It would seem that barriers to ‘enjoyment’ of the trip may be just as crucial to confidence as the more fundamental restrictions and concerns associated with freedom of movement or health and wellbeing.

Other points of note:

  •                      National Mood: fractionally up to 6.6 (from 6.5 last wave)
  •                      The % feeling the ‘worst is still to come’: up 1 point 59%
  •                      The % expecting life returning ‘close to normal’ by December: down 1 point to 5%
  •                      Appetite for Risk: unchanged at 2.5/4
  •                      Confidence in taking an overnight trip next March: significantly down 8 percentage points to 40%
  •                      ‘Restrictions on travel from Government’ now takes the outright lead among the lack of near-term confidence (trips to end of October). 
  •                      38% of U.K. adults expect to be taking the same number or more domestic short-breaks over the rest of the year compared to normal and 37% express this for holidays respectively.
  •                      10% anticipate taking an overnight trip during Oct, with a further 21% intending to take at least one trip between November-March.
  •                      Uncertainty is still evident, with 41% of October intenders yet to plan this trip and 54% yet to book.  The levels of planning and booking winter trips (November to March) stands at 27% and 16% respectively.
  •                      In terms of region likely to be visited between now and the end of October, the South West continues to dominate with 22% of intenders citing this as their destination, followed by Yorkshire & the Humber (on 13%).  For the winter period, the South West narrowly leads with 16% share, followed by North West (15%) and London (13%).
  •                      For trips up to end of October, countryside/village is the leading destination type with 37% share.  Cities receive a significantly greater proportion of trips scheduled during the winter period, ranking first with a 35% share.

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TIER UPDATE 9 OCT

Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to COVID restrictions

This afternoon the Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out new measures and support for businesses in lockdown areas.

  • The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK who are legally required to close their premises due to local or national coronavirus restrictions.
  • The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
  • To be eligible to claim the grant businesses must be subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
  • Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but will be asked to cover NICS and pension contributions
  • The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review in January. Payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service, available from early December.
  • Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • These measures will sit alongside the original Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus.
  • It was also announced that cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdown areas will also increase to be up to £3,000 per month and will be paid every two weeks.

We will share further details with you as they become available.

Latest COVID sentiment tracker survey results – Week 16

Please see a summary of the latest results from the survey, the field work for this wave was carried out between 28 September-2 October. The full report will be available on VisitEngland’s website early next week, please see the scorecard attached.

The proportion feeling ‘the worst is still to come’ rises again, albeit by just 1 point to 59%.  Those expecting life will return ‘close to normal’ by December is also fractionally down to just 5% of the population, while ‘appetite for risk’ is unchanged at 2.5/4 following last wave’s dip.  The confidence in being able to take a domestic overnight trip in March 2021 fell significantly last wave to 48% and it’s declined yet again to 40%, indicating people are anticipating disruption well into next year.  As reported last time, ‘restrictions on travel from the government’ is the leading reason cited for this lack of confidence (51%), followed by ‘concerns about catching Covid-19’ (48%).  The subsequent leading reasons are also very reflective of the current situation; namely ‘it’s not responsible to travel in this period’, ‘restrictions on opportunities to socialise’ and ‘fewer things to do/places to visit’.  It would seem that barriers to ‘enjoyment’ of the trip may be just as crucial to confidence as the more fundamental restrictions and concerns associated with freedom of movement or health and wellbeing.

Other points of note:

  • National Mood: fractionally up to 6.6 (from 6.5 last wave)
  • The % feeling the ‘worst is still to come’: up 1 point 59%
  • The % expecting life returning ‘close to normal’ by December: down 1 point to 5%
  • Appetite for Risk: unchanged at 2.5/4
  • Confidence in taking an overnight trip next March: significantly down 8 percentage points to 40%
  • ‘Restrictions on travel from Government’ now takes the outright lead among the lack of near-term confidence (trips to end of October). 
  • 38% of U.K. adults expect to be taking the same number or more domestic short-breaks over the rest of the year compared to normal and 37% express this for holidays respectively.
  • 10% anticipate taking an overnight trip during Oct, with a further 21% intending to take at least one trip between November-March.
  • Uncertainty is still evident, with 41% of October intenders yet to plan this trip and 54% yet to book.  The levels of planning and booking winter trips (November to March) stands at 27% and 16% respectively.
  • In terms of region likely to be visited between now and the end of October, the South West continues to dominate with 22% of intenders citing this as their destination, followed by Yorkshire & the Humber (on 13%).  For the winter period, the South West narrowly leads with 16% share, followed by North West (15%) and London (13%).
  • For trips up to end of October, countryside/village is the leading destination type with 37% share.  Cities receive a significantly greater proportion of trips scheduled during the winter period, ranking first with a 35% share.

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 9 OCTOBER

Here’s today’s update.  As you will have seen by reading through the announcement on the Expanded Job Support Scheme, more details (including the publication of the Government’s new three tier lockdown system on Monday) will be needed to determine the level of benefit that this provides to tourism businesses. On first reading, it looks like the Scheme may be limited to those businesses that are legally required to close, so their supply chains may not be covered. Also, there could still be many tourism businesses that are not legally be required to close but will face a further downturn in demand as the lockdown area becomes less attractive to visitors (ie., who would want to book a break to a destination if all the restaurants/pubs/indoor attractions are closed?). Confirmation is also required as to whether it covers partial closures as well as total closures. 

  • Law Commission Virtual Q&A Event on Wedding Reform Proposals

The Law Commission has been in contact regarding a Virtual Q&A event they are organising on their Getting Married Consultation Paper which I circulated to you last month.

                Virtual Q&A event – Friday, 6 November at 10am

The Law Commission is organising a virtual Q&A on the potential impact of the provisional proposals for reforming weddings and other businesses involved in wedding ceremonies.  The core proposal of the Law Commission’s provisional scheme is to regulate the officiant rather than regulating the building in which the wedding is held, meaning that a wedding ceremony could take place anywhere the officiant and couple agreed. This would enable venues like Heritage Railways, sightseeing boats and outdoor attractions to hold weddings as well as enabling venues with large gardens to hold weddings outside. It also provides the prospect of historic houses being able to recoup some of the backlog of weddings from this year by staging multiple weddings on a property on the same day (eg., one inside and one in the gardens)

More details about the event, including how you can sign up, can be found here

Here’s a link to the Consultation Paper  

https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/lawcom-prod-storage-11jsxou24uy7q/uploads/2020/09/Getting-Married-A-Consultation-Paper-on-Wedding-Law-web.pdf)

And a shorter summary

https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/lawcom-prod-storage-11jsxou24uy7q/uploads/2020/09/Weddings-CP-Summary-final-web.pdf)

  • R Number

As it’s Friday, the R Number and Growth Rate figures have been updated for the week. The latest R number range for the UK is now 1.2-1.5 and the growth rate range is +4% to +9%. The region with the highest R Number and Growth rate in the East of England with figures of 1.3-1.6 and +5 to +11 respectively.

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

  • Causes of Transmission

No doubt you will have seen the report regarding the transmission of Coronavirus in the UK saying that 30% of the cases were the result exposure to the virus a hospitality settings. This came from a cabinet Office briefing pack published yesterday that contained an early analysis from Public Health England enhanced contact tracing data. It is worth noting that the table with the data states that it is a table of all of the settings and events reported in common by two or more confirmed cases – so it is a table of possible transmission events, not confirmed transmission events.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/925332/Evidence_pack_parliamentary_engagement.pdf

  • National Museum Figures

The weekly update from DCMS on visitor numbers to the National Museums indicates that visitor numbers have levelled off at 20% of what is expected at this time of year

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

  • ONS Social and Economic Impact Research

This week’s wave of the ONS’s social impact survey has been published which continues to show a drop-off in tourism and hospitality related activity. Specifically:

  • The percentage of people going to a pub or restaurant during the week decreased further from 28%  to 25%
  • The percentage of people visiting at beach, beauty or heritage site decreased from 9% to 6%
  • The percentage of people going on holiday or taking a break remained at 5%

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/9october2020

On the economic side, the August GDP figures came out showing growth of 2.1% in August. The main reason for this was that 65% of the monthly growth in the service sector came from accommodation and food and beverage service activities as a result of more businesses opening up to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and increased demand for staycations. In a deeper dive on the accommodation sector they found:

  • While accommodation grew by 84.4%, output was still 22.1% less than February 2020

  https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/articles/coronavirusandtheimpactonoutputintheukeconomy/august2020

  • Home Office Update on Services

Attached is an update from the Home Office on visa services which includes items on

  • Return to business as usual (BAU) for in-country applications
  • Applications submitted overseas
  • New PBS student route
  • Reduction in call centre costs for overseas customers
  • Assisted Digital service
  • Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration (ICIBI)
  • EU Settlement factsheet

The Eu Settlement scheme factsheet has been updated

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-factsheet/eu-settlement-scheme-factsheet

KickStart Scheme Update

If you want to employ someone under the Government’s Kickstart scheme but are not in a position to employ the minimum 30 people, you need to find someone who will employ a person on your behalf. To help with this the Government has a list of organisations who will do this. The list has just been updated and expanded and can be searched on a region by region basis.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/find-someone-to-apply-for-a-kickstart-scheme-grant-on-your-behalf

Visitor Economy Working Group Updates 09/10/2020

G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting - Communique
The G20 Tourism Ministers, met under Saudi Arabia's G20 Presidency to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic; promote recovery of the travel and tourism sector and realize its potential to drive faster economic recovery post health crisis.

For the full G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting Diriyah Communique October 07, 2020, see here. The WTTC and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also hosted a public-private sector event focussed on how to accelerate the recovery, which Nigel Huddleston attended.

An updated Border Operating Model has been published this week. The guidance provides further detail for businesses and passengers on how the GB-EU border will operate after the end of the transition period. Key announcements are:

  • Confirms that from 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will require a passport to travel to the UK. This will not apply to those EU, EEA and Swiss nationals whose rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, including those eligible for European Union Settlement Scheme status, frontier workers and joining EUSS family members. These individuals will continue to be able to use a national identity card for travel until at least 31 December 2025 and thereafter if the cards are compliant with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
  • Hauliers will need a Kent Access Permit to proceed to the border.

See more here in the Press noticeOperating Model and Written Ministerial Statement

Union Connectivity Review
The Department for Transport has published the terms of reference for this independent review. Chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the review will make recommendations on how the UK government can level up transport infrastructure and improve connectivity between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, boosting access to opportunities and improving people’s everyday connections. The review will look at road, rail, air and sea links, and how they could be improved to fuel the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about the review see here and the press release here

Intra-company transfers: The Home Office yesterday commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake a study of the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) immigration route. We will keep you informed of when the consultation launches.

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TIER UPDATE 8 OCT

DCMS sectors support measures debate

Earlier today a short debate in the House took place on support measures for DCMS sectors. Some of the key highlights include:

  • Julian Knight, the Chair of the Select Committee, opened the debate and said of tourism: “Travel restrictions are causing immense pain for the UK tourism industry, as inbound tourism numbers have plummeted to historic lows. UK tourist destinations, which draw millions from all over the world, face absolute ruin, and 7% of seaside businesses went under just during lockdown.”
    • He went on to talk about how many DCMS sectors were growing, and had made significant contributions to the economy.
    • Knight also raised that these sectors comprise only 0.5% of Government spending – “Every single time, DCMS Ministers have to go cap in hand to the Treasury for even the smallest amount of governmental loose change”
    • His recommendations included – sector specific job support and repurposing of theatre tax credit for marketing.
  • Kevin Brennan raised the need for support for events to return in a way that protects public health.
  • Giles Watling, a fellow DCMS committee member also spoke about tourism, using the statistic of 3.1m jobs. He outlined the scale of the industry locally and its importance to coastal destinations.
    • Watling called on the Government to introduce a Tourism Recovery Fund, to operate in the same way as the Cultural Recovery Fund.
    • He went on to encourage demand building, suggesting a voucher scheme.
  • Wendy Chamberlain also spoke briefly about the sector – discussing the arts festivals that have been cancelled in her Scottish constituency, and the lack of Golf tourism.
    • She went on to talk about the importance of the events sector, calling for the ability to reopen in line with guidance.
  • Steve Brine echoed Chamberlain, discussing the scale of the events sector, and the jobs that rely on it.

.Northern Ireland restrictions update

This afternoon First Minister Arlene Foster made a statement outlining the extension to the rules around mandatory face coverings :

Further to face coverings being compulsory on public transport and for customers in shops, they will now also be mandatory in the following settings:

  • Taxis and private buses
  • For staff in retail shops
  • In public areas of civil services offices such as jobs and benefits offices
  • When boarding a plane
  • In banks, building societies, credit unions and post offices
  • For driving instructors and their students.

The minimum fines for breaches will be raised to £200 and a maximum £10,000 for prohibition notices.

Three other offences will be punishable on conviction by a fine of up to £10,000, including:

  • Not closing a business as required under the regulations
  • Breaching the early closing requirements for hospitality
  • Not implementing measures to maintain social distancing.

New Border Operating Model for after the transition period

The UK Government has today published its new Border Operating Model. It is a guide on how the border with the European Union will work after the transition period. In Annex G the passenger process is covered which includes crossing the border. It details that EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards will be phased out as a valid travel document for entry to the UK. From 1 October 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will require a passport to travel to the UK. Exemptions apply for those who are eligible for the European Union Settlement Scheme status.

The visiting the UK guidance has been updated to reflect this information.

Meeting with others safely

The Coronavirus Meeting with others safely guidance has been updated. Meetings with friends and family outside of your social bubble should not exceed six people. In England this limit now includes children of any age.

Small marriages and civil partnerships

The COVID-19 guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships has been updated. Changes cover the rules on face coverings, distance between tables, singing in groups of more than six, dancing, music volume and enforcement.

Travel corridors

The Greek islands of Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos and Zakynthos will be added to exempt list at 4:00am Saturday 10 October. People arriving to England from these locations after 4am Saturday 10 October 2020 will not need to self-isolate.

Mauritius, and the Greek islands of Lesvos, Milos (Serifos), Tinos, Santorini and Zakynthos have been added to the travel advice exemptions list, following the latest assessment of COVID-19 risks. The FCDO no longer advises against all non-essential travel to this country and islands.

Other government updates:

 TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 8 OCTOBER

  • Protecting Staff From Coronavirus

The guidance for businesses on testing staff for Coronavirus has been updated with a separate annex on the legal responsibilities on employers to protect the health of their staff.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-guidance-for-employers/annex-a-employers-legal-obligations

  • Companies House Online Filings

Companies house has issued new guidance on how businesses can undertake the following filings online:

    • Insolvency
    • share capital
    • registrar's powers
    • change of constitution
    • Scottish limited partnerships
    • Scottish qualifying partnerships

You must also use their existing online services to:

    • file your accounts
    • file your confirmation statement
    • make changes to your company
    • close your company

It is important to note that companies that are dormant as a result of Coronavirus are still required to file their account.

https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/efs-submission/start

  • Coronavirus and the Latest Indicators for the UK Economy

The results of the latest results of the ONS’s ongoing series on the impact of Coronavirus on the UK economy. The key tourism-related findings in this publication is that:

    • 61% of accommodation and food businesses say that profits have decreased while just 7% report that it has increased. This compares with the average of 43% of all businesses recording a decrease and is the highest of any sector surveyed.
    • 34% of accommodation and food businesses say they have less than 3 months reserves, and a further 6% state that they have no reserves at all compared to 24% and 4% for UK businesses as a whole.
    • 25% of accommodation and food businesses are not confident that they will survive the next three months

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/bulletins/coronavirusandtheeconomicimpactsontheuk/8october2020

  • DfT Travel Attitudes Survey

DfT have undertaken a survey of travel attitudes which includes a section on Leisure and Holidays which looks at public attitudes towards leisure time in the light of the coronavirus and how the pandemic has changed the anticipated holiday-making of respondents.

Among the findings are that, while 7% reported to plan more holidays overseas after travel restrictions and social distancing have been removed, 29% said they would plan fewer holidays and 35% about the same. 11% indicated that they never plan holidays overseas and 18% said that they do not tend to go on holidays in general.

With regard to domestic holidays, 20% of respondents said they would plan more holidays in the UK, 15% said fewer holidays and 46% said about the same. However, of those that would go on holiday in the UK, more than two-thirds said that it is not very likely (35%) or not at all likely (35%) that they would consider using public transport to go on holiday in the UK in the future.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924959/national-travel-attitudes-study-wave-4-provisional.pdf

  • Updated Guidance for Places of Worship

The Government has again updated the guidance for places of worship to incorporate changes in regulation that affect places of worship, announced on 22 September and to highlight that different guidance and legislation will apply in local lockdown areas and that you need to consult the local restrictions guidance to see if there are any restrictions are in place in your area.

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

  • Reopening the High Street Safely

The FAQ for this initiative has been updated. The updates are:

    • Updated eligibility for RHSSF High Street Ambassadors
    • Provided further guidance on the use of the Procurement Policy Note
    • Added Activity Examples that are eligible for funding

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/925276/Reopening_High_Streets_Safely_Fund_FAQ_V6.pdf

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TIER UPDATE 7 OCT

A Taskforce for safe return to global travel has been launched

A new Global Travel Taskforce to support the travel industry and the safe recovery of international travel has been launched by the UK Government today. The taskforce’s work will include:

  • Considering how a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK
  • What steps the UK can take to facilitate business and tourist travel on a bilateral and global basis, through innovative testing models and other non-testing means
  • More broadly, what steps the UK can take to increase consumer confidence and reduce the barriers to a safe and sustainable recovery of international travel.

The taskforce will report to the Prime Minister no later than early November. Please note, the ongoing travel corridor process and related policy will not be within scope of the taskforce.

Additions from Tourism Alliance:

Here’s the Statement to Parliament

https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-10-07/hcws496

  And here’s the Press Release

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/taskforce-for-safe-return-to-global-travel-launched

New lockdown restrictions announced today for Scotland

Today, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, announced a number of new measures for Scotland affecting the hospitality sector. These measures will be effective from Friday 9 October at 6pm for 16 days and include:

Nationwide restrictions, except for the below five Health Board areas, will be introduced as follows:

  • Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes operating indoors can only open during the day between 6am to 6pm for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks only.
  • Hotel restaurants will be able to operate beyond 6pm but only for residents but no alcohol can be served
  • Hospitality (food and drink): premises may open outdoors until 10pm, with sales of alcohol (where licensed)
  • Exemptions apply for specific life events, such as weddings and funerals where alcohol may continue to be served, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)
  • All current regulations and rule of six up to a limit of two households continue to apply.

Additional restrictions for 5 Health Board areas: Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley are as follows:

  • All licensed premises will be required to close, with the exception of takeaway services
  • Cafés (unlicensed premises) which don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to open between 6am and 6pm
  • Takeaways (including from pubs and restaurants) can continue
  • Evening meals may be served in accommodation for residents only but no alcohol can be served
  • Specific life events, such as weddings and funerals, may continue with alcohol, with current meeting rules for these events (20 person limit in regulated premises only)
  • No group exercise classes for indoor gyms and sports courts, pools with an exemption for under 18s
  • No adult (18+) contact sports or training may take place, indoor or outdoor (except professional sports)
  • No outdoor live events can take place
  • Snooker/pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls are to close
  • Public transport use should be minimised as much as possible, such as for education and work, where it cannot be done from home
  • Current meeting rules, maximum of six people from two households, continue to apply.

The First Minister also announced an additional £40 million to help those businesses affected by this two week period. The Scottish Government will be conducting a short consultation with the sector to establish how to best financially support these businesses using this fund and details will be released in due course. For the rest of this month, businesses can also use the UK Government’s job retention scheme, however the Scottish Government will discuss with businesses how they can mitigate the required contribution.

Over the next period they will also be introducing the following steps:

  • Regulations to extend the mandatory use of face coverings in indoor communal settings - this will include, for example, staff canteens and corridors in workplaces
  • Action to strengthen compliance with the different strands of the FACTS advice, focusing on areas such as the need to self-isolate
  • From this weekend and across Scotland, shops will need to return to the 2 metre physical distancing, asking them to reintroduce the mitigations they put in place earlier in the pandemic - for example, one way systems in supermarkets
  • Conducting a review across all other sectors guidance and regulation on their operating practices
  • Conduct a further review of our testing strategy
  • And, lastly, finalise a strategic framework, setting out the different levels of intervention which can be adopted in future, which they hope to align with other UK nations.

The Welsh Government has released further guidance for businesses applying to its Economic Resilience Fund

Businesses across Wales can now find out if they can apply for funding from the third phase of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) by visiting the online Eligibility Checker. Economy Minister Ken Skates announced the new phase of the fund last week which will see an additional £140m being made available to businesses. The eligibility checker will enable businesses to see if they can access the £80m tranche of the fund, it will be open to micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses. Of this, £20m will be ring fenced to support tourism and hospitality businesses  who are facing particular challenges as we enter the winter months.

  • Micro businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) will be able to apply for up to £10,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10%; for Tourism and Hospitality micro businesses there will be discretion for grant awards of up to 100%
  • SMEs (employing between 10 and 249 people) will be able to apply for up to £150,000. Small businesses (up to 50 employees) will be required to match this with their own investment of at least 10% and medium businesses (between 50 and 249 employees) with at least 20% of their own funding; For Tourism and Hospitality SME’s there will be discretion for grant awards of up to 100%
  • Large businesses (employing 250+ people) will be able to apply for up to £200,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.

The Welsh Government is currently working with local authorities and the Welsh Local Government Association on the detail of the £60m Local Lockdown Business Fund that will support businesses impacted by local restrictions. Further details and information on how to access this fund will be published shortly on the Business Wales website.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 7 OCTOBER

  • Guidance on Weddings Updated

The Guidance document for weddings and civil partnerships (including receptions) has been updated to include changes relating to rules on face coverings, distance between tables, singing in groups of more than 6, dancing, music volume and enforcement.

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

  • Delays in DFT Statistical Publications

DFT has announced that due to Coronavirus, it is having to delay the publication of some of its regular statistical publications. From a tourism perspective, the one of note is customer satisfaction with security clearance at airports.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-dft-statistics-publications-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19/changes-to-dft-statistics-publications-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Save Future Travel Petition

Here is a link to a parliamentary petition organised by the Save Future Travel for you to circulate to members for signing. The campaign being run by ABTA and UKinbound urges the Government to:

  • Adopt a fully regionalised quarantine policy
  • Introduce testing
  • Provide recovery grants for SMEs and other businesses that missed out on previous support
  • Review the Job Support Scheme to save travel jobs
  • Grant an APD holiday covering summer 2021

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552725

  • Baroness Doocey Questions

Baroness Doocey has been asking a range of questions in the Lords to support the Tourism industry including the following:

                Question:To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to compensate pubs, restaurants and bars for any revenue lost as a result of the introduction of a 10pm closing time. (HL8412)

Answer: Lord Agnew of Oulton:

The Government recognises that the necessary restrictions on opening hours for hospitality venues will be disruptive for businesses in this sector.

We recognise that the sector is a vital source of employment across the country, and that is why – in addition to the CJRS, tax deferrals and loans – we have prioritised support for hospitality businesses. This has included:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England
  • The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
  • The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, which subsidised 100 million meals through August
  • A temporary reduction in the VAT rate from 20% to 5% on most tourism and hospitality-related activities.

On 24 September the Chancellor set out the next phase of our plan to support the economy, following announcement of measures to control the spread of COVID-19. This is a targeted package of measures to support jobs and business through the winter months, including a new Job Support Scheme, an extension of the reduction in VAT (5%) for the tourism and hospitality sector to 31 March 2021, and changes to the existing government backed loan schemes to help business access the finance they need and plan their cashflow.

The Government is continuing to collect evidence on the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector and to work with businesses and representative groups to inform our efforts to support this sector.

Date and time of answer: 07 Oct 2020 at 14:48.

  Question:To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on the hospitality sector of the decision to not permit conferences, exhibitions and events to take place. (HL8411)

Answer: Baroness Barran:

We recognise that the events industry and its supply chain has been severely impacted by Covid-19. We continue to engage with the stakeholders, including through the Visitor Economy Working Group and the Events Industry Senior Leaders Advisory Panel, to monitor the situation. As with all aspects of the Government’s response to Covid-19, our decisions have been and will continue to be based on scientific evidence and public health assessments.

Events businesses can continue to make use of the broader support package available to them. This includes the Bounce Back Loans scheme, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Meetings of up to 30 can still take place in permitted venues, as per the Covid-19 Secure guidance for the visitor economy.

Date and time of answer: 05 Oct 2020 at 12:21.

Question: To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to address concerns from the tourism industry, including from tour operators, about employees who are unable to meet the requirement to work at least 33 per cent of their usual hours to qualify for support from the Job Support Scheme. (HL8514)

Answer: Baroness Barran:

We recognise that these are extremely challenging conditions for businesses in the tourism sector, including tour operators. We continue to closely monitor the situation. While it will not be possible to preserve every job or business, the Chancellor’s recent package of targeted measures will help businesses to protect jobs and manage their finances in the face of reduced or uncertain demand. Tour operators have been able to access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, which includes the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme until the end of October. It also includes a significant cut to VAT for most tourism and hospitality activities until the end of March. We are offering impacted businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes. We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism across the UK.

Date and time of answer: 05 Oct 2020 at 12:18.

  • Today’s PMQs

Speaking of questions, there were a range of tourism related questions at PMQs today:

Starmer – stated that next week MPs will vote on the 10pm closing time rule. Is there a scientific basis for it? If there is, will the government publish it?

Johnson - replied the basis for it is the same as it was when Labour backed it two weeks ago. 

Andrew Jones -  asked will the events industry be offered a support package

Johnson - said it is a very important industry and that here is already support available. But the best solution would be to have a testing system that can allow conferences to take place and theatres to open

Maria Eagle -  asked if the PM agrees that tighter local lockdown restrictions should trigger automatic local support schemes. And will he agree one for Merseyside as a matter of urgency?

Johnson - said he shares the concern about the loss of jobs but he has already given money to councils and it will continue to put its arms around communities.

Liz Twist - said restrictions in the north-east are making it uneconomical for businesses to stay open. What will the government do to help, and to protect the 80,000 jobs in the hospitality industry? And will he meet local leaders?

Johnson – said that the government will continue to offer support.

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TIER UPDATE 6 OCT

Working safely during coronavirus guidance updated

Updated guidance on taking payment in licensed venues (section 2.2) for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services and the operation of soft play and indoor play areas (section 2.1).

COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship and special religious services and gatherings

The special religious services and gatherings COVID-19 checklist has been updated - to incorporate changes in regulations.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 6 OCTOBER 

  • SEISS Guidance Update

Under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, if you’ve had a new child, you may still be able to make a claim even if you would otherwise be ineligible. The guidance on how to ask HMRC to verify that you had a new child which affected your eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme before you make a claim has been added.

If HMRC has confirmed your eligibility you can make a claim on or before 19 October 2020.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-different-circumstances-affect-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme#if-having-a-new-child-affected-the-trading-profits-you-reported-for-the-tax-year-2018-to-2019

  • Travel Guidance in Educational Settings

The guidance for educational travel by children under the age of 18 has been updated with links through to guidance for both schools and further education providers. In both situations, the guidance is against overnight travel but day-trips are allowed provided that there is a thorough risk assessment.

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

  • Back Bench Debate on DCMS Covid Expenditure

Time to dust off those briefings again. On Thursday morning there is a back bench debate in the Commons on spending of the Department for Digital, Culture and Media and Sport on support measures for the DCMS sectors during and after the covid-19 pandemic. This is being lead by Julian Knight MP (Chair of the DCMS Select Committee) and Kevin Brannan MP (former Shadow Tourism Minister and also member of the DCMS Select Committee)

  • Connectivity Review

The Government has published the terms of reference for a review of connectivity within the UK. This is an independent review being undertaken by Sir Peter Hendy and tasked with understanding whether and how connectivity across the UK can support economic growth and quality of life, particularly as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the review is 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

This will be a good opportunity to highlight how improving connectivity will support the recovery of the UK tourism industry. The proposed timetable is to publish his interim report in January 2021 and final recommendations in summer 2021.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/union-connectivity-review-terms-of-reference/union-connectivity-review-terms-of-reference

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TIER UPDATE 5 OCT

New local restriction guidance for Merseyside, Halton and Warrington

The guidance covers what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in the affected local areas. The restrictions and guidance apply to Halton Borough Council area, Knowsley Metropolitan District Council area, Liverpool City Council area, Sefton Borough Council area, St Helens Borough Council area, Warrington Borough Council area and Wirral Metropolitan District Council area.

 Updates to local restrictions guidance in England

·        Restrictions in Bolton align with those in Greater Manchester from 3 October.

·        The Greater Manchester: local restrictions guidance has been updated to reflect Bolton being included in the Greater Manchester restrictions. 

Fund to support creative freelancers open for applications (Wales)

The fund is open to freelancers in Wales in the sub sectors of arts, creative industries, arts and heritage events, culture and heritage, whose work has direct creative/cultural outcomes. The fund is now open for applications and will run over two phases. Individuals can apply for a £2,500 grant, further details are available on the Business Wales website.

Other Government updates

·        The advice for food businesses has been updated to include information on businesses closing at 10pm, collecting NHS Test and Trace information and working from home.

·        The latest HMRC coronavirus statistics are available for the VAT payments deferral scheme.

·        The guidance for student sponsors, migrants and short-term students on temporary concessions in response to the outbreak of coronavirus has been updated.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 5 OCTOBER

Lock Lockdown Amendment

Over the weekend the Government amended the guidance for local lockdowns in England to make them consistent. In terms of tourism, the guidance for all the lockdown areas states:

  • You can still go on holiday outside of your area, but you can only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with).

This amends the former guidance for the NE advising people not to undertake non-essential travel in and out of the area.

  • Guidance for Sponsors

The Government has produced updated guidance for student sponsors, migrants and for short-term students on temporary concessions in response to Covid19. These concessions are being kept under regular review and will be withdrawn once the situation returns to normal.

  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/922616/Tier_4_Guidance_-_Covid-19_response_05102020_FINAL.pdf

  • £40m Package for Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

With the announcement of the Merseyside Lockdown area, the Metro Mayor and the Mayor and Leaders of the region’s six local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) have announced that they will divert money from other projects to establish a £40m emergency fund to help hospitality and leisure businesses in the region. The details for eligibility are being developed at the moment but is expected that these will be announced when the fund is launched later this week. Allocations will be distributed through the local authorities.

  • VEWG Meeting Tomorrow Morning

There is a meeting of the Visitor Economy Working Group with the Minister tomorrow morning. On the agenda is a discussion of feedback on the Chancellors Statement and associated support package as well the state of business in the sector so if you have any further feedback that you would like included, please sent it through.

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TIER UPDATE 2 OCT

New rules for people living alone in local lockdown areas in Wales

Adults living alone, including single parents, in areas under local restrictions will be able to form a temporary bubble with another household in their local area from 3 October. The change is designed to help protect people living alone from the risk of experiencing loneliness and isolation and will enable to them to meet other people indoors. The rule of six will apply to these new single people household bubbles.

Restrictions in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf extended (Wales)

The Welsh First Minister said that in Caerphilly borough, where cases have fallen, the restrictions will remain in place for at least a further 7 days and they will also continue in Rhondda Cynon Taf, where the growth in cases has slowed.

New Restrictions in Derry City and Strabane District Council, Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to introduce a range of additional restrictions in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area as soon as practically possible.

New measures that will be imposed by regulations include:

  • No indoor gatherings should take place where people from different households are mixed, with certain exemptions in place for:  weddings, wedding receptions, funerals and post funeral gatherings (existing restrictions and strict social distancing requirements continue to apply); services of worship in places of worship; indoor sport for individual training only (e.g. no exercise classes); workplaces where working from home is not possible; educational settings; managed youth and childcare services.
  • Hospitality venues can remain open for take-away, delivery and outdoor dining only.  Wet pubs can serve customers outdoors only. Existing restrictions for outdoor settings will continue to apply.  Hotels can only provide services to residents as per previous restrictions. A support package for affected venues will be brought forward.
  • All museums, galleries and cultural attractions must remain closed and libraries can operate a call and collect service.
  • Outdoor gatherings are permitted, up to a maximum of 15 people only.  There cannot be gatherings of more than 15 people even with a risk assessment.
  • Sports training and sporting events are exempt but they must take place without any spectators.

These restrictions will be in place for a time limited period of a minimum of two weeks, and will be reviewed weekly.

Travel Corridors - Scotland

People arriving from Madiera and Azores (not including mainland Portugal) will be exempt from self isolation on entry into Scotland from 0400 on 03 October 2020

Entry restrictions for Germany for travellers from certain areas of the UK

Travellers entering Germany from a designated risk area must enter quarantine for 14 days and take a COVID-19 test. They are also required to notify the local German health authority in their place of residence/accommodation.

Northern Ireland, Scotland, North East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales have been designated as high risk areas. If you have been in the designated high risk areas in the two weeks prior to their arrival in Germany, you are required to proceed directly to your accommodation and quarantine for 14 days or until you can show evidence of a negative test result. Those who can provide evidence of a negative test taken in a European Union member state or a state with comparable quality standards less than 48 hours prior to arrival may be exempted from the requirement to quarantine. Individual federal states are responsible for the implementation of quarantine regulations and local rules may vary.

The German Interior Ministry has confirmed that travellers from the UK are not required to demonstrate a valid reason in order to enter Germany. Standard German entry and immigration rules in place before the COVID-19 outbreak apply.

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 2 OCTOBER

  • Job Retention Bonus Details Announced

The Government has published the detailed guidance on the Job Retention Bonus. As announced previously, the Job Retention Bonus is one-off £1,000 taxable payment for each eligible employee furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus itself can be claimed between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.

You can claim for employees that:

  • you made an eligible claim for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • you kept continuously employed from the end of the claim period of your last Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim for them, until 31 January 2021
  • are not serving a contractual or statutory notice period for you on 31 January 2021 (this includes people serving notice of retirement)
  • you paid enough an amount in each relevant tax month and enough to meet the Job Retention Bonus minimum income threshold (see below)

It’s important to note that employers will still be able to claim the Bonus for employees receiving support through the recently announced Job Support Scheme which will supersedes the CJRS

You may be eligible to claim the Job Retention Bonus for employees of a previous business which were transferred to you if:

  • TUPE rules applied
  • the PAYE business succession rules applied
  • the employees were associated with the transfer of a business from the liquidator of a company in compulsory liquidation where TUPE would have applied if the company was not in compulsory liquidation

However, to be eligible for the bonus you must pay your employee a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months:

  • 6 November to 5 December 2020
  • 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
  • 6 January to 5 February 2021

And you must do the following now to make sure you’re ready to claim.

  • still be enrolled for PAYE online
  • comply with your PAYE obligations to file PAYE accurately and on time under Real Time Information (RTI) reporting for all employees between 6 April 2020 and 5 February 2021
  • keep your payroll up to date and make sure you report the leaving date for any employees that stop working for you before the end of the pay period that they leave in
  • use the irregular payment pattern indicator in Real Time Information (RTI) for any employees not being paid regularly
  • comply with all requests from HMRC to provide any employee data for past Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-claim-the-job-retention-bonus-from-15-february-2021

  Determining which employees meet the minimum income threshold for the Job Retention Bonus

Along with the announcement of the details of the Job Retention Bonus, the Government has published resources to help employers determine eligibility and how to calculate claims

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-an-example-of-employees-and-the-minimum-income-threshold-for-the-job-retention-bonus/example-of-employer-deciding-which-employees-will-meet-the-minimum-income-threshold-for-the-job-retention-bonus

CJRS

Finally, also associated with this, the Government is also highlighting to businesses that 30 November 2020 is the last day they can submit claims for furloughed staff for periods ending on or before 30 October 2020.  

  • Weekly National Update

Here’s the link to this week’s National Update. Of particular interest to tourism and hospitality businesses is Figure 20 on page 16 which shows where cases are occurring. The data here on Acute respiratory Incidents shows that, of 528 Covid outbreaks during the week :

• 91 incidents were from care homes

• 25 incidents were from hospitals

• 204 incidents were from educational settings

• 3 incidents were from prisons

• 141 incidents were from workplace settings

• 24 incidents were from food outlet/restaurant settings

• 740 incidents were from the other settings

This shows that restaurants and pubs only account for about 4.5% of outbreaks, which brings into question the need for a 10pm curfew.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports

  • Guidance Updates

Face Coverings for Staff

The Working Safely with Covid guidance for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway services has now been updated to say:

  • If businesses have taken steps to create a physical barrier or screen between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier or screen will not be required to wear a face covering. Enforcement action can be taken if barriers and screens are in place which do not adequately mitigate risks. (section 6.1)

Singing and Dancing

The Guidance has also been updated on singing and dancing to say:

  • From 28 September businesses must prevent singing in groups of more than 6 (or one household); prevent dancing by customers (other than by the couple at a wedding or civil partnership); and ensure that no loud music is played. (Section 1)

Loud music is music which exceeds 85db(A) at its source (except for performances of live music) are not allowed in law. (Section 4.5)

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

  • Grants for Bolton Businesses

The Government has announced grants of up to £1,500 for businesses in Bolton. The grants will be allocated by Bolton Council to businesses that have been closed for three weeks and will be allocated on the following basis:

  • Businesses with rateable values of less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £1,000
  • Businesses with rateable values of £51,000 and over will receive a grant of £1,500

Businesses with more than one affected property will receive a grant in respect of each property. The announcement also states that this additional top-up grant will be paid every 3 weeks to businesses where closures persist,

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bolton-businesses-to-receive-grants-of-up-to-1500-from-government

  • More ONS Research

Another round of ONS research was published today which some very worrying data for tourism and hospitality businesses. Among the key findings are:

  • The percentage of people visiting a restaurant, pubs, bar or café has fallen from 38% to 28% in the three weeks since Eat Out to Help Out ended
  • The percentage of people visiting a beach, beauty spot or heritage site has fallen from 14% to 9% over the last month
  • The percentage of people going on holiday in the UK has fallen from 8% to 5% over the last month

(obviously a lot of the last two findings are related to the end of summer holidays but it shows how tourism revenue is falling away)

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/2october2020

  • National Museum Visitors

Adding to the picture of visitor numbers falling, DCMS’s figures for visitors to the National Museums show that visitor number have fallen below 20% of normal for the first time since the middle of August.

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

  • Air Corridor Countries

Following on from yesterday’s announcement of various countries including Poland and Turkey being removed from the Air Corridors list, here is a link to the remaining countries that people can arrive into the UK from and not have to quarantine

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

  • R Number

Finally, the R Number and growth rate Figures for the week have been published with the latest R number range for the UK being 1.3-1.6 and the number of Coronavirus cases are increasing at a rate of between +5% to +9% per day

Visitor Economy Working Group (VEWG) Updates

EU exit preparedness survey

We have a discussion about EU exit at the next Visitor Economy Working Group, which Tom Smith (Director of the Border and Protocol Delivery Group in Cabinet Office) will attend.  DCMS is also inviting you and your members to complete an online survey on how your organisation is preparing for the end of the Transition Period. Your responses will help the Department to understand how we can best support you in your planning. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to fill in.

While many businesses will be developing further their EU exit preparations that they began last year, we recognise the significant impact Covid will have had on their ability to plan.

However, now is the time for businesses and individuals to start thinking about the actions they will need to take in order to be best placed for the changes ahead. Many of the actions the government is asking businesses and citizens to take will need to be completed whether the UK gets a negotiated outcome or not.

DCMS is committed to supporting the sectors we represent in making these preparations. In order for us to do this effectively, we need to build an accurate picture of our sectors’ current level of preparations, and the areas where businesses need further clarity / guidance. These insights will therefore help us tailor our engagement to where it is needed.

For more information about how you can prepare for the end of the Transition Period, please visit gov.uk/transition.

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TIER UPDATE 1 OCT 20

Further lockdown restrictions confirmed for North East and North West of England

The Health Secretary today announced an extension of lockdown measures to the Liverpool City Region, Halton, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough. From midnight on Saturday 3 October, residents in these areas will not be permitted by law to meet anyone outside their household or bubble in any indoor setting, including private homes and gardens. People are also advised not to meet with anyone outside their household or bubble in outdoor public spaces, including outdoor hospitality, and are advised to avoid non-essential travel.

Changes to lockdown measures for Bolton, government grants available up to £1,500 for impacted businesses

From Saturday 3 October, lockdown measures in Bolton will be brought into alignment with measures in Manchester, meaning that:

  • Hospitality businesses including bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants can resume table service subject to early 10pm closure and the rule of 6 restrictions.
  • Bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, casinos, indoor play, including soft play and conference centres and exhibit halls will also be able to reopen in Bolton. Previous advice against restarting indoor theatrical or concert performances will no longer apply. Restrictions on attending weddings, wedding receptions and funerals will be brought in line with the rest of Greater Manchester and the country.

The government has also announced that businesses that have been closed for three weeks due to local lockdown restrictions in Bolton will now be eligible for grants of up to £1,500 each. In addition to having been closed for three weeks, eligible businesses must fit the following criteria:

  • eligible business properties with rateable values of less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £1,000
  • eligible business properties with rateable values of £51,000 and over will receive a grant of £1,500
  • eligible businesses with more than one affected property will receive a grant in respect of each property

In addition, Bolton Council will receive an additional 5% of funding to run a local discretionary grant fund which could be used to support businesses that do not pay business rates and other severely impacted businesses that are prioritised locally. As with the grants to business-rate paying businesses, this additional top-up grant will be paid every 3 weeks to businesses where closures persist.

Interactive map of lockdown restrictions

The House of Commons Library has built an interactive map to track local lockdown restrictions and link to detailed COVID guidance across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (last updated 29 September).

Guidance for the reopening of saunas and steams rooms from 1 October

Guidance on working safely during COVID-19 has been updated for providers of saunas and steam rooms.

  • Maximum capacity should be restricted to 50%. For example, a sauna designed for 4 people should only be used by 2 people at the same time.
  • Facilities should operate with 2m social distancing, including marked seating points in each room.
  • Guests should be given fixed times and staggered slots to enter the sauna or steam room.
  • For example, a sauna with a normal capacity for 4 individuals offers an appointment time of 12.00 - 12.15. Up to 2 individuals may book this slot. They must arrive at 12.00. They may leave and re-enter at any time but the sauna must be vacated by everyone at 12.15.
  • Where technically possible, increase air flow and air changes to the maximum possible.
  • Ensure that saunas, steam rooms and any equipment are cleaned regularly, at the beginning and end of the day and at regular intervals in-between, determined by the risk assessment.

See relevant guidance for close contact services and providers of grassroots sport and gym/ leisure facilities.

Changes to travel corridors

Effective 04.00 on Saturday 3 October, Turkey, Poland, and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustasius and Saba will be removed from the travel corridor list for the UK and no new countries have been added to the list.

Poland, Turkey, St Maarten and St Martin have been removed from the FCDO list of countries/territories exempt from advice against all but essential travel, while the British Virgin Islands and Seychelles have been added to the list.

People currently in countries being removed from the exemptions list are encouraged to follow local rules, return home as normal (being mindful of possible changes to their travel plans) and check the FCDO’s travel advice pages for further information.

From tomorrow (Friday 2 October) the penalties issued to people who breach self-isolation after returning from a non-exempt country will increase. The penalties, which mirror those recently announced for those breaching self-isolation following a positive COVID test or contact from Trace & Trace, will now increase incrementally for repeat offenders – rising from £1,000 for first offences up to £10,000 for subsequent offences.

Data on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK economy and society (1 October)

Early experimental data has been updated on the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy and society, including data on the business impacts of the coronavirus, social impacts on Great Britain, company incorporations and voluntary dissolution applications, online job adverts, footfall and road traffic. Latest report includes data collected up to 28 September.

New government proposals to protect small businesses with action on late payments 

New proposals have been outlined by government to give the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) new powers to support businesses and resolve late payment issues. Proposed new powers include ordering businesses to pay in good time and issuing fines if they do not, ordering companies to share information on payment practices and the power to launch investigations.

EU exit preparedness survey from DCMS

DCMS is inviting you and your members to complete an online survey on how your organisation is preparing for the end of the Transition Period. Your responses will help the Department to understand how it can best support you in your planning. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to fill in.

DCMS is committed to supporting the sectors it represents in making these preparations. In order to do this effectively, they need to build an accurate picture of their sectors’ current level of preparations and the areas where businesses need further clarity or guidance.

For more information about how you can prepare for the end of the Transition Period, please visit gov.uk/transition.

  TOURISM ALLIANCE UDPATE – 1 OCTOBER

  • Letter on Establishing a UK/USA Air Corridor

I’ve attached a copy of a letter a number of organisations including the Tourism Alliance sent to UK Secretary of State for Transport asking for the Government to increase efforts to allow for a trial and testing system for the transatlantic corridor that helps reduce the 14 day quarantine policy currently in place in the UK. This letter coincides with reports today that the Government is aiming to begin trials in covid testing within UK Airports by mid-October, with a New York-London route potentially opening by the end of November.

  • ONS Economy and Society Research

The latest round of research by the ONS on the impact of Coronavirus have been published. Among the key findings are:

  • 11% of the UK workforce is on furlough and 85% of businesses are currently trading
  • 76% of businesses are using the CJRS
  • 46% of businesses have less than 6 months of cash reserves
  • 45% of businesses say their turnover has decreased
  • High street footfall is about 70% of normal

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/1october2020

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TIER UPDATE 30 SEPT

Local coronavirus restrictions to be introduced in North Wales (Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham)

New coronavirus restrictions will be introduced in North Wales in the local authority areas of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham from 6pm on Thursday 1 October.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in these areas, including:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave each of these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
  • The restrictions will be in addition to the rules that apply everywhere in Wales

The local restrictions will not be introduced in Anglesey or Gwynedd at this stage, where cases are lower. The restrictions will be kept under regular review.

FIT and group visit guidance for Wales

Visit Wales has shared their latest guidance for tour operators and group visits. Some key points include:

  • All operators and businesses (even those based outside of Wales) need to comply with Welsh Regulations for any part of their business operating in Wales.
  • Anyone operating tours or visits into Wales will need to ensure that they and their clients comply with the latest* Coronavirus Regulations 2020
  • Transport and coach operators should follow the guidance that applies to public transport operators and ensure that they have undertaken a full risk assessment.  
  • The Coronavirus Regulations 2020 limit any group outdoors to 30 people in total (including organiser/driver/guide etc.) provided certain measures are in place; this can include a mix of households (not limited to the same/extended household).
  • Indoor group visits are only permissible with members of the same household or extended households – of up to 6 people (not including any children aged under 11) - provided their entry indoors is staggered so as not to create a gathering of more than one household indoors.  Operators and businesses should comply with the rule of six from an extended household regardless of whether the booking is being made for guests from outside of Wales where different rules may apply.

Other Government updates

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 30 SEPTEMBER

Here’s today’s update. First, thank you to everyone who came back to me regarding Brexit Updates. There seems to be a lot of interest in receiving updates on Brexit preparations so I will start these from next week. There was also a good suggestion to keep Brexit Updates separate from Coronavirus Updates to avoid any confusion - so I’ll do that. However, before we get on with today’s update, it is worthwhile being aware that the Government has launched a new campaign today to provide advice to UK businesses on the new Points-Based Immigration Scheme that will come into force on 1st January.

  • Campaign on Preparing for Points-Based Immigration

The Government has launched a campaign to remind UK businesses that, from 1 January 2021, employers will need to be a licensed sponsor to hire people from outside the UK. Becoming a sponsor normally takes eight weeks and fees apply so to be able to employ people from outside the UK on 1 January, businesses need to apply to be a licensed sponsor now. As a licensed sponsor, businesses will be able to employ workers from anywhere in the world, provided they meet certain eligibility requirements. The following link is to the campaign website which contains a wide ranges of resources for businesses to allow them to do this, including videos on the new immigration scheme and how to become a sponsor. It also allows you to sign-up to receive emails updates on the new immigration scheme.

https://pbisemployers.campaign.gov.uk/

Coronavirus Update

  • Support for People Impacted by Coronavirus

The Government has launched an online tool to provide guidance to people on what support is available to them if they have been affected by Coronavirus. The online tool guides people to the support that they can receive in relation to:

  • feeling unsafe where they live, or if they’re worried about someone else
  • paying your bills, rent, or mortgage
  • getting food
  • being made redundant or unemployed, or not having any work
  • feeling worried about going in to work
  • having somewhere to live
  • mental health and wellbeing, including information for children

                https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support 

  • Update Guidance on Recreational Team Sports

DCMS has been updated the guidance on Recreational Team Sports in accordance with the recent changes that restricted the number of activities that are now exempt from the Rule of Six. The main changes are:

  • Organised indoor team sport is no longer exempt from the rule of 6. This means that organised indoor team sport should only take place in groups of up to 6 people (unless an exemption or easement applies). There is an exemption for indoor sport for people with disabilities, so this can continue in any number as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance.
  • Other organised indoor sport, including indoor exercise classes, can continue to take place with larger numbers present, provided that participants are in separate and distinct groups of up to 6 people (or larger discrete groups from the same household or support bubble) which do not mix with other groups. If separate groups are likely to mix, these indoor activities should not go ahead.
  • Organised outdoor team sport, outdoor exercise classes and outdoor licensed physical activity are still exempt from the rule of 6, and can happen in any number as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance.
  • All supervised activities for under-18s, including indoor and outdoor sports and exercise groups, are exempt (provided relevant guidance is followed and risk assessments carried out). Social interaction before and after playing any sport should be limited and only take place in separate and distinct groups consisting of up to 6 people (or larger discrete groups from the same household or support bubble).

The guidance also has links to various national sports associations which provide guidance specific to their sport

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/return-to-recreational-team-sport-framework 

  • Transport Update

The weekly DfT transport figures are out and, as usual, show that the use of public transport has remained static over the last month. This suggests that there was little uptake in the Government’s call for people to return to work by commuters. It will be interesting to see the impact of the recent local lockdowns and the new call from Government to now work at home on these figures over the next few weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

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TIER UPDATE 29 SEPT

Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan for Wales

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a package of measures to support businesses in Wales in the coming months. The package includes a new Job Support Scheme, extensions to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, a 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.

Indoor inter-household mixing restricted in parts of the North East of England

From midnight on 30 September, measures will be brought into law restricting inter-household mixing in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants, in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland.

COVID-secure schools and workplaces are not affected by this update. As announced last week, childcare bubbles will be able to form in areas of intervention to allow families to share caring responsibilities with another household, as long as they are consistent. This includes formal and informal childcare arrangements. People in support bubbles in these areas can also continue to meet in any setting.

Changes to lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland

From midnight on 30 September, venues serving food and alcohol in Northern Ireland will be required to stop serving food and drink at 10:30pm, and must close at 11pm. No late licenses will be issued.

This applies to pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés as well as hotel and guest house bars. Weddings and other social events will also be required to comply with this curfew.

Read the First Minister’s statement here.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 29 SEPTEMBER

  • Local Lockdown Changes
  • North East - Indoor Inter-Household Mixing Restricted in Parts of the NE

The Government has announced that from tomorrow it will be illegal for people from one household to meet with people from another household in indoor settings such as pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions in the following areas:

  • Durham
  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle
  • North Tyneside
  • South Tyneside
  • Northumberland
  • Sunderland

The press release notes that discussions are continuing with local leaders in Merseyside to establish whether additional measures may be necessary there.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/indoor-inter-household-mixing-restricted-in-parts-of-the-north-east 

  • North West

Blackpool has been added to the North West Lockdown Zone. It is also worth noting that, in comparison to the new legal requirement on household mixing in the NE mentioned above, the guidance for the NW lockdown zone is that:

we advise that you should not socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-england-local-restrictions 

  • Screens

At the TIER meeting today DCMS clarified that after discussion with the Cabinet Office, staff behind counters were there is a screen do not have to wear face coverings. I’m waiting to find out if there is any further information of what constitutes a suitable screen and will pass this on if there is. 

  • Updated Working Safely With Coronavirus Guidance

The government’s primary guidance for various parts of the tourism industry has been updated. The various updates are as follows

Heritage locations

The updated sections are on thinking about risk (section 1), keeping your customers, visitors and contractors safe (section 2), who should go to work (section 3) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings (section 6).

Hotels and other guest accommodation

The updated sections are on managing risk (section 1.1), keeping your customers, visitors and contractors safe (section 2), who should go to work (section 3) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings (section 6).

Performing arts

The updated sectors are on thinking about risk (section 1), who should return to training, rehearsal and performance (section 2), managing performances (section 3), hair and makeup (section 4.16) and face coverings (section 6.2).

The visitor economy

The updated sections are on managing risk (section 1.1), managing your customers, visitors and contractors (section 2), who should go to work (section 3) and face coverings (section 6). 

  • Northern Ireland Closing Time

The First Minister has just made a statement to the NI Assembly announcing that a closing time of 11pm will be implemented in Northern Ireland from Wednesday 30th September for establishments serving alcohol and food. This means that last orders for food and drink will be 10.30pm,  allowing people 30mins to finish-up. There will be no late licences. By contrast:

England

  • Premises must close  and customers must be out the door by 10pm

Wales

  • Premises must stop serving by 10pm and customers are allowed 20mins to finish and leave the premises

Scotland

  • Premises must close and customers must be out the door by 10pm (although the Rule of Six in Scotland means that only people from two different households can be together)

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TIER UPDATE 28 SEPT

Additional £140 million to support Welsh businesses as part of Economic Resilience Fund (ERF)

As part of the third wave of the Economic Resilience Fund (ERF), the Welsh government is making an additional £140 million available to businesses to help them adapt to the economic challenges of COVID-19 and the UK’s exit from the EU.

£80m worth of business development grants will be open to micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses with projects to help them adapt to upcoming economic changes. This funding will require co-investment from companies and a clear plan for how they will adjust to the post-COVID economy. Of this, £20 million will be ring fenced to support tourism and hospitality businesses.

  • Micro businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) will be able to apply for up to £10k on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10%.  
  • SMEs (employing between 10 and 249 people) will be able to apply for up to £150K on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10% for small business (1-49 staff) and 20% for medium sized (50-249) business.
  • Large businesses (employing 250+ people) will be able to apply for up to £250K on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.  

Companies that received grant funding through phases one and two of the ERF, or Non-Domestic Rate linked support, could also be eligible for phase three of the ERF. An online tool to check eligibility for the third wave of the ERF will be available next week.

Another £60 million will be made available to support businesses impacted by local lockdown restrictions.

Local restrictions introduced in South Wales – Neath Port Talbot, Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen

Local restrictions will come into force from 6pm today, 28 September. The restrictions, which will apply to everyone living in Neath Port Talbot, Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen are:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households (sometimes known as ‘bubbles’). This means meeting indoors (in people’s houses, in a pub or elsewhere) with anyone you don’t live with is not allowed at the moment unless you have a good reason, such as providing care to a vulnerable person.
  • All licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm.
  • Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor places, which are open to the public, such as shops, as well as on public transport – as is the case in the rest of Wales. (There are some limited exemptions for people with disabilities and medical conditions – these are the same as for public transport).

All local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Review guidance for all areas in Wales affected by local lockdown restrictions, including FAQs broken down by region and sector to help clarify requirements for impacted people and businesses.

Other government updates

DCMS responses to TIER meeting actions from 14 September

Please see the following clarifications from Emily Mansell (EM), DCMS and Alexandra Brown (AB), DCMS in response to the actions from the last TIER meeting.

  • EM to confirm which elements of golf days are permitted, if any:
    • The sport element is fine (in line with guidance for the sport sector) and on the hospitality / social side venues would need to comply with the latest guidance around separating groups of 6, wearing masks when not seated etc.
  • EM/AB to find out if training courses of more than 30 pax can go ahead in event venues:
    • Business meetings and events of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. The rule of six does not apply to work, education and training activities.
  • EM/AB to investigate if event venues and hotel function spaces can operate in the same way as restaurants with tables of six in a function room:
    • We have confirmed this afternoon with BEIS that yes venues can do this with tables of 6 in a function room. Of course such venues would need to comply with relevant planning, alcohol licensing etc. requirements. The Covid-19 Secure guidance is blind to what a venue was previously used for. It is just concerned with how to achieve a safe environment for premises used as restaurants, pubs, cafes etc.
  • EM to clarify whether the maximum number of people on a coach is now restricted to 30: 
    • If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six (or larger if they are from one household) do not mingle on a tour, it can go ahead. People must stay in their own group on all parts of the tour - for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach. Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide COVID-secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people. DfT will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.
  • EM to clarify whether people who are not complying with the rule of six who are on holiday at the moment, need to curtail their holiday and go home:
    • Any guests will need to make arrangements to make sure they abide by the rule of 6 on holidays.
  • EM to advise on whether the law lies with individuals or businesses:
    • Depends on which bit of the law - there are some responsibilities for individuals (e.g. self-isolating; wearing a mask where required to) and others for businesses e.g. taking measures to ensure groups of 6 do not intermingle; enforcing the curfew etc.

Tourism Alliance Update – 28 September

  • Local Lockdown Guidance

The guidance for all local Lockdown areas has been updated regarding university students moving to or relocating within an area of local restrictions. The guidance has also been updated regarding going to work and on childcare bubbles. Guidance updated to reflect regulations affecting businesses selling food and drink having to close at 10pm and the requirement for licensed premises to only serve seated people

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-england-local-restrictions

Over the weekend new restrictions on household mixing brought in for Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds, whereby people will no longer be allowed to mix with others outside their household or bubble in private homes, including gardens. Meanwhile London was added as an area of concern and Teesside was added to the list of  areas requiring enhanced support.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-restrictions-for-wigan-stockport-blackpool-and-leeds-as-coronavirus-cases-increase

  • Covid App Uploads

The government has announced that NHS COVID-19 app has been downloaded over 10 million times. Meanwhile 460,000 QR code posters have been downloaded and printed and there were 1.5 million venue check-ins on Saturday.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nhs-covid-19-app-has-been-downloaded-over-10-million-times

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TIER UPDATE 25 SEPT

Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses

Businesses can now check if they are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG). The grant is for businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by government. The grant is for businesses that pay business rates on their premises. Local councils may at their discretion also provide funding for businesses that don’t pay business rates.

Guidance for local authorities setting out the details of the grant has also been published.

Updated information added to the Deferral of VAT payments guidance

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, businesses can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

New restrictions to be introduced in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport

In a statement today Health Secretary Matt Hancock outlined new restrictions to be introduced in Leeds, Blackpool, Wigan and Stockport. The regulations will come into effect from Saturday 26 September and will impose restrictions on inter-household mixing in private dwellings and gardens in Leeds, Stockport, Wigan and Blackpool.

  • People who live in these areas will not be allowed to gather in a private dwelling or garden with any other household unless in a support bubble.

Also as part of his statement he said they have also reviewed the position in Leicester, the Borough of Oadby and Wigston, Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Bolton, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and the remaining local authorities in Greater Manchester and have decided to maintain their position on the watchlist as areas of intervention, as well as the current restrictions in these areas.

Further local restrictions introduced in Wales – Llanelli, Swansea and Cardiff

Local restrictions will come into force in Llanelli from 6pm on and in Swansea and Cardiff from 6pm on Sunday. The restrictions, which will apply to everyone living in Llanelli, Cardiff and Swansea are:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households (sometimes known as ‘bubbles’). This means meeting indoors (in people’s houses, in a pub or elsewhere) with anyone you don’t live with is not allowed at the moment unless you have a good reason, such as providing care to a vulnerable person.
  • All licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm.

Ministers will also meet public health experts, local authority leaders and others over the weekend to consider whether local restrictions need to be extended to Neath Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen on Sunday evening.

Only necessary travel advised for border crossing between Donegal and neighbouring areas in Northern Ireland

The Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland and the Acting Chief Medical Officer for the Republic of Ireland met on Friday 25 Sept 2020 to review the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. They have advised: “Given the current number of new cases in Donegal and neighbouring areas of NI in Derry/Londonderry, Strabane and Fermanagh we would appeal to everyone to avoid all but necessary travel across the border. It is also recommended that employers on both sides of the border make every effort to facilitate employees to work from home in so far as is possible…”

Other Government updates

COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker latest results

The latest results of the COVID-19 consumer sentiment tracker are now available on VisitEngland’s website. Please see the areas showing the strongest declines in sentiment:

National Mood: down to 6.5 (from 6.7 last wave)

  • The % feeling the ‘worst is still to come’: significantly climbs to 58% (from 41% in the last wave)
  • The % expecting life returning ‘close to normal’ by December: significantly down to 6%
  • Appetite for Risk: overall score down to 2.5 (from 2.7 last wave) with all the activities exhibiting declines
  • Confidence in taking an overnight trip next March: down 7 percentage points to 48%

Of interest is the leading reason cited by those who do not have near-term confidence in taking a domestic trip (ie. for trips during September or October) as this has nearly always been ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’.  However, this wave the top reason given was ‘restrictions on travel from government’.

Please note: this wave’s fieldwork was conducted last week, prior to the extra measures that were announced on Tuesday.  The next report is due out in early October.

Situation update 25 September 2020

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 25 SEPTEMBER

  • QR Codes and Self-Catering

I’ve been in discussion with DCMS as to whether QR codes are needed on self-catering properties as the operator will already have the information required through the booking process and the people staying there are not sharing the premises with any other customers. After consulting with DHSC (Department for Health), they’ve come back to say that operators need to put QR code posters in self-catering properties.

  • QR Codes and Unstaffed Outdoor Sites

However, DCMS have advised that the requirement to display QR Cades does not apply to outdoor, unstaffed and unticketed heritage sites, or to archaeological and historic sites which are not open to the public.

  • Coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant

The Government has published new guidance on the eligibility criteria for businesses applying for the new Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG), which has been established to support businesses that have been required to close due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions. Business may be eligible if it:

  • occupies property on which it pays business rates
  • is in a local lockdown area and has been required to close because of the formal publication of local restrictions guidance that resulted in a first full day of closure on or after 9 September. This funding is not retrospective
  • has been required to close for at least 3 weeks because of the lockdown
  • has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises

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

  • Joined-up Governments

The UK Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government have issues a joint policy statement setting out that they will continue working together in the same joined up manner as they have been up to this point

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/joint-statement-on-covid-19/joint-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Scottish Winter Economy Plan

The Chancellor has announced that the key components of the Statement he made yesterday will apply to Scotland

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/winter-economy-plan-to-support-scottish-firms-and-workers

ONS Furlough Data

ONS has published the latest furlough data which runs to the end of July. This data shows that 38% of people working in accommodation and food services and 55% of people working in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation were furloughed between 29th June and 26th July compared to the average of 16% across all industries.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/articles/comparisonoffurloughedjobsdata/maytojuly2020

  • National Museum Visitors

The latest visitor figures from the national Museums have been published and, worryingly, show that visitor numbers have declined from 25% or normal to 20% of normal over the past two weeks

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

  • R Number and Growth Rate

This week’s R number for the UK is 1.2-1.5, while the growth rate range is +4% to +8% - meaning that virus is spreading at between 4-8% per day. This is up from +2 to +7% last week and -1% to +3% the week before that – which give a good indication of the increased rate of spread over the last few weeks.

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TIER UPDATE 24 SEPT

Changes to travel corridors for the UK

Effective 04.00 on Saturday 26 September, Denmark, Slovakia, Iceland and Curacao will be removed from the travel corridor list for the UK and no new countries have been added to the list.

The FCDO list of countries/territories exempt from advice against all but essential travel has been updated in line with these changes.

Statement on the Winter Economy Plan

Today Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced new measures in his Winter Economy Plan, the next phase in the Government’s support for businesses and the economy. The plan includes help for the hospitality and tourism sectors, which he described as “two of our most affected sectors.”

Key announcements include a new Jobs Support Scheme, extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors until March 2021, and help for businesses in repaying government-backed loans.

Tax cuts and deferrals

  • The VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be extended until the end of March 2021.
  • Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months next financial year.
  • Self-assessed income tax payers who need extra help can now benefit from a 12-month extension on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

New Jobs Support Scheme

The furlough scheme will not be extended. Instead a new six-month Jobs Support Scheme will start in November:

  • The Government will directly support the wages of people in viable work. Businesses facing reduced demand can avoid making employees redundant by keeping them on shorter hours.
    • The employee will work at least a third of their normal hours paid by the employer
    • For the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary
    • The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month
  • All SMEs are eligible for the scheme, but larger firms can apply too if their turnover is affected by coronavirus.
  • Employers that are retaining furlough staff on shorter hours can claim both the Job Support Scheme and the Jobs Retention bonus.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS)

  • SEISS will be extended on similar terms as the new Job Support Scheme
    • An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus.
    • The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January 2021, worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.
    • An additional second grant to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April – this may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances.

Government-backed loans

  • A new Pay as you Grow repayment system will provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan. This includes:
    • Extending repayments from 6 to 10 years
    • Interest-only payments,
    • Suspending repayments for up to 6 months if needed.

Credit ratings won’t be affected.

  • The Government has said it intends 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 if it will help businesses to repay the loan. 
  • The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes – including the future fund - has been extended to 30 November

See more details on today’s announcements.

Clarified guidance from the Visitor Economy Working Group

The Visitor Economy Working Group has shared the following clarifications on government COVID-19 guidance for the hospitality and travel sectors:

  • Update to coach operators and whether coach tours can go ahead
    • If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a tour, coach tours of over six people on the coach can go ahead. People must stay in their groups of up to six (or larger if they are from one household) on all parts of the tour - for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach.
    • Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide COVID-secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people. DfT will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.
  • Business meetings of up to 30 remain permitted
    • Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.
  • Face coverings update
    • Businesses will be asked to promote the wearing of face coverings by staff and customers and compliance through signage and other appropriate means in order to be COVID-secure.
    • There is no obligation on businesses to enforce these new measures. Rather than simply refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering, a business may instead ask that individual to put one on, bearing in mind that some people are exempt.
    • If an individual is acting anti-socially or against the rules, staff will be able to ask them to leave, or call the police if necessary. This is a matter for the police, who can take measures if people do not comply with this law without a valid exemption. The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.
  • Hotels
    • Hospitality services within hotels, such as hotel dining rooms and bars will need to follow the new requirement to close to the public between 10pm – 5am. Hotels will still be able to provide food and drink through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online.

Interim guidance for hospitality businesses in Northern Ireland

Tourism NI has produced a summary of the key changes to legal requirements introduced on 23 September and how they apply to hospitality businesses.

Download the interim guidance for hospitality businesses here.

NHS COVID-19 app now live in England and Wales

The NHS COVID-19 app has launched today in England and Wales. Features of the app include contact tracing using Bluetooth technology, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, a symptom checker and test booking.

From today, businesses are required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters so people can check-in at different premises with the app. An online tool is available to help businesses generate QR codes and create posters to display to assist in the mandatory collection of customer, staff and visitor data.

Industry updates

  • The UNWTO has launched a new Tourism Recovery Tracker to record key tourism performance indicators by month, region and sub-region and provide a real time comparison of the tourism sector’s recovery across the world.

TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 24 SEPTEMBER

Here’s today’s update which contains a couple of great resources to explain recent announcements. 

  • Job Support Scheme

There has been considerable confusing regarding the level of contribution that both the employer and the Government will provide under the new job Support Scheme announced today. I am therefore indebted to the team at Tourism South East for putting together this handy set of pie charts that explain how the contribution varies depending on the hours that an employee works

  • Q&A on Curfew, QR Codes, Rule of Six and Face Coverings

I’ve attached a copy of an excellent Q&A and that UKHospitality, BBPA and BII have produced that pulls together the various new requirements on Tourism and Hospitality Businesses. Please note that this Q&A is a work in progress as government guidance is constantly changing and is advisory only – but it is a great resource for answering a wide range of questions on these issues

  • Visors and Face Coverings

DCMS has provided guidance that visors are not acceptable as face coverings. Similarly staff working behind Perspex barriers on counters are still deemed to be in the public space of a business are required to wear face coverings. In addition, theatres have just been added to the list of places where a face covering ins mandatory

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

  • Self-Employment Scheme Extension Guidance

Guidance on the extension of the Self-Employment Scheme announced today has been published. To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • currently be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
  • declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension

There is also a video on the extended scheme

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

  • Rule of Six in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

In England the Rule of Six means that up to six people from any number of different households are able to meet-up indoors and outdoors although the members of each household have to maintain social distancing from the members of other households.  If the number of people in a single household (including support bubble) that is larger than six, they are allowed to meet-up.

  • In Scotland, you can meet in groups of up to six from two different households outdoors (children under 12 don’t count towards the total). However, in indoor settings you cannot meet with members of another household unless they are part of your extended household. An extended household is one where two households have joined together to form a single household and can be formed by a person who lives alone - or only with children under 18. They and another household of any size can agree to form an extended household. An extended household can also be formed by a couple who do not live together, and their children.
  • In Wales the Rule of Six only applies indoors where up to six people from an extended household can meet. Unlike in England, children under 11 are exempt and will not count towards that total.

Northern Ireland

Like Wales, the Rule of Six only applies indoors but the six people can only be from two households and Children are counted as being part of the six.

  • Advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

The Guidance for TIER 4 students has been updated. For people applying in the UK, UK Visas and Immigration may be able to reuse fingerprints if these have already been supplied. If it is possible, UKVI will email the applicant with instructions on how to send a facial image and supporting documents,  meaning that the applicant does not need to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC service point appointment to provide biometric information.

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

  • New Legislation

For those who are interested, I’ve attached a copy of the new legislation that came into effect today that introduces the curfew and increases fines for non-compliance. As a result of these changes in legislation, the following guidance as also been updated.

Places of Worship

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

Community Facilities

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

EIF Note – Outdoor Events Guidance Updated

Please note that we have made some amendments to the EIF/DCMS guidance for organising events under COVID-19 regulations.

While writing we would like to draw your attention to the increasingly cautious position being taken by local authorities and, particularly, the powers that local Directors of Public Health have for closing down events, often at the last minute.
 
The Southampton Boat Show is an example of this where, on the eve of the show opening, the local Director of Public Health acted without warning.  Up to that time, the organisers had been working closely with the local authority who was supporting the event.
 
Coupled with increasing numbers of local lockdowns and the absence of insurance, this substantially increases the financial risk for event organisers.
 
Although we have been raising concerns about the actions of some local authorities with DCMS and other Government bodies, they have now confirmed to us that they have no power to control local authorities and, despite the option for appealing to the Secretary of State, it is extremely unlikely that he would ever overturn an LA’s decision as it could lead to him being blamed if something happened.
 
Consequently, we have now stated to DCMS that unless they find a way to overcome this situation, we cannot encourage organisers to take the risks, particularly given the lack of financial support many have had during this pandemic.   One suggestion we have put forward is that the Government should underwrite the risks.
 
With the rising number of COVID cases and curfew restrictions now being put in place, it is more difficult (and risky) than ever to organise a viable and safe event.  However, as we emerge from these measures in the future, we will still need assurances that we will not be at risk from the whim or over cautiousness of some local official.
 
It should be recognised that some local Authorities have endorsed small festivals and events in their region and witnessed successful productions without safety issues.   Several of these have produced positive reports on how the EIF/DCMS guidance was very clear and helpful, if followed along with the guidance for performing arts.   There is no reason why any local Director of Public Health should have an event cancelled: save local lock down, of course.
 
We are encouraging national Government to monitor the local decisions and encourage authorities to work with event organisers on presenting COVID safe outdoor events, including Christmas fairs and concerts, but it seems their powers to make this happen are very weak.
 
If you are currently planning an event, we would strongly recommend that you consult with the local Director of Public Health in addition to the Safety Advisory Group and other officials at an early stage in order to reduce the risk of a last minute shut down.
 
While writing we would also like to make you aware that we are aware of the need for funding for out sector over the Winter months and we are currently putting together a proposal for the Treasury for an Event Industry Emergency Fund to be established to help businesses get through to next season.   Any information you are able to share with us about your business’ monthly fixed overheads (after furlough ends) and the numbers of full-time staff employed would be welcome in helping to assess the level of funding needed.
 
Fortunately, EIF used funding raised by the Purple Guide to undertake a comprehensive research project into the outdoor sector last year which has helped us gain Government recognition.   We have also now employed lobbying support from a former MP to help get our message directly to Ministers.

DWP Note

From: Anderson Julian DWP COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTORATE <JULIAN.ANDERSON@dwp.gov.uk>

Kickstart Scheme gateways list

If your organisation or one of your members would like to take part in the Kickstart Scheme but have fewer than 30 placements to offer, DWP has published further advice together with a list of organisations across England, Scotland and Wales that have expressed interest in acting as a Kickstart gateway.

Kickstart gateways can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on behalf of a group of employers and will provide the support each young person needs to make a success of their Kickstart role, increasing their chances of securing sustainable employment in future.

Find someone to apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on your behalf

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2bn initiative to help young people claiming Universal Credit, to move into the world of work. It forms part of a range of employment support initiatives announced in the Plan for Jobs in July.

If you would like to make an application to become part of the Kickstart Scheme, you can find information here.

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TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE - 24 SEPT

New Job Support Scheme

  • To be eligible, an employee must work at least 33% of their normal hours. For the other two thirds of the hours, the Government will pay a third and the employer will pay a third, so in total, an employee will receive 77% of the full pay (ie, the government will be paying 22.5% of wages)
  • The scheme will run from six months from 1st November
  • Large businesses will have to prove that they’ve been adversely affected by Covid to be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.
  • The scheme will be available to all businesses and all employees, regardless of whether they have been part of the CJRS in the past

Self-Employment

  • The Self Employment Scheme will be extended on similar terms, covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits via a government grant.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans 

  • The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes – including the future fund - has been extended to 30 November
  • Bounce back loans can be extended from 6 to 10 years under a Pay as You Grow scheme
  • Businesses  also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are "in real trouble" for up to six months.
  • A new successor loan scheme will be launched in January

VAT

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

Here’s a link to the HM Treasury Announcement on the Support package which has a few more details.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-outlines-winter-economy-plan

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TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 23 SEPTEMBER

  • Business meetings of up to 30 remain permitted 

Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. 

  • Hotels
    Hospitality services within hotels, such as hotel dining rooms and bars will need to follow the new requirement to close to the public between 10pm - 5am. Hotels will still be able to provide food and drink through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online. (on this one there is an indication that, although the restaurants and bars will have to close at 10pm, guest staying at the hotel may be able to finish their meal in a separate public area such as a lounge – I’ll come back to you on this)
  • Mandatory Wearing of Face Coverings

Guidance has been issued clarifying that the mandatory wearing of face coverings for tourism and hospitality workers is only if they are working in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public.  So kitchen staff and back office staff do not have to wear masks unless they moveinto the public areas of the business.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#exemptions

Businesses will be asked to promote the wearing of face coverings by staff and customers and compliance through signage and other appropriate means in order to be COVID-secure. There is no obligation on businesses to enforce these new measures. Rather than simply refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering, a business may instead ask that individual to put one on, bearing in mind that some people are exempt.

If an individual is acting anti-socially or against the rules, staff will be able to ask them to leave, or call the police if necessary. This is a matter for the police, who can take measures if people do not comply with this law without a valid exemption. The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

  • Self-Isolation Guidance

The guidance on self-isolating has bee updated to reflect that, from 28th September, people will be fines if they do not self-isolate after testing positive for Coronavirus or being told to do so by Tack and Trace team members.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

  • Update to coach operators and whether coach tours can go ahead

If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a tour, coach tours of over six people on the coach can go ahead. People must stay in their groups of up to six (or larger if they are from one household) on all parts of the tour - for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach. 

Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide Covid-secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people. DfT will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.

TIER UPDATE 23 SEPT

Updated guidance reflecting the new restrictions in England

Please see below links to relevant updated guidance (to date) following the PM's announcement earlier this week:

·        The Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do 

·        Meeting with others safely guidance reflecting the new guidance in the areas of social distancing, seeing friends and family and rules in other venues and activities. The guidance outlines the exceptions where more than 6 people can meet including that where a group includes someone covered by such an exception (for example, someone who is working), they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit.

·        The safer transport guidance for operators reflecting new legislation on social contact and the requirement for passengers to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles.

·        Guidance on when to wear a face covering and the exemptions. DCMS has also shared some clarifications on face coverings - a visor does not count as a face covering - "a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth" and "must securely fit round the side of the face". Also in shops employees need to wear masks even if they are behind a screen.

You can also see a summary of what has changed including face coverings, working from home, businesses and meeting people safely. This includes clarification that In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.

New restrictions introduced in Wales

On 22 September the Welsh First Minister announced some new restrictions in Wales which include:

From 6pm on Thursday 24 September

·        Hospitality businesses will have to provide table service only and all off-licences, including supermarkets, will have to stop selling alcohol at 10pm.

Guidance that will stay the same:

·        The Welsh Government asks all those who can to work from home wherever possible.

·        Face coverings are required in all indoor public places, for both customers and staff working in those indoor public areas;

·        People in Wales can only meet socially indoors with people they live with (your household) and members of an exclusive extended household (known as a bubble). Meetings or gatherings indoors are limited to six people from the same extended household, not including any children under 11.

The First Minister also announced a new £500 payment to support people on low incomes who are asked to self-isolate if they have coronavirus including strengthened regulations to ensure employers support people who need to self-isolate.

See the press release: https://gov.wales/hospitality-business-wales-close-10pm-tackle-spread-coronavirus

Test and Trace update (England)

From 18 September it became a legal requirement in England for venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services and local authority facilities to:

·        Ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details.

·        Keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.

·        Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.

·        Adhere to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

From 24 September, there will be an additional legal requirement in England for the same venues to display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Any designated venue that is found not to be compliant with these regulations mentioned above will be subject to financial penalties.  

Please see below some resources from DHSC businesses in England may find useful:

·        Press notice

·        Guidance

·        Regulations

·        ICO guidance

·        ICO Q&A

DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey - Round 2 - Report

The second round of results for the DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey has been released. Some key findings include:

o   46% of Events and Exhibitions, 48% of Tourism and Hospitality and 56% of Museums, Galleries and Heritage businesses that responded said that they have accessed government support packages, excluding for furloughing employees.

o   In the Events and Exhibitions sector 58% of respondents furloughed employees using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, 36% reduced staff hours and 29% made employees redundant

o   In the Museums, Galleries and Heritage sector 58% of respondents furloughed employees using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, 56% reduced staff hours and 19% made employees redundant

o   In the Tourism and Hospitality sector 57% of respondents furloughed employees using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, 45% reduced staff hours and 28% made employees redundant

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    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 23 SEPT

    • New Rules on Wearing Face Masks
      • Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings (from 23 September).
      • Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September).
      • People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.
      • Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law (from 24 September).
      • Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.
    • New Rules and Restrictions on Businesses
      • Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).
      • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open after 10pm, only if the performance started before 10pm. They should not serve food or drink after this time.
      • In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
      • Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).
      • Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September).
      • Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September):
      • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
      • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
      • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.
    • Restrictions on Groups
      • Support groups must be limited to a maximum of 15 people (from 24 September). Support groups are formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
      • Indoor organised sport for over 18s will no longer be exempt from the rule of six. There is an exemption for indoor organised team sports for disabled people (from 24 September).
      • There will be a new exemption in those areas of local intervention where household mixing is not allowed to permit friends and family to provide informal childcare for children under 14 (from 24 September).
      • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people (down from 30). Other significant standalone life events will be subject to the ‘rule of six’ limits, except funerals (from 28 September).

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-what-has-changed-22-september

    • Exemptions to the Rules of Six

    New Guidance has been produced stating the exceptions to the Rule of Six. These are now:

    • for work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services
    • registered childcare, education or training
    • supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
    • providing support to a vulnerable person
    • providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm
    • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
    • fulfilling a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
    • elite sporting competition and training
    • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions – up to 15 people
    • funerals – up to 30 people. This does not include wakes, other than for religious ceremonial purposes
    • exercise classes, organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity, and supervised sporting activity (indoors or outdoors) for under-18s
    • indoor organised team sports for disabled people
    • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
    • protests – if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance. All individuals must be socially distance

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing

    • Updated FAQ

    The comprehensive FAQ on what can and can’t be done has been updated in accordance with the changes in guidance.

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

    • Guidance for Transport Operators

    The guidance for transport operators has been updated to incorporate the new legislation on social contact and the requirement for passengers to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles.

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

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

    TIER UPDATE 22 SEPT

    New restrictions in England due to rising coronavirus cases

    The Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon to outline the Government’s response to the rising number of Coronavirus cases, including new restrictions in England.

    In summary:

    • From Thursday 24 September all pubs, bars, and restaurants must operate a table service only (except for takeaways)
    • Also, from Thursday, all hospitality venues must close at 10:00pm. Takeaways should also close, but they can continue to provide delivery services after 10:00pm
    • The requirement to wear face coverings has been extended to include staff in retail, all users of taxis/private hire and to staff and customers in indoor hospitality with the exception of when seated at a table to eat or drink.
    • In retail, leisure, tourism and hospitality settings, the Government’s COVID-19 secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and can be closed if they breach the rules.
    • From Monday 28 September a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions. Up to 30 will still be able to attend funerals.
    • Business events, and large sports events, will not be able to reopen from 1 October as intended.
    • Office workers who can work from home have been asked to do so. In professions where this is not possible, people should continue to go into their workplace.
    • The rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports.

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

    Additional restrictions introduced in Scotland to tackle COVID-19 in Scotland

    The First Minster of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, has given a statement outlining additional restrictions to help tackle COVID-19 in Scotland. In summary the restrictions include:

    For the hospitality sector from Friday 25 September:

    • A strict curfew across Scotland for pubs and restaurants to close at 10pm.
    • There will be increased inspection and enforcement for pubs and restaurants.
    • Table service will continue to be required in all hospitality premises

    Scotland wide gathering restrictions to be introduced from 23 September:

    • In Scotland people will not be able to meet others from outside their household in private indoor spaces (people’s homes). There will be exceptions for those living alone, extended families and non-cohabiting couples
    • A maximum of six people from two households can meet in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants. Children under 12 from those two households do not count towards the limit.
    • A maximum of six people from two households can meet in outdoor spaces.

    A package of support will be available for those asked to self-isolate, including £500 for those on low incomes. Details of these measures will be announced in due course.

    She also said that people should not book trips abroad during half term, unless it is essential. You can read the full statement here.  

    Other Government updates

    • Updated statistics available for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Future Fund Scheme.
    • Updated data (up to Sunday 20 September) is available for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and the VAT payments deferral scheme.

    Situation update 22 September 2020

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 22 SEPTEMBER

    Just a short update today after the Prime Minister’s statement at lunchtime. There will be further detailed guidance to accompany the statement in the next day or two  which will resolve a lot of the questions but one recurring one I’m getting is whether the curfew applies to in-house bars and restaurants. Pending the detailed guidance it would be reasonable to assume that it applies to in-house facilities although probably not to room service.

    • Legislation on QR Codes and Rule of Six

    On Friday, as well as making the collection of customer information a legal requirement, the Government also announced that tourism and hospitality businesses will be required to display QR codes linked to the HMS Track and Trace app from this Thursday (24th September) and will be subject to fines if they accept bookings from groups that do not comply with the Rule of Six. To help with this I have put together the attached short brief on the new requirements.

    • Cost of Having No Airbridge with the USA

    Airlines UK has produced a new report on the cost to the UK of not having an Air Bridge in place with the USA. Although the USA is the UK largest inbound market, accounting for 11% of all visitors to the UK and £4.5bn in inbound tourism revenue, passenger numbers were down by 98% compared to 2019 through to July and will not improve without changes in Government policy.

    This report highlights the devastating economic impact of these restrictions: 

    • An estimated £11 billion hit to UK GDP in 2020 - some £212m a week
    • £45.8 billion of lost trade
    • £3.5 billion hit to the UK tourism industry
    • Loss to critical regional connectivity outside London

    https://airlinesuk.org/uk-economy-loses-32m-every-day-as-result-of-no-airbridge-with-the-us/

    • Further Restrictions in Scotland

    Nicola Sturgeon has announced that, from tomorrow, people in Scotland to be banned from visiting others at home. She also confirmed that Scotland would be following England in imposing a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants (this will be introduced on Friday) and that activities that were due to be opened on 5th Oct would now be delayed including outdoor live events, indoor live events with physical distancing, and other indoor entertainment (theatres and music venues).

    From the VEWG Updates 22/09/2020

    Test and Trace update

    As you are all hopefully aware there is a legal requirement - that came into force on 18th September -  for venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services and local authority facilities to:

    • Ask at least one member of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details.
    • Keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.
    • Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.
    • Adhere to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

    From 24th September, there will be an additional legal requirement for the same venues to display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Any designated venue that is found not to be compliant with these regulations mentioned above will be subject to financial penalties. 

    We have been provided a number of resources from DHSC which you may find useful:

    ICO Q&A

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

    TIER UPDATE 21 SEPT

    New measures to support and enforce self-isolation in England from 28 September

    From 28 September, people will be legally required to self-isolate when instructed to by NHS Test and Trace. Fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000, in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel, and can increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for more serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating. For example, this could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.

    A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules, these include:

    • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police;
    • Using police resources to check compliance in highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence;
    • Investigating and prosecuting high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance; and
    • Acting on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating.

    A payment of £500 will be available for people in England who are on lower incomes, cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating. Local Authorities are setting up these self-isolation support schemes which are expected to be in place by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority.

    Read the full announcement here. You can also read today’s statement about these measures from the Health Secretary.

    Clarified guidance on weddings and funerals in the North East of England

    Local lockdown measures for the North East of England have been clarified to confirm that up to 30 people are allowed to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals in these areas, and that any staff working at these ceremonies or events are not included as part of the 30 person limit.

    Local lockdown restrictions to take effect in South Wales from 22 September

    From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September coronavirus laws will be tightened in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport in South Wales. Read the full statement here.

    The following restrictions will apply:

    • People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
    • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
    • All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
    • Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.

    From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

    COVID-19 restrictions to be extended across Northern Ireland from 22 September

    The Executive has announced that tightened COVID-19 restrictions will take effect across all of Northern Ireland from 6pm on Tuesday 22 September. The following measures will apply:

    • People from multiple households are not permitted to meet indoors, with the exception of single-person household bubbles or required visits for caring, essential maintenance, or legal or medical services.
    • No more than six people from two households can gather in private gardens. Children aged 12 and under are excluded from the count of six.

    Wet pubs to reopen in Northern Ireland from 23 September

    The Executive has confirmed that wet pubs will be permitted to reopen in Northern Ireland from Wednesday 23 September. The following regulations will apply to any venue serving alcohol or where alcohol may be brought in and consumed by customers:

    • The venue will be required as part of its risk assessment process to identify the number of people who can safely be accommodated in line with social distancing requirements, and must clearly display this figure in the premises;
    • Hand sanitisation stations must be in place;
    • The venue will be required to collect customer details to assist with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme;
    • All service will be seated at tables. There will be no standing and no service at the bar;
    • Customers must remain seated once in the premises, apart from using the facilities;
    • Dancing will be prohibited in hospitality venues;
    • A maximum of six people from any number of households can be seated at a table in a hospitality venue. Children aged 12 and under will be discounted from the total. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household.
    • Face coverings should be worn to enter and leave the venue and for movement inside. They are not required once seated.
    • Beer bikes will not be permitted to operate.

    Please note that further regulations may apply to areas under localised lockdown restrictions. Further information about localised lockdown restrictions and the areas impacted can be found here.

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

    TIER UPDATE 18 SEPT

    New regulations for hospitality businesses and venues in England to enforce the rule of 6, NHS QR code posters and contact logs

    The Government has announced that from today, 18 September, hospitality venues in England are legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000. Also from today these venues will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally on 24 September.

    Services included in the new legal requirements are:

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

    Further details:

    • From 18 September, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England will now need to take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 people on their premises, and make sure there is sufficient space between tables
    • The regulations will be enforced by Local Authorities, who will have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for venues that are failing to comply, or the police as a last resort. Fines will rise to up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.
    • Businesses will be expected to make sure their customers are aware of the rules around QR codes by displaying posters and speaking to customers directly.
    • It will be an offence for a business to fail to adhere to the rule of 6 (respecting all exceptions to this) when taking a booking, allowing entry to a group of more than 6 people. Once groups are within the premises, businesses also risk offending if they fail to advise groups not to merge in ways that breach the rules is also an offence
    • Businesses will also need to ensure adequate distance between tables (2m or 1m+) and prevent customers from dancing.
    • If individuals choose to check-in using the NHS COVID-19 app QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route
    • Information should be collected by the venue for those people that have not checked-in using the QR poster

    Restrictions to be introduced in more areas in the North West, West Yorkshire and Midlands from Tuesday 22 September

    In a statement today the Government announced that Lancashire, Merseyside, Warrington and Halton have been escalated to areas of intervention and that new restrictions will be introduced in Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston, and parts of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale from Tuesday 22 September. Please see below the restrictions specific to each area (to see all the affected areas and wards please see the full announcement.)

    North West

    In Merseyside, Warrington, Halton and Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Greater Manchester), regulations will enforce the following restrictions from Tuesday 22 September:

    • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
    • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
    • Late night operating hours will be restricted, with leisure and entertainment venues including restaurants, pubs, and cinemas, required to close between 10pm to 5am

    Residents of these areas have also been advised to adhere to the following guidance:

    • To only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
    • To avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

    Please note: These changes do not apply to Bolton or Greater Manchester where separate restrictions are already in place.

    The Midlands

    In Wolverhampton and Oadby and Wigston residents will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens from 22 September.

    West Yorkshire

    Residents in all parts of Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, will be banned from socialising with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens, from 22 September. Some wards in these areas had been exempt from restrictions on gatherings introduced at the start of August, but these wards will now also be subject to the ban

    Further guidance on restriction in the North East of England

    Following the announcement of restrictions in the North East of England yesterday further guidance for businesses  and taking a holiday is available.

    For businesses the guidance outlines that hospitality venues must only sell food and drink for consumption on the premises if it is served to customers sitting at a table. They may also sell food and drink for consumption off the premises. It details the list of businesses and venues that must close from 22:00 to 05:00 each day. It also says businesses and venues can still sell food and drinks for consumption off the premises between the hours of 22:00 to 05:00 but only for delivery service. See the full guidance for further details.

    Updated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) statistics

    Updated figures for the CJRS have been made available. Please see some of the key points from this release covering the period to 31 July 2020:

    • As at 31 July, the sector with the highest proportion of its workforce eligible for furlough that were actually furloughed was arts, entertainment and recreation at 45% followed by accommodation and food services sector at 43% - in all, 58% of employers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector were using the furlough scheme at the end of July and 57% of employers in accommodation and food services
    • Preliminary estimates show that there was broad consistency in furlough rates across the nations and regions of the UK at the end of July - London had the highest take-up rate of 17% against the UK average of 16%
    • At 29%, the accommodation and food services sector had the highest proportion of employments furloughed flexibly
    • Based on the preliminary data for 31 July, the South West has the highest proportion of employments on flexible furlough at 25% and London has the highest proportion of employments furloughed on a full-time basis at 82%

    To note: the CJRS claims data for July is not yet complete as claims for periods from 1 July onwards may still be made - this means that the figures for July are preliminary and are likely to be revised upwards somewhat in future releases

    Other Government updates

    TIER member updates

    • The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance has published a report ‘Scale of Crisis Facing Tourism’ that sets out the actions that need to be taken urgently by the NI Executive, the economic impact of Covid-19, both during lockdown and since opening, and the reasons Tourism is so important to the recovery of the NI economy. You can see the full report and accompanying press release here.

    Travel industry updates

    • Ryanair has announced that it will cut its October capacity by a further 20% (in addition to the 20% cut already announced in mid-August)
    • World Travel Market will now be held as a virtual event from 9-11 November 2020

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDTE – 18 SEPTEMBER

    Business Rates Call for Evidence

     UKHospitality submission on the Business Rates call for evidence can be found here

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

     TIER: UPDATE 17 SEPT

    Travel corridor changes in England and Scotland

    Slovenia and Guadeloupe will be removed from the travel corridor lists in England and Scotland from 4am on Saturday 19 September, while Singapore and Thailand will be added to the travel corridor lists.

    The FCDO list of countries/territories exempt from advice against all but essential travel has been updated in line with these changes.

    Northern Ireland expands local lockdown measures, confirms new date to reopen wet pubs

    Effective 5pm on Friday 18 September, local lockdown restrictions will be in effect in certain districts of the Lisburn and Castlereagh Council area, as well as the BT60 postcode in Northern Ireland. In these areas, people from separate households are not permitted to meet (with the exception of previously established social bubbles) and groups larger than six people will not be permitted to gather in private gardens.

    Further information about localised lockdown restrictions and the areas impacted can be found here.

    The Executive has also confirmed that pubs that do not serve food (wet pubs) can reopen from 23 September.

    Tighter restrictions introduced in North East England from 18 September

    In a statement today Health Secretary Matt Hancock outlined the tighter restrictions that will come into force from tomorrow 18 September for Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham

    From tomorrow:

    1. Residents of these areas should not socialise with other people outside their own households or support bubble.
    2. Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only.
    3. Late night restrictions of operating hours will be introduced, so leisure and entertainment venues must close between 10pm and 5am.

    Residents of these areas have also been advised to adhere to the following guidance:

    1. Not to socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues.
    2. To take holidays only within your own household or support bubble.
    3. Only to use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
    4. Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators

    Other government updates

    1. Early experimental data has been updated on the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy and society, including data on the business impacts of the coronavirus, social impacts on Great Britain, company incorporations and voluntary dissolution applications, online job adverts, footfall and road traffic. Latest report includes data collected up to 13 September.

    Attend the latest Transition Business Readiness Forum from BEIS (20 August)

    BEIS will hold their next Transition Business Readiness Forum next Thursday, 24 September at 11.00-12.00 BST. This session will cover the following topics:

    1. UK-EU future relationship negotiation update
    2. Guidance from the Home Office on the points based immigration system

    This forum is intended for Business Representative Organisations (BROs) and trade associations to help the businesses that you work with understand the actions they will need to take when the transition period to exit the EU ends and new rules come into effect on 1 January 2021.

    If you would like to attend, please register online (password is: Autumn).

    CMA extends interim measures to protect competition on UK-US airline routes

    The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has extended the terms of the Atlantic Joint Business Agreement (AJBA) for three years until March 2024 as it continues its investigation into the commitments required by the agreement and the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the terms of its long-term renewal.

    Five airlines are currently signed up to the AJBA: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Finnair. Under the terms of the agreement, the airlines have agreed not to compete on routes between the UK and the US. The agreement was signed in 2010 with a ten-year commitment, and was designed to protect competition by requiring AJBA airlines to release slots to competitors and provide other measures to support competition on other routes.

    Situation update 17 September 2020

    1. To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard.
    2. To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard.

     

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATES – 17 SEPTEMBER  

    1. £10m Tourism Kickstart Fund Feedback

    I’ve been asked for feedback on the uptake of the £10m Tourism SME kickstart Fund that was announced in July. If any of your members have applied for a grant, could you let me know of any feedback you have on uptake, how easy it was to apply and how quickly the funds came through, how useful it was. Here’s a link to the announcement to jog memories.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-10-million-for-small-businesses-to-kickstart-tourism

    1. Retained, Rebuilt, Resilient

    The Tourism Alliance’s paper that structures the priorities of the industry into a plan of action for the Government has been finalised. This is being used to brief MPs and officials on the impact of Coronavirus on the UK tourism industry and why a series of co-ordinated coherent measures across all interconnected components of the sector is needed to protect the 240,000 business and 3.3m people whose jobs depend on tourism. The documents are also available on the following link

    https://www.tourismalliance.com/details.cfm?id=413&p=nw

    1. New £1m DMO Fund

    A new fund for struggling DMOs is being announced today. It is understood that the fund will only be available to DMOs that can show that they are at threat of closure and are not Local Authority funded, but I will send further detail of this through when they come to hand

    1. NHS Test and Trace Messaging

    Attached is a copy of the NHS’s new messaging for Test and Trace which has specific guidance for tourism businesses.

    1. Escape the Everyday Campaign

    VisitBritain has launched a £5 million ‘Escape the Everyday’ campaign to highlight the quality destinations, visitor attractions and experiences on offer across the UK’s cities, countryside and coast to boost tourism across the shoulder season and beyond. The campaign kicks off with a short video and branded content across social media, digital display and ‘on demand’ television advertising. The content also drives online ‘traffic’ to www.visitbritain.com/escape with ideas and links to information on autumn and winter activities and experiences across the nations and regions.

    https://www.visitbritain.org/be-part-our-domestic-marketing-campaign-escape-everyday

    1. CMA acts to protect competition on UK-US airline routes

    It’s a bust time at the CMA. They have just announced an update on measures it has imposed to protect competition on UK-US air routes while it investigates an agreement involving BA and American Airlines.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-acts-to-protect-competition-on-uk-us-airline-routes

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

    UPDATE FROM TIER/TOURISM ALLIANCE/VEWG - 16 SEPT

    Local restrictions introduced in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales

    In a written statement, Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced a range of new measures in Rhondda Cynon Taf area that will come into force from 6pm on Thursday 17 September 2020, including:

    •         people will not be allowed to enter or leave the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council area without a reasonable excuse
    •         everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales
    •         people will only be able to meet outdoors for the time being. People will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household
    •         all licensed premises will have to close at 11pm

    The new restrictions will apply to everyone living within the Rhondda Cynon Taf area. The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

    The Government announces extension to support to stop business evictions this year

    The Government has today announced that it will extend the moratorium on forfeitures until 31 December 2020. This means that landlords of commercial properties will not be able to evict tenants for not paying the rent that was due.   The moratorium was previously extended from 30 June until 30 September as it was clear at the time that the protective measures were required for businesses struggling to pay rent. The Government is also extending the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery provisions, to ensure that these measures extend until 31 December 2020, in line with the moratorium’s new expiry date

    Update to how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK guidance

    A new example of exceptional circumstance which may permit you to leave your place of self-isolation has been added -  if you have a health condition or a disability that would be seriously exacerbated if you were not able to leave your accommodation (and its outdoor areas) where you are self-isolating to take exercise.

    Updated Advice for Visa Applicants

    The Home Office has updated its guidance on applying for a visa if your VAC is closed, and for those who have already applied online and now wish to submit their application at a different VAC than the one they selected. The guidance has also been updated for visa holders who are already in the UK, if conditions allowed you to work, study or rent accommodation you may continue to do so during the period of your exceptional assurance. This temporary concession will be reviewed by 30 November 2020.

    Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull Lockdown update

    The lockdown guidance for these areas has been updated.  The police will be able to take action against those that break social contact restrictions, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

    Other Government updates

    •         From 26 August 2020 employers can claim Statutory Sick Pay for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.
    •         The latest wave of DCMS’s taking Part survey has been released which shows participation in Arts, Heritage and Sport sectors.

    NHS Test & Trace testing messaging guidance from DHSC

    The NHS Test and Trace team has asked if this guidance can be shared with TIER members and for them to also share it with their networks.

    A recent survey at testing sites found a quarter of people turning up did not have symptoms. If you don’t have coronavirus symptoms, and have not been advised to take a test by a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council, you should not be booking a test. Healthcare professionals will be checking those for symptoms at testing sites.

    As well a guidance for individuals please see below some advice employers and travel companies:

    •         Employers: you should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace. You can also help by communicating the guidance around testing to your staff. 
    •         Travel companies: you should not be directing clients to NHS Test and Trace to get a test for anything related to overseas travel. Clients should be directed to get a private test.

    Situation update 16 September 2020

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 16 SEPTEMBER

    Claiming Back Statutory Sick Pay

    The guidance on this has been updated to enable businesses to claim for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery – this is being backdated to 26 August 2020.

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

    VEWG Updates – 16 SEPTEMBER

    Links to Visit Britain assets:

    1. Escape the Everyday campaign - the new Visit Britain campaign.
    2. Consumer sentiment tracker - the latest wave was published on 14th September. These reports will be published fortnightly until mid-February 2021.

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

    UPDATE FROM TIER/TOURISM ALLIANCE 15 SEPT

    High Court ruling favours policyholders in FCA business interruption test case

    Ruling on a test case presented by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the High Court has ruled that business interruption policies with pandemic or notifiable disease clauses should be read as to cover COVID-19, and that claims should be met “in most cases.” The test case has clarified that the COVID-19 pandemic and the government and public response are considered a single cause of the covered loss, which is a key requirement for claims to be paid. The ruling also notes that each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy.

    370,000 policyholders have been identified as holding policies that may be affected by the outcome of the test case. Policyholders with affected claims can expect to hear from their insurer within the next seven days. Read the FCA’s statement on the outcome of the test case.

    Consumer tracker report from VisitBritain (Week 14)

    The latest UK COVID-19 Consumer Tracker Report,is now available on VisitBritain.org, for week 14, based on fieldwork from 31 August – 4 September (please note this wave took place before the ‘rule of six’ announcement). The tracker will run fortnightly until February 2021.

    Some highlights from the report:

    • While just 16% feel ‘the worst has past’, there’s been a significant decline in the proportion of adults who believe ‘the worst is yet to come’ at 41% (versus 46% in wave 13). There continues to be very little expectation that ‘normality’ in our lives will be returning anytime soon, as only 11% are expecting ‘normality’ by December (compared to 18% last wave).
    • 27% of adults have taken an overnight trip during July and August, compared to 15% who expected to take a summer staycation when surveyed in June. 61% of these trips were self-defined as holidays, while a third (33%) were VFR, indicating they may have been more spontaneous than other leisure trips.
    • The leading holiday destination type for those who took a trip during July-August is ‘countryside or village’. However, if we include VFR and Business trips, then ‘city or large town’ emerges with the highest share overall.
    • In-line with intentions, ‘caravan/camping’ was the leading accommodation type people stayed in, closely followed by a ‘private home’ (which could include staying at a friend’s house or renting an Airbnb).
    • The South West received the highest share of visitors at 17% of holidays and 15% of all visits during the July-August period.
    • 43% of U.K. adults expect to be taking the same number or more domestic short-breaks over the rest of the year compared to normal and 42% express this for holidays respectively.
    • Confidence in the ability to take a (hypothetically booked) UK holiday during September is marginally up at 38% (vs 35% last wave) however, this metric doesn’t really start building until the New Year.
    • The main reason cited among those lacking confidence is having ‘concerns about catching COVID-19’ but ‘personal finances’ is increasingly becoming a concern (the second and third most cited reason for the autumn and winter periods respectively).
    • Of the reassurances people are seeking in order to feel comfortable staying in a hotel, the leading categories are measures to reduce contamination (e.g. hand sanitisers and enhanced cleaning regimes) and measures designed encourage social distancing. Offering free cancellations also continues to remain important, being the third most cited individual reason overall, with 55% of mentions.
    • 19% anticipate taking an overnight trip during Sept-Oct, with a further 21% intending to take a trip between November-March.
    • Uncertainty is evident as approximately half of Sept-Oct intenders are yet to book, or indeed reach the planning stage of their trip. The levels of planning and booking winter trips are understandably lower at 29% and 19% respectively.
    • In terms of region/nation likely to be visited between now and the end of October, the South West continues to dominate with 19% of intenders citing this as their destination, followed by Scotland and Yorkshire & the Humber (both on 12%).
    • ‘Countryside or village’ is the leading destination type for summer (35%), autumn (38%) and winter (36%), while intention to travel to a ‘city or large town’ jumps significantly from autumn (21% of intended trips) to winter (34%).
    • Almost half of autumn intenders would ideally book their accommodation directly (e.g. with the hotel company or owner). Among winter intenders, the preferred channel to use is an online travel website (e.g. Expedia). This difference is likely to be partly linked to the younger profile of those planning trips during the winter period.

     

    • FCA Coronavirus Disruption Insurance Judgement

    You may remember that the FCA has been seeking a court ruling on the validity of the Business Disruption insurance with regard of to the Coronavirus Outbreak. This test case used a sample of 21 different types of policy wording from eight different insurers.

    The judgement on this case has now been published and, in general terms, it represents a considerable step forward. While the judgment is long and complex for a number of reasons (including the fact that the wording of different insurance policies varies significantly) the FCA’s press release states that judgment concludes that most, but not all, of the “disease clauses” in the insurance policies considered, do provide cover for business.  It also says that certain “denial of access” clauses in the sample provide cover, but this depends on the detailed wording of the clause and how the business was affected by the Government response to the pandemic, including whether the business was subject to a mandatory closure order and whether the business was ordered to close completely.

    The test case has also clarified that the Covid-19 pandemic and the Government and public response were a single cause of the covered loss, which is a key requirement for claims to be paid even if the policy provides cover.

    The FCA and Defendant insurers are now considering the judgment and what it might mean in respect of any appeal. Any applications to appeal will be heard at a consequentials hearing before the High Court. 

    Invitation to speak FCA legal team

    The legal team has set aside time on 21 and 22 September to speak directly with policyholders and intermediaries and their legal advisers regarding this judgement. They will consider meeting requests made by 5pm on Thursday 17 September. A request can be emailed to  biinsurancetestcase@fca.org.uk stating only the word 'Meeting' in the subject line of the email and stating your availability in the body of the email. If you would like to talk about a particular policy, email the policy document as well as any correspondence from your insurer regarding whether your claim is potentially affected by the test case.

    Here’s a copy of the FCA Press release

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

    And here’s a copy of a summary of the Judgement put together by the FCA’s legal team

    https://hsfnotes.com/insurance/2020/09/15/judgment-handed-down-in-fcas-covid-19-business-interruption-insurance-test-case/ 

    • Tax Free Shopping Briefing

    Not Coronavirus Related but I’ve attached a copy of a briefing from AIR (Association for International Retailers) in the impact of removing Tax Free Shopping on tourism and retail. One of the most interesting components of this briefing is the 2013 quote from HMRC on the importance of Tax-Free Shopping in supporting the growth of the UK tourism industry.

    “The VAT Retail Export Scheme – also known as Tax Free Shopping – plays a key part in the shopping experience for our visitors and positively influences their views on Britain as a value for money shopping destination.” “The Government is encouraging more visitors to the UK …..This will contribute to sustaining jobs and supporting economic growth across the UK. By 2020, the Government hopes to welcome more than 40 million visitors a year. This review of taxfree shopping in the UK supports this objective and aims to put the scheme in the best possible position to deal with the increase in visitors.”

    • Sports Guidance

    The guidance on sporting activities has been updated to take into account how the Rule of Six applies to various activities and to update the guidance on team sports. Here’s the Guidance on undertaking sporting activities with other people which includes activities such as horse riding and swimming

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

    And here’s the guidance as it relates to team sports

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/return-to-recreational-team-sport-framework

    • Bolton Restrictions

    Another clarification to the Bolton Guidance – this time to say that people in the lockdown area should not socialise with anyone they do not live with (excluding any social bubble) in any public venue.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bolton-local-restrictions

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

    UPDATE FROM TIER/TOURISM ALLIANCE/VEWG 14 SEPT

    New measures and restrictions to take effect 14 September

    England

    From today 14 September new measures are in effect, including a restriction on social gatherings of more than six people and a requirement for businesses to collect visitor data to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

    Review what people can and can’t do, and note that locations impacted by local lockdown measures may be subject to different rules.

    The guidance on working safely during COVID-19 has been updated with priority actions for businesses to take, including steps for collecting information for the Test and Trace system and rules on gatherings of more than six people. Sector-specific guidance is available for the following:

    Following requests for more detail. Please see the following clarifications from DCMS:

    ·        COVID-19 secure venues will be able to host business events of up to 30 people taking into account Visitor Economy guidance, including social distancing requirements.

    ·        The intention remains to reopen exhibition and conference centres from the 1st October but this will need to be continually assessed in light of the recent spike in cases.

    ·        If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a guided tour, it can go ahead. This would potentially be the case for a day trip or shorter tours of a visitor attraction.

    Scotland

    Scotland has also introduced new lockdown measures effective today 14 September.

    •         Social gatherings are restricted to a maximum six people from two households. This applies indoors and outdoors, in private and public spaces including homes, gardens, parks, pubs and restaurants. Children under the age of 12 are not counted in the rule of six.
    •         Face coverings are mandated for customers and staff in indoor hospitality, with exceptions for when customers are eating or drinking, and for non-public facing roles where face coverings may present health and safety issues

    Wales

    From today 14 September, new measures are in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Wales.

    ·        It is compulsory for people over the age of 11 to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces, with limited exceptions. Face coverings are not required in pubs, although this remains under review.

    ·        No more than six people may gather indoors at any one time, and they must be from the same household or pre-established social bubble, which can be formed from up to four households joining together. Children under the age of 11 are not counted in the rule of six.

    Create and display an NHS Test & Trace QR code poster

    For venues in England and Wales, an online tool is available to help businesses generate QR codes and create posters to display to assist in the mandatory collection of customer, staff and visitor data to support NHS Test & Trace.

    Organisations should display official NHS QR code posters at their venue entrances to help support contact tracing. Visitors should scan the QR code when they arrive using the NHS COVID-19 app. Organisations should still maintain an alternative means to maintain contact details for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app.

    Sector-specific guidance updated for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Guidance on working safely during COVID-19 has been updated with priority actions for businesses to take, including steps for collecting information for the Test and Trace system and rules on gatherings of more than 6 people. Sector-specific guidance is available for the following:

    For the aviation sector, the government has also issued updated guidance on safe air travel for passengers and working safely for airports and air travel operators.

    Guidance for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies in England

    Guidance for small weddings, civil partnerships and receptions has been updated to reflect guidelines on social distancing between different households and mandatory test and trace requirements.

    Local lockdown restrictions

    New restrictions in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull announced – note we sent this on Friday but the restrictions were extended to include Sandwell and Solihull

    New restrictions on meeting other people have been announced in order to push down the coronavirus rate of infection in Birmingham (city council area), Sandwell (metropolitan borough council area), Solihull (metropolitan borough council area). From Tuesday 15 September residents in these areas will not be able to mix with any other households, indoors or in private gardens, except for those in a support bubble. This applies both inside and outside the city boundaries.

    Leicester City – reopening of some businesses

    From 15 September, the following businesses and venues can reopen or restart in Leicester City

    •         casinos
    •         skating rinks
    •         bowling alleys
    •         indoor play areas, including soft play areas
    •         exhibition centres and conference halls for external attendees
    •         indoor performances
    •         close contact services, which are any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application
    •         wedding receptions and celebrations, including for up to 30 people in the form of a sit-down meal

    Areas with restrictions

    Despite the introduction of new national restrictions in England from Monday 14 September, people in areas with local restrictions should continue to follow the rules in their specific area within private homes and gardens, and in public venues including pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks. These areas include Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle, Bolton, Leicester City, North of England, Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull.

    Calculate how much to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Updated guidance is available to help employers calculate employees’ working and furloughed hours for workers who came off furlough partway through a claim period. Employers using this calculation do not need to amend previous claims.

    Guidance and tools are available for employers to check their eligibility to claim through the Job Retention Scheme, calculate how much they can claim for and submit claims online.

    Situation update 14 September 2020

    ·        To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard.

    ·        To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard.

     

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 14 SEPTEMBER

    Here’s today’s update. A lot of guidance has been updated to incorporate the Rule of Six but the FAQ below and the Primary Guidance for different business sectors remains the best resource for this. We are expecting further guidance for tourism businesses that confirms the ability for businesses to undertake group tours and for accommodation and attractions businesses to accept these groups and this should be out shortly.

    • What You Can and Can’t Do FAQ

    The Government guidance on what is allowed under the new Rule of Six has been updated. One aspect to be aware of is the following exceptions from the Rule of Six

    • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions – up to 30 people, in a public place
    • funerals – up to 30 people. This does not include wakes, other than for religious ceremonial purposes.
    • other religious and belief-based life cycle ceremonies – up to 30 people, in a public place. This only covers the ceremonies, and does not include celebrations of these events.

    This means:

    • “Life Events” is limited to religious events so does not include things like Birthdays, Anniversaries or Retirement parties
    • You are only allowed 30 people for a reception after a wedding - for Funerals and all other Life Events, the maximum is 6

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

    • Kickstart Scheme

    There has been an update the Kickstart Guidance to clarify that the £300 funding for employer representatives is for each job placement.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-apply-for-a-grant-through-the-kickstart-scheme

    • Bolton and the Rule of Six

    Another piece of clarification is that the Rule of Six doesn’t apply to Bolton – the restriction there is people cannot meet-up with anyone from outside their household.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bolton-local-restrictions 

    • Transport Use

    DFT’s latest transport use update suggest that few commuters have returned to offices as national rail usage has actually declined from 40% to 30% of usual since the 24th August. There has been an increase in bus use outside London but there has been no discernible change in public transport use in London for a month.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

    Additions from the VEWG Update – 14/09/2020

    Business Rates consultation

    A reminder that HMT’s business rates consultation - as discussed at VEWG last month - closes this Friday 18th September at 11:59pm. You can read the consultation and respond here.

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

    UPDATE FROM TIER/TOURISM ALLIANCE/VEWG 11 SEPT

    NHS COVID-19 App to launch on 24 September in England and Wales

    The NHS Covid-19 App team has announced the date in advance to allow venues to prepare for launch of the NHS COVID-19 App and to download and display QR codes to support NHS Test and Trace in England and NHS Test, Trace, Protect in Wales contact people if coronavirus outbreaks are identified. Attached are advice sheets that set out how these QR codes could be used in tourism and leisure; and retail settings. 

    In England, using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record the contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises. Businesses who are already using their own QR system are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code. An alternative check-in method must be maintained to collect the contact details of those who don’t have the app, for example a handwritten register.

    Wales will also be launching the NHS Covid-19 app and in will work in exactly the same way in both nations.  Businesses are strongly encouraged to download and to display the QR code poster within their premises, to support customers using the app. In Wales it is compulsory for businesses in certain high risk sectors to collect and keep records of staff, customers and visitors (see: https://gov.wales/keeping-records-staff-customers-and-visitors-test-trace-protect).  Checking in with the app does not replace this requirement.   High risk premises in Wales must continue to keep a full record of staff, customers and visitors, including people who check in using the QR code poster for the location.   

    Please continue to talk to your members and audiences about the app and how it works. If you could the NHS COVID-19 App team would be really grateful if you could share their assets via your communications channels.  If you could help to amplify the message via your social media, the handles to use are : @NHSCOVID19app (Twitter) and @OfficialNHSCOVID19app (Facebook)

    Please find attached information about the app and how organisations can prepare:

    • Press notice
    • ‘Introduction to the App’ 
    • App explainer poster
    • QR explainer
    • QR advice sheets for organisations in the tourism and leisure; and retail settings.

    Further assets and materials are available at https://covid19.nhs.uk/ 

    Written Statement from the First Minister of Wales

    From Monday 14 September a tightening of restrictions across Wales will be introduced, the new restrictions will limit on the number of people who can meet indoors.  

    • From Monday, it will become compulsory for people over 11 to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces, such as shops. There will be exemptions for people who cannot wear face coverings.
    • Face coverings will not be required in pubs or restaurants for the time being, this is currently under review.
    • At the moment, people are allowed to gather socially indoors with people from up to four other households, but only if they have formed an exclusive extended household (also known as a bubble). From Monday, only a maximum of six people from the extended household will be able to meet indoors at any one time. This rule applies in pubs and restaurants as well as in people’s homes. Children under 11 will not be counted in the six.
    • There are currently no changes to the rules for meeting outdoors but it is important that social distancing is maintained at all times.
    • Ministers will also be giving local authorities new powers to close premises on public health grounds to tackle the spread of the virus.
    • This will not apply in Caerphilly County Borough Council while local restrictions are in place.
    • Permanent skating rinks will be able to reopen from 3 October, subject to the conditions at the time.

    New restrictions in Birmingham announced

    New restrictions on meeting other people have been announced in order to push down the coronavirus rate of infection in Birmingham. From Tuesday 15 September Birmingham residents will not be able to mix with any other households, indoors or in private gardens, except for those in a support bubble. This applies both inside and outside the city boundaries.

    Sections of working safely during coronavirus (COVID-10) guidance updated

    Heritage locations guidance updated

    • Priority actions to take to protect staff, visitors and customers information added.
    • Updated guidance on social gatherings of more than 6 people and Test & Trace (section 1),
    • Heritage sites and visitor attractions open to the public, and collecting data for NHS Test and Trace (section 2.1).

    Hotels and other guest accommodation guidance updated

    • Priority actions to take to protect staff and customers information added.
    • Updated guidance on social gatherings of more than 6 people and Test and Trace (section 2.2).

    Duty Free extended to the EU from January 2021

    From January 2021, there will be changes to duty free shopping. The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

    • Duty-free sales will be extended to EU-bound passengers.
    • Tax-free sales will be withdrawn and will not be extended to EU passengers.
    • Personal allowances will be introduced for passengers entering GB from the EU, with alcohol allowances significantly increased. Tobacco allowances will be maintained at current levels.
    • The VAT Retail Export Scheme will be withdrawn and will not be extended to EU residents.

    Other Government updates

    Business Events industry updates

    • The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced $50 million (AUD) funding for Exhibitions and Business Events
    • EventCity has announced the closure of their venue by 31 March 2021 and  the withdraw of plans for their new facility that was approved in February

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 11 SEPTEMBER

    Here’s today’s update. The tourism specific guidance on the Rule of Six is not available yet but there is still a lot going on. 

    • Guidance to Businesses of Rule of Six

    A raft of existing guidance has been amended in preparation for the Rule of Six coming into operation on Monday. It is important to note that all the guidance emphasises that:

    Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, in line with guidance for their sector, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6 (unless they are all part of the same household or support bubble). It is also important that people from different households (who are not meeting as a support bubble) remain socially distanced.

    So all tourism businesses operating in accordance with the government’s Covid-Safe guidelines can continue to operate at their current Covid Safe capacity provided that individual parties of customer obey the Rule of Six. So accommodation businesses, attractions, performance venues, coach operators, tour guides, pubs and restaurants can all continue as they are provided that they made sure any individual party of visitors complies with the Rule of Six.

                   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england

    • Rule of Six and Tour Groups

    One of the issues that has come up repeated over the last couple of days is the position with Tour groups with relation to the Rule of Six. We are seeking clarification on this from DCMS at the moment but, in the meantime, our view is:

    The Government guidance that has been amended in relation to the Rule of Six still states that any business or activity that is currently operating in accordance with Covid Secure Guidance can continue operating at the same capacity provided that any individual party visiting the premises or using the service complies with the Rule of Six. So, for example, restaurants can operate at the current capacity provided that any individual group of people coming to the restaurant complies with the Rule of Six.

    So, in relation to tour groups, this means:

    • Coaches, and other modes of transport, can still operate to their Covid Secure capacity provided that each individual party using the mode of transport complies with the Rule of Six and social distancing remains between each party
    • Once off the mode of transport, each individual party must stay socially distanced and enter any attraction/accommodation as an individual party complying with the Rule of Six.
    •  A tour guide can still take up to 30 people from the coach, or other method of transport, on a walking tour around a destination - but again the people must stay in their individual groups that comply with the Rule of Six with social distancing between them (and any rules in place at the destination)

     

    • Priority Actions

    All the Primary Guidance for Businesses on Working Safely with Coronavirus has been updated with a new section on Priorities Actions. This reads (with various for different business types):

    Seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

    1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
    2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
    3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
    4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow.
    5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
    6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.
    7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

    Four more things to be aware of if your business is part of the ‘visitor economy’:

    • From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6). Until 14 September, the current guidelines apply. Check with customers on arrival who they are with and how many people will be attending. Put up signs to remind customers to only interact with their group.
    • Encourage contactless payments. Whenever possible, use online booking and pre-payment and ask for contactless payments.
    • Manage food and drink service safely. Minimise customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments, as well as contact between staff and guests.
    • Understand how your business interacts with the local area. Limit risk by reducing queues on the street outside, staggering check in times and opening hours to other businesses, and advising customers to avoid particular forms of transport at busy times or routes to avoid crowded areas.

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

    • Local Lockdowns

    Birmingham City Council have announced that from Tuesday 15 September, residents of Birmingham Sandwell and Solihull will not be able to mix with any other households, indoors or in private gardens, except for those in a support bubble. There’s announcement indicates that there are no restrictions on the businesses in the area.

    https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/709/new_restrictions_announced_to_drive_down_infection_rate

    • CJRS Guidance Update

    The guidance has been updated with a new section added  “Work out your employee's usual hours and furloughed hours” that explains how to calculate the number of working and furloughed hours for an employee that comes off furlough or flexible furlough partway through a claim period. Employers using this calculation do not need to amend previous claims.

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

    • Question in the Lords

    There where questions on Aviation in the Lords on Wednesday where Baroness Doocey raised the impact of dramatically reduced inbound tourism on London’s economy and asking what the Government was going to do to address this. The heartening answer from Baroness Vere was that the government recognised the issue, was engaged and is looking for solutions to support city-based tourism.

    Baroness Doocey (LD)

    Does the Minister acknowledge that while international travel is something of a roulette, the Government should do everything possible to encourage a renaissance in domestic travel in the UK? The Government’s tourism industry body VisitBritain is forecasting that inbound tourism revenue will be down by £24 billion this year, which equates to about 340,000 jobs, half of which will be in London. What specific measures will the Government put in place to support London’s tourism sector, which is so reliant on inbound tourism?

    Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con)

    The noble Baroness is right that London is very reliant on inbound tourism, as are many other major cities across the country. The Government are well aware of this and there are a number of conversations going on at the moment which are looking at potential solutions, not only for London but on a nationwide basis for the larger population hubs to ensure that people can travel safely. Within all this we have a very difficult balance between keeping the virus under control, making sure that people can travel safely and protecting jobs and the economy.

    • Tourism Debate

    As you know there was a backbenchers debate in the Commons Yesterday. I’ve put the link to the transcript below so you can read it over the weekend – but the key take-outs are that I can see a lot of input from TA members in the debate and the MPs speaking were very much on message regarding the key issues facing the industry. Alex Sobel and Nigel Huddleston both speak very well at the end and there is a united view that more has to be done to support tourism businesses.

                   https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-09-10/debates/542B674D-C386-417D-A734-BC5A7A8A9A3D/TourismCovid-19

    • National Museums

    This week’s visitor numbers to the National Museums have been published with the average footfall being 25.2% of what would normally be expected, which is only 0.4% up on last week.

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

    • R Number

    This week’s R number and growth rate have been published. The R number is 1.0-1.2 and the  growth rate range for the UK is -1% to +3%, indicating why the Gobvernment has deemed it necessary to introduce the Rule of Six on Monday.

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

    • Duty Free Shopping

    The Government has responded to the Duty Free Shopping Consultation. The main outcomes from the consultation are:

    • Passengers travelling from GB to the EU can purchase duty-free excise goods once they have passed security controls on the same basis as currently applies to passengers travelling to non-EU destinations.
    • Passengers travelling back from the EU will no longer be able to bring back unlimited amounts of alcohol, tobacco, or other goods for personal use (personal allowances will be introduced)
    • Tax-free sales is not being extended to passengers travelling to the EU and is being withdrawn for all passengers.
    • The VAT Retail Export Scheme will also not be extended to EU visitors and will be withdrawn for non-EU visitors in GB
    • Retailers will continue to be able to offer VAT-free shopping  to non-EU visitors who purchase items in store provided that the items are sent direct to their overseas addresses. This will be extended to EU visitors.

    The removal of the ability to take VAT-free goods home in their luggage could have a significant impact on some markets such as China and the Middle East.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/917005/Passengers_Consultation_Response.pdf

    11.09.20 - IN ENGLAND Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance

    The full Primary Guidance can be found here

    You will have heard that Wales and Scotland are now also introducing their own “Rule of Six”. However, the rules for Wales and Scotland are not the same as those that will apply in England so here’s a rundown of the differences as we know them so far.

    Wales

    • In Wales, the “rule of Six” will only apply to people meeting indoors and all six people must all belong to the same “extended household group”. Outside, people will still be able to meet in groups of up to 30 under existing social distancing rules
    • An “extended household group” can contain people from up to four separate households
    • Children under 12 will be exempt and will not count towards that total.
    • The Rule of six will not apply in Caerphilly because it is under a local lockdown so stricter rules are in place there.

    Scotland

    • In Scotland, the six people can only be from a maximum of two households
    • However, like Wales, children under the age of 12, who are part of the two households will not count towards the limit of six people
    • But, like England, the Scottish Rule of Six will apply in all public and private gatherings, both indoors and outdoors
    • There will be “some limited exceptions”, covering organised sports and places of worship.
    • Up to 20 people will be able to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals (and the associated receptions)

    Northern Ireland

    • No announcement on adopting a Rule of Six has been made in Northern Ireland yet.

    The Scottish Government site is the best place to keep updated on any changes

    https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

    The Welsh Government site is

    https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance

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

    UPDATE 10 SEPT (2)

    Travel corridor changes in England

    Effective 04.00 on Saturday 12 September, Sweden will be added to England’s travel corridor list and the following territories will be removed:

    • Portugal (excluding the Azores and Madeira)
    • Hungary
    • French Polynesia
    • Réunion Island

    See the current list of travel corridors in England. The FCDO list of countries/territories exempt from advice against all but essential travel has been updated in line with these changes.

    Travel corridor changes in Scotland

    Effective 04.00 on Saturday 12 September, Sweden will be added to Scotland’s travel corridor list, and Hungary and Réunion Island will be removed.

    Travel corridor changes in Wales

    The Welsh government has announced that effective 04.00 on Saturday 12 September, Sweden will be added to the travel corridor list in Wales, and Hungary and Réunion Island will be removed.

    Travel corridor changes in Northern Ireland

    Effective 04.00 on Saturday 12 September, Sweden will be added to the travel corridors list in Northern Ireland and the following countries will be removed, requiring arrivals to Northern Ireland to quarantine for 14 days:

    • Portugal (excluding Madeira and the Azores)
    • Hungary
    • French Polynesia
    • Réunion Island

    New lockdown measures announced in Scotland

    The First Minister has announced an extension and tightening of lockdown rules in Scotland. The regulations in Scotland’s Route Map for recovery will be extended to expire on 31 March 2021, and the following restrictions will come into effect on Monday 14 September:

    • Social gatherings will be restricted to a maximum six people from two households. This applies indoors and outdoors, in private and public spaces including homes, gardens, parks, pubs and restaurants.
      • Children under the age of 12 are not counted towards the total number of people meeting.
      • Exceptions to this rule include a maximum 20 people permitted to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals. Changes to meeting socially also do not apply to services or activities that are already exempt from restrictions and have been permitted to reopen subject to their own guidance, such as organised sport.
    • Face coverings will be mandated for customers and staff in indoor hospitality, with exceptions for when customers are eating or drinking, and for non-public facing roles where face coverings may present health and safety issues.
    • Plans to loosen some lockdown restrictions, including reopening theatres, live music venues and indoor sports, have been delayed until at least 5 October. The piloting of other live events will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Northern Ireland announces local lockdown measures, new indicative date to reopen wet pubs

    Local lockdown restrictions will be reintroduced in parts of Northern Ireland, including Ballymena, the Belfast council area and the postcodes BT43, BT28 and BT29 (affecting parts of Glenavy, Lisburn and Crumlin). In these areas, people from separate households are not permitted to meet (with the exception of previously established social bubbles) and groups larger than six people will not be permitted to gather in private gardens.

    The Executive has also announced that pubs that do not serve food (wet pubs) can provisionally reopen on 21 September, subject to review and confirmation closer to that date.

    Analysis from the UN World Tourism Organisation

    The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has published new analysis showing that a majority of destinations around the world have now started easing travel restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Analysing restrictions up to 1 September, the research found that a total of 115 destinations (53% of all destinations worldwide) have eased travel restrictions, an increase of 28 since 19 July. Of these, two have lifted all restrictions, while the remaining 113 continue to have certain restrictive measures in place. For the first time, the COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions report includes key data on the health and hygiene infrastructure in place at destinations, while also analysing rate of notifications of new COVID-19 cases. This allows UNWTO to determine the factors that are influencing destinations’ decisions to ease restrictions.

    • 93 destinations (43% of all worldwide destinations) continue to have their borders completely closed to tourism, of which 27 have had their borders completely closed for at least 30 weeks.
    • Destinations which have eased travel restrictions generally have high or very high levels of health and hygiene infrastructure. They also tend to have comparatively low COVID-19 infection rates.
    • Within advanced economies, 79% of tourism destinations have already eased restrictions. In emerging economies, just 47% of destinations have done so.

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 10 SEPTEMBER

    There has obviously been a lot of concern today about how the Rule of Six will impact various types of tourism activity. While we await detailed tourism-related guidance, the general principle is that businesses that are operating in accordance with current Covid-Secure guidance will be able to continue doing so as they are currently, provided that individual groups of visitors/guests obey the Rule of Six.

    For example, pubs, restaurant, attractions will continue to be able to host people at their current capacity provided that individual groups of customers obey the Rule of Six. 

    • Primary Guidance Updated for Rule of Six

    All the Primary Guidance for businesses has a updated to take account of the new requirements including the Guidance for:

    • Close Contact Services
    • Heritage locations
    • Hotels and other Guest Accommodation
    • Restaurants, Pubs and Bars
    • The Visitor Economy

    Examples of the updated primary guidance include:

    Heritage sites

    • Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6. It is also important that people from different households (who are not meeting as a support bubble) remain socially distanced.

    Visitor Economy

    • From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6)
    • Guided tours of up to 30 people may take place indoors or outdoors provided businesses undertake risk assessments in line with this guidance document and put any necessary mitigations in place.
    • Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.

    Accommodation

    • Making customers aware of, and encouraging compliance with, limits on gatherings. For example, on arrival or at booking. From Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six.
    • Meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.

    Restaurants and Pubs

    • From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6)
    • Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6.

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

    • Venues Required to Take Contact Details

    The Government has issues a press release adding more clarity to the businesses that will be legally required to take customer contact details from 18th September. The press release states that this requirement will apply to:

    • businesses and other public settings where people meet socially including hospitality, close contact and leisure venues

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/venues-required-by-law-to-record-contact-details

    • Grants for Businesses Impacted by Local Lockdowns

    The treasury has announced that businesses in England that are required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. The key details are:

    • To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid 19 restrictions.
    • Businesses with a rateable value of more than £51k will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close.
    • Businesses with a rateable value of less than £51k will receive £1,000.
    • Businesses that are not yet able to open are not eligible for this grant.
    • Local authorities will also receive an additional 5% top up amount of business support funding to enable them to help other businesses affected by closures which may not be on the business rates list – eg., B&Bs paying council tax or activities businesses run from home
    • Further eligibility criteria may be determined by Local authorities

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ministers-announce-new-grants-for-businesses-affected-by-local-lockdowns

    • ONS Social and Economic Impact Report

    The latest ONS social impact has been published with a number of key findings for tourism businesses including:

    • 29% of employees in hospitality are still on full or flexible furlough – compared to 11% of employees in all UK businesses
    • 41% of employees in arts entertainment and recreation are still on furlough
    • 72% of IT workers and 62% of professional, technical and Scientific sector employees were still working from home – which will have a large impact on city centre businesses
    • Job adverts in Hospitality are below 50% of what they were last year and are the weakest sector for recruitment alongside retail

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/10september2020

    Meanwhile the Economic Impact research shows how badly tourism-related businesses are performing compared to the economy as a whole:

    • Accommodation and food service activities industry reported the highest percentage of businesses reporting their risk of insolvency was severe to moderate, at 23%, compared with 11% across all industries.
    • 40% of arts, entertainment and recreation industry indicated that operating costs had exceeded turnover, while only 26% report that turnover exceeded costs.
    • The arts, entertainment and recreation industry had the highest percentage of businesses reporting they had issued credit notes or vouchers to customers for postponed or cancelled bookings, services or events, at 52%.
    • 74% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry reporting their turnover had decreased, compared to 46.8% of businesses as a whole

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-and-the-economic-impacts-on-the-uk-10-september-2020

    • Sports Pilots Reduced to 1000 People

    DCMS has announced that the proposed pilot schemes for spectators at sports matches are to be scaled back to just 1000 spectators.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sport-pilots-to-be-reduced-in-capacity-to-1000-people-socially-distanced

    • Bolton Restrictions

    The local Lockdown restrictions for Bolton have been updated. The main restrictions being:

    the following business and venue closures must not open:

    • casinos
    • skating rinks
    • bowling alleys
    • indoor play areas, including soft play areas
    • exhibition centres and conference halls

    The following settings and activities should not reopen or restart:

    • indoor performances (even with a social distanced audience)

    All night-time economy and leisure venues should close from 22:00 to 05:00 each day. Hospitality venues should only provide take away food and drinks to customers. Hospitality venues include:

    • restaurants, including hotel dining rooms and members’ clubs
    • cafes including workplace canteens (not including cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools, prisons, establishments intended for the use of naval, military or air force purposes and for providing food or drink to the homeless)
    • bars including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
    • pubs

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bolton-local-restrictions

    • Transport Use

    The latest iteration of DFT’s transport monitor has been releases which shows that the level of public transport use in London remains at around 33% of usual for the tube and 58% for buses (where it has been for the last five weeks) suggesting that people are still not returning to work in the capital. National rail is still operating at about 33% of usual capacity as well.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

    • Employer Testing Regimes

    The Government has published guidance for individual businesses wanting to implement their own Coronavirus testing regime for employees. This new guidance goes through all the considerations that businesses have to take into account if they want to undertake testing of their staff outside the national testing scheme. It includes guidance issues that need to be addressed including:

    • who the testing will cover – all directly employed staff, or includes individuals working onsite, like contractors
    • what the focus of the programme is: staff with symptoms or without symptoms
    • how often staff will be tested
    • appropriate facilities for carrying out the tests
    • who the testing will cover – for example, whether this is all directly employed staff, or includes individuals working onsite, like contractors
    • what the focus of the programme is: staff with symptoms or without symptoms
    • how often staff will be tested
    • appropriate facilities for carrying out the tests
    • whether the programme is voluntary or mandatory
    • what the consequences are for staff who decline to take part in the testing programme or decline to share the result of a test
    • does the regime comply with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-guidance-for-employers/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-guidance-for-employers-and-third-party-healthcare-providers  

    VEWG UDAPTES

    Prime Minister announcement 

    Further to yesterday’s announcement, the following have been published:

    We recognise that the sector would like further clarification on specific questions and we are working to get this to you as soon as possible. We will of course answer your questions as soon as we can.

    Updated guidance documents 

    In line with the Prime Minister’s announcement, the following pieces of guidance have been updated:

    These pieces of guidance have been updated to reflect the rule of six, test and trace requirements, and the ‘ten things you should know’ at the top. We will continue to update them as further details are confirmed. 

    UPDATE 10 SEPT

    Further to the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday outlining the new rule of six in England, the official Government guidance for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) has been updated. Additional specialised advice has also been updated, including the Visitor Economy guidance and guidance for Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

    The seven priority actions are:

    1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
    2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
    3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
    4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow. Enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.
    5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
    6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.
    7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

    The additional guidance for restaurants, pub, bar or takeaway and visitor economy businesses is available on gov.uk.

    Other updates to note include:

    Meeting others safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

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

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

    Frequently asked questions what you can and can’t do

    The frequently asked questions have also been updated to support the new guidance some points of relevance for tourism include:

    • People can still go on holiday in England, the distance travelled will not be restricted but they should not go on holiday with people outside their household (including bubble) in a group larger than 6 people
    • The guidance for someone who becomes unwell on holidays has not changed.

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

    UPDATE 9 SEPT

    New measures announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon

    This afternoon the Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference with the introduction of some new measures from Monday 14 September in England. 

    ** Please be advised that the measures relating to holding business meetings of up to 30 persons remains unclear. Urgent clarification is being sought and is expected to be available later tomorrow. We will of course circulate any further information as soon as it is made available **

    General measures and rule of six

    • From Monday 14 September, it will no longer be legal to meet socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes and hospitality settings like the pub. There will be a limited number of exemptions.
    • This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing 2 households to meet indoors.

    Work settings and weddings and funerals

    • Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday 14 September, this limit will be enforceable in law.

    COVID Secure venues – tourism and hospitality

    • COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together.
    • Premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required.
    • The government will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.
    • Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.
    • The government will boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing COVID Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.
    • The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future.

    Simplified guidance is due to be published imminently and will be available on gov.uk.

    Events, conferences and sport

    • Plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month will be reviewed along with the intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from 1 October. That doesn’t mean the programme will be scrapped entirely. The Culture Secretary is expected to provide an update in due course.
    • Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high.

    International travel

    • The government will take steps to improve compliance with border requirements. They will simplify the Passenger Locator Form needed for travelling to the UK, and take measures to ensure these are completed and checked before departure.
    • Border Force will step up enforcement efforts at the border to ensure arrivals are complying with the quarantine rules.

    New grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns

    Businesses in England required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will now be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000. Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a 3-week lockdown period. Each new 3-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment. Currently these payments are available in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham as part of an ongoing trial scheme.

    Guidance for Welsh businesses on visitors from areas with higher incidence of coronavirus

    The Welsh Government has published guidance for businesses on taking all reasonable measures to minimise risk to exposure of Coronavirus. The guidance outlines the following:

    • Premises may wish to consider their approach to accepting guests from areas/regions where incidence is higher. Hotels and other accommodation providers, will have discretion to refuse admission to people as they are likely to have advance information on the home address of upcoming visitors.
    • Any legal obligations with regard to individuals residing in areas of higher incidence will be on those individuals. There will be no legal obligation for accommodation providers outside an area where travel restrictions are in place to check whether guests are resident within that area, or to enforce the law by turning people from that area away. They should not, however, knowingly accommodate people who are acting in breach of the law.
    • The Welsh Government encourages all accommodation providers to consider their approach towards guests who may come from areas experiencing lockdown restrictions or other areas of high incidence. For example accommodation providers may wish to communicate to all customers with existing bookings, reminding them of the law and giving them a chance to cancel or postpone their bookings.

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 9 SEPTEMBER

    New Tests - The government is looking at new tests, involving swabs or saliva, that can give results in 20 minutes – which would be extremely useful for stabilising international travel. This will be piloted in Salford for outdoor and indoor venues.

      Chris Whitty has commented that these new rules are unlikely to be lifted within three weeks.

    Here’s a copy of the Prime Minister’s announcement:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-press-conference-statement-9-september-2020

     And here’s the slides from the presentation:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/slides-on-coronavirus-9-september-2020

    • Bounce-Back Plans for Consumer and Retail Industry

    The Department for International Trade has announced new measures to help boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas, include creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bounce-back-plans-launched-for-consumer-and-retail-industry

    • CMA Position on Wedding Cancellations and Refunds

    The CMA has published a position statement on how it believes the law operates in relation to wedding cancellations and refunds. It states that a wedding contract has been frustrated and the customer is entitled to a refund when going ahead with the wedding could breach lockdown laws including:

    • the restrictions imposed under the original lockdown laws in the early stages of the pandemic, which required wedding venues to close and prohibited people leaving their homes and attending gatherings
    • further restrictions imposed under revised lockdown laws, which limited the numbers of people who could attend a wedding
    • restrictions imposed by local lockdown laws, such as local laws that require venues to close or require people to stay at home
    • specific restrictions imposed by local authorities under their lockdown legal powers

    It accepts that there can be exemptions to a full refund where goods and services have already been provided

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wedding-services-coronavirus-covid-19-cancellations-and-refunds/wedding-services-affected-by-covid-19-statement-of-the-cmas-position-on-cancellation-and-refunds#weddings-affected-by-legal-restrictions-and-government-guidance-which-may-be-able-to-go-ahead-in-some-cases

    • Local Lockdown Changes

    Leicester

    The following businesses are now permitted to reopen in the protected area

    • Indoor fitness and dance studios 
    • Indoor gyms  
    • Indoor sports courts and facilities 
    • Indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks 

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/closing-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-leicester

    Bolton

    Further restrictions have been introduced in Bolton

    • All businesses providing food and drink will be restricted to takeaway only
    • Late-night restriction of operating hours, meaning venues will be required to close between 10pm and 5am
    • The ban on mixing outside households in homes and in public outdoor settings will be enforceable by law

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/stronger-measures-brought-in-to-tackle-virus-in-bolton

    • Air Corridors

    From today people arriving from the following Greek Islands will have to undertake Quarantine for two weeks.

    Crete, Lesvos,Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, Zakynthos

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

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

    UPDATE 8 SEPT

    New restrictions introduced in Bolton, England

    This afternoon Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock announced new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Bolton.

    The new measures, which come into force immediately, include:

    • All hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to takeaway only
    • Late-night restriction of operating hours, meaning venues will be required to close between 10pm and 5am
    • Socialising outside of your household will be banned and will be enforced by law, in all settings including outdoors.

    New restrictions in Caerphilly County, Wales

    Following a sharp increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Caerphilly County, new restrictions have been introduced to reduce the spread of the virus and protect public health for people living in the area. The restrictions come into force at 6pm on 8 September 2020 and will be kept under review. People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Caerphilly County Borough Council area without a reasonable excuse

    New restrictions in Scotland for East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire

    Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the West of Scotland, new restrictions have been introduced in East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire, these follow restrictions that were introduced for people living in Glasgow City, East

    Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. The restrictions will be introduced for an initial 2 week period and reviewed in 7 days.

    Travel to/from affected areas - These local restrictions do not affect travel in or out of the affected areas, providing the guidance on mixing with other households in their home is followed. If you are already in the affected area visiting family or on holiday then they do not need to leave, but you should follow the recommendations in this guidance and take extra care when returning home. If you are planning to use self-catering accommodation in unaffected areas with different households from affected areas, you should not do so.

    Updated ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus data

    The data looks at turnover expectations of the same businesses over time, using the final results of waves 6 to 11 of the voluntary fortnightly Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey, covering the period 1 June to 23 August 2020.

    Some key findings include

    • Between early June and mid-August 2020, the proportion of businesses expecting an increase in turnover gradually fell from 27% to 18%, while the proportion of those expecting a decrease also fell, from 16% to 10%.
    • The likelihood of a business's turnover turning out to be lower than they predicted two weeks’ prior was 48% between early June and mid-August.
    • Businesses in the accommodation and food service activities industry were consistently the most optimistic sector (that is, turnover turned out to be lower than they expected two weeks prior).
    • Smaller-sized businesses in this sample (those with fewer than 250 employees) correctly predicted their turnover 39% of the time, compared with 34% for larger businesses.

    Other Government updates

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 8 SEPTEMBER

    Business Rate Consultation Feedback Reminder

    As you know the Treasury’s consultation on Business Rates Reform which is a significant problem for large components of the tourism industry. As mentioned in the paper I sent out yesterday, UKHospitality has calculated that businesses such as hotels, pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions  pay £2.7bn in business rates, which represents 9% of the total business rates paid in the UK, even though the these business represent just 4% of UK business turnover.

    The consultation closes next Friday (18th Sept). In order to put together a Tourism Alliance response to this, could you please send me your comments by Monday 14th September.

    Here’s a link to the Consultation document -

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hm-treasury-fundamental-review-of-business-rates-call-for-evidence

    VEWG Updates – 08/09/2020

    Autumn Staycation Campaign

    VisitBritain is planning an Autumn Staycation Campaign. The slides are attached.

    CMA open letter

    Yesterday the CMA published an open letter to the weddings sector. The purpose of this letter is to help businesses in the sector understand how the CMA considers that consumer protection law applies to the wedding contracts they have with consumers during COVID-19. The letter can be found here.

    Voluntary calorie guidelines

    Public Health England has launched new voluntary calorie guidelines to help the food industry tackle obesity. The voluntary guidelines for industry are a key commitment of the Government’s obesity strategy. The press release is here and the guidelines are here.

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

    UPDATE 7 SEPT

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) template update

    A new template is available for download for businesses claiming for 100 or more employees through CJRS. Employers must now include if an employee has returned from statutory leave before being put on furlough.

    Lifting of some restrictions from 8 September in Leicester City, Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham, Pendle and other areas with restrictions in the North of England

    From 8 September, several businesses and venues that were closed will be able to re-open in Leicester City, Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham, Pendle and other areas in the North of England. Each area has slightly different changes, to see the area specific changes please see the information relevant to your area using the links above.

    Update to travel corridors policy in England

    In a statement today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a new islands policy for England. The policy is a targeted approach to add or remove a country’s islands to the travel corridors list. This means that an area (i.e. an island) that presents a higher or lower public health risk to UK travellers can be assessed separately to the rest of the country. 

    As part of the announcement Grant Shapps said that Greece remains part of the corridor scheme, but the Greek Islands of Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos are no longer on the travel exemptions list. Passengers arriving into England from these islands will need to self-isolate from 4:00am on Wednesday 9 September. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has also updated its travel advice for Greece to advise against all but essential travel to Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos. The rest of Greece remains exempt from the FCDO’s advice against all non-essential international travel.

    Other Government updates

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

    UPDATE 4 SEPT

    DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey - reminder

    A reminder that DCMS invites you to take part in a second round of a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors. This survey has been commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to better understand the needs of its stakeholders. Your answer will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts.

    We have already had a significant number of responses from the events and exhibitions sector and about 200 from the tourism sector.  The survey should take around 10-20 minutes. The deadline for responses to the survey will be at 23:59 GMT on 08/09/2020. Please follow this link to begin submitting your response. 

    Travel corridor updates for Scotland and Northern Ireland

    • Scotland - Portugal and French Polynesia have been removed from the exempt travel corridors list, passengers who arrive in Scotland from 04:00 on 5 September you will need to self-isolate 
    • Northern Ireland – there are no additions to or removals from the travel corridor list in Northern Ireland this week. The list continues to be kept under review.

    Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain ONS data update

    The survey covers the period 26 August to 30 August 2020.

    Some key findings include:

    • More than half (53%) of adults who had heard about the Eat Out to Help Out scheme said they had eaten out during the month of August just to make use of the scheme.
    • Of all adults, 47% said they would have eaten out during August without the discount from the scheme.
    • Over the summer there has been a gradual return to socialising with others and participating in leisure activities; in the last seven days, nearly 3 in 10 (29%) adults met up with people in a public place – an increase from 13% three months ago (period covering 28 to 31 May 2020).

    Other Government updates

    Travel industry updates

     

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 4 SEPTEMBER

    • Tourism Debate

    Yesterday the leader of the House of Commons announced that next Thursday (10 Sept) there will be a general debate on the aviation sector, followed by general debate on support for the tourism industry after the covid-19 lockdown. So get those briefings for local MPs ready.

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-09-03/debates/C73003C6-A7EC-42B1-8BDA-2248987B5371/BusinessOfTheHouse

    • Guidance for Visa Nationals

    The Home Office has updated the guidance for visa nationals whose visa or leave to stay in the UK expires after 31 August 2020 – which  was when the grace period ended. People who took advantage of the grace period are now expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise their stay in the UK. They can do this by submitting an application form from within the UK instead of applying from their home country. They will also need to show the application is urgent as well as paying all normal fees and visa requirements.

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

    • R Rate

    This week’s R number range for the UK  is 0.9-1.1 and the growth rate range is -1% to +2% ( up from -2% to +1% last week) indicating that the number of Coronavirus cases is starting to expand again.

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

    UDATE 3 SEPT

    Travel Corridors in England

    The government has confirmed that there are no additions to or removals from the travel corridor list in England today. The list continues to be kept under review.

    Travel Corridors in Wales

    The Welsh government has removed the following countries and territories from their travel corridor list:

    • Mainland Portugal (the Azores and Madeira will remain exempt to quarantine requirements)
    • Gibraltar
    • French Polynesia
    • Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros, Antiparos and Crete

    Arrivals into Wales from these territories after 04:00 on Friday 4 September will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

    Reminder: DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey – Wave 2 closing 8 September

    DCMS invites you - and the businesses that you represent - to take part in a second round of a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors. This survey has been commissioned by DCMS to better understand the needs of its stakeholders.

    Answers will remain anonymous and will be used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts. The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and can be found here. The deadline for responses to the survey will be at 23:59 GMT on 8 September 2020.

    Other government updates

    • Early experimental data has been updated on the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy and society, including data on the business impacts of the coronavirus, social impacts on Great Britain, company incorporations and voluntary dissolution applications, online job adverts, footfall and road traffic. Latest report includes data collected up to 30 August.

    MATERIAL FROM TOURISM ALLIANCE

    Wedding Consultation

    You may remember that last year the Tourism Alliance was involved in pre-consultation discussions with the law Commission aimed at informing and shaping the development of a consultation paper on reforming the legislation surrounding holding weddings. At these meetings we pushed for a relaxation on the current restrictions that would include the ability for tourism businesses to host weddings outside at venues like historic houses and visitor attractions or in venues where they are currently prohibited such as on heritage trains or sightseeing boats.

    The Law Commission has just published its consultation document which would allow for these types of weddings – which would help a lot of tourism businesses generate an additional revenue stream. Also, the consultation goes further in proposing that weddings could also be able to be held in public spaces and private residences. The consultation is open until 3 December 2020 so let me know your views and I’ll incorporate them into the Tourism Alliance response.

    Here is a link to the consultation documents which are too large to send as attachments - the full consultation document is 458 pages and even the summary version 38 pages.

    https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/weddings/

    Tourism Alliance presentation on tourism recovery at the Pilot Conference  

    Here is a copy of the presentation on tourism recovery that Kurt gave at the pilot conference on 3rd Sept.

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

    UPDATE 2 SEPT

    Updates to local restrictions in England

    • Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham, Pendle: 
      • Residents of the specific areas of Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle with additional restrictions should not meet people at indoor or outdoor public venues who are not members of their household.
      • If you operate a business or organise events within the affected areas you should take steps to ensure people do not socialise with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance.
      • If you operate a hospitality venue (including restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes) inside the areas with additional restrictions (all of Oldham and parts of Blackburn with Darwen and Pendle) then you are advised that you should halt walk-ins, and only seat people who make reservations in advance, up to a maximum of six people per table from the same household. You should also take steps to ensure that people do not socialise outside of their households inside and outside your premises.
    • Bolton and Trafford are to remain under existing restrictions.  The lifting of restrictions in Burnley, Hyndburn, Stockport and parts of Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford will go ahead from 2 September.

    A list of areas with additional local restrictions is available here.

    Kickstart Scheme

    See Tourism Alliance Update below.

    Changes to travel corridors in Scotland and Wales

    • Scotland has removed Greece from the list of exempt travel corridor destinations, passengers from Greece who arrive in Scotland from 04:00 on 3 September will need to self-isolate
    • Wales has removed the Greek Island of Zante from the exempt travel corridors list. A statement issued on 1 September by Vaughan Gething MS, Wales’ Minister for Health and Social Services asked all passengers returning from Zante/Zakynthos to self-isolate for 14 days due to the risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to others. Those returning have also been requested to take a test once they arrive home and to repeat the test 8 days after returning home.

    Other Government updates

     

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 2 SEPTEMBER

    Here’s today's Coronavirus Update which includes details on the Government’s new £2bn Kickstart scheme which aims to provide six months work placements for young people. While undoubtedly a very welcome scheme, it does beg the question from tourism businesses – “why not protect existing jobs for six months as well?”

    • Kickstart Scheme

    The government has introduced a new Kickstart Scheme which consists of a £2 billion fund aimed at generating high quality 6-month work placements for people aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment. The funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. The core criteria are as follows:

    1. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements.
    2. Any organisation can apply for funding provided that the job placements created are new jobs which do not:
      • replace existing or planned vacancies
      • cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment
    3. The placements must be:
      • a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
      • paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age group
      • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement
    4. Each application should include how you will help the participants to develop their skills and experience, including:
      • support to look for long-term work, including career advice and setting goals
      • support with CV and interview preparations
      • supporting the participant with basic skills, such as attendance, timekeeping and teamwork

    You can find detail on this scheme from the guidance and promotional materials on the following link:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme?utm_source=9110972d-4588-4bc2-a272-6bb7da082115&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

                   Important Bit

    As mentioned above, an application must be for a minimum of 30 job placements which will be a problem for most tourism and hospitality businesses which are SMEs. To get around this, there is the option for representative bodies such as Trade Associations and DMOs to submit applications on behalf of their members or for individual businesses to join together to submit an application. Here’s a link on how to do this.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-apply-for-a-grant-as-a-representative-of-a-group-of-employers-through-the-kickstart-scheme

    • Glasgow Restrictions

    Late yesterday the Scottish Parliament announced that there would be a local lockdown in Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire. People living in these areas should not:

    • host people from any other households in their home, unless they are part of the extended household (this includes sharing economy accommodation where people stay with the host)
    • visit people they do not live with in their home no matter where that is, unless they are part of the extended household

    People can still travel in and out of these areas on holiday and meet people in pubs and restaurants, but should not share self-catering accommodation in unaffected areas with different households.

    The restrictions have been introduced for an initial 2 week period and will be reviewed in 7 days

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-measures/pages/glasgow/  

    • DCMS Digital Identity Work – Input Required

    Last year DCMS held a call for evidence on how government can support the development and secure use of digital identities to support the growth of the UK economy. I have a meeting with DCMS official about how development of more secure and easily usable digital identities might help the tourism industry so if you have any ideas on this, please let me know. This could include things like receiving payments, ensuring that someone was able to work in the UK or maybe linking to visa and ETA applications.

    Here's a copy of the Government’s response to the call for evidence that was published yesterday with more information on digital identities which may stimulate some ideas.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/digital-identity/outcome/digital-identity-call-for-evidence-response

    • DCMS Participation and Confidence Survey

    DCMS have just released the latest data from the participation survey which includes a section asking people about how comfortable they feel visiting particular attractions and facilities. The new data is for the first two weeks of July which, in terms of Coronavirus, is a lifetime ago but it is interesting nevertheless. The survey shows that participation in arts and exercise decreasing which participation in heritage has increase. In terms of confidence, about 25% of people said that they would feel comfortable in indoor arts, culture and heritage settings, although this increases to 35-40% for people who have undertaken that activity in the last 12 months – showing that people are much more confident if they have recently undertaken that activity which bodes well for the lasting affect of initiatives such as Eat Out to Help Out.

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

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

    UPDATE 1 SEPT

    Scottish Government outlines new plan for 2020-2021

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today published 'Protecting Scotland, Renewing Scotland: The Government's Programme for Scotland 2020-2021', which sets out the actions the Scottish Government is taking “to ensure Scotland’s economic, health, and social recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond”. A safe and strong recovery for tourism is cited as being vital to economic recovery, inclusive growth and wellbeing. The Tourism Strategy ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’ (published in March 2020) is referenced as providing the framework for recovery, which will see the Scottish Government work with VisitScotland to develop a recovery marketing strategy, to identify medium/long-term market opportunities to support tourism and increase visitors.

    Highlights from the plan include:

    • The Scottish Government will build on the work of the ‘Rural tourism infrastructure fund’
    • Work with Skills Development Scotland and the Tourism Recovery Taskforce to ensure the sector has the skills it needs to recover
    • Will create a ‘Culture Collective’ to harness and maximise the contribution of Scotland’s creative workforce to the building of a wellbeing economy
    • Tourism is highlighted as one of the traditional sectors around which ‘tech’ companies are ‘igniting innovation’ and the Scottish Government intends to extend their CivTech programme.
    • Environmental sustainability is a further theme in the document, and Tourism will be one of the sectors included in the ‘Blue Economy Action Plan’ for the marine environment. Tourism is also mentioned within the Green Jobs section, where the plan talks about green skills’ ability to deliver for sectors such as ‘nature based tourism’.
      • A £2m Green Recovery Programme for the Islands will deliver projects related to green jobs, and support micro and SME businesses people to develop new skills.
    • Looking at transport, the document recognises the reduction in demand for public transports due to the impact of COVID on the Tourism sector (amongst other factors) and states that considerations will be made for the implications of this on transport, so that interventions can be identified which may aid the recovery of the sector.
      • They remain committed to the Air Departure Tax (ADT) when a solution to the Highlands and Islands exemption issue has been found. They will engage with the HM Treasury on their consultation on Air Passenger Duty reform and will work with stakeholders to find a solution for aviation that remains consistent with climate ambitions.
    • Plans for the implementation of a Transient Visitor Levy were put on hold as part of the response to the COVID‑19 crisis and in recognition of the severe economic impact COVID‑19 has had on the sector. The Scottish Government’s stated priority is to work with the sector to ensure a ‘vibrant and sustainable future for the tourism industry in Scotland’ and future consideration of the levy will take account of the changed context the industry is operating in.

    ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme now closed, accepting claims until 30 September 2020

    The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has now closed. Restaurants and other food service businesses that have already registered can submit a claim for reimbursement until 30 September 2020.

    Industry updates

    • The workforce at Heathrow Airport is taking part in three rapid point of care COVID-19 testing trials. The airport will share the resulting data with the UK Government to inform its strategy for further reopening the aviation sector.
    • United, Delta and American Airlines have permanently eliminated all change fees for travel within the US effective immediately. United and Delta have also waived change fees for all international travel booked through 31 December 2020.
    • London-based tour operator Vivid Travel has suspended operations.

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE – 1 SEPTEMBER

    • 2025 Border Strategy

    First, a thank you to everyone who came back to me with input for the 2025 UK Border Strategy submission. This was sent in on Friday and highlighted:

    • The need to expand e-gates in both physical numbers and in the  number of nationalities that are able to use them
    • The need to improve the SLAs for waiting times – a 45min wait at immigration is not acceptable.
    • The need to develop competitive visa products such as a low-cost five year visa and a special visa for the parents of students studying in the UK so that they can visit their children at anytime while they have a valid student visa.
    • The need to develop a two tier system for visas national countries whereby high value, low risk visitors and delegates to conferences could use ETAs to come to the UK while higher risk visitors would still be required to apply for a visa
    • The need to extend duty free shopping to people travelling to/from the EU to make the UK a key European shopping destination and the need to have a VAT reclaim process that is fit for purpose to go alongside this.

     

    • CJRS Guidance Update

    The Guidance to businesses on the CJRS have been updated to take account of the changes that come into effect today. You can download a copy of the new guidance from the following link

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

    • Local Lockdown Restrictions Being Lifted Tomorrow

    As mentioned on Friday, the Government has announced a lifting of some local lockdown restrictions. From tomorrow, restrictions on two households mixing will be lifted in:

    • Bolton
    • Stockport
    • Trafford
    • Burnley
    • Hyndburn
    • parts of Bradford excluding Bradford city and Keighley town
    • parts of Calderdale excluding Halifax
    • parts of Kirklees excluding Dewsbury and Batley

    Local Lockdown restrictions will continue in the following areas.

    Greater Manchester:

    • a ban on 2 households mixing indoors will continue in City of Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Bury and Tameside
    • in Oldham, in addition to a household mixing ban indoors, residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from anther household anywhere.

    Lancashire:

    • in Pendle and Blackburn residents will continue to be advised to avoid mixing with anyone from another household anywhere. Some businesses and organisations remain closed in Blackburn and Darwen.
    • the ban on 2 households mixing indoors will continue in Preston

    Leicester:

    • on top of the indoor gatherings restrictions, some leisure sector businesses will continue to remain closed

    West Yorkshire:

    • in urban areas of Bradford, the ban on indoor household gatherings remains in place and some businesses and organisations remain closed
    • in Kirklees, the ban on indoor household gatherings will continue in Dewsbury and Batley
    • the ban will also continue in parts of Calderdale

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/restrictions-lifted-in-parts-of-greater-manchester-lancashire-and-west-yorkshire

    Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle

    For Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle, the local guidance has been updated with the additional restrictions that residents should not meet people at indoor or outdoor public venues who are not members of their household.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/blackburn-with-darwen-oldham-pendle-local-restrictions

    • Guidance on Apprenticeships

    The Government has updated the guidance for employers, trainers and assessors in relation to apprenticeships This includes

    • Information on the actions that training providers should take for the return of apprentices from September. Read more about it in the returning to workplace and educational settings section.
    • Information on how apprentices who have been made redundant, or who are at risk of redundancy, can access online and telephone support through the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices. Read more about it in the redundant apprentices section.
    • Confirmation that we are planning to restart routine funding audits from September 2020. Read more about it in the audit section.
    • Information on the new incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice. Read more about it in the apprenticeship programme response section.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro

    • DCMS Coronavirus Impact Business Survey For You to Complete

    DCMS is undertaking a second round of a survey being conducted to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Could you therefore distribute the following link to your members and ask them to compete it (in addition to completing it yourself).  The survey, on the following link, should take around 10-20 minutes to complete and any information provided will remain anonymous and only used to inform DCMS’ preparedness efforts.

    https://dcms.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_42Y4OEsGEUcx48Z

    The deadline for responses to the survey is at 23:59 GMT on 8th September 2020.

    • Surveillance Report

    Here’s a link to the latest Surveillance Report that was published late on Friday. The two areas of concern with rising Covid cases which could lead to a local lockdown are Swindon and Stoke on Trent, while there is good news in that the incidence of Coronavirus in Birmingham is falling which suggests that the city might escape the need for a lock down.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912973/Weekly_COVID19_Surveillance_Report_week_35_FINAL.PDF

    • Virtual Conservative Party Conference

    The Conservative party is holding its annual conference online this year. Because of this there is the opportunity for you register for free to be an observer, which allows to you to watch all the major speeches as well as the fringe meetings.

    https://conference.conservatives.com/registration 

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

    TIER UPDATE 28 AUGUST

    Changes to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to take effect 1 September

    From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. Read more information about the changes.

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

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

    Information about the Job Retention Bonus was published on 31 July.

    Further guidance on cancellations and refunds during COVID-19

    The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a statement that a consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be delivered due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Lockdown laws:

    If contracts cannot go ahead due to lockdown laws, the CMA would expect customers to be offered a full refund. If contracts are partially impacted by lockdown laws, consumers may be entitled to a refund or price reduction depending on the scale of the impact.

    Government guidance:

    Whether a consumer is entitled to refund as a result of government guidance will vary according to the specific circumstances. It is not always the case that a full refund is due because government guidance does not create legal restrictions and will not necessarily mean that a contract cannot be performed, but it is important for businesses and customers to follow government guidance and businesses should treat their customers fairly to find a mutually acceptable solution.

    Read the CMA’s full statement on cancellation and refund updates.

    ONS COVID-19 roundup

    See the latest data and analysis from ONS related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on our economy and society, analysing data up to the week ending 14 August. Read the full report here.

    Some key findings on the travel and leisure sectors:

    • There were an estimated 1.3 million passenger arrivals (including returning UK residents) in April to June 2020. This is 97% (27.7 million) fewer than the same period in 2019, and it is because of the coronavirus travel restrictions.
    • The number of applications for visitor visas in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020 was 99% lower than in the same period in 2019.
    • The arts, entertainment and recreation sector had the largest proportion of the workforce furloughed (51%) compared with 13% across all industries. The industry with the next highest proportion of furloughed workers is the hospitality industry (27%).
    • When asked about insolvency, almost a quarter of arts and entertainment businesses (23%) reported the risks as severe to moderate; this is the joint-highest proportion of any industry, along with the hospitality sector. Across all sectors, 11% of businesses said their risk of insolvency is severe to moderate.

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE

    • Reminder on Increased Fines

    With the August Bank Holiday here it is worth noting that the increased fines for holding or attending illegal gatherings come into force today as the Government attempts to dissuade people from breaking social distancing rules. The fines are:

    • The fine for attending an illegal gathering is £100 for the first offence. This then doubles for every subsequent offence up to a maximum of £3,200
    • The fine for staging an illegal event attended by 30 or more people is up to £10,000. While this is targeted to people organising illegal parties or music events but applies to any gathering of 30 people.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tougher-fines-ahead-of-bank-holiday-to-crack-down-on-illegal-gatherings

    • CMA Statement on Consumer Contracts, Cancellation and Refunds

    As part of it’s ongoing investigation on the cancellation of tourism-related contracts, the CMA has published a statement today which outlines how it believes the law operates in relation to contracts impacted by Coronavirus. The main part of this statement is as follows:

    In some circumstances, due to lockdown laws, a contract cannot go ahead as agreed or at all, and is therefore ‘frustrated’. A contract will be frustrated as a matter of law if, due to no fault of the parties, something happens after the contract was entered into which means it can no longer be performed at all or performance would be radically different to what was agreed.

    As a result, the contract comes to an end and, where consumers have paid money in advance for services or goods that they have yet to receive, they will generally be entitled to obtain a refund.

    CMA would expect a consumer to be offered a full refund where:

    • a business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services
    • no goods or services are provided by a business because this is prevented by the lockdown laws
    • a consumer is prevented from receiving any goods or services, because, for example, lockdown laws in the UK or abroad have made it illegal to receive or use the goods or services

    Examples of legal restrictions in lockdown laws include:

    • restrictions imposed under the original lockdown laws in the early stages of the pandemic
    • restrictions imposed by local lockdown laws
    • specific restrictions imposed by local authorities under their legal lockdown powers
    • mandatory self-isolation following a direction from a public health officer
    • mandatory self-isolation when returning to the UK from certain countries which may affect the consumer’s ability to use a service during the self-isolation period (provided that the requirement to self-isolate was imposed after the consumer had entered into the relevant contract and was not reasonably anticipated by the consumer)

    With local lockdowns likely to continue, it is important that tourism businesses are aware of this statement and modify their terms and conditions and customer service accordingly.

    Here’s the Press Release from the CMA

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-and-refund-updates

    And here’s the full statement, with further detail

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds

    • Change to Test and Trace Guidance for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

    The Guidance to tourism and hospitality businesses on the test and trace data that they must collect has been amended to remove a line in that guidance that said that NHS Test and Trace will ask a business for their Test and Trace records when someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has listed the premise as a place they visited recently due to data protection issues.

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

    • Changes to CJRS

    Please remember that the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Will change on Tuesday.From 1 September, the Government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough,  will businesses required to pay the additional 10% required to ensure that employees receive 80%  of their wages (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked..

    Unless  a business is making a new claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, it can only continue to claim through the scheme if:

    • The employee has previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June
    • A claim for the employee was submitted before 31 July

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

    • National Museum Figures

    This week’s National Museum figures are encouraging with a rise in average visitor numbers from 15% to 21% of normal footfall.

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

    • The R Number

    Reflecting the recent increase in the number of cases, this week’s R number for the UK is 0.9-1.1 and the growth rate is -2% to +1% per day

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

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

    UPDATE  27 AUGUST

    Update on travel corridors

    This week’s review of Travel Corridor countries has concluded, based on data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England, with Ministers agreeing to remove the following from the list of exempt countries:

    Czech Republic, Jamaica, Switzerland

    This is due to a significant increase in both the level and pace of confirmed cases in these countries. These removals apply UK-wide and will be effective from 04:00 on Saturday 29 August.

    Ministers have agreed to add the following to the list of exempt countries, following a decrease in the number of confirmed cases:

    Cuba

    This addition applies UK-wide and will also be effective from 04:00 on Saturday 29 August. Passengers arriving from these countries before this time will still need to self-isolate upon arrival into the UK.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/switzerland-the-czech-republic-and-jamaica-to-be-removed-from-travel-corridors-list

    FCO Travel Advice is being updated to reflect these changes. See the full list of travel corridors on the Gov website.

    Update on spectators to elite sports events

    On a separate note, the Government has announced further pilots for the return of spectators to elite sport to allow fans to return to live sport from 1 October with social distancing.

    DCMS has announced a series of sports events where there will be spectator trials in England, The initial sports being trialled are as follows with further trials of other sports to be announced in September

    • Football
    • Rugby
    • Cricket
    • Horse racing
    • Basketball
    • Speedway

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/switzerland-the-czech-republic-and-jamaica-to-be-removed-from-travel-corridors-list

    • Payment for People Self-Isolating in Highest Risk Areas

    You will have seen considerable attention in the media to the new payment for people on low incomes in areas with high rates of COVID-19 who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home. The payment is, which will be first trialled in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham, will pay £130 to eligible individuals who test positive for their 10-day self-isolation period. This payment is in addition to any other benefits that the person already receives of may be entitled to. Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182.

    To be eligible for the funding, individuals must:

    • have tested positive for COVID-19 or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate
    • have agreed to comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace and provided contact details to the local authority
    • be employed or self-employed:
      • employed people will be asked to show proof of employment
      • self-employed will be required to show evidence of trading income and that their business delivers services which the local authority reasonably judges they are unable to carry out without social contact
    • be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income a result
    • be currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-payment-for-people-self-isolating-in-highest-risk-areas

    • Passenger Arrivals in July

    The Home Office has released data today showing that there were 1.3m arrivals into the UK by air during July.This is 89% lower that the number of arrivals in July 2019, when 11.1m people entered the country. The data also indicates that arrivals into the UK by rail were down 65% and arrivals by sea were down by 69%.

    It should also be noted that the arrivals data includes British nationals returning from overseas. When British nationals are removed, the number of arrivals falls to 640,000 people. However, there should be slight bit of caution in thinking that this is the number of overseas visitors as this figure will include foreign nationals that live in the UK returning from holidays overseas.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statistics-relating-to-passenger-arrivals-since-the-covid-19-outbreak-august-2020/statistics-relating-to-passenger-arrivals-since-the-covid-19-outbreak-august-2020

    • CBI Service Sector Report

    The CBI’s service sector report that has been published today. The survey includes data on sentiment within the Hotels, bars & restaurants; travel services and leisure sectors which shows that costs per employee have increase by 20-30% while the volume of sales is down 30-60% and employment is down 30-90% depending on the sector.

    • How HMRC Will Continue to Support Customers and the Economy

    HMRC have published a policy paper setting out how they will continue to support individuals and businesses through the Coronavirus outbreak. While there are no initiatives in the policy paper it presents a series of principles on how it will operate:

    • Our approach will be to collect the tax due in a way that recognises the very real needs and challenges that businesses and individuals face.
    • We will communicate openly and transparently, to give people as much certainty as possible.
    • It is more important than ever that we are professional, fair and even-handed in the way we interact with our customers.
    • Where we have introduced temporary administrative arrangements that have improved the customer experience or created operational improvements, we will try to build on these changes to deliver long-term sustainable solutions.
    • We will continue to prioritise tackling serious fraud and criminal attacks on the tax system, while increasing wider activity to make sure individuals and businesses pay the right tax.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-issue-briefing-how-hmrc-will-continue-to-support-customers-and-the-economy/covid-19-how-hmrc-will-continue-to-support-customers-and-the-economy

    • ONS Survey

    The ONS has produced the latest results of their ongoing survey of economic and social indicators.  The main tourism related findings are:

    • 13% of the workforce remain on furlough
    • Accommodation and food services, and  Arts, entertainment and recreation sectors were the only sectors that reported less than 90% of businesses had been trading for more than the last two weeks, at 82% and 63% respectively.
    • 23% of businesses in these two sectors said their risk of insolvency was moderate or severe
    • Job adverts in the hospitality sector are 38% of what they were last year compared to 55% for UK businesses as a whole

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronavirustheukeconomyandsocietyfasterindicators/27august2020

    • PASC Survey

    The Professional Association of Self-Caterers (PASC UK) and the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) have commissioned a survey to evaluate the effects of Covid-19 on the self-catering sector across the UK. The survey will also help us to identify what the sector’s business priorities are over the next 12 months to support recovery and growth.

    The results will be shared with UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to inform autumn budgets and spending reviews, as well as policy decisions going forward.

    The survey is being undertaken by The South West Research Company. Answers will be treated as strictly confidential and will be combined with those from other businesses in various regions to provide overall results.

    https://survey.sogosurvey.com/Survey1.aspx?k=RQsQQYTYVsQWQsPsPsP&lang=0 

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

    TIER UPDATE 26 AUGUST

    Hospitality businesses in Aberdeen to reopen from 26 August

    In line with the lifting of local lockdown restrictions in Aberdeen, restaurants, pubs, cafés, casinos and other hospitality premises are able to reopen from today, 26 August. Other restrictions have been lifted including a five-mile travel limit and restrictions on gatherings, and other businesses in Aberdeen are allowed to open in line with Scotland’s national route map for reopening.

    ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme statistics (23 August)

    New figures show that restaurants have claimed reimbursement for 64 million meals or purchases so far through the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. The latest statistics on the scheme as of 23 August show that:

    ·        84,000 individual restaurant premises have registered for the scheme

    ·        87,000 claims have been received by HMRC

    ·        The total value of claims has reached £336 million

    VisitBritain report: Revised inbound forecast for the UK in 2020

    The inbound outlook for the UK in 2020 from VisitBritain has been revised as of 25 August. Key updates from the revised forecast:

    • Our central scenario forecast for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020, as of 25 August, is for a decline of 73% in visits to 11.0 million and a decline of 79% in spending to £6.0 billion. This would represent a loss vs the pre-COVID forecast of 30.7 million visits and £24.0 billion spending.
    • This central scenario assumes that a vaccine will not be widely available during 2020. It assumes that the UK will not go back to the April-June situation of national lockdown and near-zero international travel although it is consistent with some local lockdowns being imposed.
    • A major short-term uncertainty in inbound tourism prospects is which countries will require quarantine upon arrival. Quarantine exemptions for many countries took effect from 10 July; however, since then the requirement has been re-imposed for several countries. At time of writing, around half of potential European visitors would face quarantine, including those from near neighbours France, Belgium and Netherlands, and the vast majority of visitors from non-European countries would face quarantine. The forecast assumes that quarantine restrictions are, in aggregate, eased gradually over the rest of the year but even by the end of 2020 it assumes that some European and most non-European visitors are likely to still face restrictions on arrival.

    Notes about the forecast:

    • From mid-March to mid-July, COVID-19 triggered a near-total shutdown in international tourism to/from the UK. Forecasting at this time is difficult, given the fast-moving situation and the unique circumstances. Events are moving fast during the COVID-19 pandemic and the outlook can change daily. Our new central scenario below therefore reflects a snapshot in time based on current understanding and a set of assumptions. Subsequent developments could change the outlook.
    • This central scenario is merely one possible outturn and involves several assumptions and simplifications due to the fast-moving and uncertain situation; it is therefore subject to revision as the situation develops.
    • This is a short-term forecast. The longer-term impact and path to recovery depend, apart from the progression of the pandemic and treatments/vaccines, on wider demand (especially economic) and supply factors.

    Bank Holiday Domestic Trip Tracker from VisitEngland (August 2020)

    Please see attached the full report from a VisitEngland survey looking at domestic travel intentions during the upcoming August bank holiday. Some key insights from the report.

    • 9% of adults in Britain definitely plan to take a holiday in the UK over the August Bank Holiday (4.8M adults) and 9% definitely plan to take a holiday in England (4.5M adults). This corresponds to an estimated spend of £1.2 billion in the UK, and £1.1 billion in England alone.
    • Among those who are planning or considering an overnight trip, 56% are planning a holiday or short break, and 35% plan to visit friends and relatives.
    • In total, 10% of British adults ‘definitely’ plan to take an overnight trip over the August bank holiday weekend, and 13% are undecided. The top two factors for deciding are waiting to see what the weather will be like, followed by concerns around COVID-19.
    • 12% of Brits will ‘definitely’ take a day trip over the August bank holiday weekend, and a further 26% ‘might or might not’.

    Industry updates

    ·        Gatwick Airport has announced plans for a significant restructure across its business designed to further reduce operating and staff costs due to the impact of the pandemic, including potentially cutting around 600 job roles (24% of its current employees).

    ·        Lufthansa Group is waiving booking fees for Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines flights through the end of 2020.

    ·        Analysis from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts that the UK economy will lose £22 billion in 2020, about £60 million per day, due to the collapse of international travel this year.

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE

    • VB’s Updated Forecast for Inbound Tourism

    VisitBritain has updated its forecast for inbound tourism in 2020. Their central prediction is that is for a decline of 73% in visits to 11.0 million and a decline of 79% in spending to £6.0 billion. This would represent a loss vs the pre-COVID forecast of 30.7 million visits and £24.0 billion spending.

    This central scenario assumes that a vaccine will not be widely available during 2020 and that the UK will not go back to the April-June situation of national lockdown and near-zero international travel although it is consistent with some local lockdowns being imposed.

    This has significant implications for the tourism businesses that depend on inbound tourism and the economies of destinations such as at London, Edinburgh and Manchester that have high levels of inbounds visitors. For London alone, this equates for £12bn less coming into the economy and over 180,000 jobs at risk – and that doesn’t include the drop in revenue and employment derived from the airlines and airports servicing London.

    https://www.visitbritain.org/2020-tourism-forecast

    • Urgent Call for Volunteers for Conference Trial

    As you will be aware, the Government has decided to undertaking a series of trial events ahead of the conference, events and exhibitions sectors being reopened on 1st October in order to determine how these events should be organised to ensure that they are Covid Safe. These trial events will determine whether all appropriate mitigations are in place, and whether any parts of the existing guidance need to be strengthened or changed to support the sector to organise future business events.

    To help with this, another 50 volunteers are needed to attend a conference event at the Hilton Canary Wharf on Thursday 3rd September 11am-2pm

    If you are interested could you please put together a list of individuals at your organisation who can join and send this to the DCMS Tourism team tourismheritagecovid@dcms.gov.uk) by COP Thursday 27th August. Once you done this, the venue will be in touch with you regarding registration details.

    This is a good opportunity for those attending to understand how conferences will be held when they reopen so that you can inform you members and your own activities. And please note that by attending you need to permit your contact data to be shared with govt and the event organiser – and to be contacted by the event organiser.

    • Being Able to Leave Self-Isolation

    The guidance on quarantining has been updated to say that peopple are able to only leave their self-isolation premises in England under exceptional circumstances. This includes such things as:

    ·         accessing basic necessities like food and medicines where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered

    ·         moving to a different place for self-isolation where you can no longer remain where you are

    There may be other exceptional circumstances which may permit you to leave your place of self-isolation. You will need to consider carefully whether your circumstances are exceptional circumstances that require you to leave your place of self-isolation. It may be useful to seek advice from a medical or other professional to discuss your circumstances so that you can decide whether they require you to leave the accommodation where you are self-isolating.

    People are not allowed to change the place of self-isolating except in very limited circumstances, including where there is:

    ·         a legal obligation requires to change address

    ·         it is necessary for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days

    ·         there are exceptional circumstances in which it becomes impracticable to remain at the original address

    If this happens, they should provide full details of each address where they will self-isolate on the public health passenger locator form.

    Transport Use Update

    DFT has produced the latest figures on transport use when, again shows that private and commercial transport is back to normal but public transport usage has stalled at between 30-50% of normal use depending on the transport type. While some of this will reflect lower commuter traffic due to people still working from home, it indicates that people are still concerned about travelling in close proximity to others.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-use-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic

    • CJRS Video Update

    HMRC’s  video about the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing has been updated.

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

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

    TIER UPDATE 25 AUGUST

    Guidance for guests who become unwell while on holiday in England

    The government has outlined advice for people who become unwell while on holiday in England:

    ·        Guests who develop coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms while staying in overnight accommodation should inform the accommodation provider immediately, self-isolate and request a test by calling 119 or online at nhs.uk.

    ·        Guests who test positive should return home as quickly and directly as possible, continuing to self-isolate until they can arrange for private transport.

    ·        In most cases it will not be possible to self-isolate in the holiday accommodation and guests should arrange to return home as safely and quickly as possible.

    ·        If the accommodation provider agrees, guests may extend their stay in order to self-isolate until they are well enough to travel. Unless otherwise provided for in contractual terms of the booking, the guest will be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances.

    As a reminder, here is guidance for accommodation providers on hosting guests that have symptoms of coronavirus 

    General updates

    ·        STA Travel Holding AG, the Swiss-based parent company of student and youth travel company STA Travel, has announced that it is filing for insolvency.

    ·        Brittany Ferries has announced line suspensions and schedule changes post-August due to a fall in demand given UK quarantine on arrivals from France. 35,000 ferry passengers have cancelled/delayed their travel plans according to the company. 50,000 passengers with existing bookings are expected to be affected by these changes.

    ·        In Germany all ferry ports are now located in countries which have been removed from the quarantine exemption list. This has led to a considerable number of cancellations for FIT tour operator bookings as well as coach groups for the next weeks.

    ·        Negative media coverage in Spain continues due to quarantine on arrival to UK.

    ·        With the quarantine back in place for France the majority of potential French visitors on social media say they will wait 2021 to travel back to the UK.

    Trade feedback

    ·        Boreal Travel AS, one of the larger tour operators in central Norway is reporting they have cancelled and refunded virtually all tours for autumn. They do not believe they will be able to complete any tours within the next six months.

    ·        Classic World in Sweden have praised the support and understanding offered by UK suppliers. They have managed to move all booked tours over to 2021 due to cooperative partners. They are however struggling due to airlines not refunding cancelled flights.

     Airline updates

    ·        TAP Portugal is actively promoting travel from Brazil to Portugal as the airline resumes flights from more Brazilian cities to Lisbon with onward connections to London.

    ·        From w/c 17 August, SAS flights to gradually increase from current level of 7 per week to 13 per week by early/mid-September (flight route: CPH – LHR).

    ·        Wizz Air to open two new routes from Spain (Malaga and Alicante) to Doncaster from 22 October Wizz Air.

    ·        Airport operator Swedavia reports that airlines are beginning to reduce capacity again from Sweden to Britain with BA, SAS and Ryanair included. Swedavia will also go through another round of redundancies which will be announced in two weeks’ time.

    ·        JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes has confirmed that the airline’s transatlantic routes from London to Boston and NYC have been delayed and will likely launch in Q3 of 2021.

    ·        Virgin Atlantic has postponed the return of its Manchester to Orlando route from August until October.

    ·        The new wave of infections across Europe is affecting airlines. Ryanair has decided to cut one in five flights across its schedule in September and October. The destinations most affected are France, Spain, Sweden and Ireland.

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

    TIER UPDATE 24 AUGUST

    Switzerland removed from safe travel list in Scotland

    Switzerland has been removed from the list of countries exempt from quarantine on arrival in Scotland. Travellers who arrive in Scotland from Switzerland on or after 04.00 on 22 August will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

    Local lockdown restrictions in the North of England

    Official guidance has been updated for the local lockdown restrictions implemented in areas of the north of England. Review the specific areas impacted and detailed region-specific guidance for:

    ·        Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston and West Yorkshire

    ·        Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle

    In each affected area, the following businesses must remain closed:

    ·        Casinos

    ·        Skating rinks

    ·        Bowling alleys

    ·        Indoor play areas, including soft play areas

    ·        Exhibition centres and conference halls

    Indoor performances (including with social distancing) and close-contact services such as makeup application are advised to stay closed in these areas. The following businesses must also remain closed in Bradford and parts of Blackburn with Darwen:

    ·        Indoor gyms

    ·        Indoor fitness and dance studios

    ·        Indoor sports courts and facilities

    ·        Indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks

    You can review the full list of areas with local lockdown restrictions here.

    Local restrictions lifting in parts of Blackburn with Darwen from 26 August

    From 26 August, the following parts of Blackburn with Darwen will have their local restrictions lifted, bringing them in line with the guidance for the rest of England:

    ·        Blackburn South East

    ·        Darwen East

    ·        Darwen South

    ·        Darwen West

    ·        Ewood

    ·        Livesey with Pleasington

    ·        Mill Hill & Moorgate

    ·        West Pennine

    Other government updates

    ·        The government have clarified that transport operators providing services through or within areas with local lockdown restrictions should continue operating services as normal, but should continue reviewing risk assessments regularly.

    Industry updates

    ·        STA Travel has ceased operations in the UK.

    ·        Virgin Atlantic will provide complimentary COVID-19 global insurance cover for all existing and new bookings travelling from 24 August 2020 until 31 March 2021. The policy covers emergency medical costs, associated expenses such as transport and accommodation up to £500,000 as well as costs if a customer is denied boarding or held in quarantine.

    ·        Airports Council International (ACI) has launched the ‘Check & Fly App,’ a new mobile app to provide air passengers with information about the health and safety measures in place at over 200 airports around the world. 

    Competitor activity report from VisitBritain up to 21 August (confidential and not for sharing)

    Some of the highlights from this week’s report: 

    • In the latest week, several governments have announced further support as well as extensions and tweaks to existing support measures for the sector and ancillary activity. Such adaptions now also include special support for areas which have been affected by renewed restrictions.
      • Australia’s Tasmania and ACT have launched further support measures to support the tourism sector to offset some of the impact of renewed restrictions
      • The Brazilian Government published the so-called Aldir Blanc law which dedicates BRL3bn to the support of the cultural sector and the Ministry of Tourism supports a start-up competition to find solutions to resume tourism activity in Brazil
      • France extends new measures to help tourism businesses to 8 new subsectors and announced new workplace health & safety precautions
      • The German SoS for Tourism advocates an extension of the bridging grants for tourism businesses beyond the end of August.
      • Ireland launched special support measures for county Kildare which continues to be affected by the renewal of restrictions.
      • 29 cities of art with high tourism appeal in Italy will receive a total of €500m in support of businesses in historic centres, and state aid for Italian airlines has been confirmed in the August degree
      • New Zealand launched support for those affected by a second spike and subsequent renewal of restrictions in the Auckland region but also beyond, incl. a new wage subsidy, an extension to the mortgage deferral scheme and it works on further support measures to keep them adaptable and flexible to cater for alert level movements. 
    • Support for navigating the new requirements for both businesses and visitors
      • Bahrain reduced the quarantine requirement to 10 days for those who test negative upon arrival in a double-testing procedure.
      • Iceland introduced the option to reduce the time of quarantine to 5 days in a double-testing procedure.
      • As the Dutch government has tightened some restrictions, it recommends that parties and other events involving more than six people should be held at hospitality venues, and reduced the quarantine period after arrival from a risk area to 10 days.
      • In Norway, testing facilities have now been opened at Oslo and Stavanger airports and Innovation Norway has opened a consultation on its new national tourism strategy. 
    • New domestic and inbound campaigns:
      • In an adaptation of its hero campaign, Switzerland Tourism promotes urban tourism with ‘I need summer in the city’ to Europeans to help hurting cities 
    • Business events:
      • Support measures in ACT’s new Tourism Support Package include support for a physical distancing technology pilot to help position Canberra as an attractive Business Events destination 
    • Several countries are either locally or nationally adapting the reopening process to mitigate the impact of local outbreak

    TOURISM ALLIANCE UPDATE 

    • Leicester Weddings Update

    Additional guidance has been produced regarding holding weddings in the Leicester lockdown area. Weddings are still allowed to take place but only an maximum of 30 people are able to attend and those 30 people can only be from a maximum of two households. In addition, no wedding receptions or parties should take place no celebrations involving more than one household or support bubble should take place in any place including hotels, pubs and restaurants. 

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

    • Northern Lockdown Update

    The Guidance for the Northern Lockdown area have been updated, specifically to address the issue of people from different households meeting-up at hospitality and leisure venues. The main points are:

    • You may attend these venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with individuals or groups from other households.
    • If you run such a business or organise events on their premises, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 secure guidance

    Weddings

    The rules for weddings in the Northern Lockdown area are very similar to those for Leicester. However, there is one main difference in that the maximum of 30 people attending a wedding in the Northern Lockdown are can be from more than two households.

    Business Closures

    It should also be noted that while casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas, including soft play areas, exhibition centres and conference halls must remain closed throughout the Northern Lockdown area, In Bradford, indoor gyms, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor sports courts and facilities, indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks must also remain closed.

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

    • Restrictions for Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle

    The Government also produced separate guidance on local restrictions for Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle over the weekend. The restrictions are very similar to Northern Lockdown Area but it should be noted that:

    • In the Blackburn with Darwen area, indoor gyms, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor sports courts and facilities, indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks must remain closed in addition to the standard casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas, including soft play areas, exhibition centres and conference halls
    • For Weddings - a maximum of 20 people can attend and, while it seems they can be from more than two households, they should be limited to close family of the people getting married. 

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/blackburn-with-darwen-oldham-pendle-local-restrictions

    • Funding Available through the Culture Recovery Fund

    DCMs have published guidance that pulls together the various schemes under the £1.57bn Cultural recovery Fund that are open for applications at the moment. They include:

    • Arts Council England Grants- £500m grants for cultural organisations that are at risk of failure because of COVID-19 and who need funding of up to £3m
    • Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas - £30m for independent cinemas who provide a year round film programme, that are at risk of failure because of COVID-19
    • Arts Council England Repayable Finance - £270m repayable finance for cultural organisations that are at risk of failure because of COVID-19 and who need funding of over £3m
    • Historic England - £50m heritage stimulus fund (capital) to restart vital construction and maintenance projects on heritage sites, stalled due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19
    • Arts Council England Capital - capital expenditure funding for existing Arts Council capital grant holders who can demonstrate a capital funding shortfall due to COVID-19.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-available-through-the-culture-recovery-fund

    • Transport Operators Guidance Clarification

    The guidance for transport operators has been updated to clarify that services through or within lockdown areas can continue as normal with the normal rules and restrictions. However, operators are advised to review their risk assessments regularly to ensure they remain relevant and appropriate for these areas.

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

    • Applying for a Visa if a VAC is Closed

    The Home Office has updated its guidance on how foreign nationals can apply for a visa if a VAC is closed due to coronavirus restrictions. Where a VAC is closed, Applicants  can apply for any type of visa online using the following link and then select a VAC in any country worldwide, subject to that country’s entry requirements, to submit their application and biometrics.

    https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa?_ga=2.78691927.239971990.1598257861-1499232317.1579698125&_gac=1.188594522.1597161883.Cj0KCQjwg8n5BRCdARIsALxKb94Imaog960KYB0xHNiy1oZoClFmfy6fXbR0n0dqVm_BDzP8Ezp4v4kaAlcfEALw_wcB

    The ability to do this will be reviewed by 30 November 2020.

    • Make it Home in One Piece

    The Highways Agency has launched a new campaign linked to Enjoy Summer Safety to urge motorists to be additionally careful, especially over the August bank Holiday. The key messages being:

    • Take a break from driving at least every 2 hours
    • Don’t drive tired
    • Plan your journey

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