Prime Minister’s Statement, 5 April 2021
From Monday 12 April, England will move to Step 2 of its roadmap
BETA and our fellow associations are urging the Government to stick to the roadmap as planned which will lead us to 21 June when all restrictions will be removed.
Global Travel Taskforce Report Published
The Government has now published the Global Travel Taskforce Report which sets out the framework for reopening international travel from May 2021
- Progressing a risk-based reopening of international travel, making use of existing and new measures to ensure that this is safe, sustainable and robust
- Remove measures limiting outbound travel by 17 May at the earliest and implement a “traffic light” country system, to which different restrictions are applied depending on risk.
- Introduce a “Green Watchlist” to support outbound travellers identify countries most at risk of moving from green to amber.
- Hold three “checkpoints” on 28 June, 31 July and 1 October to review measures.
- Enable residents to prove their COVID-19 status for tests and, if necessary, vaccines for outbound travel to a third country.
- Restart international cruises alongside the wider restart of international travel, in line with the country “traffic light” system.
- Ensuring readiness for international travel restart, building on ongoing work to minimise border pressures as passenger flows rise, whilst keeping staff safe
- Improve the Passenger Locator Form, with full e-gates integration across all ports of entry by autumn 2021.
- Establish a joint UK government and industry working group to ensure border readiness.
- Ensure comprehensive measures are in place to assess and assure safety readiness across all modes.
- Use feedback from industry and CAA expertise to make targeted interventions to ensure operational safety.
- Building consumer clarity and confidence through enhanced advice and communications of safety measures and consumer protection when booking travel
- Improve operator(s) and passenger guidance to provide more clarity on health and passenger requirements including, where relevant, how this interacts with travel advice.
- Introduce a passenger COVID-19 charter by 17 May setting out consumer rights and responsibilities whilst measures remain. Later this year consult on additional, flexible and modern tools to enforce consumer rights.
- Supporting a transition to future travel, taking the first steps towards co-existing with an endemic COVID-19, in collaboration with global partners
- Maintain leadership role within multilateral organisations including the ICAO, IMO and OECD, and work with like-minded states including the G7, G20 and Five Eyes group to develop strategies for reopening international travel.
- Continue close coordination with industry to ensure third party apps can be integrated with a national digital certification system that is interoperable, safe and secure.
- Explore the feasibility of bilateral pilots for testing initiatives such as digital solutions on particular routes, or with other countries.
Reopening Guidance, Step 2
Here is an update from VisitBritain on the reopening guidance in Step 2 which covers areas linked to travel and tourism
DCMS Update Industry Q&A
DCMS have published an update to the industry Q&A’s linked to Step 2 of the Roadmap. In addition to the new Q&A, the Primary Guidance for Visitor Economy Businesses and Hotels and Other Guest Accommodation has also been updated with more detail on the rules and restrictions that apply to tourism and accommodation businesses during Step 2. NOTE: there is a contradiction on the DCMS and DFT advice on coach travel and operators are following the DFT advice until this has been resolved
Recovery Loan Scheme opens for applications
The new government-backed loan scheme was launched on 6th April. The Recovery Loan Scheme, which was announced at the budget and runs until 31 December 2021, will be administered by the British Business Bank. See which lenders have been accredited to date.
- Businesses can access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million.
- Invoice and asset finance is available from £1,000.
- The government will provide an 80% guarantee for all loans.
- Interest rates have been capped at 14.99% and are expected to be much lower than that in the vast majority of cases,
- The Recovery Loan Scheme can be used as an additional loan on top of support received from the emergency schemes – such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
Read the press release. You can also read guidance on the recovery loan scheme and find out how to apply
Code of Practice for Commercial Properties
The Government has updated the Code of Practice for Commercial Properties, which sets out how commercial landlords and tenants should work together to protect viable businesses. In short, the code of practices states that, where businesses are able to pay rent, they should do so and where this is not possible, landlords should provide support to businesses if they are able to do so. It encourages tenants and landlords to be transparent in their discussions and to act reasonably and responsibly whilst recognising the impact that coronavirus has had on businesses’ finances.
As part of the update to the Code of Practice, a new annex has been added to help landlords and tenants resolve the issue of rent arrears and service charges accrued due to Covid-19 and the imposed lockdowns. The annex is a form designed as a questionnaire that allows tenants to bring together the information relevant to individual situations and generate a formal proposal for repayment that the landlord can respond to by either accepting or producing a counter-offer.
Have your Say: Associated with this, the Government has also launched a call for evidence on:
- the moratorium on commercial lease evictions established by section 82 of the Coronavirus Act 2020
- the restrictions on the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) established by the Taking Control of Goods (Amendment)(Coronavirus) Regulations 2021
Responses to the call for evidence are due by 4th May 2021. The government’s objective is to gather more evidence to understand how landlords and tenants are responding to the build-up of rent arrears that has occurred as a result of businesses being unable to trade normally during the pandemic. This will inform a better understanding of the risk to economic recovery posed by remaining rent debts, and to understand how landlords and tenants are adjusting existing lease terms to reflect the period of recovery that many tenant businesses will need once the trading restrictions are lifted. The evidence gathered will inform government policy regarding the exit from the existing measures and any need for additional measures to preserve viable businesses and the jobs that they provide.
Universities demand answers on student returns
UUK has written a letter to the UK Government seeking an explanation for the lack of an announcement on student returns in England following last week’s roadmap announcement. Universities and up to a million students were eagerly awaiting the government’s latest roadmap announcement in anticipation that they would be able to return to safe, socially-distanced in person teaching from 12 April more
Alternative to NHS Test and Trace App
Venues must make sure that there is a method of checking in that does not rely on the customer using a smartphone or other technology in order not to digitally exclude people without access to these technologies. You must therefore ensure that there is also a way for an individual to provide their contact details if they do not own a smartphone or have access to digital routes. Read the full guidance on test and trace.
Twice Weekly Testing Campaign
The Government has launched a campaign for everyone in England to get free, twice weekly COVID-19 testing using rapid lateral flow tests as an essential part of the easing of restrictions, helping identify variants and stopping individual cases from becoming outbreaks. A major public information campaign will run across TV, radio, press, digital, out-of-home advertising and social media from tonight.
Updates from the Devolved Administrations
- Scotland: Cautious easing of lockdown as more services open in Scotland from 5th April. People can make non essential journeys in their local authority area when the Stay Local requirement will replace the Stay at Home rule.
- Wales: To support the reopening of businesses and their efforts to create safe environments for the public to feel confident to return to the high street, hospitality and tourism sectors, the Welsh Government is temporarily relaxing planning control. The Amendment Order comes into force on 30 April. Local Planning Authorities in Wales have been encouraged to support businesses and prioritise any applications where a planning application for temporary use is required.
- Northern Ireland: Relaxation of restrictions the Northern Ireland Executive ratified the relaxations planned for 12 April as a part of its pathway out of restrictions.
- To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard
- View the latest R Number and Growth Rate figures
- To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard
Correct as of 12 April 2021