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Situation Update

Updated Working Safely 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).

Chancellors Winter Economy Plan
Further to today’s announcement by the Chancellor, below is a summary of the next phase of Government support as well as the latest updates to guidance.

Today the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced new measures in his Winter Economy plan, the next phase in the Government’s support for businesses and the economy. This included 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 here 

Further updates for businesses
The new NHS COVID-19 app is now available to download for free in England and Wales and is the fastest way to see if you or your business are at risk from coronavirus.

Hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses are required to request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display the official NHS QR code poster. You should have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

For a reminder on what businesses need to do to prepare visit the gov.uk website where you can also find instructions on how to create a code and poster.

Updated guidance reflecting the new restrictions in England
This week, the Government announced further updates to their guidance and provided some useful points of clarifications.

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

Face coverings
Guidance on when to wear a face covering and the exemptions is available. The guidance defines a face covering as “something which safely covers the nose and mouth” and “must securely fit round the side of the face”. A visor is not classed as a face covering. Also in shops employees need to wear masks even if they are behind a screen. 
Businesses need 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.

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.

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.
Changes to hospitality services within 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.
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.

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.

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.
Number of cases reported

Correct as of 30 September 2020

Upcoming Event

Latest News/Advice

Winter Economy Plan

Guidance & Support Gov.uk

Working Safely here

Travel Corridors List

Track & Trace Record keeping 

FAQ what you can and can’t do

Visitor Economy Guidance

Business

Job Support Scheme

HMRC VAT Deferral

Create NHS QR Code

Guidance for Employers

New workplace Guidance from ACAS

HMRC Time To Pay Helpline

Health & Wellbeing

Latest UK case statistics

Latest global case statistics

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Social Impact on Great Britain

NHS advice on self isolation here

Latest from WHO

The Coronavirus Bill

Travel & Education

Essential Travel Guidance

Updated FCDO advice here

DFE guidance for education & childcare

DFE guidance for educational settings

VisitBritain Consumer Tracker

UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker

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